iPods threatened by digital cameras?

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
what if the real ipod's competition doesn't come from those ugly Creative and Co. players, but from traditional digital cameras' manufacturers instead?

look at this new one from canon:

(see more here: canon camera )

this cute little thing is smaller than the ipod mini (albeit thicker and weights 20 grs more) and is a FULLY featured (pocket) digital camera.

Comes with a great canon 5mpx CCD, screamly fast DIGIC II CPU (like on my $4000 EOS-1D markII), very decent 3x optics, USB 2.0, records video at 640x480 at 30fps, records voice notes, manages JPGs, WAVs and AVIs, and has a hi-res 2" color screen (same size as iPod photo), which can be used not only for shooting, but also to "slide show" photos at whatever resolution (not only thumbs) as well as to play recorded/stored videos.

Ah, when connected to a TV it can of course do all that as well.

4GB flash memory cards already exist. They're still expensive, but that's just a matter of months. With such memory cards, this camera would have almost every single feature from the ipod photo, but at the size and with the storage space of the iPod mini. It only lacks audio playing circuits (D/A converter and phones out), but as seen with the shuffle, they are not only very cheap to manufacture but small enough to fit in a chasis like the one from this very canon ds400 camera.

hey, someone's already thought about a -not so great, camera-mp3 player:

think twice. What would you prefer, an iPod mini or a same sized 5mpx Canon digcamera and mp3-photo-video-player for 100 dollars more? (with user-and-instant repleaceble 4GB cards and batteries)

How should Apple react?


  • Reply 1 of 15
    I believe such multifunction devices are the way forward, eventually combined with a video phone - I just don't see it happening soon.

    The first company to get everything integrated well in an attractive small form will make a killing!
  • Reply 2 of 15
    If they can put a camera into a phone, they can put one in a photo iPod.
  • Reply 3 of 15

    think twice. What would you prefer, an iPod mini or a same sized 5mpx Canon digcamera and mp3-photo-video-player for 100 dollars more? (with user-and-instant repleaceble 4GB cards and batteries)

    A bit of a trick question imo. It falls into the same trap many technologically savvy people fall into: they emphasize features (specs) almost ignoring usability (user interface) and price which are also critical. Marketing is also a bit of a wildcard where it can help address one deficiency (usually price, but it can be something else as long as the other items deliver).

    Another point is that people will always like more features over less on paper, but in reality few every use all the features listed. And actually hate it, if the user experience is hard. I think where Apple excels is their design philosophy. They emphasize the user interface/experience first, other items are secondary.

    When I think about an all-in-one device, it feels like a UI nightmare. How many more buttons will be needed? How many compromises need to be made between features, size, screen, storage, battery, etc. Manufacturers in general have made several devices that have multiple functions but they have not displaced stand alone items. And in some cases, compromises make the multifunction device less useful.

    Going back to the music player. What do I want? Something small, light, and portable with the ability to play music well. Then I want an easy to use interface on both the player itself and the software. iPod nails these items. I feel a multifunction device would just clutter this.

    What do I want in a digital camera? Something would a good sized LCD so I can see the picture I'm snapping, lens mount for adapters such as wide angle or telephoto, zoom capability, etc. What about a super portable camera for quick and dirty pictures? Then I want something really small and durable with a simple interface... have a built in mp3 player might clutter it up. I just want to point and shoot.

    I think tech-savvy people often make the mistake of thinking features are the most important attribute. Some of them (not all) thought the shuffle was a terrible idea (no screen, no radio), others thought the iPod Mini was a terrible idea (4 gigs vs $50 more for a 20 gig iPod), etc. Other factors do come into play on whether something suceeds or not.

    Ah well, I'm done rambling. I think the iPod has a wonderful future for now. Take it easy.
  • Reply 4 of 15
    most of the time I agree with the less is more crowd, but a camera on a ipod photo is such a no-brainer. Plus I am sure that they could make the ui work in such a way that it wouldn't complicate things at all. All I really ask is that they put a decent camera in it, not a great camera, but not the one one typically find in a cell phone either.
  • Reply 5 of 15
    wwworkwwwork Posts: 140member
    ask and you shall recieve:

    the olympus m:robe 500i - 20 GB hard drive 1.2 megapixel camera

    the reviews have not been good, however
  • Reply 6 of 15
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,146member
    No cameras are not a threat but cell phones that play music are because a cell phone can contain a decent enough camera and the phone features are a must have for a large segment of the population.

