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Apple's iPod to hit half-billion sales mark before cool-off

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
The addressable market for Apple's iPod digital music players is so broad that the company will handily eclipse the 350 million unit sales milestone achieved by Sony with its Walkman players during the 80's and 90's before the first signs of fizzle set in, researchers at JMP Securities say.

Ingrid Ebeling, an analyst at the firm, made the comments in a research note distributed to clients on Wednesday, in which she offered a preview of the Cupertino-based company's fiscal second quarter results due April 25th.

"During Sony’s 15-year reign with the Walkman, the company sold over 350 million units, and we believe that Apple’s addressable market over time will exceed this number given the upgrade and replaceable nature of iPods as well as the overriding trend of consumers’ increasing use of digital media," she wrote. "The net takeaway is that this is a product category that is far from saturated, and we believe well over 500 million units will be sold before the product category hits maturation."

Ebeling said checks indicate that iPod sales fell slightly between the month's of January and February, but attributed the cool-off to unusually strong sales in January as consumers were making use of their iTunes gift cards acquired during the December holidays.

For the three-month fiscal second quarter ended March, the analyst estimates Apple to have sold 10.8 million iPods, or about half as many as it sold during the December quarter. Still, those sales should generate about $1.76 billion in revenue, representing year-over-year growth in units of 33 percent and revenue growth of 18.2 percent.

"First calendar quarter sales in consumer electronics are always the weakest of the year, and we wouldn’t view any perceived weakness as concern for the category and iPods," she explained.

Ebeling was similarly optimistic on EMI's recent decision to make its digital music catalog available to iTunes shoppers without copy protection measures, explaining that the move could act as a buy-in catalyst for consumers who may have previous been deterred by the iPod's closed ecosystem.

Touching on the Mac, the JMP analyst said she is expecting the upcoming release of Leopard to help further grow market share, as consumers may be holding off on a new Mac until they come pre-installed with new operating system. (An AppleInsider poll of over 1500 readers conducted on Tuesday evening revealed that more than 30 percent of respondents are currently withholding their Mac purchases until Apple releases machines with Leopard already installed. An additional 50 percent said they are delaying new Mac purchases as they await new MacBooks (25 percent), new iMacs (17.3 percent), and the MacBook ultra-portable (11 percent).)

"Despite the initial good results of Vista with consumers, Apple’s 'I’m a PC, I’m a Mac' campaign, the success of its 165-store retail strategy, the increasing use of a computer for managing digital media (one of Mac’s many strengths), among other things, are all contributing to expanding market share," Ebeling wrote. "A contact in the education market has confirmed that his district, largely a Windows-based system, is widening its use of Macs."

For Apple's March quarter, the analyst is forecasting Macs unit sales of 1.3 million and revenue of $1,898 million, representing year-over-year growth in units and revenue of 21 percent. "We believe we could be conservative with our average selling price, which we have forecasted to be just over $1,400 compared to $1,500 in the December quarter due to the shift towards higher priced laptops," she added.

In her note to clients, Ebeling also remained bullish on he prospect of Apple TV emerging as "a sleeper hit," saying checks indicate that the $300 wireless media hub is off to a strong start. "So far, reviews have been generally positive, and we believe our forecast of 1.1M units through [fiscal 2008] could be conservative, representing only 2 percent of the broadband Internet households in the US," she wrote. "While we believe the hype around the iPhone is real, we note that the Apple TV does not have nearly as many competitive products on the market as the iPhone will have, and consumers appear to be ready for technologies that bridge the gap between the PC and the HDTV and provide video on demand services."

The analyst reiterated her "Market Outperform" rating on shares of Apple with a price target of $100. Overall, she expects the consumer electronics firm to report second quarter earnings of 59 cents per share on sales of $5 billion, helped by 29.7 percent gross margins.
post #2 of 65
I'm going to have to disagree...

The reason the Walkman died is because it played tapes. Tapes died, thus, so did the walkman. Then the Discman rose to power... Now CDs are being laid to waste on account of digital formats. Digital formats will live for a VERY long time... much much longer than a random media format like CDs, LPs, tapes, 8-tracks or whatever have you. As long as people use computers to store their music, computer-syncing players will have a place in society. I would say that variations of the iPod (and other music players) have another 20 years at least.

(first post, w00t)

-Clive
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post #3 of 65
I've always wondered with time if a better digital format with come along. MP3's aren't as good as CD quality but it was all about which format caught on as well as probably space issues. Now that memory is cheaper I'd expect another format with time to catch on for higher quality. Still mp3 is so large that this will take some time and without a doubt digital won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
post #4 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

I'm going to have to disagree...


About what?
post #5 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by markw10 View Post

I've always wondered with time if a better digital format with come along. MP3's aren't as good as CD quality but it was all about which format caught on as well as probably space issues. Now that memory is cheaper I'd expect another format with time to catch on for higher quality. Still mp3 is so large that this will take some time and without a doubt digital won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

"CD quality" just refers to the uncompressed audio on a CD, which has no bearing on the actual studio recording.

While MP3 is a lossy format--removing bits of data from the high and low end of the audio spectrum prior to compressing--it can be encoded with a high enough quality to be indistinguishable to "CD quality".

There are already many formats available. Some are Lossy: MP3, AAC (which iTunes uses but doesn't own) & WMA; and some are Lossless: FLAC & Apple Lossless. The increase in storage capacity hasn't yet put MP3 down, it has only made higher bit-rate MP3s more appealing.

It is my opinion that Apple's dominance in online digital music and the new DRM-free 256kbps tracks will finally start to chisel away at MP3's ubiquity.
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post #6 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

About what?

The next paragraph he wrote explained what he disagrees with.
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post #7 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

I'm going to have to disagree...

...As long as people use computers to store their music, computer-syncing players will have a place in society. I would say that variations of the iPod (and other music players) have another 20 years at least.

