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Apple seen countering Microsoft with wireless iPod

post #1 of 40
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Microsoft Corp. may have plans to debut a wireless digital music player this year, but likely so does Apple Computer, say one Wall Street analyst.

In a research note released to clients this week, PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster said he also sees a wireless iPod making its debut from Apple.

"Apple has stated that ease of use is a key element of the iPod, so wireless functionality is an obvious next step for the product line," Munster wrote. "Apple has also stated that the pace of iPod innovation will not change."

Historically, Apple has released two new iPods each year. "But Apple has yet to release a new iPod this year," Munster added. "Based on these two factors, we expect a new wireless iPod this fall."

While acknowledging that there has recently been a lot of talk about Microsoft's new wireless MP3 player, the analyst said he does not believe the yet-to-be-seen offering will be a worthy opponent for the iPod.

"One significant indication is that Windows Media-enabled MP3 players have been in the market for three years and have been unable to grow their roughly 25 percent market share," he wrote. "Additionally, we expect Apple will release a new iPod this fall that will likely focus on ease of use, including wireless connectivity."

Munster remains bullish on shares of Apple, rating them "Outperform" with a price target of $99.
post #2 of 40
We needed an analyst to tell us this obvious truth?
post #3 of 40
A wireless iPod with videopresentation capabilities would be a new standard and sell millions:

1 - Make presentation on Mac o PC.

2 - Save to wireless iPod.

3 - Boot Mac OS X (mobile) from wireless iPod and use it as a remote control for the wireless presentation. No cables. No computers involved. Just the wireless iPod and a wireless videoprojector.

The halo effect will be tremendous on corporate, domestic and educational markets.
post #4 of 40
The real stickler is todays news that "Microsoft plans to convert iPod users by replacing iTMS purchased songs with FREE WMA format songs if you switch players."

Full article:

http://www.engadget.com/2006/07/06/m...yer-working-o/
post #5 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by ebolagp
We needed an analyst to tell us this obvious truth?

Nope. But a lot of investors do.
post #6 of 40
Regarding the news about Microsoft giving free copies of already purchased iTunes music, this could be a good thing for some people, but it will have a very small overall affect on the market. What many people are forgetting is that most of the people who use PCs and would think about switching to a Microsoft player are the same people who don't want to bother learning new software, buying new hardware, and going through the process of moving their music (and video) library over to another program and player.
post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by solsun
The real stickler is todays news that "Microsoft plans to convert iPod users by replacing iTMS purchased songs with FREE WMA format songs if you switch players."

Full article:

http://www.engadget.com/2006/07/06/m...yer-working-o/

At this point it seems like they're still doing the "let's throw a hundred rumors out and see which ones excite people the most" stage of product development. The Live Anywhere thing could become Big, or could be a big dud... hard to tell. And letting people, essentially, transcode their iTMS music gets rid of the Apple DRM lock-in issue. (See? competition solves everything-- no reason to complain about DRM anymore ).
post #8 of 40
Booga,

The iTunes purchased tracks will not be transcoded. Instead, Microsoft will scan your iTunes library and pay the labels/content owners directly so that consumers can download free WMA versions of songs they've already purchased from iTunes. The labels benefit because they are getting paid twice for the same song, once from the iTunes customer and once from Microsoft for a WMA version.

It's basically like Microsoft is offering a rebate to consumers for all of their iTMS purchases if they buy Microsofts new player.
post #9 of 40
This is one of two things:

1. A hoax

or

2. Microsoft is trying to beat Apple at it's own game.

-Apple releases Leopard which will allow users to run their PC apps without Windows.

-Microsoft releases x-player which allows users to listen to their iTunes songs without iTunes or an iPod.

The whole Leopard virtualization must be pissing of Redmond big time. This could be Microsofts way of getting even. God knows they've got the money to do it.
post #10 of 40
the thing is, they could be losing alot of money depending on how many songs each user has, but even so not enough people will switch to even make a noticable amount of money lost.
post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by Ferali
the thing is, they could be losing alot of money depending on how many songs each user has, but even so not enough people will switch to even make a noticable amount of money lost.

