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iPod nano Roundup: things you may want to know

post #1 of 39
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Following Apple's iPod nano announcement

In another one of its boneheaded moves, Apple has managed to keep some early iPod nano adopters waiting in excess of one month before they'll be able to own the lanyard accessory, which comes with built in earphones and allows the new music player to be worn around the neck. Of course that's not half as bad as reports that some Apple authorized resellers have been quoted three-week wait times for volume orders of the new iPod itself.

Nevertheless, in its second straight day the iPod nano continues to gain praise and draw gazes. Says the Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg, "I have been testing a nano for the past few days, and I am smitten." The Personal Technology columnist claims "the nano has the best combination of beauty and functionality of any music player" he's ever tested. We'd have to concur.

By utilizing flash memory instead of miniature hard disk drives, Apple was able to design the nano to be nearly one-third the size of its predecessor, the iPod mini. The new players are so thin and compact that they're aesthetically stunning; but these great looks and new form factor may be costing Apple a pretty penny. According to PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster, Apple's switch to flash memory in the iPod nano may have raised the company's component costs by as much as 50%. If true, this would mean that Apple is making far less off of each nano than it did with the mini.

Market intelligence firms Semico and iSuppli believe 1GB of flash memory in the volume market presently costs about $45. Thus, the 2GB iPod Nano, which sells for $199, potentially contains around $90 worth of flash memory, while the $249 4GB version would require approximately $180 worth of flash memory, a Semico's analyst said.

However, earlier reports hinted that Apple had struck a deal with Samsung in which the iPod maker would purchase as much as 40% of Samsung's second-half flash memory output in exchange for a significant volume price reduction. Some analysts speculate that Samsung offered Apple a 50% discount, which would bring Apple's per-Gigabyte cost for flash memory inline with that of the hard disk drive-based storage used in the iPod mini.

I cant tell you the discount rate, but it stands to reason that we expand the range of discount rates for a big buyer like Apple, said Samsung executive Joo Woo-sik. "Samsung didnt mean to do any harm to domestic MP3 manufacturers. But already some Korean MP3 player makers are miffed by the release of the nano and accuse Apple of "cutting corners" by using Samsung flash chips. They say there is no way for them to declare a price war with Apple and instead will counter the iPod nano with "new concept products.

Meanwhile, leave it to the Japanese to promptly purchase an iPod nano and then bust it to bits. The photos from this iPod nano dissection confirm the player is using flash memory from Samsung and also reveal a stereo codec chip from Wolfson Microelectronics, an ATA flash disk controller from SST, and what appears to be a USB chip from Texas Instruments.

One previous iPod component maker now absent from the aforementioned list is Synaptics, whose shares slipped further on Thursday as analysts confirmed that Apple is no longer using the company's click-wheel solutions in new iPods such as the nano. Synaptics had previously been Apple's primary supplier of both laptop trackpads and iPod scroll-wheels until Apple decided to develop its own solutions in order to gain more control over its intellectual property.

To combat the iPod nano, Apple's competitors may take action in different ways. Only hours after Apple unveiled the nano, Sony said it plans to start selling "advanced Walkman" digital music players later this year. They'll come in 6GB and 20GB capacities, but their color-tinted translucent enclosures are seemingly lacking the iPod's finesse.

On the other hand, reports indicate that Creative could be mulling whether to file suit against Apple, saying its use of the term "nano" is an attempt to trade on the name of an already established Creative product. In March the iPod competitor launched its flash-based "Zen Nano" player overseas. Unfortunately for Creative, about the only thing the two players share in common is the use of the term "nano," which also happens to be a prefix used with units of measurement.

Apple stock closed today at an all time high of $51.31, up $1.53 or 3.07%.
post #2 of 39
Yes, I am looking quite forward to the Nano lawsuit. When you think about it, does the fact that Burger King has a burger called a "Big Mac" mean that no other fast food restaurant can use the word "Big" in the name of their burgers?
post #3 of 39
"Cutting corners"!? How, exactly? Sounds like so many sour grapes to me on the part of the other Korean companies at Samsung's deal with Apple. But Korean companies and consumers still have a very strong cultural sentiment towards patronizing home-grown companies and products.

I still find it refreshing and frankly a bit strange to read that Apple has won a price war at anything, but clearly they have done just that in the flash music player market.
post #4 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by the cool gut
Yes, I am looking quite forward to the Nano lawsuit.

On what grounds?

