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Holiday Competition For iPod Dollars

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the ho-ho-ho dept.

Portables 300

An anonymous reader writes "MP3newswire.net is running a two part article on 15 new digital music portables or "iPod Killers" as the digerati have dubbed them. iPod Killers for Christmas Part I includes what I think is the coolest new player, the Olympus MR 500i with touch-screen technology and and sharp black-on-white color scheme. iPod Killers for Christmas Part II's most interesting portables are the new Epson MPEG-4/MP3 media jukebox and the SoniqCast Aireo 2 Wi Fi. Lots of photos and size specs. Also, Ogg Vorbis is picking up steam as more new players are adding it."

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oh what the hell (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550181)

Lemmie try for a first post ;)

YOU DID IT!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550245)

we're all very proud of you

iPod Killer? (3, Insightful)

Nehi the Ganchark (818676) | about 10 years ago | (#10550185)

None of these device's interfaces impresses me as much as the iPod.

If there's anything that's going to kill the iPod it'll be its lack of Ogg Vorbis support...

Re:iPod Killer? (4, Informative)

Vicsun (812730) | about 10 years ago | (#10550208)

If ogg gathers support, Apple can create a firmware update for the iPod and it will be back to square one.

Re:iPod Killer? (4, Insightful)

mr_gerbik (122036) | about 10 years ago | (#10550263)

Ogg isn't going to kill the iPod, it isn't even a factor. Why? Because no one cares/knows what Ogg is except the nerd elite.. and I hate to break it to you, but the nerd elite are not the vast majority of consumers. You think my mom gives two shits whether or not her mp3 player supports Ogg?

Re:iPod Vibrator is what your mom wants (1, Troll)

xtermin8 (719661) | about 10 years ago | (#10550364)

your mom wants the Ipod to vibrate, she told me so this morning. "All the top-of-the-line phones vibrate- but I'd rather have a little mood music... and long battery life of course" I immediately buy tickets for Cupertino...

Re:iPod Killer? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550427)

Mac users love to ignore the fact that Ogg Vorbis is more popular than AAC.

More portable players support Ogg Vorbis than AAC.

I guess that's why you spread FUD about Ogg Vorbis.

Feeling threatened, are we?

Re:iPod Killer? (3, Funny)

Sophrosyne (630428) | about 10 years ago | (#10550440)

Yes the Ogg music store seems to be outpacing the iTunes Music store by a factor of....
Oh wait a second what Ogg music store...?

Re:iPod Killer? (4, Insightful)

IANAAC (692242) | about 10 years ago | (#10550264)

While I like Ogg Vorbis, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find and average iPod owner that cares about it, much less knows what it is.

Really. The majority just want to use iTunes together with their iPod seamlessly - something already being doen, and quite nicely.

Re:iPod Killer? (4, Insightful)

wankledot (712148) | about 10 years ago | (#10550268)

"If there's anything that's going to kill the iPod it'll be its lack of Ogg Vorbis support..." Awww, you're so cute. *pat on the head*

No one cares about Ogg Vorbis. If I asked 90% of my friends "Hey, do you want Ogg Vorbis support on your iPod?", they would think it was some industrial band.

The idea that Ogg support matters at all in the general market is laughable. No. One. Cares. It seems to have done pretty well without Ogg, and that won't change.

Re:iPod Killer? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550460)

If I asked 90% of my friends "Hey, do you want Ogg Vorbis support on your iPod?", they would think it was some industrial band.

How could they be so stupid? ...everybody knows Ogg Vorbis are a black metal band.

Re:iPod Killer? (1)

GerbilSocks (713781) | about 10 years ago | (#10550270)

Ogg vorbis... why? Apple already has Apple Lossless which provides 40-80% compression with no artifacts.

Re:iPod Killer? (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | about 10 years ago | (#10550280)

hein?

apple lossless is more of a competitor to flac than it is to ogg vorbis.

Re:iPod Killer? (4, Funny)

grungebox (578982) | about 10 years ago | (#10550296)

If there's anything that's going to kill the iPod it'll be its lack of Ogg Vorbis support...

That's true. I know that Apple's target demographic is definitely on the fence regarding Ogg support. Here's a sample polling question for someone in this key age group:

Q: So, what file types would you like to see supported in a portable music player? WMA? MP3? Ogg?
A: Like, I totally thought Billy was into Jane 'cuz they were all like making out last night, that's what Katie told me but she has like this like weird thing in her hair and ohmygod! was that justin timberlake on TV! ohmygodohmygod I mean OMGOMGOMG! G2g brb ttyl!!!!1111 Wait...what's like an "ogg", and like stuff, you know?