Convergence could doom stand-alone music players long before then, just as it has already made PDAs virtually extinct, but as long as you're including iPhone and like devices in the "music player" category, I can't see them disappearing until neural implants become the norm..
post #8 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianus View Post

...until neural implants become the norm..

Then I'm definitely sticking with Apple. I'd rather have a simple glowing Apple logo on the back of my neck than an Intel Inside sticker next to a Windows Neuro Ultimate sticker.
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post #9 of 65
the reason apple will sell so many units so much faster than the walkman is that we are throwing away two year old iPods to buy the latest and greatest. i think i owned two walkmans in a 10 year timeframe. i'm already on my 3rd iPod in 5 years.

of course there's eBay and resale, but we throw away WAY TOO MUCH. i'm obsessed with the latest and greatest - gonna get that iPhone on day1 and sell my [red]nano. our society is driving us to keep up with the jonses, and we're throwing non-disposable electronics into landfills faster and faster. [end of environmental tyrade, i'm as guilty as anyone]

this does sound like another post generated by apple shareholders saying "buy our stock! it's gonna soar!"
post #10 of 65
This "analysis" is based on what's in the market today, obviously it does not reflect products on the drawing boards and in the testing phase at Apple. As Apple continues to broaden their offerings to include even more high-end and low-end customers it will enable them to improve their market penetration... And the last time I checked, the world's population was a little larger than when the Walkman was king, which only gives Apple more opportunity to segment and dominate this market.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #11 of 65
""During Sonys 15-year reign with the Walkman, the company sold over 350 million units"

Well according to Sony's own press release, they sold 240 million units over 20 years!

http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Pr...199907/99-059/
It's all there in the first paragraph.
post #12 of 65
it also depends on what is classified as an iPod. i could not make a phone call on either of the two walkmans or the discman i owned, but the iPhone, in its present configuration, can take the place of a nano. does that mean each iPhone counts in the iPod column too? this is especially relevant since iPhone sales will cannibalize some iPod sales.
post #13 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by piot View Post

""During Sonys 15-year reign with the Walkman, the company sold over 350 million units"

Well according to Sony's own press release, they sold 240 million units over 20 years!

http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Pr...199907/99-059/
It's all there in the first paragraph.

Nice find.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Numbuh One View Post

it also depends on what is classified as an iPod. i could not make a phone call on either of the two walkmans or the discman i owned, but the iPhone, in its present configuration, can take the place of a nano. does that mean each iPhone counts in the iPod column too? this is especially relevant since iPhone sales will cannibalize some iPod sales.

I consider in the general bubble of the iPod as it has all the same functionally of the iPod. I really just see it as the evolution of the iPod with an interbreeding of a cell phone.
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post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

I'm going to have to disagree...

The reason the Walkman died is because it played tapes. Tapes died, thus, so did the walkman. Then the Discman rose to power... Now CDs are being laid to waste on account of digital formats. Digital formats will live for a VERY long time... much much longer than a random media format like CDs, LPs, tapes, 8-tracks or whatever have you. As long as people use computers to store their music, computer-syncing players will have a place in society. I would say that variations of the iPod (and other music players) have another 20 years at least.

(first post, w00t)

-Clive

Ok, you aren"t disagreeing with the basic premise, though you may think you are.

The only thing you are saying that is different in any significent way is the long timeline, which I think is impossible.

20 years is a VERY long time, these days. It isn't like when 78's first came out, and lasted almost 60 years, or lp's, which lasted about 40, or even cassettes, which lasted about 30. Cd's are slowly being phased out right now.

You might notice that each new format lasted less time than the one before it.

Whatever we will be using 20 years from now won't be iPods in any way that we now think of them. I have no idea what they will be, just that they will be something unexpected right now.

Will Apple be the leader there as well? Possibly. Possibly not.
post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Then I'm definitely sticking with Apple. I'd rather have a simple glowing Apple logo on the back of my neck than an Intel Inside sticker next to a Windows Neuro Ultimate sticker.

That's a good one!
post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianus View Post

Convergence could doom stand-alone music players long before then, just as it has already made PDAs virtually extinct, but as long as you're including iPhone and like devices in the "music player" category, I can't see them disappearing until neural implants become the norm..

I dunno... the old "multifunction devices will kill off the iPod" saw has been rattled around seemingly forever now. I don't think it was true the first time I heard it and I don't think it's true now. Rather, I tend to agree with the point of view of the The Economist that dedicated music players and multifunction devices will both live happily together for the foreseeable future.

For every teched-out geek I see braying that his uber-complex high-end Nokia does "Evvvverrrryyythingggg!", I see about a half-dozen Wal-Mart shoppers who are ecstatic that their phone "can take pic-chers, and can do that text thing too".

For a lot of people, simplicity isn't just a virtue, it's a necessity. \

Of course, that is the beauty of the iPhone. It makes the multifunction device more accessible, but even the iPhone, shocking as it sounds, may be too complex for some people, being more than they need (functionality-wise), or want (price).

..
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post #17 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by markw10 View Post

I've always wondered with time if a better digital format with come along.

Some already have, but they failed... Super Audio CD, for example.

Yeah, there's stuff in the near-term that looks nice... 256kbps AAC is pretty good, so is lossless, but most of this is based around a 44.1KHz sampling rate that many audiophiles find inadequate. Listen to classical music through a really good home audio system, and things like cymbals can easily sound like a kid wailing on a trash can lid. Of course, most people's systems don't have the kind of resolution that really highlights this (and most people don't listen discerningly to classical or jazz).

Still, as storage capacities soar, you'd have to think that at some point someone will try to avoid being commoditized and/or will want to differentiate themselves by offering higher quality. At some point the sampling rate will be upped dramatically, and even the audiophiles will be happy.

(Side note/digression: Strange as it sounds, the true 'lossless' media was vinyl. Every movement of the cutting head was captured in the physical media (the vinyl), so assuming it was done right, all the information was there, pretty much- unlike digital, which samples the audio thousands of times per second and plays 'connect the dots'.

