Apple co-founder believes iPod has about run its course

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak this week likened the iPod to a fad whose days atop the consumer electronics market are numbered while lamenting the limitations of the iPhone 3G, for which he'd like to write certain applications but can't due to restrictions.



"The iPod has sort of lived a long life at number one," he told The Telegraph in an exclusive interview. "Things like that, if you look back to transistor radios and Walkmans, they kind of die out after a while."



Woz, who retired from the daily grind at Apple more than 20 years ago, says the media players are approaching a saturation point where "everyone has got one or two or three." It gets to the point, he adds, where they "get real cheap," become omnipresent, and don't sell as well as a result.



He also spoke out about the direction Apple has chose for the iPhone, specifically the limitations the company has imposed on developers, which, in his opinion, stifle innovation.



"Consumers aren't getting all they want when companies are very proprietary and lock their products down," he said, arguing in favor of Google's open approach to the Android platform that offers developers more freedom. "I would like to write some more powerful apps than what you're allowed."



Woz is also hesitant to embrace the cult following that Apple has managed to achieve. While it may provide some shelter during times of economic recession -- given that loyalists are likely to remain devoted in their purchase decisions -- it also stands in opposition to change.



"I would like to have the users influence the next generation," he said. "With a religion you're not allowed to challenge anything. I want our customers to challenge us."



Woz, who is consider naming his child Zowoz "because it's a palindrome," offhandedly remarked that Apple's next big thing could be an "iWatch," claiming that nobody, including chief executive Steve Jobs, really has the foresight into the next blockbuster gadget.



"I think he would be sitting there [unaware] right up until the day it is introduced," he said of Jobs.



In his interview with The Telegraph, Woz also sides with analysts who've recently downgraded Apple stock and predicts that Web 2.0 and social networking websites could be in a for a mini version of the dotcom crash that erased $5 trillion in market cap near the turn of the century.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 145
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,408member
    It's true, the iPod is saturated. I think at this point all that is left is the rest of the world and lower income families. I have purchased 4 and an iPhone 3g. Admittingly, I'll probably purchase another nano for running... but refurbished most likely.



    While I respect Woz, and completely agree with what he says about apple's restrictions on the developers... I don't think Jobs is as completely oblivious to the next "gadget" as he says.



    I also agree with him that more consumers should CHALLENGE apple. Make them produce products they want. ahem*xMac*ahem.
  • Reply 2 of 145
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Woz sounds like he is self medicating. Completely off in left field. Great spelling and grammar in this article BTW
  • Reply 3 of 145
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,259member
    What's stop the man from writing for the Desktop World?



    I'll tell you what? He lacks the software skills for such high level develop to pull it off. He never had them and its clear ever since the days he designed computer hardware. He's not a software engineer. He was a hardware engineer.
  • Reply 4 of 145
    kerrybkerryb Posts: 270member
    Woz for all his genius was more an engineer and not the visionary of Apple. He makes some obvious points about iPods and saturation but this is true of all technologies, evolve or go extinct. Just look at what has happened to the telephone and the first recorded music player and you will see how people will always want the ability to communicate at a distance and being entertained with music. The next big gadget? If history tells us anything it will be based on gadgets we use today but most like a smaller and more portable version.
  • Reply 5 of 145
    Sure, as a music player, many many people do have a flavor of iPod. But the market is wide open again for the Touch/iPhone platform. Getting a Touch in everyone's hands will send a lot more business Apple's way than music ever did.
  • Reply 6 of 145
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    While the iPod has become long in the tooth, there isn't anything we know of in development to replace it.



    As long as people want to carry around their music, they will be using an iPod.
  • Reply 7 of 145
    alienzedalienzed Posts: 393member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Woz, who is consider naming his child Zowoz "because it's a palindrome," offhandedly remarked that Apple's next big thing could be an "iWatch," claiming that nobody, including chief executive Steve Jobs, really has the foresight into the next blockbuster gadget.





    first of all, PLEASE spare the child. Zowoz? wtf?!



    secondly, I'd buy an iwatch if it was my cell phone, mp3 player, etc..
  • Reply 8 of 145
    The iPod market may be "mature" but it is far from over. The transistor radio gave way to portable cassette players when people wanted to transport their own music. The cassette Walkman gave way to the CD Walkman; and both of these gave way to the iPod when downloadable digital music became the new standard. Digital music players will remain the standard until someone comes up with another, better way to transport music.



    Each day there are thousands of kids reaching the age where they want to download and carry music around. Then there are international markets to be reached. Then there are the existing iPod owners who need to replace their units or want the new, improved model. So the iPod market isn't going away anytime soon. This almost sounds like sour grapes from Woz.
  • Reply 9 of 145
    While the Woz is obviously a legend and a hardware engineering genius, he's also a huge nerd. "iWatch"? Do you know anyone who wears a watch anymore? And didn't Gates talk about that five years ago?



    Woz should stick with what he knows. What he has never known is the average consumer. He's a geek with no social skills. And I love him to death, but he's way out of his league here.



    The same goes for all his talk of "Open" software platforms. Geeks love to talk about the Utopia that is Open Source. But no one has ever made a truly successful business model out of pure open source practices. (Except maybe Google, but even they are on thin ice with the coming economic downturn.)



