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Next-gen video iPod to employ 16GB of NAND flash - report

post #1 of 73
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Apple Inc. is gearing up to unveil a NAND flash-based video iPod in late September, which may aggravate the currently observed NAND flash shortages, according to DigiTimes.

Citing "sources at Taiwan-based component makers," the Far Eastern rumor publication claims the "new iPod video" will use NAND flash as the "major storage media," offering twice as much capacity as Apple's high-end iPhone handset.

"With the launch of the new iPod imminent, together with the recently reported power outage experienced by Samsung Electronics at its fabs, component makers are concerned that overall NAND flash supply may be impacted," the report states.

Apple's current line of video iPods employ bulky 1.8-inch hard disk drives (HDDs), but are the last of the firm's consumer electronics gadgets to do so. Since introducing the iPod nano in 2005, the company has slowly shifted all of its other handheld devices to the more reliable solid-state NAND flash memory.

Analysts have argued that it only makes sense for Apple to progress its video iPod players in the same fashion, as flash storage -- which is more compact and lacks the movable parts of HDDs -- would pave the way for smaller form factor players, as well as improvements to both battery life and durability.

"We believe that the video iPod transition from 1.8-inch hard disk drives to NAND flash memory may occur as soon as late 2007," Prudential Equity Group analyst Jesse Tortora wrote in a February report. "Our checks indicate that Apple is considering canceling its next generation HDD-based iPod design, with the form factor refresh involving a move to NAND flash memory."

DigiTimes, which makes no mention in its report whether the 16GB video iPod model would include a touch-screen interface akin to the iPhone, has been hit or miss on the subject of Apple rumors over the course of time. However, the publication's most recent round of "hits" have outweighed its misses.

Still, it should be noted that DigiTimes as recently as last month reported that a multi-touch video iPod would arrive in August, as opposed to its most recent claims of late September.
post #2 of 73
Isn't 16 gig a bit small for video? What could they put in the iPhone case if they throw out all the phone stuff? Still WiFi/bluetooth?
post #3 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by a-maze View Post

Isn't 16 gig a bit small for video? What could they put in the iPhone case if they throw out all the phone stuff? Still WiFi/bluetooth?

They would just stuff 2x or 4x the chips in the device to give you 32Gb or 64Gb of RAM.
post #4 of 73
16gb? most of us who were excited to upgrade to a widescreen touchscreen ipod no longer can. i was looking forward to a 100gb widescreen touchscreen ipod with osx. my 5g has 47gigs, so if all new ipods will be nand-flash only, i guess those of us who want our entire collection on one ipod will have to wait a while longer. how long till a nand based device can handle 100gb and be reasonably priced ($350)?
post #5 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by a-maze View Post

Isn't 16 gig a bit small for video? What could they put in the iPhone case if they throw out all the phone stuff? Still WiFi/bluetooth?

I was thinking the same. I'm hoping maybe some sort of hybrid flash+hard drive version. I would hate dropping from my 60GB iPod to a new "top-of-the-line" iPod with a mere 16GB of storage. That wouldn't even hold half of my music let alone the vast majority of video. Flash storage to intelligently cache contents so it can idle down the hard drive except when absolutely necessary.

And then there's the flaw of a smaller form factor. Smaller form factor and video player don't really go too well together. You need a decent sized screen to reasonably enjoy watching video. Otherwise you get to listen to a video and watch a couple of pixels move about on screen.

What I'm hoping for is an iPod video with a true 16x9 screen (not the iPhone's almost 16x9 screen) capable of displaying 720p content (to match the AppleTV's highest resolution). It doesn't need to actually fully display 720p, just downconvert 720p content to its screen. Then toss in an update to the iPhone to allow it to display 720p content and announce the arrival of 720p content on iTunes (yeah, I wouldn't buy any movies that way having already jumped to Blu-Ray, but TV shows would be nice).
post #6 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

They would just stuff 2x or 4x the chips in the device to give you 32Gb or 64Gb of RAM.