Agreed.

If Apple has sold 50 million iPods and 1 billion songs, that breaks down to an average of $20 worth of iTunes purchases for each iPod sold.
post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by ebolagp
We needed an analyst to tell us this obvious truth?

Seriously, these analysts actually get PAID to say things like, "Apple usually refreshes the iPod twice a year. They haven't refreshed yet this year, so we forecast two refreshes in the next six months. Check please."
post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by zunx
A wireless iPod with videopresentation capabilities would be a new standard and sell millions:

1 - Make presentation on Mac o PC.

2 - Save to wireless iPod.

3 - Boot Mac OS X (mobile) from wireless iPod and use it as a remote control for the wireless presentation. No cables. No computers involved. Just the wireless iPod and a wireless videoprojector.

The halo effect will be tremendous on corporate, domestic and educational markets.

They should pair this with that new Samsung projector that is the size of a Mac mini.
post #14 of 40
It's like when we were kids.. One kid was like:
- Well, the new sega, the megadrive, is gonna be 16 bit, it's gonna kick your NES ass!
And the next kid was like:
-Well, the next Nintendo is gonna be 17 bit, so just bite your...

Just because Apple introduced 2 new iPods a year doesn't mean Apple is introducing a wireless iPod this year, that's just silly to assume something like that. And screw this wireless iPod thing anyway. Is it really that interesting? Is the deal that if you constantly have the music store in your pocket you'll buy more music? Over like 3G phone networks, that are barely up and working today? Perhaps.. but it must be free at all times to browse and purchase from the store, and with no SIM card thing. Perhaps apple could Donate half their share of the purchase to the network supplier if the song is purchased online. If it costs to browse the store and the prices are higher the whole thing is just stupid. It seems really complicated to make this get going.
post #15 of 40
It was reported that Apple was hiring tons of wireless engineers early this year. I suspect they are working on a wireless iPod that lets you play music from an iTMS server (and videos!) from anywhere.
post #16 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by McHuman
It was reported that Apple was hiring tons of wireless engineers early this year. I suspect they are working on a wireless iPod that lets you play music from an iTMS server (and videos!) from anywhere.

My guess is they are working on adding Bluetooth and not WiFi.
Bluetooth has some immediate tangible advantages.
Wireless headphones
Wireless car interface
Wireless gaming
Information Syncing and sharing (send vcard)
GPS interface (external GPS receiver sends coordinates via Bluetooth, iPod shows you your current location and allows you to zoom in/out using the scroll pad)

WiFi has limited use on an iPod today and will only pay off in a few years.
WiFi will suck batteries and add bulk to the iPod.
post #17 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by Johnny Mozzarella
My guess is they are working on adding Bluetooth and not WiFi.
Bluetooth has some immediate tangible advantages.
Wireless headphones
Wireless car interface
Wireless gaming
Information Syncing and sharing (send vcard)
GPS interface (external GPS receiver sends coordinates via Bluetooth, iPod shows you your current location and allows you to zoom in/out using the scroll pad)

WiFi has limited use on an iPod today and will only pay off in a few years.
WiFi will suck batteries and add bulk to the iPod.

I wholeheartedly agree.

I just can't see a reason or an advantage to a Wi-Pod... however, if they would just make a larger screen, add a bloody AM/FM radio and GPS capability... I would be stoked to the max!

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post #18 of 40
Right, then maybe a keyboard, a trackpad and an AC Power adapter, throw in a CD Drive, it could be the best iPod yet.8)
post #19 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
Right, then maybe a keyboard, a trackpad and an AC Power adapter, throw in a CD Drive, it could be the best iPod yet.8)

Why in the name of all that is sacred would I want to weigh down an iPod with a CD drive....?!

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post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by solsun
-Apple releases Leopard which will allow users to run their PC apps without Windows.

No, they're not.

