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iPod chief not keen on iPod and cell phone convergence

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Apple senior vice president and executive team member Jon Rubinstein does not believe in digital device convergence theories, which suggests that the iPod, cell phone, and digital camera are on a collision course with each other and a single unified device.

"Is there a toaster that can also brew coffee?," quipped the iPod chief during an interview with Germany's Berline Online. Answering his own question, Rubinstein explains that no such device exists because it would not provide any benefits over an individual toaster and coffee machine.

"Many companies believe in [the convergence theory], but I personally do not," said Rubinstein. "It's important to have specialized devices."

In fact, Rubinstein believes the iPod, cell phone, and digital camera will all continue to thrive in their individual markets for at least another decade. "Most people still take photographs with their digital camera rather than their cellphone," he says. "And there's a simple reason: digital cameras take better pictures."

Asked whether Apple has considered a reentry in PDA market by evolving the iPod into such a device, both Rubinstein and Apple vice president Phil Schiller (who also sat in the interview) seemed strongly opposed.

"PDA's would not be good business for Apple," Schiller said, explaining that PDAs are a niche market for specialized applications. Basic functions of PDAs, such as date planners and address books, have long been available on most cell phones "and now the iPod," added Rubinstein.

Likewise, Rubinstein and Apple appear weary of investing their energies in the cell phone handset market beyond the iTunes phones being made available from Motorola. "It's a concern," said Rubinstein, "because the Motorola phone is no replacement for the iPod." Instead, the company plans to wait out the response to the first iTunes phones to see the market's reaction.

Recently analysts have called for Apple to consider its own foray into the cell phone market, which stands 13 times larger than the digital music player market, with an estimated 774 million cell phones to be sold this year.

"On the iTunes phone I can load 100 tunes," said Rubinstein ."However, with the iPod my whole music collection becomes mobile."

One thing Rubinstein is not concerned about is iPod market share suddenly eroding like that of the Sony's Walkman, which sold over 340 million units in the 80s and 90s.

"The iPod is substantially more difficult to copy than the Walkman was," he claims. "It's a whole ecological system of different elements which coordinate with each-other precisely: the iPod, iTunes, iTunes Music Store and Internet."

Humorous update: It took our lovely readers only minutes to locate several toasters which, yes, actually do brew coffee as well.
post #2 of 37
He's wrong.

There are phones with cameras that are good enough for 4x6 prints today, and they will only get better. A dedicated camera will always be superior, just like a dedicated iPod will always be superior, but unless one is comfortable carrying all three with them at all times, there is benefit to having a phone with these features.

This is why there is no coffee making toaster. If both devices were portable and both shared a large number of similar components, they would be merged.

The ROCKR sucks because it was designed to suck. Give it a 2mp camera and it would compete with low end digital cameras. Remove the artifical iTunes restrictions and it would start to compete with the iPod.

Apple, design a real iPhone and I would *easily* pay $500+ for it.
post #3 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
"Most people still take photographs with their digital camera rather than their cellphone," he says. "And there's a simple reason: digital cameras take better pictures."

Right, but if you could have a cell phone which could take pictures as good as a digital camera, then wouldn't you rather carry around 1 device rather than 2?

I think that he's correct for now simply because there isn't an all-in-one device which does everything well enough ("well enough" being the key phrase there). But I know that personally, I hate carrying around 3 different devices just so that I can answer calls, listen to music, and take decent quality pictures on a whim. 4 if you want to play decent quality video games or watch movies.

I think that it's very possible to create a good all-in-one device today which is a reasonable size, but that there's more money to be made off of selling devices (and related services) individually. It'd take a company which doesn't already have a vested interest in keeping things this way to do it, but then they would likely have a hard time partnering with existing service providers who are already partnered with other companies who want to hold on to their specialized market.

So it'll take a very large company with enough industry influence (ie. one who also owns or funds service providers) to do it. And that'll take a while -- around a decade sounds about right.

Anyways, I don't agree with him that convergence theories are wrong. People want an all-in-one device because it will take up less space and simplify their lives. Maintaining and keeping multiple devices in sync with each other is just a pain.
 
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post #4 of 37
Converged devices will *always* lag behind the dedicated devices. That's just the way it goes. Sure, a 2MP camera in a cell phone is good enough for many things, but the bar keeps getting bumped up.