Possibly using multiples of 8GB would be cheaper if 8GB is less than half the price of a 16GB. I wonder if this would be where ZFS would come in handy with pooled storage. It would be a great way to test out the filesystem in a Mac-related but non-critical way.

Maybe they could get away with adding an SD slot and then that allows the storage to be increased quite easily when future flash developments come about.
post #7 of 73
I definitely DON'T think the iPod will get 16GB flash memory, that's just really ridiculous. First of all it would make no sense to call it an video iPod, secondly it would make no sense. As i think a Video iPod shoud be exactly that, that you're able to watch basically more or less your video/DVD archive on your iPod, and not just some movies, few CD's and that's about it, 16GB is full....Sorry if i'm sounding negative, but i personally hope the video iPod will "blow our minds" in a positive way, and 16GB flash will not do it. Surprise me in a positive way and my wallet will always open for Apple products, and eg stuff like 720p will do it!!

Then again, 16 GB on a Nano is a different story....
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post #8 of 73
Um, September 11 everybody. Not late september, not august. September 11.

And would you idiots all please think and listen to MacTel? 16GB supply does not equal 16GB iPod.

-=|Mgkwho
post #9 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vulcan1 View Post

then again, 16 GB on a Nano is a different story....

That would make sense. 3rd Gen Nano, now with 16GB of storage, and it can play video. That's a toy that has a built-in market. It doesn't even come close to replacing the HDD models though.
post #10 of 73
The "buy a Mac, get a free iPod Nano" promotion at the Apple Store for Education ends September 16. We won't see new Nanos until at least September 18.
post #11 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfohwrd View Post

The "buy a Mac, get a free iPod Nano" promotion at the Apple Store for Education ends September 16. We won't see new Nanos until at least September 18.

Not necessarily. I think they have released new iPods before the mac + iPod promos have expired before. The new iPods just weren't eligible for the promotion.
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post #12 of 73
I can see them doing this. It's not farfetched.

But coming out with a 16GB video iPod doesn't mean that they will discontinue higher capacity HHD players. This could be an addition.

A 16GB model would probably cost as much as a 30 GB HHD model, so there could be more than one model in the line-up.

I can see plenty of people lining up for a 16GB SST model if it also offers a decent improvement in battery life.

Not everyone needs 30 or more GB's of storage.

Look at what was said when Apple came out with the Nano with half the storage of the older Mini's. It was thought that they wouldn't sell as well because of it, and yet, they broke all sales records.

The same thing will happen hers. People on line will howl, but the public will stand on line to get them, and Apple will set more sales records.

Then, next year, Apple will increase the memory size again.
post #13 of 73
If they bring out a 16gb flash iPod that supports video, I think they'll have to make that a "nano", and also have an 8gb version. That would be fine for most people. I don't know what percentage of iPods sold are HD-based now, but I don't think they'll drop the HD-based models. So perhaps we'll see an upgrade across the whole iPod line - iPod Nano to 8GB and 16GB, supporting video. iPod to 80GB and 100B. I'd guess that the iPod will go to iPhone styling, while the iPod Nano will perhaps keep some aspects of the current anodized aluminium design - they'll want to be able to color them as thats pretty popular.

The question is, will the iPod Nano get a touchscreen etc? Maybe that'll just be reserved for the iPods...
post #14 of 73
I plan on buying an existing iPod now just in case this move goes to their regular iPod line.

I am in the process of archiving my entire TV on DVD collection as well as DVD collection (well over 500 DVDs total) and if they come out with some 16 GB version then I would not be able to even fit a quarter of my collection on one of these. Let alone any music or podcasts or even games for that matter.

It would be a joke and no one would buy one....let's see, bigger screen, running OS X or, same size screen and more space....hmmm which one is more important?
post #15 of 73
Could they sell a 30 or 32GB SDD version for $399 ?

I'm thinking 40GB 4" touch-screen for $299 and 100GB 4" touch-screen for $399. Both with some kind of flash-assisted 1.8" moving hard drive.
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post #16 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

......I would hate dropping from my 60GB iPod to a new "top-of-the-line" iPod with a mere 16GB of storage....