"A quick search of the USPTO database reveals that Creative has trademarks on 'Zen' (78437344) and 'Zen Vision' (78436884), but not the Zen Nano." [Macintouch.com]
post #5 of 39
Actually, it's McDonald's that has the Big Mac. Nonetheless, if Creative can sue Apple for the word nano, then Microsoft should be able to sue anyone using the word Windows or Office.

Oh yeah, and Apple can counter-sue Creative for using the color white on their Music Players.

Quote:
Originally posted by the cool gut
Yes, I am looking quite forward to the Nano lawsuit. When you think about it, does the fact that Burger King has a burger called a "Big Mac" mean that no other fast food restaurant can use the word "Big" in the name of their burgers?
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post #6 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by Silencio
On what grounds?

"A quick search of the USPTO database reveals that Creative has trademarks on 'Zen' (78437344) and 'Zen Vision' (78436884), but not the Zen Nano." [Macintouch.com]

Well, I was looking forward to it, because Creative can't really afford these lawsuits - but if it isn't registered then hey.

They have so many fucking names for Mp3 players, their probably pissed Apple picked the name they didn't register.
post #7 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by macnut222
Actually, it's McDonald's that has the Big Mac. Nonetheless, if Creative can sue Apple for the word nano, then Microsoft should be able to sue anyone using the word Windows or Office.

Actually, if you are making a competing product (like an operating system) no you can't call it Windows.

Lindows demonstrated this. MS sued them for it sounding too much like Windows. Of course Lindows stuck to their guns on the grounds that MS didn't defend the Windows term and that everyone was using it and MS settled by paying THEM 10 million or something.
post #8 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by the cool gut
...their probably pissed Apple picked the name they didn't register.

I imagine they're probably MORE pissed that Apple will actually be successful with a product using that name.

Mm. That one felt good.
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post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by Silencio
"Cutting corners"!? How, exactly?

How? I'll tell you how: in the most literal sense! Take a look at this picture. Compare the iPod Mini to the Nano to see just how many sharp corners have been smoothed! If that's not cutting corners, I don't know what is...

Has anyone here already received their Nano? I'm thinking about getting one for my wife as a present. I'm wondering if the cover is more scratch-resistant than my iPod 4G and how the clickwheel is constructed. I haven't gotten the chance to hold one yet, though.
post #10 of 39
Quote:
he use of the term "nano," which also happens to be a unit of measurement.

I hate to be pedantic. . . aw, who am I kidding? I love it!

Nano is a prefix meaning "one-billionth" (10e-9) in the SI. It goes WITH units of measurement (like nanometer, nanosecond), but is not a unit of measurement by itself.
post #11 of 39
Quote:
Only hours after Apple unveiled the nano, Sony said it plans to start selling "advanced Walkman" digital music players later this year. They'll come in 6GB and 20GB capacities, but their color-tinted translucent enclosures are seemingly lacking the iPod's finesse.

Seemingly? I think absolutely would be the adverb of choice, there. Those... things... look awful.
The headline reads: "Sony Takes On Apple IPod by Offering New Walkman." I'd like to add to that: "Sony to fail."

Nano will be THE Xmas item, once again. The timing for that was perfect. iPod mini was the hot Xmas item last year, but now the rush is over, though they were still selling. Now, the Nano will have been around just long enough to whet everyone's appetite in time for holiday shopping.

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post #12 of 39
Another reason to release them now is to ensure that there are plenty nanos in retail channels by the holiday season. Apple's notorious for being a bit slow at first when releasing new products. All the nanos and accessories will be well stocked in November.
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post #13 of 39
Further to my last post, it looks as though the clickwheel is more or less the same (proportions aside) as the existing iPod and folks are already complaining about scratches on their new nano and how they show up even worse in black.

My first impression of the dock adapter was that I'd be able to slip it into the dock that came with my 40gb 4g iPod. A little research indicates otherwise - that the dock adapter is for future docks not yet being manufactured and all iPods will have adapters for these devices.

My next question then is whether anyone has tried using a regular iPod dock with their new iPod Nano? Any success?
post #14 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by CosmoNut
Another reason to release them now is to ensure that there are plenty nanos in retail channels by the holiday season. Apple's notorious for being a bit slow at first when releasing new products. All the nanos and accessories will be well stocked in November.

I hope so, but either they are already well-prepared (except for some announced accessories), because all models show as shipping 1-3 days. It seems that for the first month of most Apple new products, the delay shows as weeks, not days. This could mean that either that Apple has learned and built up a hefty inventory or that the product isn't selling well.
post #15 of 39
I somehow doubt that Apple will be making a significant loss of profit on each iPod compared to the mini. Those hard drives were not exactly cheap!