The b*tch with vinyl was getting all the info back upon playback. Your average turntable was bad at that (poor bearings, low tolerances, poor isolation/susceptibility to NVH), and thus sounded markedly inferior to CD. But really good turntables? They outdid CDs handily. It was very shocking to me the first time I heard a Goldman Studietto or a Linn Sondek turntable A-B'd against a CD player on a good system... on good recordings, vinyl kicked CD's ass, completely and forcefully.

But of course, not many people want to buy a $1500-2500 turntable, and $10,000+ audio system, do they? )

.
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post #18 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

the reason apple will sell so many units so much faster than the walkman is that we are throwing away two year old iPods to buy the latest and greatest. i think i owned two walkmans in a 10 year timeframe. i'm already on my 3rd iPod in 5 years.

Don't forget that sony walkmen were pretty much indistinguishable from other leading brands' players - I'll bet the number of portable tape players sold since 1980 is well over a billion or more when you think of all the different brands... Most of asia is still on cassette, and walkmen clones are everywhere in Shanghai...
post #19 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

Digital formats will live for a VERY long time... much much longer than a random media format like CDs, LPs, tapes, 8-tracks or whatever have you.


I have to agree. The only thing I can think of that would be an improvement on the small compact digital format would be a wireless solution. You would have a small wireless device that would pipe your music to you. Your music would be stored on your computer or a server with your files. The world would have to be heavily plugged into high bandwidth by then.
post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ingrid Ebeling

"The net takeaway is that this is a product category that is far from saturated, and we believe well over 500 million units will be sold before the product category hits maturation."

What this person fails to realise is that by the time the iPod reaches anywhere near the 200,000,000 mark both the nano and it will become some sort of iPhone, though the shuffle or similar may hang round for a while after that. Convergence is the way of the future, and most of Apple's players will become phones in the next couple of years, so they will lose the iPod moniker for iPhone and iPhone nano or whatever they call it. The yet-to-be-released iPod video will last for a while after that too, but very probably eventually Apple will make phones of all shapes and sizes.
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post #21 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Ok, you aren"t disagreeing with the basic premise, though you may think you are.

The only thing you are saying that is different in any significent way is the long timeline, which I think is impossible.

20 years is a VERY long time, these days. It isn't like when 78's first came out, and lasted almost 60 years, or lp's, which lasted about 40, or even cassettes, which lasted about 30. Cd's are slowly being phased out right now.

You might notice that each new format lasted less time than the one before it.

Whatever we will be using 20 years from now won't be iPods in any way that we now think of them. I have no idea what they will be, just that they will be something unexpected right now.

Will Apple be the leader there as well? Possibly. Possibly not.

See, I think what your argument is failing to take into account is that we are reaching a optimal form of music storage and music portability. Each prior form of media was replaced by something superior to it. Cassettes, for example, had terrible sound (tape hiss!!!!) and no "skip" feature... They were replaces with CDs, which had pristine sounds AND a skip feature... plus they didn't have to be flipped, and they could play a compareable amount of music.

In our most recent case, until the early 90s it wasn't feasible to store all of your music on your computer. Either the bitrate would have to be terrible or you would have, like, 6 songs. Now it is plausible, as we all know, since most of us have music collections that challenge 20 GB or more. In addition to that, songs can be recorded/encoded with such precision that the human ear is unable to detect inaccuracies. While these compression rates aren't as commonly used and (by today's standards) take up a lot of space, such won't be the case in 5 years. In 5 years, we'll be seeing at least 5 TB HDDs... and for the case of an iPod-sized 1.8" HDD, possibly up to a TB. This will be ample space to encode my currently 20 GB collection of tunes at a bitrate which I will be unable to distinguish from a live band. It's not absurd to assume the iPod will evolve to encompass this ability... and take a few others. Many predict that the iPod will take on PDA-like features of the iPhone as early as this fall - but it will be able to do these things AND be the PMP that it is today.

Obviously the Walkman wasn't a static device from its inception... It gained abilities... the power to listen to the radio, the power to play tapes - some might even say that the discman was an extension of the walkman (although it wasn't very pocket-friendly) - nevertheless, it died as the way we listen to music radically changes from analog/physical-media-playing to digital-music-playing. The only thing portable about PMPs is the player itself, not the media. This represents a monumental change in how we own/listen to/experience music.

And this, I believe, is music/media in its near-optimal form.

Others are correct, however... Things won't again change until my "iPod" is a tiny Wi-Fi card in my brain, controlled by thought, which I can use to call up and play media in the inside of my contacts and echo into the insides of my ear cavities. Until then, the basic premise of listening to music will remain the same.

-Clive
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post #22 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The next paragraph he wrote explained what he disagrees with.

And exactly what part of the original article is he refuting?
post #23 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

And exactly what part of the original article is he refuting?

The main point of the article which AI captured in the title of the post, "Apple's iPod to hit half-billion sales mark before cool-off"

There. Are you happy?

-Clive
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post #24 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

And exactly what part of the original article is he refuting?

i THINK the original posting was implying that ipod sales would decline rapidly in about 5 years as walkman sales had declined rapidly...so i THINK Clive was saying that in his opinion it would be more like 20 years.

i THINK... you understand
post #25 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Some already have, but they failed... Super Audio CD, for example.

Yeah, there's stuff in the near-term that looks nice... 256kbps AAC is pretty good, so is lossless, but most of this is based around a 44.1KHz sampling rate that many audiophiles find inadequate. Listen to classical music through a really good home audio system, and things like cymbals can easily sound like a kid wailing on a trash can lid. Of course, most people's systems don't have the kind of resolution that really highlights this (and most people don't listen discerningly to classical or jazz).

Still, as storage capacities soar, you'd have to think that at some point someone will try to avoid being commoditized and/or will want to differentiate themselves by offering higher quality. At some point the sampling rate will be upped dramatically, and even the audiophiles will be happy.