Re:iPod Killer? (2, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | about 10 years ago | (#10550378)

I only wish the parent was being funny, rather than insightful.

Re:iPod Killer? (2, Interesting)

global_diffusion (540737) | about 10 years ago | (#10550299)

If there's anything that's going to kill the iPod it'll be its lack of Ogg Vorbis support...

Exactly. As an owner of an iPod, I find this extremely annoying. I have a powerbook to match my at-home linux box and the most annoying thing is having to re-rip my sizable cd collection into mp3 just so I can play it on my iPod.

Maybe somebody can help answer a question here: It would be very easy (my assumption) to add ogg support to iTunes and the iPod. Why exactly hasn't apple done this? Is it because they want to get people behind their weird compression format, or is it some kind of licensing issue? Something else I haven't thought of?

Why exactly hasn't apple done this? (1)

bani (467531) | about 10 years ago | (#10550338)

Because apple doesn't want it to happen .

Re:Why exactly hasn't apple done this? (4, Funny)

krel (588588) | about 10 years ago | (#10550504)

It's very keen how you figured out that Apple secretly has a plan to stamp out consumer freedoms all over the globe.
Steve Jobs is rarely caught on camera crushing puppies with his bare hands, and to the average joe his justification for running a music store with a near-zero profit simply because it will make consumers buy more iPods usually makes sense, but you've really caught on to the unimaginable depths of nazi-supporting, devil-worshiping corruption that has become nothing less than unstoppable in the hateful underbelly of Apple.
Any sane person should realize that there is no reason conceivable by God or man for the iPod not to be compatible with Ogg Vorbis. Everyone uses it these days, and ultimately it wouldn't cost Apple a single cent (because everyone knows development and support are essentially free in a huge technology company with millions of customers) so the only possible reason for Apple to deny consumers their God-given right to play Ogg Vorbis files on their iPods is that Apple secretly wants to oppress music-enthusiasts all over the world with their murderous music store.

Re:Take your earphones off for a minute! (2, Insightful)

xtermin8 (719661) | about 10 years ago | (#10550408)

The people I know with Ipods could probably put all the songs from CDs they want to listen to without ANY compression. It's also pretty easy to delete and add songs at any time. I could understand the issue for those who want to keep video files, but mp3s? Just what percentage of those songs do you actaully listen to?

Re:iPod Killer? (4, Insightful)

CritterNYC (190163) | about 10 years ago | (#10550414)

Maybe somebody can help answer a question here: It would be very easy (my assumption) to add ogg support to iTunes and the iPod. Why exactly hasn't apple done this? Is it because they want to get people behind their weird compression format, or is it some kind of licensing issue? Something else I haven't thought of?

Well, one idea is that the iPod's processor isn't capable of handling ogg decoding.

Another idea is that Apple doesn't want to add ANY formats to their player. They support MP3, which appeals to Joe Average who illegally downloads music. And they support their DRMed iTMS AAC format for legal purchases from iTMS. Either one is also supported for legal/illegal (depending on your country or current senate bill bought and paid for by the RIAA, etc) ripping of music from CDs. Apple doesn't want ANY other format on an iPod as it may threaten their existing base of iTMS customers.

Which one you believe usually depends on whether you believe Apple is a benevolent company acting in its customers best interests or just another cash-happy ass-of-a-company that isn't more evil simply because it doesn't have the monopoly that Microsoft does.

Re:Gameboy dies because of lack of Ogg player (2, Insightful)

xtermin8 (719661) | about 10 years ago | (#10550323)

Most Ipod buyers aren't slashdot geeks, not even tech enthusiasts. They want a Name-brand product that does one thing, and not even have to change the default settings. (Itunes is set for encoding songs in Apple's AAC, not MP3, and technically the difference between the two formats is trivial) Its all about the marketplace, not the technology. I've even heard that a $400 Ipod costs about $12 to manufacture... can anyone confirm this?

Re:Gameboy dies because of lack of Ogg player (2, Informative)

ztirffritz (754606) | about 10 years ago | (#10550375)

There is no way that could be true. Perhaps if you left the drive and/or the battery out, it might cost that much. If you assume that the battery is marked up 100%, that is still $25-$40 depending on who you buy it from. The iPod Mini drives alone, are sold for storage for digital cameras. When iPod minis were first introduced, photographers were buying them and tearing them apart to get the drive out of it. Apple's large purchases drove the price down enough that the entire device was cheaper than the drives alone. So. while I'm sure that Apple is probably marking them up by 30-50%, they still cost more than $12 to make.