Basically, take the suite of devices you want to integrate. Select 70% of the features from each, 50% if you want the final unit to be as small as any one of the original ones. That's your converged unit.

So in that sense, yes, universal convergence is a red herring... but as shown in the marketplace, sometimes 50% is good enough, ala cell phones with cameras.

Personally, I don't understand the phone fetish myself, but that's just me. The interface is clunky as hell, and the whole infrastructure is a mess. Drop back to a simple idea of 'communication', and I'm with you, but why it has to be a *phone*, I have no clue.
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post #5 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
but why it has to be a *phone*, I have no clue.

Because then you can charge people for phone service, and charge extra for internet service, and then even more for online gaming service. Add to that text messaging service, music service, ringtones, streaming video service, etc, etc. The cell phone is the only device I know of where you are charged almost every time you press a button on it.
 
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post #6 of 37
Thank goodness for some sense at Apple. I agree with Jon Rubinstein 100%!!!! Come on folks -- a multifunction printer/copier/scanner/fax machine is never as good as standalone units that do the same thing. Jon Rubinstein is right, folks! Convergence devices will *NEVER* be as good as one of the single items that they're trying to emulate.
post #7 of 37
The majority of consumers buy a phone to make phone calls. They buy a toaster to make toast, but oddly, they buy these multifunction printer/scanner/faxes to print documents. The extra features rarely get used. Convergence devices have their place, but not in the mainstream mindset.

(remember, I said "majority" -- there are always exceptions)
post #8 of 37
He's full of crap. If an iPod phone were AS GOOD as an iPod and a phone I personally would rather carry around one unit instead of two. What does he say about the convergence of the CPU with the display? (iMac) You only use toasters and coffee makers once a day. You use a cell phone and iPod all the time.
post #9 of 37
everybody is right so far, to a certain extent.

convergenge is ncessary to inflitrate new markets and please the ones that only need a few functions from each device, thus reducing what needs to be carried.

after a convergenge fever pasas the only ones alive are usually the dedicated devices. for instance, the mutlti use toater brewer....it will never achive mass market. and after the fever passes toasters will be toaster, and brewers will be brewers.

do not mix convergence with added features.

for instace an ipod can remain an ipod, but added functionalites are needed to differentite and stay ahead. otherwise they be dead by the time the next generation is out.

the nano was an expample that there is still room to go, and speacila features to be inluded before the convergence starts.

the nano is an expample of a product that appeals to a certain niche, but can get mass acceptace.
you can't take all your music everywhere....but you can take you nano everywhere thanks to it's size.

and as that guy said. there would be no nano if itunes wasen't so efficinent at sysncing those few songs.
post #10 of 37
Keep one thing in mind -- the computer would never have become as ubiquitous as it has if it wasn't so "open" in it's design. Would you rather have one device which you use to check email, another to surf the web, another to create documents?

Even if putting together all the parts necessary to create a good all-in-one device would make it too expensive for the average consumer, I'm sure that designing it with one or two built-in functions, but leaving it open so that "add-ons" can be plugged in as needed (as was done with the PC), would make it cost effective enough for the average consumer and still allow for convergence.
 
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post #11 of 37
OK people, lets separate convergence of portable devices from convergence of other stuff....
Now, also, convergence means convergent, do-it-all devices deliver less quality than dedicated devices. I can agree on this when where talking about digital cameras
But were talking about a bloody mp3-player!!!
Build the shuffle hardware into a phone, now how is that gonna perform any less than a dedicated shuffle?? It has to play music, that's it!!
The same argument holds true for the nano. Yes, there is room for a clever designer to put a click wheel on a phone. Unlock the clickwheel and "poof" the screen displays the iPod menu. Voila, a fully functional iPod in a phone.
Right now my iPod often stays at home while my mobile phone is always in my pocket or bag. Sometimes this means I don't have my iPod with me while I wish I had.
Just waiting for apple to make this a reality, cause i do want iTunes/ITMS/iCal integration.
post #12 of 37
I feel like apple's wrong on this one.

Yes, Rubinstein says:

"Is there a toaster that can also brew coffee?,"... Answering his own question, Rubinstein explains that no such device exists because it would not provide any benefits over an individual toaster and coffee machine.

