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Apple Releases Basic iPod Touch, Possibly Foreshadowing iPhone Strategy

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the new-and-simple dept.

Apple 228

redletterdave writes "While the new 16 GB iPod Touch released Thursday features the same 4-inch Retina display and dual-core A5 processor as its other variants, the newest, cheapest iPod Touch lacks a rear camera and comes in just two colors black and silver. Apple is reportedly pursuing a similar strategy with the iPhone, as reports from the past several months have pointed to development of a 'low-cost iPhone' with basic features to be sold at a lower price point."

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228 comments

Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867029)

The gravy train is over. Competition is a wonderful thing. Most of the big suckers already have their iStuff.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (0)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year ago | (#43867123)

Yeah they only have 150 billion dollars in the bank to re-achieve absolute market dominance. For now they'll just have to settle with market dominance.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (0, Troll)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#43867143)

Sorry, but no matter what they do with their money they will keep losing market share if they keep making stupid decisions. If they will wake up in time remains to be seem.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#43867241)

Except that Apple has historically never been one to sacrifice profit/(perceptions of) quality for marketshare.

Aside from the iPod and the iPhone, Apple has never really been the most used. Certainly they have historically been in some niche applications (graphic design and publishing come to mind) but they've never been the "mainstream" computer brand. They've managed to always keep a solid enough marketshare to make sure that they get supported, but aside from the iPhone and iPod, they've historically never been number one, nor seemed to have any interest in total marketshare domination.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (5, Interesting)

ttsai (135075) | about a year ago | (#43867409)

Another way to look at this is that Apple has always historically pursued maximum profits and market share but adopted different strategies in light of the practicalities of specific markets. As an underdog in the PC market, quality was a differentiator to attract whatever market share was possible, realizing that being a dominant volume seller was not possible. As the dominant vendor in the smartphone space but with eroding market share, Apple is decreasing quality and cost to maintain market share and profit (although not margins). I think this is the more accurate portrayal of Apple, since I doubt they would be willing to blindly sacrifice profit in the name of quality or aesthetics.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (1)

jblues (1703158) | about a year ago | (#43868261)

I agree, except I would've used the word 'features' instead of 'quality'. . . . to me quality represents the grade of components used, the robustness of construction, etc. Hopefully they won't be sacrificing that (which really is part of the Apple brand) and just trimming down on features.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869041)

to me quality represents the grade of components used, the robustness of construction

If that's your angle then it's hard to compete with the Panasonic TOUGH products. There's a difference between merely looking tough, as some manufacturers have tried to do (Dell is guilty as charged), and actually meeting laboratory tests for impact force, submersion in water, temperature extremes and the like. Just because you make the plastic a bit thicker or put your phone in protective shell or add rubber strips around the edges doesn't make your device rugged. Of course, real quality costs money and you certainly pay more for mil spec products, but if robustness means quality then it may be worth the extra money for you. The Panasonic TOUGHPAD, which is their rugged android tablet, will set you back $1200+ which edges out even the top of the line iPad by a couple hundred bucks. Of course try submerging that iPad in the swimming pool or dropping it out onto the concrete without shattering the glass.

Apple; Microsoft and Intel Killing the PC Market (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43869121)

I agree, except I would've used the word 'features' instead of 'quality'. . . . to me quality represents the grade of components used, the robustness of construction, etc. Hopefully they won't be sacrificing that (which really is part of the Apple brand) and just trimming down on features.

I disagree, I would use words like 'overpriced' and 'Stock components' going forward we see their (not your) PC's being increasingly turned into electronic devices using incompatible connectors. No wonder there PC sales dropped 22% and 2% over the past two quarters.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867849)

Spoken like someone who only knows the last five years of Apple's history.

We're returning to the John Scully years.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43869075)

Spoken like someone who only knows the last five years of Apple's history.

We're returning to the John Scully years.

John Sculley who saved the company and saw the share price increase by 50% when he removed Jobs?

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (1)

Alex Zepeda (10955) | about a year ago | (#43868311)

Except that Apple has historically never been one to sacrifice profit/(perceptions of) quality for marketshare.

You mean except for the Classic, LC (Low Cost), and Centris model lines, right?

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#43868151)

no matter what they do with their money they will keep losing market share if they keep making stupid decisions.

Even if they make good decisions, they'll still lose market share. Their problem isn't that they're getting stupid, it's that everyone else is getting smart.

Phones like the HTC One are beautifully made and elegantly designed. Jelly Bean is slick, comfortable and easy to use. Other manufacturers are leapfrogging a long way past Apple's current standards, and doing it at a lower cost. Look at Lenovo's latest:

The [Lenovo K900] sports a 5.5-inch display with a 1080 x 1920p resolution with a pixel density of 400ppi. Lenovo K900 is powered by the latest Intel Atom Clover Trail+ processor clocked at 2 GHz, alongside 2 GB of RAM. Furthermore, the device comes with a 13 megapixel Sony Exmor BSI rear camera and a 2 megapixel front-facing shooter.

http://www.gsmarena.com/lenovo_k900_now_available_in_china_priced_at_536-news-6062.php [gsmarena.com]

About "market share" (4, Interesting)

TimHunter (174406) | about a year ago | (#43868211)

Can we please stop pretending that "market share" means "winning?" http://techpinions.com/androids-market-share-is-literally-a-joke/16709 [techpinions.com]

Re:About "market share" (2)

danbob999 (2490674) | about a year ago | (#43868765)

For the company itself or the shareholders, you are right, market share doesn't mean winning.
However, from a custommer point of view, market share means winning, because it means that the platform is the most widely adopted and will gain support.
Chances are that your company will buy Windows PCs because this platform is winning the PC war. Even if Apple made more money on OS X than Microsoft on Windows, that wouldn't change that.

