iPod classic: the last hurrah for HDD-based iPods?

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
The latest incarnation of the classic iPod appears to be a stopgap measure targeted solely at consumers who make extensive use of storage capacity, but at the same time may signal the beginning of the end for hard disk drive (HDD) iPods, based on inferences derived from a recent report by iSuppli Corp.



Echoing sentiments first outlined in AppleInsider's review of the iPod Classic, the market intelligence firm believes the player's days may be numbered, as sales of the Classic are expected to begin their slow and inevitable decline beginning sometime next year.



"Apple’s continuation of the iPod model without adding new features suggests a stopgap measure necessitated by lack of time to develop an HDD-based touch iPod," said consumer electronics Chris Crotty.



Still, the Cupertino-based firm has seemingly managed to squeeze additional gross margin from the new Classic line when compared to last year's offerings, despite its uncharacteristic backward-looking approach to the player.



The new iPod classic carries a Bill of Materials (BOM) of $127 for the 80Gbyte version, and about $190 for the 160Gbyte model, according to iSuppli’s teardown of the players. This includes estimated costs of $78 for the 80Gbyte HDD in the low-end classic and $140 for the 160Gbyte HDD in the high-end model. That means the new 80Gbyte model sports a BOM that is 11.2 percent lower than that of the company's 30Gbyte model ($143) released last year.



However, the Classic’s dated features suggest stopgap measures that are likely to limit the product’s longevity and success in the market, iSuppli believes. The firm tentatively forecasts that iPod Classic shipments will start with a bang this holiday, rising to about 3.1 million units in 2007. However, growth will likely slow markedly after that, with shipments rising by only 12.9 percent to reach 3.5 million in 2008.







In contrast, combined shipments of the new NAND flash memory-based iPod nano and touch models are expected to amount to 26 million units in 2007, rising to nearly 40 million units in 2008 -- a 52 percent increase. iSuppli believes Apple will continue to take advantage of the 50 to 60 percent annual reductions in flash memory pricing to maintain or decrease its production costs, while doubling its players’ storage capacity every year with the solid-state storage technology as the HDD iPod slowly fades into the distance.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 82
    I've been buying CD's for about a zillion years now and have amassed an enormous collection of relatively useless plastic. With the 160 GB iPod Classic I have been able to move almost all of that library onto a cigarette pack-sized device and clear my shelves of what is clearly a media anachronism.



    My Point: Until Apple can deliver a flash drive device with THAT kind of storage capacity--at an affordable cost--I'll keep my Classic, OK?
  • Reply 2 of 82
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,426member
    As an owner of a 160gb, I don't know why they want to kill it off. I love having 160gb. FINALLY an iPod that can store enough video and music to where i CAN SYNC when I want to. Unless they can break 100gb with Flash, I don't see why the hd based players would be replaced. MAYBE they can break 100gb in a year, but I doubt it. Not because of technology but because of costs. We'll see.
  • Reply 3 of 82
    I don't think you guys are reporting this quote right at all. It doesn't say anything about getting rid of HDD based iPods, rather it refers to the fact that they didn't have enough time to roll the Touch interface into the HDD form factor.



    Don't think for a second that high volume storage is going anywhere. Apple has every intention of pushing storage levels that drive video, lossless audio, and high count music libraries.
  • Reply 4 of 82
    Flash devices also do have a limited number of times data can be written to it, that limit is far less than hard disks, I'm all for having the option, there is no reason they can't develop both.
  • Reply 5 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ColeSQ View Post


    I don't think you guys are reporting this quote right at all. It doesn't say anything about getting rid of HDD based iPods, rather it refers to the fact that they didn't have enough time to roll the Touch interface into the HDD form factor.



    Read it again, it totally does.