Unless he's in the habit of carrying his toaster and coffee machine WITH him when he leaves the house, his example is totally off the mark.

Maybe what i'd most like to see is apple build a better cellphone. Maybe if they'd come up with a scheme for that, they'd be more ready to enter the market. Maybe they don't see opportunities to improve on present ease-of-use. Maybe there aren't such opportunities. At a minimum, if the iPods work so well with Address Book and iCal, I'd like to see more Apple material boasting of that extended functionality and...well...convergence.

terry
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Converged devices will *always* lag behind the dedicated devices. That's just the way it goes. Sure, a 2MP camera in a cell phone is good enough for many things, but the bar keeps getting bumped up.

But the base remains the same. A 2MP camera phone can take pictures that print 4x6 that look great, and that's the sweet spot. As the bar rises, you get things like zoom, depth of field, better optics and so forth, but the base remains constant (actually it will increase, but not as much as the low-end technology).

Quote:
Personally, I don't understand the phone fetish myself, but that's just me. The interface is clunky as hell, and the whole infrastructure is a mess. Drop back to a simple idea of 'communication', and I'm with you, but why it has to be a *phone*, I have no clue.

The phone is the one device that people more and more are not seeing as being optional when going places and are seeing more and more as a must have product. This is why people see convergence as adding things to the phone as opposed to adding phone capabilities to other things. And the interface/infrastructure allows for some pretty cool things for sending pictures, ordering prints and sending them to your computer
post #14 of 37
I agree with DutchPear.

Toasters and CoffeeMakers both make food but they make them in different ways. And you are not pinched for space in the pantry.

A phone has a display to show you info, buttons on the face for input and has the transmission of audio as its principal function.

Sounds like an ipod. It wouldn't be convergence, it would be economy.

--B
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post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by scotty321
Thank goodness for some sense at Apple. I agree with Jon Rubinstein 100%!!!! Come on folks -- a multifunction printer/copier/scanner/fax machine is never as good as standalone units that do the same thing. Jon Rubinstein is right, folks! Convergence devices will *NEVER* be as good as one of the single items that they're trying to emulate.

Yeah, but adding radio and voice notes to an iPod isn't about obscure multifunctioning convergence of several desparate devices, it is adding useful functionality to a device that is already all about audio storage and delivery.

It is like having a toaster that toasts bread AND bagels. You can have an iPod be your pocket audio center without turning it into a phone and camera.

Edit: Err...yeah, what bergz said.
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post #16 of 37
The pda thing may become moot as Palm makes its Faustian agreements with Microsoft. Eventually only WinCE or whatever will live on the palmtop and anyone who wants a Palm or handpc will HAVE to go with Windows. That is not an insignificant market, even if it is mature and aging.

As for cameras on phones, they are still too much of a cash cow for phone companies that unless you can send them basically to friends for free, they are going to remain niche. Just like the record companies fighting legal downloads, the phone companies are shooting themselves in the foot. People will always want cameras, but quick phone photos would be a relevant selling point if they became standard enough such that everyone would have one. That is the strategy Apple employed with USB and dropping the floppy and making every iPod and Mac pretty much capable of doing pretty much everything.
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post #17 of 37
just because apple says it doesn't mean it's true.


...the multi button is too confusing...

mighty mouse released.


...no one wants a inexpensive headless mac...

mac mini released.


...ppc is the best...

apple switches to intel.


when apple releases the iphone, their attitude will change like the above.

apple says things for it's own benefit not necessarily because it is right or what people want.

chung lee
post #18 of 37
People please. Rubenstein and Schiller work for Apple. Their public statements are there to support Apple's position at a particular point in time. Apple see's no way of making big splash in a commodotised market of compromised multipurpose do-hickies, ergo 'they are not a good idea'. I have no doubt however that Apple is very interested in the mobile phone market and is carefully building expertise in that area.

I think alot of people are simply fed up with the whole nonsense of mobiles. An Apple phone with simple clear design and interface; iCal, AddressBook and iTunes; NO camera; would sell like the proverbial. The problem is as it was with the record companies - careful and difficult negotiations are required with a bunch of very big and wary companies around the world; Apple's network needs to be global, multilayered and simple to use; unique in other words.
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by vinney57
People please. Rubenstein and Schiller work for Apple. Their public statements are there to support Apple's position at a particular point in time. Apple see's no way of making big splash in a commodotised market of compromised multipurpose do-hickies, ergo 'they are not a good idea'. I have no doubt however that Apple is very interested in the mobile phone market and is carefully building expertise in that area.