Re:About "market share" (3, Insightful)

mtb_ogre (698802) | about a year ago | (#43869101)

"Chances are that your company will buy Windows PCs because this platform is winning the PC war. "

Traditional PC sales have dropped in real terms for 9 consecutive quarters and the most recent quarter was the deepest yet. The iMac has grown market share and actual units shipped over that same time period. Apple introduced the iPad shipped 120 million units at an average selling price of just a touch over the ASP of Windows PCs. Apple's profits on just the Mac and iPad exceed the profits of all Windows PC makers combined (Though I'm not sure Microsoft themselves).

What exactly is your definition of "winning the PC war"?

Market Share=Long Term Profits. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43869095)

Can we please stop pretending that "market share" means "winning?"

No I'm a consumer :) I think better specification/OS at better value/choice with Android is winning...and the fact that that it has greater market share (with a stronger Application Market) reinforces these things.

As for any idea why people here talk about market share over (short) term profits. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22274324 [bbc.co.uk] Apples profits are falling

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867221)

That's $160 per share, which trades at $450. They don't have market dominance, and if their strategy is once again to leave the high end of the market and appealing to a cheaper demographic instead of making new products which appeal to a high end market, then all the money in the bank is no replacement for Jobs.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867253)

you mean the 150 Bln in FOREIGN banks (The bulk of which is probably in RMB) which cant be repatriated without paying US taxes on? Nice US corp which proudly puts "designed in California" on their products but does all their sales in Ireland to avoid paying taxes?

This is the same org which is pretty prompt to sue and use the US legal system for patent protection.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867345)

you mean the 150 Bln in FOREIGN banks (The bulk of which is probably in RMB) which cant be repatriated without paying US taxes on? Nice US corp which proudly puts "designed in California" on their products but does all their sales in Ireland to avoid paying taxes?

This is the same org which is pretty prompt to sue and use the US legal system for patent protection.

It is a false urban legend that Apple is paying no taxes.

They paid taxes in the nations they made the money in. The US gov't wants to tax this money a second time, at the full tax rate, as if the money had never been taxed before, as if it had been made in the US.

This money that foreign taxes have been paid on is transferred to Ireland and invested. The proceeds from these investments are reported to the IRS and US taxes are paid.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (4, Interesting)

mosb1000 (710161) | about a year ago | (#43867643)

The US gov't wants to tax this money a second time, at the full tax rate, as if the money had never been taxed before, as if it had been made in the US.

The IRC actually allows you to deduct foreign taxes from the taxes you owe. The thing is, corporate taxes are much lower in other parts of the world, so what you said is practically true even though it's not actually true at all.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868951)

Deduct, not credit - I'm too lazy to look up the actual rates, so suppose the foreign nation taxes at 10% and the US at 30%. Deducting the 10%, you still pay 30% of 90% or 27% to the US and have an effective rate of 37%. Still double taxation on most of it.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867923)

They paid taxes in the nations they made the money in.

This is where the trick happens. Somehow they make almost no money in the U.S.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868275)

Incorrect. The money in Ireland is NEVER taxed.

"
What Apple did was transfer rights to its intellectual property to a subsidiary that was incorporated in Ireland — and therefore not subject to immediate United States taxation — but managed in California. Under Irish law, that freed the subsidiary from Irish taxation.
"

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868373)

"They paid taxes in the nations they made the money in. "

No.

Apple may have "deliberately or accidentally" misled Australians about how it sets prices here and should "correct the record or provide further detail", a Labor backbencher has demanded.

Backbencher Ed Husic, who has taken a leading role in an Australian parliamentary committee into IT pricing, said shock revelations from a US Senate committee raised concerns "the Australian inquiry has been misled, either deliberately or accidentally".

"I'd call on Apple Australia to either correct the record or provide further detail as to the way it actually prices its products for Australian consumers," Husic told the House of Representatives.

Husic said people may have "raised an eyebrow" at reports that Apple generated $6bn in revenue in Australia but "paid only $40m in tax – apparently because it racked up $5.5bn in costs", but "their eyes would've popped out" at the US revelations Apple had set up an offshore subsidiary that earned $30bn income but had apparently paid no tax to any government for five years.

And the two committee investigations were related, because Apple's complicated international structure has an impact on the prices paid for Apple products for Australians.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/28/australian-companies-forced-disclose-tax [guardian.co.uk]

Note that the "$5.5bn in costs" was mostly fees paid by the Australian branch to the offshore subsidiary. Basically a way to inflate prices and pump money out of the region.