Re:Gameboy dies because of lack of Ogg player (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 10 years ago | (#10550421)

I've even heard that a $400 Ipod costs about $12 to manufacture... can anyone confirm this?
Hey, I hear gullible isn't in the dictionary....
The iPod might cost $12 to ASSEMBLE, but Apple still has to go and buy all the pieces. I would seriously like to know where you propose I get a sub $10 20 gigabyte microdrive.....
On a related note, wouldn't it be nice if we could find out where the various components of products are made, for example the ipod is assembled in Taiwan, I'm certain large parts of it aren't made there....

Re:Gameboy dies because of lack of Ogg player (1)

boredMDer (640516) | about 10 years ago | (#10550462)

'I've even heard that a $400 Ipod costs about $12 to manufacture... can anyone confirm this?'

Not a chance in hell. The drive alone is probably half if not more of the overall price, then you have to add in the electronics, LCD, etching the back metal plate, assembly...

Congratu-fucking-lations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550348)

That was the most laugh-out-loud funny comment ever posted to Slashdot.

Re:iPod Killer? (2, Insightful)

geeber (520231) | about 10 years ago | (#10550426)

None of these device's interfaces impresses me as much as the iPod.

Have you actually tried all these devices, or are you just basing this statement on the photos? While Apple's interface may be good, I would think you would need a hands on test to come to such a conclusion. Judging how a device works by pictures of its buttons is like choosing an operating system based on screen shots.

Title Image (0, Offtopic)

ToKsUri (608742) | about 10 years ago | (#10550190)

Am I the only one seeing in my firefox the porn image where the title image should be?

Re:Title Image (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550202)

Yes, yes you are the only one.

Re:Title Image (1)

ToKsUri (608742) | about 10 years ago | (#10550252)

Maybe now you can see it too. Its is really strange. I cant be the only one! Screenshot [grindfk.com]

Re:Title Image (1)

RJack-45 (171759) | about 10 years ago | (#10550311)

You should check yourself for viruses.... or look in your hosts.txt file or something.
That's not normal :P

Re:Title Image (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550325)

Looks like a cache collision -- try saving the image and see what you get (/. or pr0n). That particular /. image is called "title.gif".

Re:Title Image (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550329)

that what you get for being a winblows luser

Re:Title Image (1)

jrockway (229604) | about 10 years ago | (#10550346)

Judging by the window decoration and ugly fonts, you're using Windows :) Windows tends to pick up programs called "ad-ware" and "spyware" that do things like modify images in web browsers. Try running spybot...

Either that or Taco's been porn-surfin' on the servers. That's why we always get that "500 Internal Error"...

Screwy cache? (1)

boffy_b (699458) | about 10 years ago | (#10550336)

Does the image look familiar to you? Do you use a dial-up accelerator? It could a corruption in your or its cache.

Everything solved (1)

ToKsUri (608742) | about 10 years ago | (#10550394)

sorry for the OT. Must have been the ISP cache indeed. SHIFT+RELOAD and everything solved. Thanks

no problemo (1)

boffy_b (699458) | about 10 years ago | (#10550420)

Glad to be of service, ma'm.

People have been trying to make iPod killers for (1, Informative)

Pingular (670773) | about 10 years ago | (#10550198)

quite a while now [google.com]

Mod useless parent (Sir Haxalot) down please (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550301)

Why gee, look at Pingular [slashdot.org] 's last 4 posts, nothing but "I can contribute nothing but I can link to Wikipedia or other sites for cheap upmods!" Please don't waste your mod points modding this known Slashdot crapflooder [slashdot.org] up.

Anything that's going to kill the iPod... (4, Insightful)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | about 10 years ago | (#10550205)

...is going to have to find something better than "an iPod killer" to label themselves.

Originality people!

Re:Anything that's going to kill the iPod... (1)

grungebox (578982) | about 10 years ago | (#10550321)

Why? Everyone likes an underdog. Bringing up the iPod is not a bad marketing idea. It makes the other music players look like Rocky to Apple's Apollo Creed (of course, Rocky does lose...). They could even preload "Eye of the Tiger" on all their players. I doubt Survivor cares - they're too busy with those Starbuck's commercials.

Re:Anything that's going to kill the iPod... (2, Insightful)

Ender_Stonebender (60900) | about 10 years ago | (#10550362)

...is going to play video, not on an on-board screen, but via RCA (or similar) output built into the player. Bringing movies with me ain't so good if the ten people I want to share it with all have to their heads in the same two cubic feet in order to see it.

Re:Anything that's going to kill the iPod... (2, Funny)

vi-rocks (611108) | about 10 years ago | (#10550461)

I don't think the name "iPod Killer" should be used until one of them actually kills an iPod -- or even wounds it. Take the case of the HD players, no one should get this moniker until they get at least 15 to 20 percent of the market. Even then, they would be classified as an "iPod Attempted Murder".