I agree with this and Actions comments (above). Nothing is set in stone. Better than releasing an iPhone right off the bat, they have the iTunes Motorola phone to test the market with and analyze the results.

I don't think it's going to happen for a long time (maybe a few years), but I truly wish Apple would make a phone that could hold a marginal amount of songs (a thousand would be nice). At $500, think of how many people would want to buy it even at such a high price tag. Just look at the RAZR when it was released.

An iPhone wouldn't even compete with the rest of the iPod line. The regular iPod, the nano, and the Shuffle could still sell among the iPhone (at least until the price drops). The iPhone would be a luxury gadget.
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by macslut
The phone is the one device that people more and more are not seeing as being optional when going places and are seeing more and more as a must have product. This is why people see convergence as adding things to the phone as opposed to adding phone capabilities to other things. And the interface/infrastructure allows for some pretty cool things for sending pictures, ordering prints and sending them to your computer

I think you missed the point.

Explain to me why it has to be a device with a numeric keypad as the primary input, and an assortment of random buttons slapped on that have no coherent interface?

I think we can all agree that one of the biggest reasons the iPod is so bloody easy to use is the wheel. Where, on a phone, are you going to put the wheel? Look at the ROKR - no wheel. ie, second-rate iPod functionality.

That's the sort of second-rate devices I mean when you start talking convergence. Each device has its own set of constraints, *especially* when it comes to the UI. Sometimes those UI constraints directly oppose one another, or are simply so different that trying to work them all in is untenable.

All of the opportunities afforded by the telephony infrastructure have *JACK* to do with the physical device looking like the phone as we know it. That's what I don't get, why everyone wants to start with a numeric keypad and tiny screen as the basis for all portable devices.
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post #21 of 37
I don't think it matters what Apple thinks or what some of their PR jerks say, Steve included, and I'd take it as a kindness if people didn't drink that kool-aid. Steve said several times, some times probably as early as a year ago, that no one wanted a flash-based audio player. Now they make up two thirds of their audio player line.

There will be a market for "converged" devices and there will be a market for specialized devices. There are merits to both, and I think it should be up to the consumer to decide. If they don't want to offer those options in good faith then they might have to play catch-up. Then again, I'm pretty sure they are just doing a smoke-and-mirrors thing trying to distract people from seeing that they are going that way anyway.
post #22 of 37
the iphone can have the scroll wheel and a numeric keypad. it' very easy.

the iphone can look like the now discontinued ipod mini. except the iphone will have a keypad underneath the scroll wheel. you would use it like you do every other ipod you use today. when you want to use it as a phone you use your thumb to slide the scroll wheel down to expose a keypad then you would use it like any other slider phone.

i didn't think this would be possible but with the introduction of the nano and flash memory, there is more room in the ipod to add the phone internals which are not that big.

i have taken my nokia 8890 apart and the board is thin and small and can easily fit in a mini form factor with the nano internals as well.

the speaker in the nokia 8890 is small. take a look at a picture of the nokia 8890 and imagine the scroll wheel on the slider.

i didn't think this would be possible until i saw the nano in person. that thing is thin!!!

chung lee
post #23 of 37
Actually, I have an idea... resurrect the rotary phone. Sort of.

The wheel is designed to go through a list. Why not just make a looped list of the numbers? Seriously, how often do you *dial* a number on your phone, as opposed to searching in an address book? I know I do the latter about 50x the former, literally. And the keypad bites for searching in a list, while the wheel... perfect.

I say make a phone with the iPod wheel and ditch the keypad altogether.
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post #24 of 37
Quote:

I say make a phone with the iPod wheel and ditch the keypad altogether.

worst.idea.ever.
post #25 of 37
STUPID STUPID STUPID with some arrogance mixed in


This is the same logic palm used when they decided not to go into the cell phone OS business - they then had to buy Handspring because they discovered their product, the darling of the time had no future.