HAHAHHAHAHAH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868967)

Look at the iTards modding quotes from Parliament as flamebait!

You can't handle the real world without an RDF-induced haze, can you?

30 Billion no tax in Ireland. (3, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43869023)

It is a false urban legend that Apple is paying no taxes.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/video/2013/may/29/apples-dirty-little-tax-secret-video [guardian.co.uk] Here is a great informative video from where they unusually, actually go to Cork Ireland.

They actually use a Tax loophole that allows them not to pay tax anywhere in the world. Its brilliant, what Apple do is not use a low tax island...they make the island disappear entirely. It woks because the US is concerned with where a company is Incorporated...where the Irish look where a Company is controlled...so Apple tell the US that they are Incorporated in Ireland...and tell the Irish they are controlled in the US, So Pay literally (proper use of word) NOTHING :)

So if by Urban Myth...you actually mean Fact you would have been right. The fact that you were modded informative shows a frightening trend.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867343)

Yeah they only have 150 billion dollars in the bank to re-achieve absolute market dominance.

And just about every country in the world about to come down on their tax avoidance scheme. They'll in courts for decades trying to keep that cash.

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867593)

Cults don't work without a cult leader...

Apple is over with.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#43867949)

Ok, at what point in your little fantasy world did Apple have market dominance over anyone other than graphic artists with a chip on their shoulder?

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (5, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#43867479)

Start giving back some of that money, Apple.

I know it didn't get reported on Slashdot, but still, you're kidding, right? I mean, it was big news and only happened a few weeks ago.

Apple is currently engaging in the largest single share repurchase program in history [macrumors.com] , which will put $60B USD into their investors' pockets by the end of 2015. And that's on top of the $11B/year they're paying out in dividends already [macrumors.com] .

All told, they're giving back $100B by the end of 2015, which is over 2/3 of what they have in the bank right now. So, either you were unaware of that, or you think that their doing so is not a big enough step, in which case I have to ask: what would be sufficient?

As for the gravy train being over, by what metric? Their sales certainly aren't growing at the rate that Android's are, but by any measure, they are still massively successful. Their rate of sale has continued to grow incredibly fast, and their profits in PCs [cnn.com] and mobile devices [techpinions.com] represent either a plurality or majority in each of those markets.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868303)

How about they pay their taxes and benefit "joe public" not just the shareholders and Mr. Cook who's comp is probably tied to the stock price.

The $100 BLN they are "giving back" is in the form of a bond issue. The reason? its cheaper to issue USD debt then pay the US taxes to repatriate the money.

Failing by Every Metric (0)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43868983)

As for the gravy train being over, by what metric? Their sales certainly aren't growing at the rate that Android's are, but by any measure, they are still massively successful. Their rate of sale has continued to grow incredibly fast, and their profits in PCs [cnn.com] and mobile devices [techpinions.com] represent either a plurality or majority in each of those markets.

They bought back shares to stop the bleed in share price, and the negativity around it, and it has stabilised at around $450 from its high of $705. Its a poor move that slowed the drop in price of the shares, but not the cause of the drop; The end of the gravy train being over.

I am not sure why the post was modded informative. Here are the IDC numbers http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24085413 [idc.com] . There rate of sales growth was single digit for Apple at 6.6% behind the market...at 41.6%...and samsung at 60.7%...and LG at 110.2%..and Huawei at 94%...and ZTE at 49.2%...even Others gets 37%...so you must be using some other measure of incredibly fast.

Nothing is mentioned about their PC's which are basically treated like cancer by Apple, but have incredible drops of 22%..and (the more manageable) 2% over the last 2 quarters, despite Windows 8 being hated universally. I cant help but notice Microsoft and Intel do not appear on the Pie chart...who are destroying the PC industry with their massive 70% margins.Its why Manufacturing companies are running to Android.

...the bottom line though in reference to Apples ONE saving grace...its profits...they dropped http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22274324 [bbc.co.uk] , posting an opinion piece that pretends the reverse does not change that.

Re:Start giving back some of that money, Apple. (4, Interesting)

CodeBuster (516420) | about a year ago | (#43869151)

Apple is currently engaging in the largest single share repurchase program in history [macrumors.com], which will put $60B USD into their investors' pockets by the end of 2015.

Apple financed the repurchase program by selling 17 billion dollars worth of short, medium and long term bonds. It was widely thought that this method was chosen, rather than repatriating cash held overseas, to avoid depletion of onshore cash reserves while at the same time further delaying the payment of income taxes on profits held overseas. It's interesting question whether or not Apple would be able to pay the bond coupons using that cash held overseas without incurring a tax liability. I presume that they wouldn't be able to, but even if they had to pay the coupons out of current after tax income the fact that a huge amount of cash remains on the balance sheet, albeit overseas and subject to tax if ever repatriated, strengthens Apple's financial situation vis-a-vis financing the share repurchase program entirely with cash.

Who cares about the camera. It sucks anyway (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867033)

Still the same old crap and nobody has ever used the shitty iPod camera for anything meaningful.