Currently, the "iPod Killer" is in the same class the Easter Bunny or the Tooth fairy .. they don't exist (and even if the did, there is a good chance that they would both own iPods).

Now, while the "iPod Killers" look really cool and they are packing hardware to kill -- not one has been sent to trial for killing. Not one has ever committed a misdemeanor . Not one has ever got a speeding ticket or parking ticket. Not one has ever cheated on their taxes. There are 11-year old Catholic school girls with bigger criminal records than these "killers" .

How about "iPod wanta-bes" (and I am not talking about functionally, because most exceed the specs -- I am talking about market share).

killing themselves (1, Offtopic)

cwebb1977 (650175) | about 10 years ago | (#10550207)

chances are high they'll just kill themselves...

iPod Killer? not likely... (5, Insightful)

powerline22 (515356) | about 10 years ago | (#10550209)

Look, the problem with these companies is that they are concentrating too much on physical design and low cost. They don't realize the fact that the reason why many people buy iPods, even if they cost more, is that they are much easier to install and use than their products. An iPod (on macs at least), there is only one step: Plug into firewire port. Thats it. No need to mess with drivers or install difficult mp3 players on your PC.

Re:iPod Killer? not likely... (4, Insightful)

nuclear305 (674185) | about 10 years ago | (#10550239)

"Look, the problem with these companies is that they are concentrating too much on physical design and low cost. They don't realize the fact that the reason why many people buy iPods, even if they cost more, is that they are much easier to install and use than their products. An iPod (on macs at least), there is only one step: Plug into firewire port. Thats it. No need to mess with drivers or install difficult mp3 players on your PC."

Which is why I'm surprised there is no mention of the Rio Carbon.

Sure, it doesn't have Wifi, it doens't have some sophisticated LCD touchscreen and whatnot...but what it does have is a footprint smaller than the ipod mini, and twice the battery life.

I can't compare the other features as I haven't had my hands on an ipod long enough to make an educated comparison.

But, the most important feature is just what you said...there's nothing special you have to do to use it...just plug it into a USB port and it's recognized as a USB drive.

Re:iPod Killer? not likely... (2, Insightful)

mmkkbb (816035) | about 10 years ago | (#10550294)

But, the most important feature is just what you said...there's nothing special you have to do to use it...just plug it into a USB port and it's recognized as a USB drive.

that's not enough!

it needs to be able to sync to your itunes library automatically when you plug it in.

Re:iPod Killer? not likely... (1, Insightful)

CritterNYC (190163) | about 10 years ago | (#10550360)

that's not enough!

it needs to be able to sync to your itunes library automatically when you plug it in.


Which, of course, assumes that you use iTunes for your music library. And, while iTunes is great on a Mac, it is a steaming pile of crap on PC and can't even manage to install itself without 2 helper services (1 for iTunes, 1 for iPods) that take up memory whenever your PC is on... regardless of whether you are using iTunes or if you even own an iPod.

It's also assuming that your music collection is small enough to fit on your music player, which is definitely not the case for many of my friends.

Re:iPod Killer? not likely... (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | about 10 years ago | (#10550553)

It's also assuming that your music collection is small enough to fit on your music player, which is definitely not the case for many of my friends.

it's not the case for me either, but you can set the ipod to sync to a particular playlist every time you plug it in.

Re:iPod Killer? not likely... (3)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | about 10 years ago | (#10550310)

Don't ever underestimate the selling power of being "trendy" (iPod mini is case and point)

No way! (-1, Flamebait)

hampton2600 (654273) | about 10 years ago | (#10550217)

Ipod killers? Yeah right! We all know that the iPod is going to stay dominant for quite a while now. Perhaps "Small Percentage of Apple-Haters Killer"... For those who just don't want to have to put up with a well tested, mature product like the iPod. -hampton.

Killers? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550223)

I don't know why we have to refer to new technology in that way, as a 'killer'. Can't it just be "this will obsolete the iPod" or "designed to take the market from...".

With all the war going on all over the world right now and all the actual innocent people actually being killed, glamorizing and romanticizing killing isn't going to help us make things better. Lets make a pact to change the way we talk and eliminate all this violence from our speech.

Get some priorities! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550494)

LOTS of people need killing! Foremost amongst them are your fanatical fundamentalist Muslims.
Thank God George Bush is the leaader of the ONLY real power left and is committed to destroying these monsters despite what pussy euro-weenies think.
Four More Years!....of Hell for the Muslim filth.
Yeah iPods need killing too but they aren't a priority in the War on Terror although rumor has it We will be opening up another front on WMA format in the Second Term.