Even virtualization requires a licensed copy of Windows. There's no reason for MS to be angry at Apple for giving them more business.
post #21 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by solsun
The whole Leopard virtualization must be pissing of Redmond big time. This could be Microsofts way of getting even. God knows they've got the money to do it.

1. Boot Camp isn't virtualization (you're thinking of Parallels, which Apple doesn't own)

2. In order to use either Boot Camp or Parallels, you have to buy a copy of Windows, which only means more $$$ for Microsoft

3. Does this mean that Microsoft is pissed off at Dell and HP for making it possible for Windows to run on their hardware too?

4. If virtualization pisses Microsoft so much, then why have they been offering Virtual PC for the Mac for some time now?

In summary:
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post #22 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by solsun
Agreed.

If Apple has sold 50 million iPods and 1 billion songs, that breaks down to an average of $20 worth of iTunes purchases for each iPod sold.

Ok! That's what I was going to say. The estimate is that the average iPod has 20 songs. The people who are dissatisfied might very well move over. MS can afford to do whatever they want to gain customers.

People, don't forget that MS said that they were going to spend $500 million to promote Vista. They can afford to pay for a few million songs.
post #23 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by SpamSandwich
Why in the name of all that is sacred would I want to weigh down an iPod with a CD drive....?!

It wouldn't be an iPod. It would be an Apple mini portable.
post #24 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by tonton
No, they're not.

Even virtualization requires a licensed copy of Windows. There's no reason for MS to be angry at Apple for giving them more business.

But, you have to agree that it would be interesting if Apple did a deal for Crossover. Apple could have the guns to get more API's working that would make it more useful. That could piss off MS.
post #25 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
Right, then maybe a keyboard, a trackpad and an AC Power adapter, throw in a CD Drive, it could be the best iPod yet.8)

Yeah, that's funny, but it is not unreasonable to add an AM/FM option that isn't just a $30 dongle ... because I know lots of people who want it. Just the option .... option ... we're talking option ... that maybe only 8% will buy, but that is 8% not going to the MS mp3 player. You understand options?

If the "wireless" merely means BT, then it won't be much of a factor on attracting anyone.

If free iTunes library means a rebate on downloads of WMA, then it means new player, same DRM, lots of downloading time ... and it won't be much of a factor.

If the new MS Media Desktop software is set up for easy TiVo-ing to portable video player .. then we're getting more interesting ...

If all of these combine with a wide range of good devices, cheaper or with better video resolutions, then we are talking about a real challenge to iPod/iTunes and Apple needs to stay ahead of the curve .... and you know what that means?

Options.
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post #26 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by Johnny Mozzarella
Bluetooth has some immediate tangible advantages...
Wireless headphones ...



There I was, writing this great long post about why bluetooth headphones suck, when I went over to Cambridge Silicon Radio's website to get some evidence.

I found this new product, which for the non-technical among you, is a solution for bluetooth headphones, including a Bluetooth radio, battery charger/power manager, DSP for AAC/mp3 decoding, high-quality DAC, and headphone amplifier, all on one tiny, low-power chip!

So, if you're using one of these, Bluetooth headphones no longer suck! Woot!

(Apple use CSR chips in their computers so one would expect them to be aware of this chip a while ago and to be planning to use it for BT headphones if indeed they do want to make BT headphones)
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post #27 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by solsun
Agreed.

If Apple has sold 50 million iPods and 1 billion songs, that breaks down to an average of $20 worth of iTunes purchases for each iPod sold.

Which is only $10 per convert that Microsoft will have to play? Surely they will just price that into the player. My guess is that the profit margins on these things is absolutely huge.
post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
It wouldn't be an iPod. It would be an Apple mini portable.

Or the Ultra-Mobile-Mac...
post #29 of 40
No, no... the Maxi-Pod.

Now with 50% more absorbency!
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post #30 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by SpamSandwich
I just can't see a reason or an advantage to a Wi-Pod... however, if they would just make a larger screen, add a bloody AM/FM radio and GPS capability... I would be stoked to the max!

AM/FM is a disincentive to buy songs from iTMS, so never. Yes, Apple doesn't have your best interests in mind here.