Re:Who cares about the camera. It sucks anyway (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year ago | (#43869273)

nobody has ever used the shitty iPod camera for anything meaningful

Hey Anonymous Coward, define 'anything meaningful.' I have tons of great pictures of my kids shot with my iPod Touch. I have beautiful shots taken out of airplane windows as the earth scrolled by below...

Obnoxiously... (5, Interesting)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#43867051)

The 4th generation 8 GB iPod Touch was also $229, but did have both cameras. They weren't as high-quality as their iPhone counterparts, but still.

Re:Obnoxiously... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867375)

So, compared to a 4th gen, a 5th gen has:
- twice the storage
- bigger, much higher quality screen in a physical package only 11% longer
- 87% the weight
- much faster cpu
- twice the ram

The only thing you lost was a shitty camera that was less than 1MP. All this for the same price. Go ahead and load up an old 4th gen with recordings of yourself playing the worlds tiniest violin.

Re:Obnoxiously... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867473)

Doesn't AC have a point here?

Re:Obnoxiously... (1)

mtb_ogre (698802) | about a year ago | (#43867875)

Yeah, not sure why someone modded this down which it's all pretty much spot on.

Re:Obnoxiously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867631)

Except a lot of that is merely time doing its work on costs

Re:Obnoxiously... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868003)

How is that "except"? AC's point was that overall you get more for your money, the economics of why are irrelevant.

Re:Obnoxiously... (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | about a year ago | (#43868789)

Electronic devices are supposed to improve over time. Twice the RAM, twice the storage, twice as fast CPU is about what we expect from Moore's law.

Re:Obnoxiously... It's for business, duh. (0)

nbritton (823086) | about a year ago | (#43869027)

This device is targeted for businesses, a representative doesn't need a camera. The device is cheap enough to integrate into a business process, and it has a development platform and hardware architecture to synergize whatever management wants.

Tablets have their place, but not so much in the business world. Basically anyone using a commuter in a business setting is a content producer (documents, spreadsheets, databases), and you still need a traditional computer to do this type of work, i.e. MS Office. A full size tablet in the workplace then is the odd man out due to cost / benefit. However a iOS tablet priced at $229, even with the small screen, is just the right price point to make it very useful in the business world.

Re:Obnoxiously... (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#43867967)

And you can buy just about any other MP3 player on the market with the same features for under $50... AND you're not forced to use apple iTunes, the worst piece of software I've ever had the misfortune to use. It boggles the mind how Apples customer continue to pay these kinds of prices for such inferior products.

Full disclosure: I hate Apple

Re:Obnoxiously... (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#43868091)

And you can buy just about any other MP3 player on the market with the same features for under $50...

Please give us actual product names. I'm curious. If you are looking for a pure music player, maybe. But the iPod Touch is an awful lot more than a music player.

Re:Obnoxiously... (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | about a year ago | (#43868817)

The iPod Touch itself is a great device, although you can usually get a better smartphone for the same price or a bit more (which ends up being cheaper if it saves you from buying a dumb phone).

It's the other iPods that suck and are overpriced, and they always did.

Re:Obnoxiously... (0)

mattack2 (1165421) | about a year ago | (#43868155)

Same features?

Really high resolution display?

You can run THE APPS FROM THE APPLE APP STORE?

So no, not the same features..

and can it play AACs? (I know you said MP3 player)

and is it easy to get music (and podcasts, and as I said, apps) onto the device and smart playlists, etc?

Re:Obnoxiously... (2)

danbob999 (2490674) | about a year ago | (#43868827)

and is it easy to get music (and podcasts, and as I said, apps) onto the device and smart playlists, etc?

Almost every non-Apple music player ever made supports "drag and drop" music copying from your PC, without any crappy software required.

Re:Obnoxiously... (0)

mattack2 (1165421) | about a year ago | (#43868883)

Drag & drop music copying is NOT necessarily easier.

Is your music ALREADY meticulously in the right folders/etc. by artist/album/etc.?

What if you drag a thing that's not music to it? Does it actually try to play it as music?

Re:Obnoxiously... (2)

danbob999 (2490674) | about a year ago | (#43868969)

Does it actually try to play it as music?

I can't believe somebody is asking this on Slashdot. Non-music files are just ignored. But yes, you can use your MP3 player as a USB thumb drive.

Re:Obnoxiously... (5, Insightful)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about a year ago | (#43868953)

Rockbox (http://www.rockbox.org/) on a Sansa Fuze, day after Thanksgiving sale for $49. Expandable memory via microSD card slot; also picks up radio, has microphone, plays AAC, OGG, FLAC, etc., etc., etc. Comes with a number of games etc. Not ridiculously high resolution display, but I really don't see the point of that or random apps so hey. Oh, plus you can skin it. Can an iPod do that? No?

Unfortunately this was a few years ago when they still made them with physical wheels. Now they're making them with capacitance thingies like iPods :P

Re:Obnoxiously... (0)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year ago | (#43868819)

Here's the trick. Nobody uses iTunes.

Nobody uses anything but their iPhone/iPod in fact because there's no need. All the music is stored at Apple and added or removed on demand, playlists are created with a few taps and swipes. They don't bother with buying CDs and ripping them. Why would they? They buy an album on the iPhone or a few songs. If they are low on storage they just delete some songs. Later if they want it back they can redownload them through 'not on my device'.