    "signals the beginning of the end for hard disk drive (HDD)-based iPods"



    "the media player line may be the last from Apple to employ the venerable HDD technology for storage"



    This doesn't surprise me at all, I've been saying all along that the Classic is just a stopgap product intended to keep an increasingly smaller group happy until they finally switch entirely to flash based models.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post


    Flash devices also do have a limited number of times data can be written to it, that limit is far less than hard disks



    Do you have a source on that? Looking online, it looks like flash devices have a limit, but it seems extremely high, with normal use much higher than the average person would be able to wear it out. With no moving parts, even with that limit, it still seems like it would be much more reliable than a HD based unit.
  • Reply 6 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post


    Read it again, it totally does.



    "signals the beginning of the end for hard disk drive (HDD)-based iPods"



    "the media player line may be the last from Apple to employ the venerable HDD technology for storage"



    No, the iSuppli quote does NOT. Read the iSuppli quote again:



    "Apple’s continuation of the iPod model without adding new features suggests a stopgap measure necessitated by lack of time to develop an HDD-based touch iPod" does not translate into "here comes the end of the HDD iPod - period".



    You're reading an article written by AppleInsider which uses this quote from iSuppli as its entire supporting basis. Though there's much less at stake here, this is the rough equivalent of taking the statement "Iraq is developing a nuclear capability" and giving a speech stating that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.



    Don't mean to come down hard, the average person doesn't read the actual quote used as the basis for a news article we kinda deserve what's brought on by just assuming that because anyone has a web site we should just read and believe.



    AI, as time has gone by you guys have done a fantastic job of moving more toward consistently solid, fact-based reporting but you're really reaching here. It might make more sense to rewrite this article and change it to "Next HDD iPod Highly Likely To Add Touch Interface".



    Oh, and hate to get cocky but if anyone wants to place a bet with me that this will in fact be the last HDD iPod, I'll take that bet. I need three 320GB iPods for my cars and will buy them when they come out with the proceeds from all takers... ;-)
  • Reply 7 of 82
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ColeSQ View Post


    I don't think you guys are reporting this quote right at all. It doesn't say anything about getting rid of HDD based iPods, rather it refers to the fact that they didn't have enough time to roll the Touch interface into the HDD form factor.



    Don't think for a second that high volume storage is going anywhere. Apple has every intention of pushing storage levels that drive video, lossless audio, and high count music libraries.



    ------

    El Segundo, Calif., Oct. 11, 2007?Apple Inc.?s new iPods typically are forward-looking products that push the envelope in terms of functionality and electronic design.

    However, with the iPod classic, Apple has taken a backward-looking approach to Personal Media Player (PMP) functionality and technology, according to research from iSuppli Corp.?s Teardown Analysis service.



    While the rest of the iPod line has migrated to solid-state flash memory, the new iPod classic continues to employ venerable Hard-Disk Drive (HDD) technology for storage. Furthermore, the iPod classic lacks some of the other advanced features found in the other new iPods, namely wireless capability and a touch screen.



    On the inside, the classic?s design is essentially the same as the existing flagship iPod, with a few changes in parts and component suppliers.



    This allows Apple to offer the product at a lower price and with more storage capacity than the existing iPod, while maintaining a healthy margin. However, the classic?s dated features suggest stopgap measures that are likely to limit the product?s longevity and success in the market, iSuppli believes.

    ------
  • Reply 8 of 82
    Cole, you're right, I misunderstood your point.



    If that's all the source said, it does seem more like they're saying a HD version of the touch could be coming. What they say doesn't imply that they're dumping HD at all, it seems like AI is jumping to conclusions unrelated to their comments.
  • Reply 9 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kasper View Post


    ------

    El Segundo, Calif., Oct. 11, 2007?Apple Inc.?s new iPods typically are forward-looking products that push the envelope in terms of functionality and electronic design.

    However, with the iPod classic, Apple has taken a backward-looking approach to Personal Media Player (PMP) functionality and technology, according to research from iSuppli Corp.?s Teardown Analysis service.



    While the rest of the iPod line has migrated to solid-state flash memory, the new iPod classic continues to employ venerable Hard-Disk Drive (HDD) technology for storage. Furthermore, the iPod classic lacks some of the other advanced features found in the other new iPods, namely wireless capability and a touch screen.



    On the inside, the classic?s design is essentially the same as the existing flagship iPod, with a few changes in parts and component suppliers.