But....you wouldn't have to. It isn't compulsory that you buy each new release, and your existing iPod will be unaffected....
post #17 of 73
16gb of flash,

I require at least 25 TBs of data. It should also be able to play movies at 7,680 × 4,320. The main problem with the whole plan is that 25 terrabyes is only enough for one uncompressed video at 7,680 × 4,320..
post #18 of 73
Let's dream a bit...
Why don't they put a DVB-T receiver (digital live tv) in the new iPod 16:9 touch screen model with 32 gig's? That way they would be ahead of the market in US and EU and have a foot in Japan.
SD slot? NEVER! It wouldn't be elegant enough...
Current video iPod sadly proves that people will watch video on a very small screen... but with those nice Archos coming out this won't be the future. No money on any Ipod Nano video bets for me!
post #19 of 73
Don't read into it. This is complete bull shit. The Nano will be the one getting 16GB NAND in Septemer, Creative's equivalent got that upgrade last week. There is no way that Apple will be selling a 16GB iPod video. When Apple switch over to flash memory for the iPod video they will be offering at least 32GB.
post #20 of 73
16 Gigs is a joke for a video iPod. Where is this info coming from? This is cr@p.
post #21 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by jouster View Post

But....you wouldn't have to. It isn't compulsory that you buy each new release, and your existing iPod will be unaffected....

I know I don't have to replace my iPod with every new release (my current iPod is in fact the first and only one I've owned). But say it dropped dead tomorrow and Apple announced new video iPods with a "whopping" 16GB of flash RAM storage along with the simultaneous discontinuation of the current 5G video iPod line. I would hate for this 16GB iPod to be my only option for a new video iPod. To my mind, an upgrade should well actually be upgrade. Don't know how dropping from 30GB or 80GB all the way down to 16GB could qualify as an upgrade regardless of any other enhancements it has.
post #22 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrpiddly View Post

16gb of flash,

I require at least 25 TBs of data. It should also be able to play movies at 7,680 × 4,320. The main problem with the whole plan is that 25 terrabyes is only enough for one uncompressed video at 7,680 × 4,320..

...and I thought I was the only one watching IMAX Digital on my 3.5" screen
post #23 of 73
My wife's iPhone has 8GB and she's got a lot of videos on there and a couple movies. I think that's really just fine and 16 would be great.
post #24 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akac View Post

My wife's iPhone has 8GB and she's got a lot of videos on there and a couple movies. I think that's really just fine and 16 would be great.

That's fine if she has built up her movies and music collection based on an 8Gb iPod. My collection is over 50Gb in iTunes so if it goes kaput, my only 'upgrade' would be 16Gb which would not be acceptable.

I don't believe the article really. Maybe 16Gb flash nano but not 6th gen iPod. I reckon it will use both flash and HDD. Maybe a version of OSX on the flash memory with a 120Gb HDD for the music/videos?

D
post #25 of 73
Since introducing the iPod nano in 2005, the company has slowly shifted all of its other handheld devices to the more reliable solid-state NAND flash memory.

Nice marketing chatter.

If they could put a 1 TB WD drive in the form factor of 1.8in drive it would last longer and cost less than the NAND flash memory.

We know NAND flash memory will fail far sooner after so many read/writes to memory over that of a conventional HDD.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_memory

...An obvious extension of flash memory would be as a replacement for hard disks. Flash memory does not have the mechanical limitations and latencies of hard drives, so the idea of a solid state drive, or SSD, is attractive when considering speed, noise, power consumption, and reliability.
There remain some aspects of flash-based SSD's that make the idea unattractive. Most importantly, the cost per gigabyte of flash memory remains significantly higher than that of platter-based hard drives. Although this ratio is decreasing rapidly for flash memory, it is not yet clear that flash memory will catch up to the capacities and affordability offered by platter-based storage. Still, research and development is sufficiently vigorous that it is not clear that it will not happen, either.
There is also some concern that the finite number of erase/write cycles of flash memory would render flash memory unable to support an operating system. This seems to be a decreasing issue as warranties on flash-based SSD's are approaching those of current hard drives.