Backups go to iCloud. Photos go to a cloud service or Facebook for long term storage.

Basically the vast majority of iPhone users never sync the phone with a PC.

What was your point again?

Screens (2)

Bogtha (906264) | about a year ago | (#43867075)

This leaves only the iPhone 4 and 4S as devices Apple sell without the taller screen. If there's any hint at an upcoming product strategy, it would be that they might drop those models to streamline production.

Re:Screens (2)

Amouth (879122) | about a year ago | (#43867161)

Agreed, if anything this sounds to me more like streamlining the supply chain and manufacturing by removing component variance. Using the same part a million times is significantly cheaper than using one part for 800k and another for 200k even if the single part used a million times is more expensive.

I'd expect the same result across the board as they roll it out.

Re:Screens (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year ago | (#43868847)

This is the only comment that gets close to the truth.

The other aspect is that older devices can't run the latest iOS or apps built for them. So supply chain and software lifecycle management.

Remember that Apple devices are part of an ecosystem. Apple has no desire to allow either hardware or software to be fragmented for very long.

The Apocalypse is upon us. (1)

tqk (413719) | about a year ago | (#43867085)

... lacks a rear camera and comes in just two colors black and silver.

Oh, and way to edit, samzenpus.

Hmmm (1)

fekmist (2857907) | about a year ago | (#43867155)

I can't see many owners of iPod touches wanting to get the new one, although new buyers might be attracted to it. But for the most part I think the people who'd have an i device in the first place would already have one by now.

Re:Hmmm (2)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year ago | (#43868869)

There are millions of new customers born every year. Every year a generation turns 8 or 12 or 15 and their parents decide to buy or are cajoled into buying personal electronics for them.

It's an ever growing market for at least another 30 years.

Strange. (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#43867189)

Apple's iPod lineup keeps getting stranger year after year.

First the strange design changes for the nano (went from being basically a better mini to a tiny squashed one, back to being tall, then adding a camera, then taking away the camera, and video playback adding a touchscreen and making it squashed, now making it look like a smaller iPod touch) and now the removal of one of the cameras on the touch for the same price-point as one -with- the cameras (smaller storage on the previous generation, but with flash becoming cheaper and cheaper every year that should be expected)

Re:Strange. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867791)

I always thought of the nano as their test lab where they experiment with features and ideas.. Being one of their "cheaper" iPods guarantees that lots get sold and they can get a good idea of how people react to, utilize, and break these features before they go up the product line.

Re:Strange. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867891)

It seems that they're a bit of an impasse. On the one hand, they see Samsung undercutting them on prices and making a forture, they want to get a piece of that pie. On the other hand, if they release a model of iPod/iPhone that's too "budget" they risk losing some of their brand value, and I think brand value is more significant to Apple than most registered users are willing to admit here. The logo has the same appeal as a popular brand of sneakers, they might not technically be the best any more. They might not be of the highest quality, they might not be made with the best parts, but they're the best looking, probably the easiest to use...and best of all, if you have one, it's like a gold chain or a three hundred dollar designer shirt. It shows people that you have at least enough money to blow nearly a thousand on a cell phone that's glued together, that in itself is enough for some people to buy the thing.

What I find the most funny/pathetic of all of it is the huge market for "protective" products for the same phones...shock proof cases, screen protectors, microfiber cloths to avoid scratching that precious, smudged touchscreen... I've literally seen some parents who took better care of their phones than their new children. I suppose it makes sense really, for Apple or any other phone manufacturer, phones are considerably more fragile than your average child. Drop an iPhone or Nexus on the floor and it breaks like an egg -- do the same thing to your child and they'll probably be posting on r/atheism by their teens, but they won't necessarily shatter to pieces.

Re:Strange. (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#43867973)

Because Apples products are marketing and bullshit... and I don't think Apples upper managements quite realize that just yet while Steve Jobs knew it all along.

Re:Strange. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868399)

Without Jobs the company is rudderless. Trust me, in 20 years we will be wondering what the fuck has become of the once mighty Apple.

Re:Strange. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868601)

If it takes 20 years then that would be better than most companies can manage.

What I want in a portable music player (1, Troll)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43867255)

The ability to play 24bit/96khz flac recordings.

Don't need video, don't need a fucking camera.

How about a e-ink display that doesn't drink the power from the batteries?

with about 200gb of space.

Try to keep it under $200 please.

Re:What I want in a portable music player (3, Informative)

timmyf2371 (586051) | about a year ago | (#43867523)

Meeting all your requirements seems to be impossible (I googled) and I don't think the situation will change in the future.

If you can make compromises, it seems that the iPod Classic 160GB plays ALAC files and comes in at £199. Not sure what the dollar price is or whether ALAC is a suitable replacement for FLAC (I'm happy enough with 320kbps Spotify tunes so hardly the right person to ask).

However, the main problem is that we are at the point where the majority want converged devices and this means that, for most people, their phone doubles as a music player, a camera, and everything else.