I seem to recall exactly the same hubbub when the mini was released, because the mini was using a 4GB 1" microdrive that cost more than the mini did in retail (hence all those people buying them to rip the drive out). I seem to remember Creative also managed to get the same hard drive for a similar price around the same time, and I bet they are now trying to get 4GB flash modules for cheap.

It's pretty standard across the business. More sales means greater discounts. I wonder if Samsung have an exclusive deal with Apple - if they do then technically I have to go against this because I'm against Intel's exclusive deals with the likes of Dell because I think it is anti-competitive. Then again, Intel has the vast majority of the x86 market and could be called a monopoly (and indeed AMD are going through the courts right now regarding this), whereas there are plenty of flash memory producers (Intel, Samsung, Fujitsu, AMD, ...) and I'm not aware of any of them being massively dominant over the others. Yes, I think I can accept that in order to still like Apple and Samsung whilst having issues with Intel

Yes, Apple have like 80% of the portable player market which you could say is a monopoly, but are Apple abusing their market position to the detriment of other player makers? Maybe with the iTMS 'lock in', but there are other music stores, and at the worst Apple would have to open up Fairplay to other players, thus getting more potential customers.

The '70s, '80s and '90s were decades of 'technology! wow' with a trend towards integrating more functionality. Now, however, people don't want mere technology, they want style as well, and this is the way the entire technology market has been going for the past 5-10 years. Apple is at the forefront with their iPod stylings, and it isn't their fault that other companies are designing players that look like lumpen shapes, or smooth shapes if it wasn't for that ugly sticking-out LCD display and design dehancing silver plastic swirly border.

Apple create a Ferrari or Lamborghini style of buzz and desire, yet they sell their stuff at BMW prices, and the poor Hyundais, Diahatsus, etc are finding the budget, but good functionally, market rather squeezed because of it, and the BMWs and Fords (i.e., Sony) don't know what to do - sell their less desirable products higher than the Ferrari? I think this is certainly GOOD for the consumer, because of cheaper prices, better design, better looks.

Apple must be of the mind that hiring a few designers, but where each designer is at the peak of their field and may cost 3x as much will get them more returns in the long term than hiring twice the number of 'typical' designers. This is a line of thought that also extends to software engineering, and Joel Spolksy of Joel on Software recently had an article saying exactly the same thing.

From this, I predict the successes of this century can be predicted based upon the people a company hires. Google hires the best people. Apple hires the best people. If you do this, the product will sell itself on its merits with only the minimum of marketing to get the word out. Unless you are going up against an entrenched monopoly anyway like AMD versus Intel, or anyone that has created a decent commercial desktop operating system in the past 15 years.
post #16 of 39
Great post! My question is this: With as long as the iPod brand name has been in the forefront of gadgets and pop culture, can it be considered a fad or has it moved on past that?

I say it's still in fad status and it's popularity will stabilize soon so that owning an iPod is tantamount to owning a nice car stereo. It's something a lot of people just do, but nobody gets overly excited about it. I think that's coming within a year or two.
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post #17 of 39
to the appleinsiders -

if i might suggest something, it would be to decide whether you want to report or comment on apple related news.

i thought some of the news reported was interesting, but the commentary - specifically regarding creative's dispute over the name nano - kind of makes you look silly. it really doesn't show much understanding of intellectual property law (a chronic problem for appleinsider).
post #18 of 39
"In another one of its boneheaded moves"

If the lanyard isn't available for the first month, then perhaps the "bonheaded" move was in fact a last-minute decision to release the nano early, instead of in Paris.

Perhaps they had GOOD reason to release the nano now and not wait for the lanyard to be ready. We may never know. Perhaps they would have been smarter to wait.
post #19 of 39
so, either apple releases the nano now, or waits a month for the lanyard?

which would be more boneheaded, releasing the nano ahead of the lanyard or sitting on a product that's generating ENORMOUS buzz for a month.

i know i'd decide a month of enormous sales can wait, i want the lanyard to go with it.
post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by nagromme
"In another one of its boneheaded moves"

If the lanyard isn't available for the first month, then perhaps the "bonheaded" move was in fact a last-minute decision to release the nano early, instead of in Paris.

Perhaps they had GOOD reason to release the nano now and not wait for the lanyard to be ready. We may never know. Perhaps they would have been smarter to wait.