(Side note/digression: Strange as it sounds, the true 'lossless' media was vinyl. Every movement of the cutting head was captured in the physical media (the vinyl), so assuming it was done right, all the information was there, pretty much- unlike digital, which samples the audio thousands of times per second and plays 'connect the dots'.

The b*tch with vinyl was getting all the info back upon playback. Your average turntable was bad at that (poor bearings, low tolerances, poor isolation/susceptibility to NVH), and thus sounded markedly inferior to CD. But really good turntables? They outdid CDs handily. It was very shocking to me the first time I heard a Goldman Studietto or a Linn Sondek turntable A-B'd against a CD player on a good system... on good recordings, vinyl kicked CD's ass, completely and forcefully.

But of course, not many people want to buy a $1500-2500 turntable, and $10,000+ audio system, do they? )

.

Ah, good, an audiophile argument!

We used to argue, in the '60's, continuing through the early '80's that the lp sucked. That's being nice about it too! A 7 1/2 ips reel to reel was far better. No real argument there.

The record cutting lathe added at least 1% distortion to the cutting, except in the inner grooves, where it could reach 3%. The dynamic range is purposefully limited to less than 40 db, often, even for classical, to less than 35 db. Bass is rolled of by a filter at 6 db per octave, so that at 60 Hz, it is at -3 db, and is no better than -9 db at 30 Hz. The piano goes down to about 27 Hz, as do several other instruments. The organ, has no chance, esp. at its lowest, at 16 Hz. This is done to reduce the feedback to the cartridge which can be a big problem.

Treble is also limited, as the cartridge will often sheer it right off the record anyway. Lp's, therefore, have little above 14 KHz, and with continued use, that number drops further.

The mother, pressed from the master would distort it further, as the reproduction wasn't perfect. After that, they would go to the stampers, which, again, added distortion. The plating required on those changed what was on the grooves even more.

When lp's were stamped, further problems were added, including groove sag, "horns" formed on those grooves from the effect of pulling the soft vinyl from the stamper, dust on the stampers, etc.

The stampers themselves deteriorated over the number of records pressed, so that the ones pressed early in the life of a stamper were better than the ones pressed later. Often the number of the pressing is found past the inner grooves of the lp.

Lp's rarely have a s/n greater than about 60 db, which, certainly by todays standards, is unreasonably low.

When the stylus reaches the inner grooves, the distortion can reach as high as 10% for a well set up system, and much worse for one that is not.

Records also are slowly destroyed by the very process that allows them to be played, so they don't sound the same after 25 playings.

You also shouldn't ever play an lp more than about one time every 24 hours, so that the vinyl has a chance to bounce back from the almost 20,000 gravities the stylus slams into the grooves with at the high frequencies.


No, records are not lossless

And the most expensive turntable and stand is $90,000.

The cartridge is extra.
post #26 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

See, I think what your argument is failing to take into account is that we are reaching a optimal form of music storage and music portability. Each prior form of media was replaced by something superior to it. Cassettes, for example, had terrible sound (tape hiss!!!!) and no "skip" feature... They were replaces with CDs, which had pristine sounds AND a skip feature... plus they didn't have to be flipped, and they could play a compareable amount of music.

In our most recent case, until the early 90s it wasn't feasible to store all of your music on your computer. Either the bitrate would have to be terrible or you would have, like, 6 songs. Now it is plausible, as we all know, since most of us have music collections that challenge 20 GB or more. In addition to that, songs can be recorded/encoded with such precision that the human ear is unable to detect inaccuracies. While these compression rates aren't as commonly used and (by today's standards) take up a lot of space, such won't be the case in 5 years. In 5 years, we'll be seeing at least 5 TB HDDs... and for the case of an iPod-sized 1.8" HDD, possibly up to a TB. This will be ample space to encode my currently 20 GB collection of tunes at a bitrate which I will be unable to distinguish from a live band. It's not absurd to assume the iPod will evolve to encompass this ability... and take a few others. Many predict that the iPod will take on PDA-like features of the iPhone as early as this fall - but it will be able to do these things AND be the PMP that it is today.

Obviously the Walkman wasn't a static device from its inception... It gained abilities... the power to listen to the radio, the power to play tapes - some might even say that the discman was an extension of the walkman (although it wasn't very pocket-friendly) - nevertheless, it died as the way we listen to music radically changes from analog/physical-media-playing to digital-music-playing. The only thing portable about PMPs is the player itself, not the media. This represents a monumental change in how we own/listen to/experience music.

And this, I believe, is music/media in its near-optimal form.

Others are correct, however... Things won't again change until my "iPod" is a tiny Wi-Fi card in my brain, controlled by thought, which I can use to call up and play media in the inside of my contacts and echo into the insides of my ear cavities. Until then, the basic premise of listening to music will remain the same.

-Clive

I'm not arguing with any of that. I acknowledged that the iPod will evolve.

But, 20 years is a looong time. We may not even have computers as we now know them.

If Sony called all of its newer portable music playing devices the Walkman, we would then be able to say that Sony is still selling the Walkman. But, it wouldn't really be true.

Apple may, or may not, call it's whatever it will be, if even there is such a thing, an iPod, but it won't really be one, if there is one at all.

Maybe it will be a new line, called the iBrain®.
post #27 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

The main point of the article which AI captured in the title of the post, "Apple's iPod to hit half-billion sales mark before cool-off"

There. Are you happy?

-Clive

If so you guys better read the article over again. Particulary, as stated in the third paragraph,

"During Sony’s 15-year reign with the Walkman, the company sold over 350 million units, and we believe that Apple’s addressable market over time will exceed this number given the upgrade and replaceable nature of iPods as well as the overriding trend of consumers’ increasing use of digital media," she wrote. "The net takeaway is that this is a product category that is far from saturated, and we believe well over 500 million units will be sold before the product category hits maturation."

As such, the "15-year reign" only pertains to the Walkman.