It's Marketshare, Stupid. (-1, Troll)

Scot Seese (137975) | about 10 years ago | (#10550226)

Yeah, great.

Do they work with iTunes? No? Nice try fellas.

When you buy a media player, you're buying the media format. The quality, design or features of the actual PLAYER are almost secondary. You would think consumers would understand this at some point, but I guess not.

Laserdisc or Betamax, anyone?

ITMS > everything else.

my rio500 works with iTunes, 'fella'. (4, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 10 years ago | (#10550273)

Do they work with iTunes? No? Nice try fellas

Actually, a number of players work just fine with iTunes; they appear just like an iPod would, you get the same sync options, etc. Before I bought an iPod, I used it with my Rio500 until I got tired of trying to assemble mp3's on the rio's limited space (even wit a 32MB expansion card, whoa, a whole 32MB!). Straight from an Apple press release in 2001:

download songs to popular MP3 players from Rio and Creative Labs with plug-and-play simplicity with no extra software or complicated driver installations required.

Re:my rio500 works with iTunes, 'fella'. (1)

Illissius (694708) | about 10 years ago | (#10550312)

iTunes != iTunes Music Store

Re:my rio500 works with iTunes, 'fella'. (0, Troll)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 10 years ago | (#10550332)

iTunes != iTunes Music Store

Then I guess he should have said "do these players work with the iTunes music store?", not "do these players work with iTunes?"

So many people think iTunes is JUST a way to use the store, and are amazed when I tell them yes, you can rip your CDs to MP3, or manage the mp3s you've, ahm, 'acquired'...

Re:It's Marketshare, Stupid. (1)

jxyama (821091) | about 10 years ago | (#10550367)

>When you buy a media player, you're buying the media format. The quality, design or features of the actual PLAYER are almost secondary.

um... iPod was doing quite well before iTMS. i'd guess that the quality, design and the features (including ease of use) is the number one reason iPod sells. the fact it has a nicely integrated music service is secondary. people don't think "ohh, i want an iPod because it works with iTMS' loosely-DRMed AAC." people think "ohh, this is a really slick player" or "ohh, i got to try playing with one of my friend's iPod and it's so much better than the small mp3 player i have! now i want one for christmas."

Re:It's Marketshare, Stupid. (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 10 years ago | (#10550560)

When you buy a media player, you're buying the media format. The quality, design or features of the actual PLAYER are almost secondary. You would think consumers would understand this at some point, but I guess not. Laserdisc or Betamax, anyone?
With Laserdisc or Betamax, you are indeed tied to the physical format. With an MP3 player, you wouldn't want to be. The analogy would be valid if the iPod would play only iTunes files; how popular do you think the iPod would have been then?

When I'll buy an MP3 player, I will look for design and features first! That includes usability, something that Apple got right with their player. The ability to buy songs off iTunes is nice, but I don't really care about that; I have enough other (legal, yes, thank you) sources of music. People buy iPods because they are of good quality, they work well, are easy to use, and have a high cool factor. iTunes may influence the buying decision some, but it's not overly important... especially since people new to the iPod generally won't have previous experience with iTunes.

Okay now... (-1, Redundant)

igzat (817053) | about 10 years ago | (#10550230)

Look, the problem with these companies is that they are concentrating too much on physical design and low cost. They don't realize the fact that the reason why many people buy iPods, even if they cost more, is that they are much easier to install and use than their products. An iPod (on macs at least), there is only one step: Plug into firewire port. Thats it. No need to mess with drivers or install difficult mp3 players on your PC. -

Re:Okay now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550258)

Funny, this comment word for word is exactly like http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=125992&cid=105 50209 [slashdot.org] posted previously.

Olympus MR 500i (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Writer (746272) | about 10 years ago | (#10550233)

iPod Killers for Christmas Part I includes what I think is the coolest new player, the Olympus MR 500i with touch-screen technology and and sharp black-on-white color scheme.

...And cute little white "please mug me" earphones just like the iPod.

Re:Olympus MR 500i (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550238)

Yeah, keep your eyes out for the coming news story about someone getting shot and/or killed by a mugger who got angry when he found out the MP3 player he just jacked wasn't an iPod.

Not fair! (1)

Fred_A (10934) | about 10 years ago | (#10550249)

Why are you posting this right after I ordered my iRiver H320 ????

Bastards!

Re:Not fair! (1)

D4MO (78537) | about 10 years ago | (#10550366)

I just got an iRiver H340, I consider it to be superior to all of the models shown in the article.

Re:Not fair! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550501)

Second that. I don't own a 320, but I consider that line from iRiver to be superior to all of the players listed in the article.