People don't want to carry around more than they need to. I have a rule that I will only carry one piece of electronics. I would buy a nano but I am already carrying a Treo. It has an SD slot and a much bigger screen. Why do I need a nano??? Just port FairPlay DRM to the device and I am all set. I LOVE apple but I don't want to be forced to carry around a ram reader to protect ITMS/IPOD. I don't care that much.

Also, I personally think the nano will backfire. Because people will see that there really is not too much to the device. Memory, screen, some chip -- exactly why isn't this in my phone will be the next question....

Also - the one case where I want to use an iPod - in the gym - it is of diminished use to me because it does not have an FM radio. The TVs in my gym use FM to let customers listen to TV. I can't watch TV with an iPod. I am sick and tired of waiting for this feature - it is never coming. Screw them. I am not carrying a radio and a nano.

I hate to see apple screwing up but they are. I am tired of not being able to have a radio with my mp3 or play music on a non-apple device. I can't be alone on this and I am an Apple fan. People who are objective will give Apple exactly 3 seconds before moving on...
post #26 of 37
what would be very funny/unique/amazing was if you had to dial your iPhone like an old fashioned telephone, using the click wheel. therfore negating the need for ugly ROKR buttons.
Brilliant!!

Before anyone gives me hassle, i haven't yet figured out how to do text messages...

8) 8) 8)
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by vinney57
People please. Rubenstein and Schiller work for Apple. Their public statements are there to support Apple's position at a particular point in time. Apple see's no way of making big splash in a commodotised market of compromised multipurpose do-hickies, ergo 'they are not a good idea'. I have no doubt however that Apple is very interested in the mobile phone market and is carefully building expertise in that area.

I think alot of people are simply fed up with the whole nonsense of mobiles. An Apple phone with simple clear design and interface; iCal, AddressBook and iTunes; NO camera; would sell like the proverbial. The problem is as it was with the record companies - careful and difficult negotiations are required with a bunch of very big and wary companies around the world; Apple's network needs to be global, multilayered and simple to use; unique in other words.

Well I think Vinney is 100% right! Apple are saying convergence doesnt work coz it suits their business model NOW. They are earning a fortune from the ipod, so why destroy that with an iphone. And they need the income to cover the intelmac transition - as a sort of insurance.

But I guess, deep down in the Infinite Loop Apple HAS built several iphones, which function 1000% better than todays mobiles, they have a clik-wheel, and integrate the ipod. These iphones are probably very simplified, where they have stripped away all the unneccesary crap, have a crystal clear GUI, and look stunning. And there is a whole load of negotiating to be done with the carriers etc. How long before these devices come to the market? 2-5 years? Your guess is as good as mine - but they exist!
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
I say make a phone with the iPod wheel and ditch the keypad altogether.

Unlike moggy, I like that idea. Adding a minimal number of buttons would be useful, sort of like the iPod had for awhile (even though that became unnecessary and unpopular for an iPod), without overcomplicating the device and its UI. (edit: stripped of the unnecessary crap, like Rob M just wrote and others have suggested.)
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
"Is there a toaster that can also brew coffee?,"

Yep: http://www.cookbydesign.com/31tomaab.html
post #30 of 37
Is there one you can fit in your pocket???

Maybe a phone is better on its own but the pocket creates an imperative to combine things. Also there are synergies. The camera in the phone has some advantages. Music in the phone will have the same, pause or quiet, one headset...
post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by junkie
STUPID STUPID STUPID with some arrogance mixed in


This is the same logic palm used when they decided not to go into the cell phone OS business - they then had to buy Handspring because they discovered their product, the darling of the time had no future.

People don't want to carry around more than they need to.

Is that why 90% of all people have PDAs? Oh, they don't.



Quote:
Originally posted by junkie
People who are objective will give Apple exactly 3 seconds before moving on...

Hmm... 16 mio. iPods sold this year alone
JLL

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post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by junkie
This is the same logic palm used when they decided not to go into the cell phone OS business - they then had to buy Handspring because they discovered their product, the darling of the time had no future.

They didn't buy Handspring for an OS... Handspring used PalmOS under license. http://www.palm.com/us/company/corporate/timeline.html

Not sure what your point here was... they bought Handspring for the phone hardware design expertise, not for the software.