The "addressable market over time" for the iPod is open ended. It could be 10, 15, 20 or even 50 years.

And for all the reasons Ebeling states, the iPod will exceed "well over" 500 million units before it "cools off". Exactly when, she doesn't say or even conjecture.
post #28 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Ah, good, an audiophile argument!

We used to argue, in the '60's, continuing through the early '80's that the lp sucked. That's being nice about it too! A 7 1/2 ips reel to reel was far better. No real argument there.

The record cutting lathe added at least 1% distortion to the cutting, except in the inner grooves, where it could reach 3%. The dynamic range is purposefully limited to less than 40 db, often, even for classical, to less than 35 db. Bass is rolled of by a filter at 6 db per octave, so that at 60 Hz, it is at -3 db, and is no better than -9 db at 30 Hz. The piano goes down to about 27 Hz, as do several other instruments. The organ, has no chance, esp. at its lowest, at 16 Hz. This is done to reduce the feedback to the cartridge which can be a big problem.

Treble is also limited, as the cartridge will often sheer it right off the record anyway. Lp's, therefore, have little above 14 KHz, and with continued use, that number drops further.

The mother, pressed from the master would distort it further, as the reproduction wasn't perfect. After that, they would go to the stampers, which, again, added distortion. The plating required on those changed what was on the grooves even more.

When lp's were stamped, further problems were added, including groove sag, "horns" formed on those grooves from the effect of pulling the soft vinyl from the stamper, dust on the stampers, etc.

The stampers themselves deteriorated over the number of records pressed, so that the ones pressed early in the life of a stamper were better than the ones pressed later. Often the number of the pressing is found past the inner grooves of the lp.

Lp's rarely have a s/n greater than about 60 db, which, certainly by todays standards, is unreasonably low.

When the stylus reaches the inner grooves, the distortion can reach as high as 10% for a well set up system, and much worse for one that is not.

Records also are slowly destroyed by the very process that allows them to be played, so they don't sound the same after 25 playings.

You also shouldn't ever play an lp more than about one time every 24 hours, so that the vinyl has a chance to bounce back from the almost 20,000 gravities the stylus slams into the grooves with at the high frequencies.

No, records are not lossless

And the most expensive turntable and stand is $90,000.

The cartridge is extra.

Ah, a fellow audiophile, I take it?

Yes Mel, I'm aware of the limitations of vinyl, particularly when it comes to dynamic range. Though I suspect some of your stats are based on your typical Bee Gees mid-fi record, and not audiophile grade record-cutting and vinyl. Some folks took more pains with vinyl, some less, and it definitely shows either way. And did you know that the tiniest movements of the cartridge can pick up discernible audio information, down to a few millionths of an inch or more? If that ain't lossless, it's pretty close

And that'd be analog lossless, which means all (or nearly all) the information can be there, as opposed to digital sampling. That's the great thing about analog... there's tremendously more information there than digital, the trick is getting it back off the record.

CD certainly measures better in many ways, always has. But stats can be used to make anything look good, or bad. Take CD-quality audio, for instance. It samples at 44.1 KHz, so a 10 KHz sound gets sampled only four times per waveform. Anyone whose seen one knows an audio waveform is far too complex to be captured accurately with that few samples. Hence, one could make the argument that CD-quality sucks, based on stats. But it doesn't, and neither does vinyl. It's more accurate to say that they have different strengths.

For low-end oomph and dynamic range, I'd take CD. For midrange and treble accuracy, imaging, and superior 'musicality' (digital tends to sound overly clinical), I'd go vinyl. However, I would say that more money tends not to buy you significantly better sound with CD players, while with turntables, it most definitely does. Go high-end enough, and the pluses for turntables far outweigh the minuses, to the point where CD really isn't competitive anymore quality-wise.

And that is only reason why anyone still gives a rat's patoot about high-end turntables and vinyl in the digital age... you've heard what the best ones can do, and you know you just can't get close to that sound with CD. Why else would anyone bother with expensive, outdated equipment?

And you sure don't need the $90,000 turntable you cite to reach that point. A 'back in the day' $350 Systemdek IIX sounds about as good as CD, but by the time you've hit the Linn Sondek level ($2000+), it's a rout- if you've got such a 'table, you literally can't bear to listen to digital if you've got same track on vinyl. The most expensive turntable anyone should bother with is probably the Goldman Studio- $5000 back in the late '80s, you'll likely have to get it used now.

I say all this as the happy owner of two iPods (1G Mini and 1G Shuffle, soon to be 2G). Most of my music is digital, and I love the convenience. But for quality, you can definitely do better, if you have the money and know what to buy.

That said, you can certainly take your iPod experience up a few notches, by going with audiophile headphones. I'd stay away from the uberpopular Shure E3Cs, though- they have fantastic detail, but extremely weak bass, no matter how you position them or what tips you use. Ditto most Etymotics headphones I've heard.

PS- I find it appalling that a truly better-than-CD-quality digital audio format has not taken hold and succeeded widely yet, 25 years after the introduction of the CD.

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post #29 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

In addition to that, songs can be recorded/encoded with such precision that the human ear is unable to detect inaccuracies.

Sure, once they up the sampling rate to well above CD. It's not about bitrate alone. \

Other than that, your comments are very much on the money.

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post #30 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The analyst reiterated her "Market Outperform" rating on shares of Apple with a price target of $100...... helped by 29.7 percent gross margins.

I am so impressed by the precision of this analyst's analysis! The 29.7% in gross margin assumption leads to exactly a $100 forecast.

Good thing she didn't assume a margin of 30%, because it could have led to an inconvenient price such as, I suppose, $101.23......

post #31 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Ah, good, an audiophile argument!

We used to argue, in the '60's, continuing through the early '80's that the lp sucked. That's being nice about it too! A 7 1/2 ips reel to reel was far better. No real argument there.

The record cutting lathe added at least 1% distortion to the cutting---- (snip)----almost 20,000 gravities the stylus slams into the grooves with at the high frequencies.