    This allows Apple to offer the product at a lower price and with more storage capacity than the existing iPod, while maintaining a healthy margin. However, the classic?s dated features suggest stopgap measures that are likely to limit the product?s longevity and success in the market, iSuppli believes.

    ------





    So what does this have to do with hard drives being removed from the iPod lineup?



    - Continued use of same parts/functionality? CHECK

    - Need for advanced features like wireless and a touch screen? CHECK

    - Need for a product refresh to keep the product selling? CHECK

    - Acknowlegment that the storage employed is a hard disk drive? CHECK

    - Statement that iSuppli believes hard drives will not be employed in the future? STILL MISSING



    I see what I think you're trying to convey, Kasper, which is that they must be doing away with hard drives because they're acknowledging that everything else in the box is getting long in the tooth, but it still seems like quite a reach to take your source to mean that this is the last HDD-based iPod we'll see. People have been saying that for two years, but those people haven't been considering how increasing demands for mobile video storage - and Apple's desire to make sure they're positioned to accomodate larger video libraries just as they have done for audio and photo libraries - will drive the storage component of the market just as it did before it accommodated 90% of us finally.



    BTW, does this mean you're in on my bet? ;-)
  • Reply 10 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kasper View Post


    ------

    El Segundo, Calif., Oct. 11, 2007?Apple Inc.?s new iPods typically are forward-looking products that push the envelope in terms of functionality and electronic design.

    However, with the iPod classic, Apple has taken a backward-looking approach to Personal Media Player (PMP) functionality and technology, according to research from iSuppli Corp.?s Teardown Analysis service.



    While the rest of the iPod line has migrated to solid-state flash memory, the new iPod classic continues to employ venerable Hard-Disk Drive (HDD) technology for storage. Furthermore, the iPod classic lacks some of the other advanced features found in the other new iPods, namely wireless capability and a touch screen.



    On the inside, the classic?s design is essentially the same as the existing flagship iPod, with a few changes in parts and component suppliers.



    This allows Apple to offer the product at a lower price and with more storage capacity than the existing iPod, while maintaining a healthy margin. However, the classic?s dated features suggest stopgap measures that are likely to limit the product?s longevity and success in the market, iSuppli believes.

    ------



    The full article is here:

    http://www.isuppli.com/news/default.asp?id=8546



    It doesn't say anything about Apple dumping HD's, just that the classic probably won't be a huge seller and won't be around that long. It looks like the "no more HD" conclusion is something AI came up with on their own, unrelated to the article.
  • Reply 11 of 82
    It sure would be interesting to see an HDD touch this time next year when so many claimed it was impossible (battery life constraints, etc.).
  • Reply 12 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post


    The full article is here:

    http://www.isuppli.com/news/default.asp?id=8546



    It doesn't say anything about Apple dumping HD's, just that the classic probably won't be a huge seller and won't be around that long. It looks like the "no more HD" conclusion is something AI came up with on their own, unrelated to the article.



    I'm with you totally. It seems there's no way they'd support that interface anyway, just on continued development costs against diminishing returns. The cool part of all this is there's likely a group of people at Apple that know exactly how long they can milk the "Classic Cow" before they have the HDD designs from R&D to production. Based on history and share, it looks like we'll see the last of Classic right after the holidays so they can get one last bang from the investment and follow it up with HDD iPod buyer's remorse by springtime!
  • Reply 13 of 82
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post


    The full article is here:

    http://www.isuppli.com/news/default.asp?id=8546



    It doesn't say anything about Apple dumping HD's, just that the classic probably won't be a huge seller and won't be around that long. It looks like the "no more HD" conclusion is something AI came up with on their own, unrelated to the article.