Re:Not fair! (1)

kagelump (812908) | about 10 years ago | (#10550558)

how so?
compared to the ihp 140 (or 120)
it doesn't have a remote
you have to buy the separate dock
it doesn't support wav (so no lossless audio)
and the list goes on....

i sometimes wonder why they discontinued the 140s...

is this the new "apple's going out of business"? (5, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 10 years ago | (#10550250)

From the recent Apple conference call:

"In the US, Apple's iPod retains 65% market share of digital music players and over 90% market share of players based on a hard drive."

Shucks. 90% of the hard drive player market, and more than half of the market overall.

The Apple Product Cycle (I wish I came up with it, I didn't), which I've linked to in my sig for a month or two because it's hysterical- talks about this "stage" of the game.

Isn't it funny how people have been proclaiming the death of the iPod for...uh...years? iPod is on its FOURTH generation.

Re:is this the new "apple's going out of business" (2, Insightful)

jxyama (821091) | about 10 years ago | (#10550403)

>Isn't it funny how people have been proclaiming the death of the iPod for...uh...years? iPod is on its FOURTH generation.

i also wonder how much apple helped themselves by sticking to one "name" for the iPod. they haven't introduced weird model numbering schemes. it hasn't been "apple mp3-4-40" or something like that for 4th gen. 40 GB iPod. people just say, "i want an iPod." even if they want other mp3 players. *that* is brand recognition.

it's always been "iPod" (albeit, if you go into details, there are scroll wheel model (1st gen), touch wheel model (2nd gen), dock model (3rd gen) and click-wheel model (4th gen).)

About the size of the Epson P2000 (2, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | about 10 years ago | (#10550255)

According to the press release [dpreview.com] , the Epson has a "3.8-inch Photo Fine LCD" at a resolution of 212 ppi. Assuming that's the diagonal, and extrapolating from the photo that gives a size of about 6"x3.5", which is not too bad really. I'm not too sure about "killing" the iPod, but it might just steal some sales from Vosonic's XS drive [vosonic.co.uk] range. I'm certainly leaning more towards the Epson for a bulk storage device to accompany my DSLR on field trips right now...

Going about it half assed (4, Insightful)

Alcimedes (398213) | about 10 years ago | (#10550259)

Why does everyone think that the iPod killer is going to be a new player?

That's not what an iPod is.

An iPod is actually a combination of things. First, it's a small, lightweight player. That's right where most people stop. They think "Hey, we can make a light weight player, and we can make it cheaper."

Second, it's an easy to use player. Too many competitors don't take this into consideration. There are far too many players on the market that gloss over this step. It's hard to demonstrate UI through press photos. Word of mouth is the key for this step, and it tends to destroy most other players. Lets face it, most people are idiots, and end up confused by the average mp3 player UI, and then they bitch about it. The iPod is so simple anyone can use it.

Now here's the sneaky part that everyone seems to forget about. The iPod is also married to the iTunes Music Store. It's an easy, legal way to get songs on your player. Both built from the ground up to work together with ease. Throw in 1-Click purchasing, and you've got yourself a nice little system.

To see a real iPod killer, someone will have to come up with an easier way to get music onto their player. Until that happens, everyone's going to keep selling their ideas in the boardroom, only to watch them fall apart in the market.

Re:Going about it half assed (1)

ravic (265862) | about 10 years ago | (#10550297)

Dude, check out WMP 10 and Napster.

Re:Going about it half assed (1)

Fyre2012 (762907) | about 10 years ago | (#10550555)

In terms of functionality, i'd be happy to see something capable of pulling in satelite radio signals... I can't imagine this being too difficult, added to the recent Howard Stern switching to XM, it's clear that satelite radio is not something that will end up the way of betamax or am radio.

And if you can make it record that stream and save into a diverse array of formats, you've got a real iPod killer. add to that a decent mic built into the unit to record whatever. It'd be handy for getting decent quality digital samples (from the real world) for use in music, movies, etc...

but of course, i'd rather just see Apple integrate this functionality into an upcoming iteration of the iPod, which as we all know is it's *own* killer.

Eck. (3, Funny)

boredMDer (640516) | about 10 years ago | (#10550260)

From the story [mp3newswire.net]

'Virgin Player
Another newcomer to the digital player arena is Virgin. Their first portable is the 3.1oz Virgin player, half an inch lighter than the iPod Mini's 3.6oz. The player also offers an extra GB of space coming in at 5GB for the same $250 price tag.
'

Emphasis mine.

Anyone care to explain how 'half an inch' converts to ounces?

Oh god...the dirty jokes.