And look at the Treos today - do they look like *phones*? Not so much. Is the primary input device a *numeric keypad*? Not so much. They're a communciations-enabled computing device with a mix of inputs... which has been my point. Trying to slam everything into a numeric keypad input format is just asinine. The successful products are those that are designed by people who take a step back and rethink the situation.
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post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Actually, I have an idea... resurrect the rotary phone. Sort of.

The wheel is designed to go through a list. Why not just make a looped list of the numbers? Seriously, how often do you *dial* a number on your phone, as opposed to searching in an address book? I know I do the latter about 50x the former, literally. And the keypad bites for searching in a list, while the wheel... perfect.

I say make a phone with the iPod wheel and ditch the keypad altogether.

Just make the keypad slide in and out of the bottom of the phone 'a la Treo buttons that I've seen and some Blackberry models.

Take a Form-follows-Function reality check for a moment for a mythical phone/mp3 player convergent device.

Let's be generous on the phone side and say 50% of the time you use the device, you are listening to music and 50% using the phone. I think it is more 80:20, but let's stick to 50:50. So half the time you don't need a phone or keypad at all, you just want the mp3 player and the best form for that is the iPod and clickwheel....we can all agree?

For when you do need a phone, 50% of that time you are (usually) answering the phone, not initiating the call. So 50% of that time you don't need a keypad, just the ringer and screen for caller ID - we can all agree?

Of the other 50% of the time you are actually initiating the call, lets say 50% of those times you call someone in your address book and again you do not need the keypad and only need a quickly navigatable screen UI. That is best served by the clickwheel - we can all agree?

Of the remaining times you use a phone, you actually need to punch some numbered buttons, well then let the keypad slide out for temporary use. Only 12.5% of the time using our mythic combo device is the keypad even useful, and that is being generous since that doesn't account for the times you are initiating calls by "redialing," dialing your voicemail and other menu driven dialings ("dial last received calls," etc.). AND it doesn't take into account the amount of dialing you do at work on work phones that are probably land lines and not appropriate for your cellphone anyway.

In my opinion, the keypad is only useful for less than 10% of the time/actions during which I am using this phone/iPod device. So why come at the problem from this dialing-1990's phone-centric frame of mind? 'Cause it is easier for the phone companies to implement the same 'ole thang... just like the RIAA and CD's.

Lastly, I am holding a 3 year old Moto, non-flip phone and with the amount of space taken up by the "menu" "send" "end" and navigation buttons, you could EASILY put a clickwheel there and make it not only more user friendly, but more reliable and sturdy....and have the keypad and wheel accessible at the same time.

Hopefully we can agree that the form-factor for an iPod-centric phone is reasonable.

Now the question is for whether the functionality is market driven enough for people to buy the thing and profitable enough for carriers to adopt the thing. In answer, I think the iPod has proven people will adopt new ways of doing things (afterall the keypad replaced the rotary dial) and so that behavioural hurdle is an easy one. As for carrier adoption, just make a token effort to allow some music downloads at a premium price via an iTunes/Cingular interface and even give Cingular a big cut of the pie, since that pie is going to be very small anyway. Then, like with camera phones, enough will be sold to capitalize the rest of the infrastructure.

Aside: The iPod line is going to HAVE to diversify. The device needs to expand to size of the ecosystem and that includes iPods with radio and BT and telephony. And that means keeping the iPod Mini even after announcing the iPod Nano!!!! Even the name denotes that they are two different creatures with two different markets!!
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post #34 of 37
Exactly.

Heck, even on my just-phone, I use the keypad almost exclusively for list navigation... something the wheel excels at. I use my phone several times a day, but can literally count the number of times I've dialed a number directly on it in the past month on my fingers. Of one hand. And one finger. The other hundred or so times I've used it to dial out, it's been... list navigation. Which the numeric keypad is really poorly designed for, IMO.

The cell phone as number-dialing-device is waning. Between syncing address books, incoming call logs ("Oh, just add that number..."), and such, *DIALING* is a dying and quite secondary function of a phone, as I see it.
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post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
They didn't buy Handspring for an OS... Handspring used PalmOS under license. http://www.palm.com/us/company/corporate/timeline.html

Not sure what your point here was... they bought Handspring for the phone hardware design expertise, not for the software.