    And of course no one will be using an iPod in five years. They'll be using a cell phone that has an iPod built into it. Good thing Apple thought ahead and already made one of those.
  • Reply 10 of 145
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,093member
    He's right about it becoming saturated, but that's only at at current price points and with the current models. This does not address future product iterations.



    It's fine that he shoots off his mouth every now and then. Keeps everyone on their toes.
  • Reply 11 of 145
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I think the iPod has about run its course. And its ultimate destination is pretty nice: transition to touch computing (the first mainstream pocket computer platform), revolutionizing of the music industry, and international success of an integrated model that includes hardware, software, and online services. None of which has any other company come close to duplicating.



    Now that that journey is over, I look forward to the next one
  • Reply 12 of 145
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post


    While the Woz is obviously a legend and a hardware engineering genius, he's also a huge nerd. "iWatch"? Do you know anyone who wears a watch anymore? And didn't Gates talk about that five years ago?



    I wear a watch!!! It's a black Fossil, so it's not a gadget or a calculator watch with buttons all over it. By the way, 80% of the people I know wear a watch.
  • Reply 13 of 145
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,093member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by themoonisdown09 View Post


    I wear a watch!!! It's a black Fossil, so it's not a gadget or a calculator watch with buttons all over it. By the way, 80% of the people I know wear a watch.



    The death of the watch has been greatly exaggerated. A watch is a far more reliable piece of technology than a cell phone.
  • Reply 14 of 145
    There is no way that the iPod will 'run its course' -- just as television sets or automobiles or sunglasses will not -- but rather, it'll evolve, get better, and perhaps be integrated with a whole lot of things that we use (e.g., car, TV, sunglasses, perhaps even a watch) . It may or may not be Apple that makes it happen (although, I'll place my bets that Apple will be in the space with whatever emerges, and will make it look/work better), but there is little doubt that a portable music-playing object (standalone or not) will exist for a long time. And Apple certainly has a head start in pushing the iPod's boundaries along these lines (iPhone, Nike, @TV.....).



    Woz sure sounds like he does not hold any Apple stock any more (Hint: It might be a good time to buy, Woz!).
  • Reply 15 of 145
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 716member
    Woz was a world class hardware engineer. And maybe that's as broad as his talents reach. He needs to stop commenting on all-things Apple as they make me cringe.



    Woz is to Apple what Bill Clinton is to Obama. The good news is he's goofy enough and nice enough that we all give him a pass. We can all just chuckle about it and remind ourselves that he rides a segway.



    I don't see a lot of Model Ts driving around and Ford really saturated that market good. Turns out people buy new technology. So Apple's goal is to keep innovating. I will buy thousands of computers and iPods and gadgets in my lifetime. Just for the fun of it.
  • Reply 16 of 145
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    While the iPod has become long in the tooth, there isn't anything we know of in development to replace it.



    As long as people want to carry around their music, they will be using an iPod.



    The thing is that the iPod is morphing, what you say by iPod now is not what it will mean in the years to come. What it is now is not what it was three years ago, and the landscape will be very different in three years. It's evolving a lot quicker than computers do. I think the predictions about the phone and touch replacing the more conventional models may well run true.
  • Reply 17 of 145
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... Apple co-founder says iPod has about run its course...



    It's worth noting that Wozniak actually says nothing of the sort in the article.



    One could certainly imply from his statements that he believes something to that effect, or that he believes that the iPod is *approaching* that status, or will inevitably *achieve* that status, but he does not actually say anywhere that this is the case with the iPod today.



    He actually just says something rather obvious. That all products have cycles of popularity or their "time at the top" and that the iPod is no exception. He further says that the iPod has reached a sort of level of ubiquitousness, but doesn't comment on when or if the decline will take place.



    This is why journalists go to school and bloggers are not journalists.
  • Reply 18 of 145
    nceencee Posts: 836member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by themoonisdown09 View Post


    I wear a watch!!! It's a black Fossil, so it's not a gadget or a calculator watch with buttons all over it. By the way, 80% of the people I know wear a watch.



    Hel I just went out and bought 5 new watches (different style watch, for different dress options once a geek, always a geek



    Skip



    PS 2 Guess Watches, a Bulova and 2 Natica
  • Reply 19 of 145
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,093member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bugsnw View Post


    Woz was a world class hardware engineer. And maybe that's as broad as his talents reach. He needs to stop commenting on all-things Apple as they make me cringe.



    Woz is to Apple what Bill Clinton is to Obama. The good news is he's goofy enough and nice enough that we all give him a pass. We can all just chuckle about it and remind ourselves that he rides a segway.



    I don't see a lot of Model Ts driving around and Ford really saturated that market good. Turns out people buy new technology. So Apple's goal is to keep innovating. I will buy thousands of computers and iPods and gadgets in my lifetime. Just for the fun of it.



    I'm looking forward to the day I can slap a 6"x2" flexible clear membrane Apple computer on my arm that runs on solar power and thermal body heat, enables me to communicate with other computer users through a subvocalization mic and is constantly tapped into a global neural network.



    When can I pick one up?
  • Reply 20 of 145
    I'm sorry, but the WOZ has pretty much lost all relevancy in my eyes. I think he carries a big chip on his shoulder about Apple and Jobs. And pretty much all of his comments reflect this.



    Glor
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