Re:Eck. (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | about 10 years ago | (#10550334)

in my dad's hometown of woonsocket, rhode island lots of older folks speak mostly french and thus have a couple weird sayings that pop out because of prepositional confusion:

"throw me down the stairs my coat"
"next time you talk shut up"
"how tall you weigh? tell me in pounds and inches"

Ogg Ogg Ogg! (0, Redundant)

Lanzah (747355) | about 10 years ago | (#10550262)

Nice to see that the support for Ogg is increasing as I've been thinking of moving all my mp3s to Ogg in order to save some space.

Re:Ogg Ogg Ogg! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550430)

Why don't you just delete them to save space ?

It's the software stupid! (1, Interesting)

orangeguru (411012) | about 10 years ago | (#10550278)

Most of these players are plain ugly and hardly have the same elegance of the great idol.

Most of all, most of their bundled software sucks very much. iTunes (+ Shop) makes the iPod rock - and it's a very cool application!

So unless someone releases a convincing competitor to iTunes all those iPod-Killers will hardly make any impact.

User-replacable batteries (4, Interesting)

pesc (147035) | about 10 years ago | (#10550279)

So which ones have user replacable batteries?

With so many manufacturers, I'm sure that more than 50% of them will be bought or out of business in 2-3 years. Many of them use proprietary Li-polymer batteries (they are wonderfully small) that can only be replaced by the factory. Since the lifespan of these batteries are maybe two years, you better hope that someone still manufactures those proprietary batteries and is willing to change them for you. At what price? Did you choose the right model?

When I put my tinfoil hat on I can see it clearly; built-in batteries is a godsend for manufacturers since it allows them to create product that don't last for more than 3-4 years which will create more future buyers. You don't own your MP3 player. You just rent it on a 2-3 year basis.

STOP IT (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550283)

The only reason, the ONLY reason I will buy a product is on it's own merits. I'm NOT going to go out and buy products that are marketed as iPod killers! Do something innovative that I want, and I will consider it. Though honestly I really can't see what more there is to do in the realm of audio players.

Oh, and it's got to look really cool and sexy. I was gonna get a rio karma, but I heard the siren call of the sexy iPod and soon had one.

Though considering I recently bought an iPod, it will be a while before I have the money to buy another cool device. And my experience with the iPod makes it unlikely that I will buy any device which is not an iPod or made by Apple. So maybe this isn't being marketed to people like me.

Regardless, I don't want a video player. I don't want fancy graphics. I want an audio player, and that's what I've got. I think there are many like me.

I also want it to look cool, and my iPod definitely is that. I want an experience which is easy, and it is easy. And I'm running linux too!

I've got iTunes through cxitunespreview, and I've got management of the iPod through gtkpod (not as nice as direct management through iTunes, but still, it does what I want). Oh, and I can transfer the files off of iTunes with gtkpod, all I had to do was recompile it with this mpeg4 lib.

I also love the attachment by Griffin Technologies that allows me to record lectures. That has been a real benefit, and was one of the major reasons I chose the iPod over the karma.

Re:STOP IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550355)

Now that I'm looking over the players I think the only one I'd consider buying is the MPIO HD300. It's got ogg support, fm tuner, and voice recording! Sweet. Well, maybe next christmas. Maybe by then I'll be tired of my iPod (not likely, but possible) and I'll want something new. Wait though, by then they'll have even more spiffy devices! And, magically, somehow the pricepoint will always remain about the same!

What would be nice is if I could get the MPIO HD300 at a price of $150, that would be great. Oh well. I'm off to listen to some audiobooks on my iPod.

Another interesting article on that site (2, Insightful)

MatthewB79 (47875) | about 10 years ago | (#10550289)

Actually I found the link at the bottom of the article, iRiver Turns Focus on In-Dash MP3 Players [mp3newswire.net] to be even more interesting. It looks like we'll finally start seeing some decent car audio MP3 offerings. I'm awfully tired of burning files to CD to play in the car. If iRiver is going to offer a model with wireless to sync up while parked in the garage, I would buy it immediately.

iPod color (3, Funny)

ilyagordon (822695) | about 10 years ago | (#10550316)

I see more and more people on the city bus with iPods. And these aren't your standard everyday geeks. These are the hardcore ghetto types. It is the most striking image to see one of those guys with that wussy little white iPod case.

When I see those people, all I can think of is ripping those little white earphones out of their ears and shaking them down for lunch money. Then I realize that they're still the hardcore ghetto types and I'm still the geek, and I return to day dreaming about being able to afford an iPod.