I can see where you're headed with this reasoning, but:
1.) Media coverage. Would the Paris event be as huge or receive as much attention as Sept 7? The American media controls most of the world's leading news sources.
2.) Christmas shoppers. September is the ideal time to release a product because: a) it's late enough in the year that people will have it in mind when writing their christmas wishlist and b) it's early enough in the year that stores can order stocks the device with christmas shoppers in mind and c) there's enough time for early adopters to get their hands on one of the devices before the christmas rush.
3.) Impact. The sooner technology is released, the more impact it has on the consumer because of: a) information leakage, b) progress of technology.
4.) ROKR. However good the iTunes software is/isn't, it looks as though the phone using it isn't too great at all. The ROKR received about the same amount of attention in the keynote as Madonna. Apple shifted the attention away from the phone and towards the new iPod.
5.) iTunes 5. Released alongside iPod Nano to increase impact. Some of the iTunes 5 features currently work only for the software on computers and the Nano (not previous iPod models). My question: does this mean iPod Nano is the first of a 5TH generation of iPods, or is it the last of the 4th?
post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by zoboomafoo
i thought some of the news reported was interesting, but the commentary - specifically regarding creative's dispute over the name nano - kind of makes you look silly. it really doesn't show much understanding of intellectual property law (a chronic problem for appleinsider).

Unfortunately the ins and outs of various kinds of "intellectual property", as it is currently known, is very confusing to a lot of people.

I'm not sure what your complaint is in this particular case though. If "nano" is a registered trademark, it doesn't seem to be registered in the US. I really don't know the specifics of non-registered trademarks.
post #22 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by jdbartlett
My question: does this mean iPod Nano is the first of a 5TH generation of iPods, or is it the last of the 4th?

I belive it is the transformation between 5th and 4th.the ipod nano is the mini of "the next ipod." it has that dock connector thing. I think there is more than we know behind it. and there has to be something else, because there is no ipod update to put screen lock and stopwatch on regular ipods so my thinking is paris is when we will see something huge as well.

i hope there is as much transformation from the 4th generation ipod to the 5th as there was with the mini to the nano. i cant see how, but leave it to apple to completely blow me away again.
post #23 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by jdbartlett
I can see where you're headed with this reasoning, but:

i was being sarcastic. the nano should've dropped ASAP.

not sure what would compel any semicompetent business to sit on a major product until a secondary and unnecessary item is available
post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
Unfortunately the ins and outs of various kinds of "intellectual property", as it is currently known, is very confusing to a lot of people.

I'm not sure what your complaint is in this particular case though. If "nano" is a registered trademark, it doesn't seem to be registered in the US. I really don't know the specifics of non-registered trademarks.

You can't register Nano as it is a standard measurement prefix. The only way Creative could precede would be to say the nano name creates confusion for consumers with their product and Apple is trying to gain customers based off that. That will be an awfully tough argument though given the word iPod is also in the title and Apple dominates the market.
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post #25 of 39
I just read on this website...

http://playlistmag.com/reviews/2005/...view/index.php

...that you can't sync an iPod nano via Firewire. What is Apple thinking? Are they trying to replace Firewire with USB on their iPods?
post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by nagromme
"In another one of its boneheaded moves"

If the lanyard isn't available for the first month, then perhaps the "bonheaded" move was in fact a last-minute decision to release the nano early, instead of in Paris.

Perhaps they had GOOD reason to release the nano now and not wait for the lanyard to be ready. We may never know. Perhaps they would have been smarter to wait.

i agree.
the GOOD reason of the september 7th nano release was the ROKR, it sucks.
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post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by gar
i agree.
the GOOD reason of the september 7th nano release was the ROKR, it sucks.

yup, steve frickin OWNED moto's ass. he was like, well, this is the ROKR, there you have it. now, fuck that shit, check out my new iPod Nano (mutters under his breath.."fuck these moto losers. what a disgusting phone. jeez. this is how you design something cool, losers.... heh hehehh heh")..........
post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by MPMoriarty
I just read on this website...

http://playlistmag.com/reviews/2005/...view/index.php

...that you can't sync an iPod nano via Firewire. What is Apple thinking? Are they trying to replace Firewire with USB on their iPods?

I think the consensus here is that there simply wasn't room for both so it had to be USB. That's just the way it goes.
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post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by jdbartlett
My next question then is whether anyone has tried using a regular iPod dock with their new iPod Nano? Any success?

Isn't this why Apple included the little dock adaptor cap? On other products, such as the Bose iPod speaker system, where the adaptor doesn't fit, it appears that the connecter is strong enough to support the weight of the nano. At least until individual manufacturers can ship their own adaptors.