GPS - maybe, if it's free. Which leads to software-defined radios. Texas Instruments has had a decent SDR chip for a year or so now. This lets you have all of the above, on the fly, as you need. So, if you have a big sync to do, fire up 802.11n or UWB FireWireless and slurp over your library. But then fall back to extended-data-rate Bluetooth for listening in the car or on headphones. And offer GPS with some interesting new 3G data services. Maybe the iPod can finally live up to its name.
post #31 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by ClimbingTheLog
AM/FM is a disincentive to buy songs from iTMS, so never.

Hmmm...

There are a couple of problems with this theory.

1.) Apple doesn't make that much money from the iTMS (it operates at just over break-even).

2.) Many people use the radio to discover new music and then buy the music that they like. You would have thought that someone with an mp3 player with large amounts of storage space would want to listen to the radio either for "music discovery" purposes, or for accessing non-music services such a talk-radio, sports commentary, news, traffic information etc.

We won't see an AM/FM radio in an iPod (except maybe in a bottom-end shuffle) because Apple doesn't think that enough people want one)
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post #32 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
No, no... the Maxi-Pod.

Now with 50% more absorbency!

I was wondering where you've been. Now I know.
post #33 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by ClimbingTheLog
AM/FM is a disincentive to buy songs from iTMS, so never. Yes, Apple doesn't have your best interests in mind here.

GPS - maybe, if it's free. Which leads to software-defined radios. Texas Instruments has had a decent SDR chip for a year or so now. This lets you have all of the above, on the fly, as you need. So, if you have a big sync to do, fire up 802.11n or UWB FireWireless and slurp over your library. But then fall back to extended-data-rate Bluetooth for listening in the car or on headphones. And offer GPS with some interesting new 3G data services. Maybe the iPod can finally live up to its name.

Don't forget that Apple sells what has been called the best FM add-on. I'm not sure they worry about it stopping people from buying from iTunes. They just don't want to add the cost because Jobs has already said that very few of their customers want it. Though, the ones who do are very vocal about it.
post #34 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by SpamSandwich
Why in the name of all that is sacred would I want to weigh down an iPod with a CD drive....?!

In case it wasn't clear to everyone else, my comment was sarcasm. I was pointing out what most realize - the beauty of the iPod lies in it's simplicity. Most features people suggest would destroy that beauty. I think wireless (BT) music transfer could be made beautifully simple, but it isn't there yet. If anyone can do it, Apple can. As far as BT headsets for listening, that won't happen until the new BT standards come out in a couple years. BT just doesn't have the bandwidth for music playback. The new BT will have that.

As far as a built in radio tuner, yes, I think that should be standard. Certainly before any other feature, that would be the one mose likely to draw in new customers. The built in wireless BT would also be great for new products like Nike's pedometer and similar innovations that might be on the horizon.
post #35 of 40
Might it be possible to make a headset device that connects as the dock/usb/firewire connection does at the bottom of the iPod, thereby allowing BT, or other options, to be included in the "headset"?

I wonder if there might be some people out there who would want to convert a huge library of iTMS purchased songs, into a uncontrolled format (Assuming MS won't just create their own) through MS's device, and continue using Apple/iPod, but now with music files they own in a less restricted way.
post #36 of 40
people want simple, simple interface, simple solutions and my wife is a good example of a typical ipod owner. she uses a computer ibook g4 but as far as computer savy no way, she doens't want to learn the nuances of any computer thing. when she plugs in the ipod she only has to select what she wants to load, or is automatic. dealing with two sites, two formats two devices. no no no way. she trusts her ipod and itunes, in that it works so well there is no reason to move to another source. most analysts see this as well, MS has a tough row to hoe, but if apple stumbles it allows a vacuum....i don't think apple will stumble in the near future. as soon as analysts sense lower than expected use of the MS gizmo, people will read react and push it aside.
now i could use a BT, wifi ipod, IF it had a browser then i could make it do double duty as a mini net access device when i travel. but it would have to have a way to input stuff even if it was using itunes and search.
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post #37 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by LotharSNL
Might it be possible to make a headset device that connects as the dock/usb/firewire connection does at the bottom of the iPod, thereby allowing BT, or other options, to be included in the "headset"?