And look at the Treos today - do they look like *phones*? Not so much. Is the primary input device a *numeric keypad*? Not so much. They're a communciations-enabled computing device with a mix of inputs... which has been my point. Trying to slam everything into a numeric keypad input format is just asinine. The successful products are those that are designed by people who take a step back and rethink the situation.

I did not say they bought handspring for an OS. I said Palm had an opportunity to be a phone OS. They had sync and mobility. They could have been a software maker for cell phones and added a lot of value at the time but they wanted to be just a PDA. Here is one article from the period:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/11...s_pda_company/

In the end, the PDA on its own was not that great of a business. That is my point. Palm bought Handspring because they needed to have a phone device, but they could have owned the space if they had vision for how a stand alone PDA would stack up against the sheer volumes mobiles and the consumer driven pressure to integrate things into the mobile.

I am not saying anything about the UI or numeric keypad. Is a numeric keypad a good UI for a PDA? - no, of course not. Do some of the functions of a PDA make sense in a mobile even with a numeric keypad - well yes. Even in my numeric keypad phone, I'd still like address book sync, I'd still like an appointment reminder. At the time, those functions were unique to Palm, they could have added that sort of integration to the mobile business regardless of the form factor. They missed that opportunity because they wanted to be religious about being a stand alone product. That was the mistake, to assume one hardware dependent usage pattern was what people would want in the future.

Getting back to the iPod, Apple now has the same arrogance. They see huge sales, and they are confounding naysayings. But that is not the same as being smart for the next step. If 50% of mobile phones have music in a different DRM than Fairplay/ITMS, then the iPod is relegated to a small corner of the media business until it dies.

They should be building a platform that extends to usage patterns that they are not in love with, that are not the Apple ideal, but that users want. Individuals will gradually want one good device for this stuff. That device may be different for different people, for me it is primarily an enhanced Treo. Maybe I will get an iPod too, but I want it all to work together. Maybe you like lots of devices where each has an ideal interface for task, I can see that side. But the iPod/ITMS/Fairplay platform should serve us both.
post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by junkie
I did not say they bought handspring for an OS. I said Palm had an opportunity to be a phone OS. They had sync and mobility. They could have been a software maker for cell phones and added a lot of value at the time but they wanted to be just a PDA. I am not saying anything about the UI or numeric keypad. Is a numeric keypad a good UI for a PDA? - no, of course not.

Okay, so can we stop talking about pda's?!?!?! Microsoft is going to own that market soon. Apple should have done something with it and I think they gave up too soon, but that is not what this thread is about.

Quote:
Getting back to the iPod, Apple now has the same arrogance. They see huge sales, and they are confounding naysayings. But that is not the same as being smart for the next step. If 50% of mobile phones have music in a different DRM than Fairplay/ITMS, then the iPod is relegated to a small corner of the media business until it dies.

They should be building a platform that extends to usage patterns that they are not in love with, that are not the Apple ideal, but that users want. Individuals will gradually want one good device for this stuff. That device may be different for different people, for me it is primarily an enhanced Treo. Maybe I will get an iPod too, but I want it all to work together. Maybe you like lots of devices where each has an ideal interface for task, I can see that side. But the iPod/ITMS/Fairplay platform should serve us both.

I agree with almost everything you said, though I don't think 50% of the phone music market is as significant as you do.

iPods will still push the industry, because Apple still will hold the majority of legal downloads and no matter how many there are, the badly implemented cellphones won't be driving the market.

The iPod division should have more money than God to do R&D and it needs to evolve in more ways than in color and size. To take a biological analogy too far.... if a species dominates a habitat, it can do one of two things, diversify into more species to fill niches or not diversify, but continue to evolve as one very successful species even as others fill niches. Apple has tried to do the second way in computers and has been successful in that strategy. I believe the iPod should go the other way. Evolve several species and let the market do all the work of deciding which species should continue. That means giving up some control as to the final products, but it saves you from making the one or two bad moves that kills off you species. In short, Apple needs to trust in evolution and in its ability to make superior products even if it means one or more versions of the iPod end up not being insanely successful, AND let the market kill off a product, not the marketing department... as in (again) the fricking iPod Mini.
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post #37 of 37
Then he needs to be fired.

These two functions, along with PDA functionality, and who knows what else, will converge in a few years.

If the iPod doesn't follow suit, it will fail.
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