The market for standalone music players definitely still exists, but don't expect to see much innovation there. In general, the market for these devices is one that wants to load up their MP3/AAC collection and take it with them while out exercising. People with your needs are a minority and in a saturated market, there is little point in companies developing such a device for marginal profit gains.

Re:What I want in a portable music player (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868111)

Yes, an older 160GB ipod with rockbox is the closest you can get to a big, portable FLAC player.

Re:What I want in a portable music player (2)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43868133)

Meeting all your requirements seems to be impossible (I googled) and I don't think the situation will change in the future.

If you can make compromises, it seems that the iPod Classic 160GB plays ALAC files and comes in at £199. Not sure what the dollar price is or whether ALAC is a suitable replacement for FLAC (I'm happy enough with 320kbps Spotify tunes so hardly the right person to ask).

However, the main problem is that we are at the point where the majority want converged devices and this means that, for most people, their phone doubles as a music player, a camera, and everything else.

The market for standalone music players definitely still exists, but don't expect to see much innovation there. In general, the market for these devices is one that wants to load up their MP3/AAC collection and take it with them while out exercising. People with your needs are a minority and in a saturated market, there is little point in companies developing such a device for marginal profit gains.

I have an Ipod Classic, I convert my 16bit/44khz flac to apple's lossless format and listen to the music that way. Love it! I'd just like the higher bit & sample rate for my vinyl rips. Ya, i'm probably in the minority, but I do think they could add the 24bit/96khz easier then they can add a camera to the music players.

Re:What I want in a portable music player (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43868123)

How the fuck is my post a troll? I named the type of portable music player I'd like, something different then was is being offered? Offtopic maybe, but troll?

Seriously?

I think you do not know what a troll is.

Re:What I want in a portable music player (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year ago | (#43868889)

If you think there's a market kickstart it.

Check your facts (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867291)

The new iPod does not come in two colors, it comes in one color: silver back + black face. Also, in addition to not having the camera it also omits the wrist strap attachment.

Re:Check your facts (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867331)

black face.

Does it come pre-loaded with Al Jolson routines?

Re:Check your AGE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868029)

No one young enough to know how to work a smartphone has any idea who Al Jolson is.

Re:Check your AGE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868605)

Wrong, on both counts.

Margins (0)

dmt0 (1295725) | about a year ago | (#43867319)

And there go the margins...

"Just" $229 for the 16GB version? Are you kidding? (0, Flamebait)

eepok (545733) | about a year ago | (#43867359)

With a title description of "Basic" iPod Touch, I was thinking it would be a smaller, lighter, more storage, non-touchscreen, longer battery version of life iPod touch. Basically, a cross between the nano and original iPod.

But no, you still have WiFi, Bluetooth, web-browsing, a forward-facing camera, etc. How is that basic? It has a touch screen!

Ok, I'll admit it. I hate iProducts... but Apply could convince me to give up my Creative Zen X-Fi 32GB that I bought 6 years ago for $150 bucks. It has:
+Drag-and-drop music loading
+No need for iTunes
+Buttons so I don't have to stare at the screen to skip a track
+SD card slot
+No need for OS updates and obsolescence

To be fair, the Zen is over-engineered to have the ability to play video, view pictures, etc. and had they omitted those dumb things, price could have been even cheaper.

Re:"Just" $229 for the 16GB version? Are you kiddi (1)

PylonHead (61401) | about a year ago | (#43867583)

Did you really just say they should release a non-touchscreen version of the iPod touch?

Re:"Just" $229 for the 16GB version? Are you kiddi (1)

eepok (545733) | about a year ago | (#43867595)

Unfortunately, yes. It was an error. I meant to say that a "budget" iPod shouldn't have a touchscreen.

Re:"Just" $229 for the 16GB version? Are you kiddi (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about a year ago | (#43867679)

It doesn't. [apple.com]

Re:"Just" $229 for the 16GB version? Are you kiddi (2)

danbob999 (2490674) | about a year ago | (#43868859)

You are joking right? $49 for a MP3 player without display, and only 2GB storage?

Re:"Just" $229 for the 16GB version? Are you kiddi (3, Insightful)

timmyf2371 (586051) | about a year ago | (#43867605)

But if you take away all those things - especially the touch screen - it is no longer an iPod touch and simply becomes a bigger iPod Nano. And I would make the argument that if you do remove all those features, you don't need such a big display so you could even make it the same size as the iPod Nano.

Realistically, in 2013, would you not consider a touch screen as a basic feature? It might have been advanced 6-7 years ago but these days you can pick up cheap Android devices for under £50 which all have touch screens.

WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity these days seem to come as part of the SoC which powers these devices. Same with GPS. I think it would actually turn out more expensive to maintain a separate line producing separate chips - particularly as the incremental cost of WiFi & Bluetooth isn't much.

You probably don't need Apple to convince you to buy one of their iProducts. They aren't going to give you drag & drop nor remove the iTunes requirement. I love my iPhone but I really hate iTunes so much that I subscribe to Spotify instead and only use that for music these days.

If you're happy enough with your Zen, why not look for its natural successor instead? You'll probably appreciate it much more than switching to Apple.