    Apple knows the iPod won't rule the roost forever. They have to reach critical mass and then expand to a wider audience and they'll be fine. In a couple of years we'll look back and laugh at the days that we "only" had the ipod.
  • Reply 7 of 15
    quambquamb Posts: 143member
    those little lenses, no matter the resolution, capture a pretty bad quality image.
  • Reply 8 of 15
    one of the things i wanted to point out with this thread is that maybe the time has come for iPods to evolve (or die?)

    "keeping it simple" (and mono functional) will appeal less and less. Soon -if it's not already the case, the iPods advantadges will only be:

    1-Brand coolness

    2-iTunes software

    3-user trapped on paid AAC music files from iTMS that are reproduced only on iPods.

    (regarding the third point, we still have to wait and see, because Apple has been sued in France -for now only there, for iTMS files not reproduceable on other players).

    So, "first hitter factor", price and features, will no longer be on apple's camp.

    Nokia is teaming with Microsoft to have music in its cellphones

    Sony has announced cellphones that will be "ipod-killers" in March

    Canon could implement mp3 capabilities in the camera that opens this thread in months; it would raise its price in no more than $30. Canon knows how to build simple and easy GUIs. Their cameras are an living example.

    in europe everyone has a cellphone and a digital camera. (young) consumers are not afraid of multi-function devices, and they're who buy ipods in millions, not their parents.

    I'm not going to carry more than 2 devices in my pocket (if more than 1). contenders are:



    -mp3 player

    -"good enough" digital camera (not like my EOS-1D and "L" lenses, but better than those on cellphones)

    -USB memory key

    The cellphone is unquestionably one of them. Which one will be the other? (if any)
  • Reply 9 of 15
    quambquamb Posts: 143member
    agreed, though really, since when did everyone need to carry around cameras? its crazy.

    cell phones will be it - as people actually DO need them and carry them everywhere, everyday. hence- why would one buy a mp3 player when their cell phone can fit 1000+ songs on it?

    but i guess, questions like this were asked along time ago in the Apple r&d department. Am sure they know whats coming, and how to prepare for it to remain competitive.
  • Reply 10 of 15
    I thought I'd throw out a few more opinions:

    A portable mp3 can drain batteries. I would hate to share a cell phone with a device that has a multi features that drains batteries more quickly than simply cell phone standby. Multi features that use less "juice" (don't constant require a constant draw of energy) would be preferred. So items that compliment a cell phone are: cameras, address/phone books, some scheduling software, etc. I would not like music or video on a phone. I would like my cell phone as small as possible. Therefore I am willing to sacrifice some features for smaller size (i do like that Motorala Razr V3 phone) and longer battery life.

    On the mp3 front, maybe a futuristic PDA versus just a camera. It would be the size of an iPod now with a bigger screen and a built in camera. Everything is controlled via the interface... (However, it is interesting to note that PDAs that do support mp3 playback have been around awhile. It's just that the interface is not that good.) You can play games, run programs, etc.

    That would give you 2 devices you can carry...

    however, when everything is said and done, stand alone mp3 players will still be around. Probably smaller tho. It's just to useful in terms of having an easy to use device dedicated to one function. I think psychologically, people are more comfortable with divisions of labor between devices. Portable music players have been around for 20-30 years or so, and the basic function of music players really haven't changed.

    Multi-function devices will only be the wave of the future when they finally nail the perfect intuitive interface, they become small enough, and battery life is never an issue. And thats the problem, how to create a small intuitive device without a lot of buttons and switches but with a long battery life.