No, records are not lossless

And the most expensive turntable and stand is $90,000.

The cartridge is extra.

OMG you are such an audio nerd. You're HIRED!

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #32 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Ah, a fellow audiophile, I take it?

You could say that.

My company (Magnum Opus, later changed to Peacetime Communications before we sold it to JBL way back in '82) first manufactured speakers for disco's, professional monitoring and such, and later smaller models, and even still later, electronics such as station monitors, rack mounted buss frame preamplifiers and power amps. I designed the first heat pipe cooled power amp for racetracks and auto races.

Quote:
Yes Mel, I'm aware of the limitations of vinyl, particularly when it comes to dynamic range. Though I suspect some of your stats are based on your typical Bee Gees mid-fi record, and not audiophile grade record-cutting and vinyl. Some folks took more pains with vinyl, some less, and it definitely shows either way. And did you know that the tiniest movements of the cartridge can pick up discernible audio information, down to a few millionths of an inch or more? If that ain't lossless, it's pretty close

Well, I'm really thinking of the highest quality possible. Stan Richter once told me that no one knew how to get a really good pressing out of a tape. I agree. If he didn't know, no one did. It was even said once that if records weren't already an established fact, no one would believe that it could be done.

9quote]
And that'd be analog lossless, which means all (or nearly all) the information can be there, as opposed to digital sampling. That's the great thing about analog... there's tremendously more information there than digital, the trick is getting it back off the record.[/quote]

Well, I quess it really depends on what you mean by lossless. I don't see how it could be applied to any recording or playback medium. The best we can say is that when we compress a file, and then decompress it, all of the bits are still there, in the correct relationship.

As all recording and playback mediums are losing much data, none are lossless.

Unless you think that a good Lp allows you to experience all of the nuances of the live performance, including all of the clues from the 360° nature of live experience. I don't think so.

Quote:
CD certainly measures better in many ways, always has. But stats can be used to make anything look good, or bad. Take CD-quality audio, for instance. It samples at 44.1 KHz, so a 10 KHz sound gets sampled only four times per waveform. Anyone whose seen one knows an audio waveform is far too complex to be captured accurately with that few samples. Hence, one could make the argument that CD-quality sucks, based on stats. But it doesn't, and neither does vinyl. It's more accurate to say that they have different strengths.

Actually anyone who understands sampling knows that it just requires two samples to get all of the information, not four. The Nyquist limit has been well proven.

Ic you like a noisy, distorted, limited frequency playback with the distractions also caused by dirt, then yes, vinyl is fine. I don't happen to like that. Never have.

I still own over 2,000 Lp's, and I listen to them on pretty good equipment, so it's not as though I've abandoned them entirely. But, I've digitized many of them so far.

Quote:
For low-end oomph and dynamic range, I'd take CD. For midrange and treble accuracy, imaging, and superior 'musicality' (digital tends to sound overly clinical), I'd go vinyl. However, I would say that more money tends not to buy you significantly better sound with CD players, while with turntables, it most definitely does. Go high-end enough, and the pluses for turntables far outweigh the minuses, to the point where CD really isn't competitive anymore quality-wise.

Musicality is a difficult word to define, as most people I know tend to think it means different things, esp. those who listen through single-ended tube amps.

Quote:
And that is only reason why anyone still gives a rat's patoot about high-end turntables and vinyl in the digital age... you've heard what the best ones can do, and you know you just can't get close to that sound with CD. Why else would anyone bother with expensive, outdated equipment?

Again, that's the opinion of a small number of audiophiles. Most of us would not agree. At some point I'm going to have to replace my turntable, and sooner, my cartridge. I'm not looking forward to the $6,000 it will cost me.

Quote:
And you sure don't need the $90,000 turntable you cite to reach that point. A 'back in the day' $350 Systemdek IIX sounds about as good as CD, but by the time you've hit the Linn Sondek level ($2000+), it's a rout- if you've got such a 'table, you literally can't bear to listen to digital if you've got same track on vinyl. The most expensive turntable anyone should bother with is probably the Goldman Studio- $5000 back in the late '80s, you'll likely have to get it used now.

Yeah, I'm sure. I've heard it. It's beautiful, to be sure. But, from an engineering standpoint, I can't see what it does so well, despite that Micheal Fremer thinks so highly of it. The last time I saw him at my club, he had just bought it (at a 75% or so discount).

Quote:
I say all this as the happy owner of two iPods (1G Mini and 1G Shuffle, soon to be 2G). Most of my music is digital, and I love the convenience. But for quality, you can definitely do better, if you have the money and know what to buy.

That said, you can certainly take your iPod experience up a few notches, by going with audiophile headphones. I'd stay away from the uberpopular Shure E3Cs, though- they have fantastic detail, but extremely weak bass, no matter how you position them or what tips you use. Ditto most Etymotics headphones I've heard.

PS- I find it appalling that a truly better-than-CD-quality digital audio format has not taken hold and succeeded widely yet, 25 years after the introduction of the CD.

.

I have no iPods, or tunes that are compressed. On my system they simply have too many problems. 256 isn't too bad, but it isn't good either. But, if music is there that I can't get elsewhere, I might buy some.
post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

I'm going to have to disagree...

The reason the Walkman died is because it played tapes. Tapes died, thus, so did the walkman. Then the Discman rose to power... Now CDs are being laid to waste on account of digital formats. Digital formats will live for a VERY long time... much much longer than a random media format like CDs, LPs, tapes, 8-tracks or whatever have you. As long as people use computers to store their music, computer-syncing players will have a place in society. I would say that variations of the iPod (and other music players) have another 20 years at least.

(first post, w00t)

-Clive

Cool. Got the first post on this thread, huh? Congrats...!! ...Yeah, exactly what I was thinking. Walkman died because they kept making it until very few people were buying it. iPod will not die because the models would have long evolved (I mean look at iPhone) to other stuff.
post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I am so impressed by the precision of this analyst's analysis! The 29.7% in gross margin assumption leads to exactly a $100 forecast.