Re:"Just" $229 for the 16GB version? Are you kiddi (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868875)

Personally, I regard the click wheel as the killer feature of the nano. What a pity it doesn't have it any more, so if you want to interact with the device in any slightly complex way you have to look at the screen.

Re:"Just" $229 for the 16GB version? Are you kiddi (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#43867739)

With a title description of "Basic" iPod Touch, I was thinking it would be a [...] non-touchscreen [...] version of life [sic] iPod touch

The iPod Touch wouldn't make much sense without a touchscreen, now would it? The product is intended to basically be an iPhone without the phone component. If you don't want all of that, then clearly the device isn't aimed at you, and it sounds like you'd be better served by a different product.

And I don't understand this mentality where people think that $company_x needs to make $product_y in order to win them over. The truth is that no, they don't need to do that at all, since we're not their target demographic most of the time. We're nerds. We have strange needs and wants compared to most of the population and we're willing to put up with a lot more headaches in order to have a few more choices, but good product design involves knowing when to say "no", particularly when it will confuse or inconvenience a typical user.

You want an SD card in your music player, but most people don't even know what an SD card is or what it's used for, nor would they want to deal with the hassle and stress of having to shop for something they don't understand in order to make their music player hold all of their music. They'd rather just go get an iPod Classic that "just works" if they need that much storage. And that average person? They already have iTunes installed, since it's the biggest music store in the world and that iPod they got ages ago used it too, so they don't need to change, move, or relearn anything. To them, it's a feature that they can use the stuff they already have installed to sync, not a drawback.

The basic iPod Touch really is basic...if you understand that it stopped being a music player in anything but name and recognize that it's now just a stripped-down iPhone without the phone app. It's not meant to be just a music player any more, nor is that even the focus. It's meant to be a mobile smart device. But you? You want a music player that's just a music player. Is it really a surprise that it's not what you want, but that it might be exactly what millions of others want?

Re:"Just" $229 for the 16GB version? Are you kiddi (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#43868681)

I had one of those Zen X-FIs, too. They rocked. They *stored, transferred, and played back music files* quite nicely.

In other words, they acted the way a reasonable media player ought. My sole gripe was that they didn't play all media files and there was no way to add support for those that were lacking.

Smartphone takes care of that now, though. VLC works fine on all 3 of my Android devices, and I've yet to find a format it doesn't play, and thus I've no need for any other media player software on any of the platforms I use (Android, Linux, and occasionally Windows) or, any longer, for dedicated hardware, for that matter.

Re:"Just" $229 for the 16GB version? Are you kiddi (2)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year ago | (#43868929)

People don't buy an iPod touch to play music. They buy them to play games. It's what you get for your 10 yr old niece/nephew/son/daughter. My 2 yr old has a 2nd gen iPhone w/o a cell card, basically an iPod touch. My 4 and 6 year olds have 3rd gen iPhones the same.

It's been a great investment so far.

Andoid The gaming Platform (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43869191)

People don't buy an iPod touch to play music. They buy them to play games.

The the iPod can enjoy its continuing decline into obscurity, Already Android devices are good value (especially for kids) and everywhere, and Google unlike Apple (and I would argue Microsoft) gets games, we are already seeing consoles with Android at half this cost...with bigger screens and real controls.

Apple == Taco Bell! (-1, Flamebait)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43867417)

We all know the fact/joke that Taco Bell simply shuffles a small collection of ingredients to sell you a thing. More components cost more, fewer components cost less, but it's all a stack of the same finite list of components.

So now this is what Apple is to become without Jobs. They are running out of ideas and are now taking parts away to make a dollar menu version and re-adding the extras and sour cream to offer up the "iThing supreme."

Nice.

Stop reading here because I'm going off on a huge tangent... but then later I'll come back to why I hate Apple.

Today, I learned about the real core difference between people. We say conservative vs. liberal and all that. (What does liberal even mean?! We hear liberty but where is it?) Then someone came out and said it -- individual vs collective. Now it's much easier to understand what people have been sayiing that liberals are communists. And it's not so much "divide and conquer" as that never made a whole lot of sense to me before... it's "categorize and conquer." Now it makes sense. Because a person can say "I hate black people" and look like a moron (and they would be for saying that) but when a person says "I hate Al Sharpton" you are now deciding what you feel about an individual, not a collective like race, religion, red or blue.

You know? Everyone here believes they are an individual. But score yourself and be honest. Do you define yourself by what group(s) you are a member of? By the style(s) you wear? Be honest with yourself.

I'm an individual and I know it because people at times have instinctively hated me for it. Well, not for being an individual, but for not being a member of their group. And if I sought shelter of being in one group, I would feel less hated and more protected. But thanks to my somewhat autistic nature, I never understood or maintained a collective mentality. So I grew up wondering "why do people act like this?!" I'm not a member of group A, so they don't care for me. And I'm not a member of group B and they don't care for me either. That makes me alone and while I didn't understand group membership, I understood the misery of being "outcast" "excluded" and "alone." It's kind of depressing when you don't fully understand what's going on and what's what about it all.