This would really be quite easy, and any hardware company worth its salt could put one together with a bit of research. The reason why you haven't seen one yet, or at least heard of one (this would have been possible even a couple years ago), is because bluetooth headsets don't work well for music. They do not have enough bandwidth even to make 128kbps sound good. I know, because I've listened to music from my MBP on my headset, it was a novel thing to see if I could do it, but it sounds terrible. BT is great for talking on the phone (not great it terms of reliable quality, but great in terms of not having to hold a phone up to my head or mess with any wires.

A second problem is that the wireless headset for a portable music player would eat through battery life. There haven't been any great advances in battery technology in a while, and until something happens, wireless headsets are not worth putting into a device that you want to keep very small.

This is why I think that the wireless download part of the MS player rumors are either just rumors, or else MS is going to make a big flop with their first player. Some may buy on impulse thinking "Wireless, how cool!", but then they'll quickly realize the folly, since getting their music wirelessly isn't that much better than plugging in to a PC (a device much more suited for an easy Music Store interface), especially when you consider that they have to plug in to SOMETHING to get power for the device.

On thing that would be VERY cool would be the option for wireless syncing with your PC for an automobile integrated iPod. When you park in the garage, it notices the proximity with your computer and updates the library. Since most people are parked in the garage over night, the slow transfer speeds of Bluetooth or WiFi (faster, but not compared to USB 2.0) would not be a problem.
post #38 of 40
Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
...is because bluetooth headsets don't work well for music. They do not have enough bandwidth even to make 128kbps sound good. I know, because I've listened to music from my MBP on my headset, it was a novel thing to see if I could do it, but it sounds terrible. BT is great for talking on the phone (not great it terms of reliable quality, but great in terms of not having to hold a phone up to my head or mess with any wires.

A second problem is that the wireless headset for a portable music player would eat through battery life. There haven't been any great advances in battery technology in a while, and until something happens, wireless headsets are not worth putting into a device that you want to keep very small.

See my previous post.

Your headset sounds bad, not because of bandwidth problems, but because it is using Bluetooth's built-in voice codec, which makes music sound awful. Before the arrival of the chip that I linked to above, to make a decent bluetooth headset for music, you'd need separate chips for: bluetooth, codec (e.g. AAC/mp3) decoder, DAC/headphone amplifier, battery management. All of that leads to low battery life and high weight. However, the BlueCore5-multimedia has all these functions in a single chip measuring 8 mm x 8 mm. That means good battery life and low weight.
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post #39 of 40
"2.) Many people use the radio to discover new music and then buy the music that they like. You would have thought that someone with an mp3 player with large amounts of storage space would want to listen to the radio either for "music discovery" purposes, or for accessing non-music services such a talk-radio, sports commentary, news, traffic information etc."


That'd be me. People definitely want/would love at least FM radio. Reeeally needs to be added. And a mic! Bluetooth, now that would be hot. I am surprised whoever makes BT chips doesn't heavily lobby Apple. Why? Because then if Apple added BT, so would every car manufacturer. The iPod is the next car radio. Just watch. Another thought just occurred to me. It's also the next DVD collection. Once far in the future you can wirelessly beam HD-DVD from your 8 Terabyte iPod to your screen (or brain?) it'll be sweet. In the meantime, once they add higher-quality video content to iTMS, people will be buying high capacity iPods and videos from iTMS rather than a giant stack of DVDs. I've always HATED removeable media. It just gets lost, takes up space, and eventually dies.

Man I can't wait to buy the next iPod. They definitely haven't added anything I'm interested in since the first one came out. That's why I'm still rockin' it old-school, 5 gigs baby.
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post #40 of 40
Add a keyboard, WiFi and VoIP - it would be an iPhone or MacBook Pro Mobile - http://geocities.com/gene_technics
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