The 29.7% in gross margin assumption on sales of $5 billion leads to earnings of 59 cents per share for the current quarter.

-Revenue: $5 billion
-Cost of Goods: $3.515 billion
-Gross margin: $1.485 billion (29.7% of revenue)
-Blahblah: lots of boring stuff
-Net income: $525,100,000
-Diluted shares: 890,000
-Diluted EPS: $0.59

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Good thing she didn't assume a margin of 30%, because it could have led to an inconvenient price such as, I suppose, $101.23......

Her $100 price target for AAPL (where the stock will go in 6 or 12 months) is not related to a slight change in gross margin.
post #35 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Ok, you aren"t disagreeing with the basic premise, though you may think you are.

The only thing you are saying that is different in any significent way is the long timeline, which I think is impossible.

20 years is a VERY long time, these days. It isn't like when 78's first came out, and lasted almost 60 years, or lp's, which lasted about 40, or even cassettes, which lasted about 30. Cd's are slowly being phased out right now.

You might notice that each new format lasted less time than the one before it.

Whatever we will be using 20 years from now won't be iPods in any way that we now think of them. I have no idea what they will be, just that they will be something unexpected right now.

Will Apple be the leader there as well? Possibly. Possibly not.

Extinctive evolution is not a necessity. Alligators are over 360 million years old with essentially no continued evolution. They are king of the niche they inhabit and have no competitive pressure to change. So they rule the swamp. Cockroaches have an even longer history with only minor changes. It just shows that when the design is "right enough", the design does not have to go extinct "just because".

iPod is a digital player ecosystem in a handheld and smaller format. Whatever we have in the future, music will still be encoded and digitally stored. Differing codecs-sure, differing handheld and smaller form factors-definitely, upgraded storage formats-yup. All that can change and as long as it plays digital music, is handheld or smaller and is made by Apple it can still be called an iPod. Because an iPod is defined by it's functionality/ecosystem, not its physical manifestation.

The previous formats all had the weakness of being fixed physical storage standards AND music encodings. Now the iPod only had to deal with an encoding, the storage method is completely independent from the hardware. All possible digital encodings can be handled via software, there is no restriction of fixed physical storage standards. That is a fundamentally different game than Sony had to deal with in the Walkman/diskman days.
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post #36 of 65
Hmmm.... a major, major step (beyond stored music) would be real time physically-modeled singers and musical instruments that would replicate or simulate any singer, musician or band. You can start to see this as a possibility with systems like Vocaloid and today's synthesizers that use physical-modeling for musical instrument synthesis.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #37 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro View Post

Extinctive evolution is not a necessity. Alligators are over 360 million years old with essentially no continued evolution. They are king of the niche they inhabit and have no competitive pressure to change. So they rule the swamp. Cockroaches have an even longer history with only minor changes. It just shows that when the design is "right enough", the design does not have to go extinct "just because".

iPod is a digital player ecosystem in a handheld and smaller format. Whatever we have in the future, music will still be encoded and digitally stored. Differing codecs-sure, differing handheld and smaller form factors-definitely, upgraded storage formats-yup. All that can change and as long as it plays digital music, is handheld or smaller and is made by Apple it can still be called an iPod. Because an iPod is defined by it's functionality/ecosystem, not its physical manifestation.

The previous formats all had the weakness of being fixed physical storage standards AND music encodings. Now the iPod only had to deal with an encoding, the storage method is completely independent from the hardware. All possible digital encodings can be handled via software, there is no restriction of fixed physical storage standards. That is a fundamentally different game than Sony had to deal with in the Walkman/diskman days.

I can't directly argue with that, but I can give a biological entry of my own.

Dinosaurs ruled the earth, as it's said, for quite a while, but as earlier creatures found out, when a cataclysmic event occurs, no matter how well adapted you are, you might not survive.

We don't even know what devices 20 years from now might be. It's said by some respected people in the field that we will be wearing a dozen or more computers as part of our clothing. Possibly one will even be implanted. We just don't know.

There might not be a personal computer either, or a network as we know it. We may be connected all of the time, with direct connections of some sort to us, so that as we go through life we will be constantly bombarded with information.

There might not be an iTunes store. Possibly, if we want to hear a song, we just think to our, whatever it is that handles that part of our sensory network field, that we want to listen to that particular bit, and it starts playing, with some small automatic payment being made without our input required.

Would some of that be an iPod? I suppose as much as Sony's digital music players are still the descendants of Walkmen.
post #38 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Hmmm.... a major, major step (beyond stored music) would be real time physically-modeled singers and musical instruments that would replicate or simulate any singer, musician or band. You can start to see this as a possibility with systems like Vocaloid and today's synthesizers that use physical-modeling for musical instrument synthesis.

There's another one that I wrote about in some of the music magazines.

Imagine having a way that someone's experience can be transfered, and stored.

We might have people who go to events as human recorders, with their own feelings, concepts, and different abilities in hearing.

We would then rent, or buy, recordings made from their live experience, and through some sort of cap, experience exactly what they did, with, of course, our own personalities interpreting it just as we do now to a recording.

There might be discussions in the music mags (or whatever they will become) by critics and readers about just how well each of these "recorders" do, just as we now talk about recorded performances. The difference would be that more than a few of these people could go to the same performance at the same time, so that we would get different perspectives on that one performance. We would get recording from those people whose perspectives and such, matched our own most closely. we do that now with critics. We learn which ones we can rely upon, and we trust their words, but not others.
post #39 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

OMG you are such an audio nerd. You're HIRED!

Just saw your comment.

That was my business, I did the hiring. You HAVE to be a nerd in your own fields, if you expect to be successful.

We're all nerds of one sort or another here.
post #40 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

My company (Magnum Opus, later changed to Peacetime Communications before we sold it to JBL way back in '82) first manufactured speakers for disco's, professional monitoring and such, and later smaller models, and even still later, electronics such as station monitors, rack mounted buss frame preamplifiers and power amps. I designed the first heat pipe cooled power amp for racetracks and auto races.