This is rich. They determine that flash memory warranties being on-par with HDD absolves them from the reality that the memory will fail far sooner than a traditional drive. This wreaks of legal protectionism and not technical superiority.
post #26 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

I know I don't have to replace my iPod with every new release (my current iPod is in fact the first and only one I've owned). But say it dropped dead tomorrow and Apple announced new video iPods with a "whopping" 16GB of flash RAM storage along with the simultaneous discontinuation of the current 5G video iPod line.

A flash based device is a lot less likely to drop dead. Replacement parts and repair services are very easy to get though.
post #27 of 73
Just another off-base prediction brought to you by the DigiTimes confusion farm.

I choose to ignore it entirely. (Except to post this, I guess.)
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post #28 of 73
Remember that when they introduced the nano and cancelled the mini, they kept the same prices but lowered the amount of storage space.
post #29 of 73
you're all being ridackulous. i used to think i had to carry around my entire itunes collection on my iPod. my last iPod was 20 gig clickwheel w/ b&w screen. when i bought it my itunes was around 18 gigs. now it's around 203.47 gigs, and i got rid of my 20 gig ipod for the 8 gig iPhone. i love it. i just autofill the thing every few nights while it's charging. [i keep the three or four albums i'm currently listening to on at all times - icky thump, shine on, and year zero]. there i no need for me to carry around everything i've got, but when my phone is in shuffle, i hear music i haven't heard in 15 years - everything from !!! to the zips.
post #30 of 73
You guys and or storage requirements....

They won't make a 16gb video ipod. That will give you like 10 movies and as many albums. But I also hear people saying "geeze, 16 gb? I'm archiving my entire 500+ DVD collection, wtf?!? 16gb is worthless!" This is precisely why itunes updates your ipod so seamlessly. And when was the last time you watched Rocky IV anyways? If you really want to watch some crappy movie instead of your son's baseball game, think about it ahead of time.

On a side note: you're not allowed to check your email on your ipone while simultaneously ordering drinks at the bar...even if you're a 40-something VP.
post #31 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


If they could put a 1 TB WD drive in the form factor of 1.8in drive it would last longer and cost less than the NAND flash memory.

We know NAND flash memory will fail far sooner after so many read/writes to memory over that of a conventional HDD.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_memory

Wikipedia is not an authoritative source. In any case HDDs also have failure modes that appear to be more common than originally thought based on some Google disk failure data. Smaller form factor drives used in a mobile environment fail faster.

Quote:
This is rich. They determine that flash memory warranties being on-par with HDD absolves them from the reality that the memory will fail far sooner than a traditional drive. This wreaks of legal protectionism and not technical superiority.

Wear leveling algorithims and larger capacities reduce the MTBF of flash devices to the point where its not as much an issue. ESPECIALLY for an iPod type device unless you delete all your songs and movies on a periodic basis for replacement. Even so, the duty cycle is very long even for something like a Shuffle.

Vinea
post #32 of 73
i'm going to figure out a way to hook up my lacie 1.5tb big disk to my iphone. that would be schweet.
post #33 of 73
I can see a market for this, but it obviously won't replace the existing hard-drive based iPods. Those people who are keeping their entire music collection on their iPod actually need those tens-of-GB capacities.

OTOH, people like me who keep everything on the desktop Mac, and transfer a subset into the iPod for playback on-the-go would probably appreciate it. The 4GB I have now, while fine for music, wouldn't be big enough for any significant amount of video. 16GB would solve that problem.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Since introducing the iPod nano in 2005, the company has slowly shifted all of its other handheld devices to the more reliable solid-state NAND flash memory.

Nice marketing chatter.

Flash is more reliable. It doesn't take physical damage when dropped or operated at high altitude, and no moving parts is always a good thing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

We know NAND flash memory will fail far sooner after so many read/writes to memory over that of a conventional HDD.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing . The failure you're describing depends entirely on how many writes are performed. Read operations do not contribute at all to flash failure.