This is why Apple started the "Made for iPod" program, so that participating parties will use the same standard pieces: Apple can then ship one dock adapter which then fits in all products.
post #30 of 39
There may be another reason they released the iPod Nanon now: they wanted to keep it separate from the announcements they are going to be making at Apple Expo Paris. Remember that there are rumours flying around that new PowerBooks are going to be announced at the expo. By keeping the announcements separate they can be sure that the media will be providing a good amount of time on each product, rather than getting lost. Also any media looking at Apple with the iPod nano, it should mean that people will notice the new PowerBook announcement better when it happens.

As to the Motorola ROKR: some people only want to deal with having one device in their pocket. Having an iPod and a cell phone in your pocket can get to be a bit much. They only thing that Motorola needs to sort out is customizable cases, like Nokia has got right.
post #31 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by gar
I agree.
The GOOD reason of the september 7th nano release was the ROKR, it sucks.

Did anyone catch the part of the keynote where Steve Jobs said about the new ROKR:

"The RAZR was the best phone on the market... until now"

It was so funny I damn near soiled myself. Then I realized he was being serious.

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post #32 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by ajmas
There may be another reason they released the iPod Nano now: they wanted to keep it separate from the announcements they are going to be making at Apple Expo Paris. Remember that there are rumours flying around that new PowerBooks are going to be announced at the expo. By keeping the announcements separate they can be sure that the media will be providing a good amount of time on each product, rather than getting lost. Also any media looking at Apple with the iPod nano, it should mean that people will notice the new PowerBook announcement better when it happens.

As to the Motorola ROKR: some people only want to deal with having one device in their pocket. Having an iPod and a cell phone in your pocket can get to be a bit much. They only thing that Motorola needs to sort out is customizable cases, like Nokia has got right.

The all new iPod nano is something to get excited about while the PowerBook bump will be rather boring. So a special event for the iPod nano makes sense. The PowerBook will likely get nothing more than a press release. Until the Intel transition begins I'm expecting any computer product announcements to be low-key. This may be one of the reasons the Paris keynote was cancelled.

As far as the ROKR is concerned they did as little as possible. It's really the worst case scenario. It's a rather crappy model to base it on (no, it's not a new design at all) and it suffers from Motorola's typical poor quality GUI/interface. If this was a Sony-Ericsson I would be excited.

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post #33 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by 1984
Did anyone catch the part of the keynote where Steve Jobs said about the new ROKR:

"The RAZR was the best phone on the market... until now"

It was so funny I damn near soiled myself. Then I realized he was being serious.


He's a salesman, so he cannot be taken seriously. They are always selling. I honestly believe he was not impressed with the Moto phone, but it is the only iTunes capable phone for now.

Once sales are proven totally lackluster, expect to see an iTunes RAZR soon enough.

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post #34 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by SpamSandwich
He's a salesman, so he cannot be taken seriously.

Well there's that - but he also pointed out about 10 times that the actual phone was designed by Motorola.
post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by k squared
Isn't this why Apple included the little dock adaptor cap? On other products, such as the Bose iPod speaker system, where the adaptor doesn't fit, it appears that the connecter is strong enough to support the weight of the nano. At least until individual manufacturers can ship their own adaptors.

This is why Apple started the "Made for iPod" program, so that participating parties will use the same standard pieces: Apple can then ship one dock adapter which then fits in all products.

Thank you! I was asking about using the Nano in the current docks for the very reason you mentioned (plus the fact that the universal docks aren't available yet!) Hopefully, universal dock adapters will also be made for mini and older iPod models. Either that or we won't see the universal dock until the release of the big 5gs.
post #36 of 39
I wonder if the size and shape of the "new dock adapter" portends the size and shape of the bottom of the next-generation iPod, and whether any additional information can be inferred. Is it deeper? Slimmer? Wider?
post #37 of 39
Each future iPod is supposed to come with a universal dock adapter. That UDA is then supposed to fit into any and all accessory docks that "Made for iPod" licensed third party manufacturers make.

So in essence, expect every iPod for the foreseeable future to fit in the size of the UDA's outside edge. This *could* give us an idea of the shape and size of iPods that may be coming.
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post #38 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by sunilraman
yup, steve frickin OWNED moto's ass. he was like, well, this is the ROKR, there you have it. now, fuck that shit, check out my new iPod Nano (mutters under his breath.."fuck these moto losers. what a disgusting phone. jeez. this is how you design something cool, losers.... heh hehehh heh")..........

It looked to me like he deliberately biffed the demo or the ROKR.
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post #39 of 39
Originally posted by AquaMac
It looked to me like he deliberately biffed the demo or the ROKR....


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