    I don't think the iPod should develop into a multifunction device. People associate iPod with music, and this association is getting stronger. It's just not helpful from a marketing perspective. But maybe they can create a springboard to make a new PDA with a different marketing spin (an iPad?).

    anyway, these are just opinions. I am more than happy to say that I can be wrong. Looking forward to how the world receives the motorola iTunes compatible phone when it comes out. My gut feeling tells me it won't sell well compared to other phones. But who knows?
  • Reply 11 of 15
    mmmpiemmmpie Posts: 628member

    Originally posted by jindrich

    I'm not going to carry more than 2 devices in my pocket (if more than 1). contenders are:



    -mp3 player

    -"good enough" digital camera (not like my EOS-1D and "L" lenses, but better than those on cellphones)

    -USB memory key

    I honestly consider the memory stick a free-bee, the shuffle is small enough that I let it fall into that category as well.

    Cellphone, as must have.

    PDA, well, I rarely need to enter much data without being able to grab my notebook. Im happy to tap away at a cellphone keypad to enter 100+ characters. The big benefit of the PDA is a large form factor screen and software selection.

    I think that these two are bound to merge. So PDA is gone from the list.

    MP3 player, covered by the shuffle.

    Digital camera, I carry my Canon Ixus nearly everywhere, because it just slips onto my belt.

    So the list ends up as:

    cellphone ( for contacts, calendar, talking )

    ipod shuffle ( for memory and MP3 )

    ixus ( for taking pictures )

    I do believe strongly in bluetooth ( or similar ). My cell phone should interrupt the ipod to route communications through my headphones.

    I should be able to take a picture with the camera and save it to the shuffle or send it with my phone.
  • Reply 12 of 15
    User experience, user experience, user experience .......
  • Reply 13 of 15
    "User experience" is right. Cellphones make lousy PDAs, at least at the current stage of technology. The user interface on cellphones is terrible. Anyone who enters a 100-character memo on a cellphone is a glutton for punishment; I have hundreds of to-do items, contacts and memos on my PDA, including long memos. Cellphone cameras are lousy too.

    Combining the audio functions of a phone and music player may be OK, though, because it would have the advantage that calls could break-through simply - music could auto-pause. But the user interface has got to be cleaned up, and it will hopefully derive far less from that of the phone than from that of the iPod.
  • Reply 14 of 15
    I think most of the points so far hit the nail on the head, in that integration of technologies into a single device makes sense only when that device is built to suit those purposes and doesn't sacrifice one experience (battery life) for another (music/video).

    Personally, I think Apple needs to pursue a strategy *(5 Years out) of 2 devices:



    The PlayPod is a Sony PSP style device which incorporates Music, Video, Photos, Gaming, etc. (Like a home media PC/Mac) into a single portable player with battery life on video of at least 4 hrs and 12 for music etc. Apple could integrate these functions better than anyone, and needs to in order to stay ahead of the curve. Sony's PSP falls short in everything but gaming because there is no HD, the UI isn't an iPod, and it's from Sony...

    The WorkPod is a Treo600 style device which encorporates communications functions, Cell phone, e-mail, Calendar, To do etc. The 2 complement each other with Bluetooth sharing (so photos can be sent from the PlayPod to the WorkPod etc.)...Battery life is at least a full 24 hours with common use.

    Just my 2.5 cents.
  • Reply 15 of 15
    This will not be an easy nut to crack. Possibly there will be different kinds of devices in different parts of the world to fit to the needs of different cultures. In Japan people ride trains or walk so they really need the smallest, lightest devices available. Here we tend to drive or stay in one office/home so we can tolerate a slightly larger device and get the benefit of a larger screen for more readability. At least this is one way to slice it.

    Personally, I could live without the camera. I just went out of my way to find a bluetooth phone that did not have a camera. Some places I visit do not allow camera phones. When I want to take pictures I use my Canon DSLR. After taking a lot of pictures I find I take fewer of them but I have higher expectations of the quality.

    Some years ago there was a mockup of a device about the size of a checkbook. The color LCD was the same size as the device. It would run OS X and include a cell phone. That was really cool because you didn't have to learn a new GUI. It was just like tearing off a small piece of your screen to take with you.

    Perhaps the iPod will gain dockable cell phone adapters?


    We are definitely in a transition time. In a few years the color display, low power G5 and gigabytes of flash memory will be cheap, fast and low power enough to make devices like this practical. The iPod will definitely give way to something else. However, the GUI, iTMS, iTunes etc. may keep Apple ahead of the pack.
Sign In or Register to comment.