Apple to begin manufacturing flash-based iPod next month

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Flash-based iPod digital music player on tap for early 2005.



To his credit, Thomas Weisel analyst Jason Pflaum had this one nearly down pat.



Apple Computer in December will begin manufacturing a third variant of its flagship iPod music player, which will be based on solid-state flash memory, AppleInsider has confirmed through well placed and extremely reliable sources.



According to contacts in Asia, the computer company will build a stock-pile of approximately 2 million flash iPods before the product begins shipping world-wide in late-January or early February. The new players are slated to be announced at the annual Macworld trade show in San Francisco during the second week of January.



Though precise specifications were not readily available, the flash iPod will reportedly use controller chips from Austin, TX-based SigmaTel, and feature a storage capacity in the range of 256 Megabytes to 1 Gigabyte. Sources were unable to confirm if the player would be released in more than one configuration.



The iPod flash will retail for below (US)$200 and sport a similar user interface to the company's ubiquitous iPod and iPod mini.



Despite comments from Apple chief executive Steve Jobs that flash-based digital music players are often received as gifts, rarely used, and "end up in a drawer," market share figures speak for themselves. Although the iPod holds a whopping 92% slice of the pie for hard drive-based players, this figure shrinks to 65% when flash models are tallied as part of the mix.



Sales of flash players remain strong in the second half of 2004 and account for a larger percentage of digital music players than that of hard-drive music players when surveyed on a global basis. The introduction of an Apple-branded flash player is expected to increase Apple's share of players in the far east, where the adoption rate for the iPod has been feeble.



At last year's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Jobs introduced the iPod mini, a 4 Gigabyte hard drive-based player designed to compete in the high-end flash player market. A renowned success, the iPod mini drew strong demand throughout the better part of the year, but priced at $249, it remains inaccessible to many.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    Only 2 million? Don't they ever learn their lesson? 2 million will sell out in a week! Then once again, they will be backordered for 2 months.
  • Reply 2 of 40
    spudspud Posts: 25member
    so, will these have ridiculously long battery lives or will they be ridiculously lightweight?
  • Reply 3 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally posted by spud

    so, will these have ridiculously long battery lives or will they be ridiculously lightweight?



    I think they'll look just like the iPod Mini's but thinner and with a lot longer battery life. Apple's not going to compromise the size of the screen and click-wheel.
  • Reply 4 of 40
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,146member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by bdkennedy1

    Only 2 million? Don't they ever learn their lesson? 2 million will sell out in a week! Then once again, they will be backordered for 2 months.



    Actually they are learning. They will actually have product at the time of announcement. Then they can gauge demand and manufactur appropriately. This is good news..Apple will have a solution at almost every price point.



    There are times when I think that a 1GB flash player would be nice especially when AAC+ is coming with a %30 improvement in encoding effienciency. That means 96k files will sound pretty damn close to what we have at 128. More songs ..less space small price. It's all coming together.
  • Reply 5 of 40
    This will definatley hugley boost sales for apple. If they put their design brilliance on this thing, as you guys said, 2 million will be sold out right away. Im wondiering if it will have the click wheel, which, is my, and probably many others, favorite part of the iPod.
  • Reply 6 of 40
    Now all Apple needs is to open iTMS China, Taiwan, and Japan so that consumers in the Far East have music to play on those flash-based iPods.
  • Reply 7 of 40
    Damn, I want one now! I can't afford an iPod, so this would do me if it cost £100 and had a rechargeable battery. Don't see how it could have a click wheel though, as it would be too big compared with other players. I'm sure Apple will come up with something that surprises us all instead. Fingers crossed.
  • Reply 8 of 40
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    It will almost certainly have a click wheel. I imagine it just like one of those extra small flat remote controls you get along with your TV.

    Same size as the mini, but just flat (maybe a 1/4" thick?)



    But does that mean a whole new line of smaller socks?
  • Reply 9 of 40
    I will ask for one from my loving family as soon as they are available. Or, I'll just stop by a local Apple Store and pick one up -- maybe another one for the wife.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally posted by AppleInsider

    The introduction of an Apple-branded flash player is expected to increase Apple's share of players in the far east, where the adoption rate for the iPod has been feeble.



    Should read: "where the iPod Mini was only recently released."
  • Reply 11 of 40
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,773member
    I hope these things have recording features.



    I'd buy one just to record personal notes and interviews.
  • Reply 12 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Frank777

    I hope these things have recording features.



    I'd buy one just to record personal notes and interviews.




    That's a little unclear. I suppose Apple might include some comparable flash-player features, else the "iPod Micro" would be nothing but a really small iPod. On the other hand, Apple might use their brand inertia to sell the things as nothing more than a really small iPod.
  • Reply 13 of 40
    I guess that means we'll see AACPlus at MacWorld too. At 24K a 1GB iPod Flash could hold nearly as much music as the original iPod could.



    http://www.telos-systems.com/?/aacplus/default.htm
  • Reply 14 of 40
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Scooting this over to Digital Hub, home of the iPod.
  • Reply 15 of 40
    I had hoped that the iPod micro would have been out for Christmas (I own a few shares) but January will be fine.



    I think that the micro will be very similar to the others. They are fortunately locked into iTunes and TMS and all iPods now and in the future are going to remain compatible. The click wheel is simply too good to use anything else so there is no doubt in my mind that it and the screen will stay the same.



    2,000,000 on hand for a start is also a nice change for Apple, but I think they are spot on. They can fill the distribution channels, load up their stores and have a lot for sale through the on line store. I would not be surprised if the component makers are also building a supply in case sales go through the roof and demand is 2,000,000 per month.



    Every one wins on this one - except the competition.
  • Reply 16 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kenaustus

    [B]I had hoped that the iPod micro would have been out for Christmas (I own a few shares) but January will be fine.



    My guess is that the timing of the release is intentional. They probably realized they would never be able to meet Christmas demand, and rather than have a bunch of po'd customers -- they opted for a post-Christmas release.
  • Reply 17 of 40
    With the ipod apple gets it, take a killer product and move to lower price points to dominate the market, ipod->mini->flash.



    with consumer desktops too they have a killer product, OSX, but they dont move to lower price points. maybe this step down ipod thing will change Steve's mind on desktops.
  • Reply 18 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally posted by curiousuburb

    Should read: "where the iPod Mini was only recently released."



    Could read "where the iPod as a whole has poor retail presence and is relatively highly priced".

    Love the Apple policy of

    Foreign price = US price x exchange rate + 20% or so

    I mean, I was at a store in China where I could have thrown a rock and hit the factory of iPods (figuratively speaking, I didn't have a rock with me, and I didn't want to damage the windows) but the price is higher than in the US.

    But then again, much of this stuff can be put down to two words "life sucks".



    Mendosi
  • Reply 19 of 40
    More importantly, this could be the final nail in the WMA casket, so to speak.
  • Reply 20 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally posted by schmidm77

    More importantly, this could be the final nail in the WMA casket, so to speak.



    As long as you can only play AAC on Apple's stuff, WMA still has a colossally large advantage. I fear that in a few years, the iPod will be using WMA as its primary format...
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