Ah, a professional tinkerer. Props to you, good sir.

Quote:
Well, I quess it really depends on what you mean by lossless. I don't see how it could be applied to any recording or playback medium. The best we can say is that when we compress a file, and then decompress it, all of the bits are still there, in the correct relationship.

As all recording and playback mediums are losing much data, none are lossless.

Sure Mel, in the very strictest sense of the word, no medium is truly lossless. However, it is far to say that analog, as a medium, contains far more information than digital- there is a large information delta between recording the entirety of an audio waveform (analog), and sampling it and playing 'connect the dots' digitally. More on this later.

Quote:
Unless you think that a good Lp allows you to experience all of the nuances of the live performance, including all of the clues from the 360° nature of live experience. I don't think so.

Well, you'd probably have to have point-source speakers to truly get to what you describe. But vinyl, well-recorded, on a great 'table and system, will give you information that CD usually doesn't: extremely detailed imaging (being able to pinpoint not only the band, but individual musicians precisely in space), and very good musical accuracy, which CD doesn't seem to be great at, in the upper midrange and treble frequencies.

Quote:
Actually anyone who understands sampling knows that it just requires two samples to get all of the information, not four. The Nyquist limit has been well proven.

I don't think you're quite getting what I'm saying... perhaps I'm explaining it poorly. Yes, Sony and Phillips thought that a 44.1 KHz sampling rate was great for CD back in the day... after all, it is double 20 KHz (the upper range of human hearing) plus the transition band, which is what the Nyquist theorem specifies as necessary to avoid aliasing.

However, audiophiles, even at the time of CD's introduction, heard something different, which was that CD's sampling rate was insufficient to provide great fidelity at higher frequencies. What they're getting at:



Figure 1 is of the analog source that's being sampled (a sine wave in this case- a musical waveform would be far more complex).

Figure 2 shows the timeslices where the analog waveform is being digitally sampled.

Figure 3 shows the waveform that's reproduced from the digital information. Note how it approximates, but is obviously different from, the original analog waveform? The difference between the two waveforms is what could be described as inaccuracy or distortion, and can explain why some people find digital audio tiring to listen to for long periods of time. This is what happens when the digital sampling rate is too low. \

But increase the number of samples, and you can approximate the analog waveform much more closely and accurately.

Hence digital formats like DVD Audio and Super Audio CD, which have far higher sampling rates than CD (as high as 2.8 MHz(!)). If 44.1 KHz was perfect, why then were these introduced? I guess we can try to explain it away as marketing hocus pocus, but some folks hear the difference.

Quote:
Ic you like a noisy, distorted, limited frequency playback with the distractions also caused by dirt, then yes, vinyl is fine. I don't happen to like that. Never have.

You seem to be describing poorly maintained vinyl and/or poor recordings. My records are spotless, a good carbon fiber brush helps loads. And most of my recordings are quite good. Of course, even on some excellent recordings, you can sometimes hear hiss during quiet moments, but the quality trade-off has always been worth it.

Quote:
I still own over 2,000 Lp's, and I listen to them on pretty good equipment, so it's not as though I've abandoned them entirely. But, I've digitized many of them so far.

Fair enough. But, often, some people spend a lot on a 'table, and think that it is therefore automatically 'good'. There are plenty of expensive 'tables that don't perform well... high-end Technics tables back in the day come to mind. And while even some audiophiles liked SOTAs, to me they've always sounded overly CD-like and clinical.

Quote:
Musicality is a difficult word to define, as most people I know tend to think it means different things, esp. those who listen through single-ended tube amps.

To me, it means that it has the same emotional impact as live music. With good vinyl, you find yourself unconsciously snapping your fingers, tapping your toes, whatever. Something in your brain just connects with the music. With digital, that seems to happen less often, though it does happen.

Quote:
Again, that's the opinion of a small number of audiophiles. Most of us would not agree.

Audiophiles have always been in the minority, nothing new there. Most people can't afford that kind of equipment, and/or are unwilling to do the component-matching and painstaking set-up that's required for best results. But being in a minority never has made anyone wrong by itself. Only a minority of Americans opposed the Iraq war when it first started, after all.

Quote:
At some point I'm going to have to replace my turntable, and sooner, my cartridge. I'm not looking forward to the $6,000 it will cost me.

What do you have, if you don't mind me asking?


Quote:
Yeah, I'm sure. I've heard it. It's beautiful, to be sure. But, from an engineering standpoint, I can't see what it does so well, despite that Micheal Fremer thinks so highly of it. The last time I saw him at my club, he had just bought it (at a 75% or so discount).

I think the problem most people run into regarding a product like the Linn Sondek is that they try to go by classic specs, which really don't measure music per se, but measure what's easiest to measure... freq response, wow and flutter, etc. But look at something like the Sondek in-depth through a mechanical engineer's eyes, and the "why it's so good" question starts to become clearer (or should).

A really good 'table helps you get more information out of the groove, bad 'tables let that information get swamped by NVH, motor noise, poor tolerances, etc. That's why mid-fi (or mid-fi sounding) 'tables sound inferior to CD. There's less information on a CD, but you can get it all off the disc more or less.

I'd also say that the Linn Sondek is one of the most musical 'tables I've ever heard. Sounds cliche, but having one really does make you love and appreciate music more. I used to own one (got it used), but later sold it because I was very short on cash one particular year. One of the absolute dumbest things I ever did.

Quote:
I have no iPods, or tunes that are compressed. On my system they simply have too many problems. 256 isn't too bad, but it isn't good either. But, if music is there that I can't get elsewhere, I might buy some.

The sound you get from an iPod and a good set of upgrade headphones is pretty decent actually, especially if you mainly listen to rock, pop, and rap. For working out and casual listening, you could do worse...

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