So I ask again. Do you feel stronger, more self-assured, more powerful when you are in a group? Or do you feel more like yourself when you aren't part of a collective? Be honest. And to be clear, be honest with yourself because this is a rhetorical question. I actually don't care how you answer because when I say "be honest with yourself" you will be at some level and it will change how you see yourself. ...now on to Apple...

I hate Apple because of the mentality it exploits. That mentality is one of group membership. Apple isn't the first or only. Any of us who remember "Members Only" jackets are probably looking back at how outwardly ridiculous it really was. (I wonder if I can get one of those on eBay... it would be my first one!) Apple exploited this consumer desire to be elite... in an elite group. People really bought into it heavily. I recall when Apple started introducing less expensive Apple computers and people in forums started bitching because "...great! now EVERYONE can be an Apple user!!" And it was clear -- they were angry at their status degredation; the dilution. Boil it down to basics? These people REALLY define themselves by the things they bought... the things they own actually own them! Ridiculous on its face and amazingly true. And Everyone reading this acknowledges that these people exist. And the vast majority of those will deny they are one of them.

Apple exploits this in people. And when Apple is finally dead, it will be one less entity exploiting this in people.

And if you are honest with yourself and you also begin to see how ridiculous collectivism is on its face, then you will begin to see that "racism" is a collectivism as well and needs to be "let go." You can't fight racism without engaging in another -ism. After all, if you fight racism, what are you? Anti-racist? Yup! You just joined another group... and aren't you proud to be a member? The only way to win that fight is not to fight at all.

So are you a collectivist?

Hipsters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867463)

Hipsters won't like that ordinary folk use the "same" phone. What will they move to?

Hipsters!? (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43868727)

Hipsters won't like that ordinary folk use the "same" phone. What will they move to?

Hipster might be a market demographic for the iPhone, but in reality its very popular in a few global markets, the UK and US, and those because the phone is bought through higher purchase. In fact one of the problem Apple have is that people are buying the cheaper iPhone 4 through these *contracts*. Apple are happy to rip you off whoever you are.

interesting (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#43867507)

The iPhone Classic II

crap article (1, Flamebait)

Swampash (1131503) | about a year ago | (#43867589)

Crap content, crap summary, crap analysis. Jesus, is someone holding a gun to your head and FORCING you to post Apple stories? There's NO APPLE NEWS. Apple has gone quiet, as it does quite regularly, and the tech press is losing it's fucking mind.

Never Was Any Apple News (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43868693)

Crap content, crap summary, crap analysis. Jesus, is someone holding a gun to your head and FORCING you to post Apple stories? There's NO APPLE NEWS. Apple has gone quiet, as it does quite regularly, and the tech press is losing it's fucking mind.

There never was any Apple news; Apple only have 5 products, although some have been measurably very very successful. In reality this is speculation on Apples main (Only) product line, as its currently one phone profits over market share solution is running out of steam (and has been for some time). Right now we are simply gambling on whether we sill see a *larger* or *crippled* iPhone. I personally think the summary is on the money it will be a crippled iPhone.

Re:crap article (1, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#43868913)

Crap content, crap summary, crap analysis. Jesus, is someone holding a gun to your head and FORCING you to post Apple stories? There's NO APPLE NEWS. Apple has gone quiet, as it does quite regularly, and the tech press is losing it's fucking mind.

First off, the tech press has no mind. They cant possibly lose it. Secondly, making up shit about Apple based on absolutely nothing is basically what the tech press does. I've simply stopped paying attention to it as it's all wildly wrong. They make every prediction under the sun about the next iTurd in an attempt to be right about anything. It's like using a shotgun to kill a fly, you might hit it but you'd waste a hell of a lot of shot just trying.

Get rid of the front camera (1)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about a year ago | (#43867727)

If it's going back to one camera it would be better to keep the one that gets used the most.

Re:Get rid of the front camera (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868089)

tbh, on an iPod the front camera is the one that gets used most. Up until the 5th gen, iPod rear cameras were far inferior to their iPhone siblings (0.92 megapixels) and basically worthless. Of all my friends and family that have iPods/iPads, none of them use the rear camera for anything (excluding rugrats taking pictures accidentally), but almost all use facetime chat heavily.

This is proof that.. (3, Interesting)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43868429)

Samsung and the other lower end competitors are hurting Apple. The only reason Apple would be selling dumb down versions of their products is that the competition products are hurting their sales to a point where it is better off to have cheaper and less costly products and get that money than see it being spend elsewhere.

Re:This is proof that.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868701)

Hur dur kimchi

Re:This is proof that.. (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#43869113)

That, and the fact they want more users purchasing iTunes content even if that means providing a cheaper "gateway drug" platform.

Can you hear... (0)

WillyWanker (1502057) | about a year ago | (#43869131)

That whirring/grinding sound? That's Stevie J doing 2500 RPMs in his grave. Poor thing, if he weren't already did what Cook is doing to Apple would kill him all over again. The stock dividends alone would give him a stroke, forget about falling behind Samsung in phone sales for the very first time.

The clock is ticking Apple, and I for one can't wait until you fucking crash and burn once and for all.

Re:Can you hear... (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | about a year ago | (#43869135)

should read "already dead". Damn lack of editing...

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