Typical flash memory is good for hundreds of thousands of write cycles. At 100,000 cycles, you could completely erase and repopulate your iPod five times a day and it would last over 50 years.

It's only when you try to use flash for rapidly-changing data (like swap files and caches) that the write-cycle limit causes any real problems. This would be an issue for a flash-based Mac, but is a complete non-issue for devices like iPods.
post #34 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Wear leveling algorithms and larger capacities reduce the MTBF of flash devices to the point where its not as much an issue. ESPECIALLY for an iPod type device unless you delete all your songs and movies on a periodic basis for replacement. Even so, the duty cycle is very long even for something like a Shuffle.

I think you mean increase the MTBF. Bigger MTBF is supposed to be better.

That assumes wear-leveling works as proponents claim. If it is like they claim, then it would seem that every file that is written is really moved to a different place on every write. I'm not sure how the device keeps track of the number of writes. I really hadn't noticed any manufacturer specification with respect to wear-leveling.

But I do agree that it's hardly a problem with iPods, we're talking maybe one or two writes a day, and usually they are only a small fraction. With one complete write a day, even a low write rated flash (10k cycles) can hypothetically last 27 years without any of this wear-leveling voodoo, though flash ages a little faster than that, it's not specified to last longer than 10 years that I've heard.
post #35 of 73
16GB is fine for some people but not for others. This is exactly why there are various models with different sizes and features. Even if 16GB was really enough for everyone as some suggest, there will always be people who will think they need more and won't buy it (myself included).

I can see a 16GB nano being very popular. I can also see an entry level 16GB iPod video being popular. Neither is a replacement for the current iPod video models. It's a downgrade plain and simple.

I'm planning to upgrade my aging 4G 60GB iPod photo when the new line is available and I will not be buying anything smaller than 80GB no matter what cool features it may have.
post #36 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattB View Post

I can see a 16GB nano being very popular. I can also see an entry level 16GB iPod video being popular. Neither is a replacement for the current iPod video models. It's a downgrade plain and simple.

It's not that simple, it's mixed, you have to be focussed only on one thing to see it so simply. Flash would offer a bit better battery battery life, a slimmer package and a much more durable construction.
post #37 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

you're all being ridackulous. i used to think i had to carry around my entire itunes collection on my iPod. my last iPod was 20 gig clickwheel w/ b&w screen. when i bought it my itunes was around 18 gigs. now it's around 203.47 gigs, and i got rid of my 20 gig ipod for the 8 gig iPhone. i love it. i just autofill the thing every few nights while it's charging. [i keep the three or four albums i'm currently listening to on at all times - icky thump, shine on, and year zero]. there i no need for me to carry around everything i've got, but when my phone is in shuffle, i hear music i haven't heard in 15 years - everything from !!! to the zips.

This may suit you, but many of us do want to carry our entire music collection in our pockets. There is nothing more frustrating than having the urge to hear a particular track and finding you don't have it with you.

Granted, this may not be an issue for US citizens who don't get many holidays, but when I'm on holiday in Greece for 2 or 3 weeks, twice a year, I want my complete music collection with me, not edited highlights.
post #38 of 73
Some people seem to think that their iPod should hold everything they own. As a book reader, I don't carry around a library , I carry around a book. 16 gig will hold a bunch of TV shows, a couple of full length movies and thousands of songs.

I think you could do a little planning and sync up what you are likely to need for the next week or so and leave the full collection on your computer. How many times are you going to watch the same movie on your iPod?

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post #39 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephenbw View Post

but when I'm on holiday in Greece for 2 or 3 weeks, twice a year, I want my complete music collection with me, not edited highlights.

Can you seriously live without your computer for 2-3 weeks? I'm not sure about those of you in Europe, but as an American, if I'm going on an extended vacation, I'm going to have my MacBook Pro along.

m

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post #40 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Could they sell a 30 or 32GB SDD version for $399 ?

I'm thinking 40GB 4" touch-screen for $299 and 100GB 4" touch-screen for $399. Both with some kind of flash-assisted 1.8" moving hard drive.

No, they can't.
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