Should iPod G5 evolve into... something else? iDeas

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I never thought of buying an ipod, my mobile musical needs are well served with my alupowerbook, but the introduction last week of the CHEAP iPodschuffle really made me salivate, I could use one of this things anywhere, when i'm bored waiting for/to some/one/thing, just because it's small enough to carry always on.

Then, out of curiosity, had a look at what the competition offers, all those ipod wannabes.

one word, WOW.

really, the market is a Jungle, as Jobs said on the keynote. But this crazy jungle is starting to produce dangerous tigers, panthers and lions. True, the majority of those wannabes are simply crap, but a few are really smart and very well designed. An example, look at the new Samsung minuscule 1GB flash player, with COLOR SCREEN!

Some other HD-based gadgets (whose name i dont remember) looked truly promising, with useful features people can find a use for, like HI-RES audio recording via line inputs (journalists, musicians on the go), well designed voice/lecture recording with Gain controls and even audio monitoring (students), text/ small pdf viewing ability, apparently real games, agenda with some kind of data INPUT ...etc, etc.

All together made me think, is there any future for the (it's the music stupid!) future Apple iPods?

Ok, lets see. Apple "simple" IPods have the majority of the market right now, but new gadgets flop every single second everywhere, and sooner or later they will offer more and well designed features than iPods, at prices Apple will NOT be able to compete at all (like same product for half or a third). Ipods only advantage will be its brand name, and will see its market share reduced to nothing and relegated to be the cool minority's gadget.

Sounds too similar to the Mac-PC history.

But Apple has already moved its pieces in advance, funnily enough a la microsoft way: selling "Software".

IMO, the iPodshuffle mission it's not only to conquer the cheap flash market as fast as possible at any cost (thus its very low price of $99= an impulse buy product), but above all, to ESTABLISH THE BIGGEST POSSIBLE USER BASE of iTunes Music Store customers. Having a proprietary codec than only works on iPods, 10 million iPod owners (20 million in 12 months, thanks to iPshuffle IMO) won't "switch platform" later on, simply because they will already have hundred(s) dollars in AAC tunes from ITMS. Smart strategy.

But even then, will that be enough -if the Ipod remains a "simple music player", against Microsoft, Sony, a thousand mp3 player builders -some of them with smart products, and specially, against MOBILE PHONE MANUFACTURES?

Because what iPods will have to face is, on one front, some manufacturers turning the mp3 players into full PDA devices. On the other, mobiles will develop REAL music playing capabilities very soon.

1GB-memory phones are already a reality, and in one year they'll have up to 4GB, same capacity as the iPod mini, but in flash-form (no HD worries and less batt drain).

2-4 GB is enough to store music for a week. I don't know in the States, but in Europe, EVERYONE older than 10 has a mobile in his pocket, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME. With one week of music (1.000 songs) on the phone, will you carry -besides your mobile- another heavy brick with you, and take care of yet another set of batteries and A/C adapter? I don't think so.

Even worse, current phones besides SMS (a world onto intself), are starting to have really good PDA capabilities, and not only record voice memos, but play java games, make photos and little mpg videos (1.3 mpx), store computer files, can surf the web and can now download video/TV and do videocalls (3G models). Oh, and sync to Macs (and PCs) in a blink.

So again, should the iPod evolve into something else? What? a PDA or a Phone?

just a though.


  • Reply 1 of 9
    You have a very valid point. Many products on the market seem to be consolidating into one product rather inexpensively ($500?), though not well enough as of yet, and definitely not all products! The iPod + Phone/PDA smart phone in conjunction with a PowerBook or iBook seems to be the best option right now. Maybe the iPod photo is a hint towards the future of the iPod... I?m sure Apple will either release a major iPod revision as soon as the market calls for it, aka PDA/Music/Phone. For the time being everyone seems very happy with the iPod as is, maybe a few years time and we?ll see some more PDA and phone like functions in the iPod, or maybe not. It'd really be awesome... something like a newton, than they are changing the concept of the iPod. \
  • Reply 2 of 9
    Voice recorder and radio are must IMO. All other mp3-players out there have it, and I cant see why Apple shouldnt have it either..

    Its not that the GUI is very hard to make, or complicated, so ease of use should'nt be a problem.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    cubistcubist Posts: 954member
    PDA capabilities on current phones are complete crap. Oh, they might be OK if you have 40 or 50 contacts, but not for 300, 300+ calendar items, 300+ to do items.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    hey, there are very powerful phones out there! I'm stydying with a bunch of japanese guys and their mobiles are better than my powerbook. They have 3mpx cameras, enourmous screens and every single feature you can think of, data stored on memory cards that just slide in on a side, 1GB for card.

    Ok, that's the japanese market, but in Europe vodafone lauched months ago the new sony V800 phone (3G)

    sony v800

    More are expected to come soon, before summer.

    Anyway, beside the other ipods wannabes, i think the biggest menace will come from the mobile market. As soon as you have 1GB or more memory on your phone to store music (or everyother data), ALL MP3 PLAYERS will be OUTDATED, a thing of the past, just what the Sony walkman is today.

    There will still be people who will want to carry its WHOLE music library always with them, and that's where the 60GB HD players will have a market for, but they will also store and show videos and photos, will play games, record audio and have PDA functions. Some already do that.

    I think it's time for Apple to step into the next new generation gadget.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,132member

    Originally posted by T'hain Esh Kelch

    Voice recorder and radio are must IMO. All other mp3-players out there have it, and I cant see why Apple shouldnt have it either..