    Common guys, you have to read between the lines. The HDD iPod is going away regardless. And in our defense, I just did a quick search and we're not the only ones to interpret the report as such:



    http://www.businessweek.com/technolo...mpaign_id=yhoo
  • Reply 14 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kasper View Post


    Common guys, you have to read between the lines. The HDD iPod is going away regardless. And in our defense, I just did a quick search and we're not the only ones to interpret the report as such:



    http://www.businessweek.com/technolo...mpaign_id=yhoo



    Blame me - I started this! <grin>



    BTW Kaspar, are you sure Business Week isn't just taking some moron reporter and having him regurgitate your stuff? That's what I'd do, and they're in good company based on recent world events...
  • Reply 15 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kasper View Post


    Common guys, you have to read between the lines. The HDD iPod is going away regardless. And in our defense, I just did a quick search and we're not the only ones to interpret the report as such:



    http://www.businessweek.com/technolo...mpaign_id=yhoo



    ...oh, and you're totally right. The iPod HDD is going away.... in the year 2011 based on some rudimentary calculations of Moore's Law!
  • Reply 16 of 82
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    No time to put an HDD in a Touch? How much time would that take?



    I'm sure it's more a matter of how much such a device would COST, and how bulky it would be if both the screen and HD got good battery life.
  • Reply 17 of 82
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ColeSQ View Post


    I'm with you totally. It seems there's no way they'd support that interface anyway, just on continued development costs against diminishing returns. The cool part of all this is there's likely a group of people at Apple that know exactly how long they can milk the "Classic Cow" before they have the HDD designs from R&D to production. Based on history and share, it looks like we'll see the last of Classic right after the holidays so they can get one last bang from the investment and follow it up with HDD iPod buyer's remorse by springtime!



    I'm not so sure about "milking" the design. There are a few people who really want such large amounts of storage. It's been shown that most people never fill up their smaller capacity models. I don't think Apple feels there is a need to raise the price of these models by enlarging the LCD, and draining more power.



    I think Apple is just fulfilling the needs of that smaller audience.



    It's possible they will continue to do so as long as it is profitable for them to do so.



    But, at some point in time, they will stop.



    Will they support an iTouch with a HDD?



    If they find that enough people are willing to buy a model that is thicker, heavier, and either with a shorter battery life, or even bigger and heavier because of a larger battery, then sure.



    Otherwise, no.



    By the end of 2008, if not sometime sooner, they will have a 32GB iTouch. That will satisfy most everyones concerns for storage for a while, until 2009, when it will increase again.
  • Reply 18 of 82
    mgkwhomgkwho Posts: 167member
    "Apple’s continuation of the iPod model without adding new features suggests a stopgap measure necessitated by lack of time to develop an HDD-based touch iPod," said consumer electronics Chris Crotty.



    Um, "said consumer electronics Chris Crotty" doesn't make any sense. How about "Chris Cotty of Consumer Electronics?"



    -=|Mgkwho



    EDIT: Jasper, it's "come on, guys" not "common guys"
  • Reply 19 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kasper View Post


    Common guys, you have to read between the lines. The HDD iPod is going away regardless. And in our defense, I just did a quick search and we're not the only ones to interpret the report as such:



    http://www.businessweek.com/technolo...mpaign_id=yhoo



    You guys can go ahead and make that conclusion. But your article shouldn't say "iSupply believes..." it should say "Based on what iSupply says, AI believes..."



    There's nothing wrong with AI giving an opinion. The problem is you're putting your opinion in the mouth of iSupply.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    No time to put an HDD in a Touch? How much time would that take?



    I'm sure it's more a matter of how much such a device would COST, and how bulky it would be if both the screen and HD got good battery life.



    Well, that's the point. They could have quickly taken the touch and dumped in a HD, but it wouldn't have optimal form factor and battery life. They didn't just take the iPhone and rip out the phone, they tweaked the design to make the most of it. Assuming they do a HD version of the touch, it will be the same thing, they'll take the time to get the design right.
  • Reply 20 of 82
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mgkwho View Post


    "Apple?s continuation of the iPod model without adding new features suggests a stopgap measure necessitated by lack of time to develop an HDD-based touch iPod," said consumer electronics Chris Crotty.



    Um, "said consumer electronics Chris Crotty" doesn't make any sense. How about "Chris Cotty of Consumer Electronics?"



    -=|Mgkwho



    No, no. You misunderstand. He's a robot made for consumers, rather than industry.
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