    Its not that the GUI is very hard to make, or complicated, so ease of use should'nt be a problem.

    The only problem is that all these other companies are loading their players up with fm tuners, sd slots and voice recording but no company is making any headway into staving off iPod sales.

    I really think Apple has played this smart. I'd rather see them keep the iPods as primary audio playback devices and if they want to add voice/camera/fm they should create another device.

    A smartphone would allow them to toss in a lot of these features without muddying up the iPod UI.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    btw, i think that current iPods not having audio recording capabilities have to do with some kind of secret agreement with the audio industry.

    With the iTalk, the iPod can somewhat record voice notes, but the interface is dumb and terrible, the files are of awful reduced quality, and the device very inconvenient. For all that is apple to blame. They decided iPod shold be JUST a music player.

    But will it be enough now?

    Audio notes and lecture recording abilities should made into the next G5 iPod by default, with a good internal mic, a mic input plug for distant recording and decent software to manage all that.

    This wouldnt hurt the audio industry at all, but help and please millions of students (who swear by ipods)

    iMO would be a milestone step into something nobody has as of yet done (if well implemented), thus a great selling point to face the competitors.
  • Reply 7 of 9
    I see two potential ways the iPod might move along in the future:

    1. Convergance: As others have pointed out, today's PDAs and mobile phones are capable of holding as much data as the development of flash memory permits. 512 MB and even 1 GB memory cards are quite affordable.

    Further more, boundaries between these two device categories are bluring away (i.e. smartphones).

    This development and the common trend to include every possible feature will lead to highly integrated fully functional (PIM, phone, camera, office document viewing and manipulation, PDF viewing, games, larger high-res screens, multimedia playback and recording) devices that will be comparable in size, price, features and funcionality to today's notebooks and tablet devices: One device for all imaginable purposes.

    Downsides: size/weight, power consumption, theft/loss, prone to bugs due to high system complexity, hard to use, upgradeability.

    2. Minimalisme: Reduce a devices features set to a level needed to best fulfill its basicly intended purpose.

    This is the root of the digital hub idea: Having small highly specialized devices (cameras, music players, camcorders, mobile phones, PDAs, audio input devices etc.) that connect to a hub for added funcionality.

    Upsides: small and light, easy to use, "spokes" can ne exchanged easily, low complexity means less bugs.

    Downsides: number of devices to lug around, more batteries to take care of.

    What route should Apple take? This is a very tough decision to make.

    I tend to the minimalistic approach although I do think that some convergance makes sense in some cases:

    - where common data is used and no or little advance in funcionallity can be expected (PIM/cellphones, but without the cameras, please),

    - make extension that buils upon the technical or functional nature of a device (using the iPods harddrive to store pictures from your camera, add voice recording etc.)

    So, I think that the next generation iPod should stay basically like the last generation. Besides a better battery life and reduced size/weight, I hope they will open the iPod platform giving third parties the opportunity to develop add-ons to fulfill specialized needs.

    Things I'd like to see: USB-to-go (camera synching), voice redcording add-ons with better software and higher quality, a bigger and better screen (to improve UI), add-ons for every thing a heart desires (radio, GPS/navigation)
  • Reply 8 of 9

    that's a very smart view. Apple has an opportunity here to lead the industry and set standards (as it has always done).

    right now, and with the proliferation of powerful and fast flash memories, i envision iPods separating into two categories:

    -Flash based

    -HD based

    HD iPods will have capacities of 40MB and up, and will be marketed around its storage abilities, which will allow a myriad of 3rd parties offering add-ons to exploit it, specially if Apple opens part of its OS (ala OSX).

    Flash iPods will sell around another key points, like better batt life, size and "no skipping when jogging".

    what if the next iPod mini is flash based? think about it, a 6GB model. with the space savings will allow for bigger battery. Oh, and now that you're at it, why don't throw in the package:

    The all new Apple iPod mini:

    -6GB flash memory

    -20 hours battery time

    -USB 2.0 key (a la iPodshuffle)

    -built-in mic for voice memos

    -mic/line input for lecture recordings

    -Plays ALL audio formats

    -compatible Mac/PC/Linux (linux only for data)

    -in 5 cool colors


    this would be the BOMB. goobye creative, sony and everyone else.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    I used my ipod to record a lecture for the first time yesterday. Not bad quality - I had it stuffed in the top of my bag (I was only supposed to hear the lecture once and respond to it - FTS: F*** that S***)

    I've had my Belkin Audio recorder for almost eight months. Meh, just hasn't been something I've needed. Should this sucker be integrated into the iPod - to be honest, if it's going to increase the size of the unit or the price, no - there simply aren't enough people who would put it to good use to sacrifice those two elements.

    FM Radio? Bugger it. People still listen to radio? Good lord - the next thing I'll hear of is a mall ransacked by folks thinking the martians have attacked. I don't know about you, but FM radio is this area is dominated by extremist jackasses (left AND right) who love the sound of their own voice along with some really bad eighties rock. NO THANK YOU.

    As far as convergence devices go - the iPod phones are on the way from Motarola. PDAs are a dying breed: I just checked the retail numbers for our region (central canada) and they don't look good in that category. I still use my blackberry but I couldn't give a damn about my old Clié.

    It IS for the music, stupid. I had the good fortune to see a chap with a pocket media centre the other day - arms bent at ninety degrees, head down, staring straight into the screen. Nearly clocked himself something fierce after trying to step around a garbage can into the lamp post it was attached to.
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