To the average consumer, more is *confusing* (2, Interesting)

useruser (638080) | about 10 years ago | (#10550342)

A lot of the iPod competition seems to think that the killer app is more features, more formats, and more choices in general. Do these companies have any clue what it's like for the average consumer to walk into a Best Buy and make this decision? Not only does brand, which Apple has in spades, make this decision a lot easier, but choosing one from two (iPod or iPod Mini, or, in other words, big or small), is a heck of a lot easier than choosing one from Archos GMini XS200, Olympus MR500i and MR100 and a Creative Muvo Micro N200. And what the hell is an MPIO FL300 with "Ogg Vorbis"?

"Just give me the iPod. My son's friend has one of those and he seems to like it."

With all this iPod luv going around ... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550359)

if you love'em and dont have one, or if you hate them and need one to survive, they are free! :D

http://www.freeipods.com/default.aspx?referer=7558 921/ [freeipods.com]

Very few seem to support Ogg (1)

hawthorne (220575) | about 10 years ago | (#10550374)

... which is disappointing.

Has anybody any opinion on the best of the bunch that do (and are available in / to the UK)?

the only way i'll replace my iPod is... (1)

angrist (787928) | about 10 years ago | (#10550380)

if/when i can get a player with the same level of simple UI elegance with a few new features. Screw color screens and video / photo playback. I want a built in AM/FM reciever, FM transmitter and bluetooth. Why bluetooth you might ask? So that (with a simple mic too i suppose) i can answer my cell phone without taking off my headphones.

Re:the only way i'll replace my iPod is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550532)

Actually, I've got a better idea.
mobile harddrive with bluetooth.
Move the interface to the mobile phone, and the mp3 decoding too. most mobile phones can easily decode mp3 streams, you can downsize zhe hdd case by quite a margin and don't need any unnecessary interface, just put it into the backpack, and the mobile phone is usually within reach anyway...

*runs to the patent office*

itunes is the secret, not the ipod (4, Insightful)

Twid (67847) | about 10 years ago | (#10550385)

For the average consumer, I think the iTunes music store is more important than the iPod itself. I've tried most of the competition (Musicmatch, WMP10, etc.) and their technology is just awful, terrible, nasty. Have you looked at Microsoft Windows Media Player 10? I counted like 6 nested menu systems in it, all different kinds. Some look like browser menus, some look like windows menus, some weird tabs for the linked music stores. Grandma is supposed to use it as her jukebox software? HA!

iTunes is incredibly easy for the average consumer. Plug in your iPod, it copies the music to it. Put in an audio CD, the button on the top right says "import". Buy music off the iTunes music store, it downloads. All within the same app.

Is anyone else even close on the ease of use of iTunes? I haven't seen anything, and I think you need that kind of ease-of-use to be the consumer success that the iPod has been.

The steps to create an iPod killer. (1)

Space_Soldier (628825) | about 10 years ago | (#10550391)

1) Clone the iPod interface 2) Add support for all formats 3) Longer lasting accumulator (more than 18 months) 4) Cheaper than the iPod 5) Longer custommer support

Re:The steps to create an iPod killer. (2, Insightful)

scottking (674292) | about 10 years ago | (#10550566)

1) Clone the iPod interface
2) Add support for all formats
3) Longer lasting accumulator (more than 18 months)
4) Cheaper than the iPod
5) Longer custommer support

all good things, i agree. surely a player like this would be an ipod killer.

that said, the ipod interface is patented, so cloning it could turn into a pretty nasty legal fight. adding longer cusotmer support will make the desired "cheaper" impossible. supporting all formats may invoke the wrath of legit music stores using competing formats that will lead to your new player getting no/bad press.

  • Good
  • Fast
  • Cheap

pick two.

iPod's interface is King (4, Insightful)

compactable (714182) | about 10 years ago | (#10550407)

... solely due to the "click wheel" thing - no other player has this, no other player is as easy to use.

Paint them whatever colur you want, make them as small as you like - the competing boxes have lousy interfaces ...

ipod killer == next ipod (4, Interesting)

ihatewinXP (638000) | about 10 years ago | (#10550439)

If Apple really does have a new 60gb iPod waiting with photo support (http://thinksecret.com/news/0410photoipod.html) and the like then the ipod killer for christmas will be the iPod itself. With a high end (photo enabled 60gb), mid-range (20/40gb ipods) and 'economy' offering (the mini - which could use a price slash) Apple against all odds and logic can continue to own the mp3 market for at least the holiday season and well into next year. But, as we have seen repeatedly the real trouble Apple tends to have is actually making enough of them.

It will be hard and likely take years to break the stranglehold Apple has on the industry. A great music store built in to a free best-in-class music player/ripper/burner/organizer and coupled with the ipod family of players. The fad hasnt turned on Apple in the slightest and most likely it hasnt even _peaked_.

GIS for iPod Killer: (4, Funny)

microcars (708223) | about 10 years ago | (#10550488)

This [japantoday.com] is what shows up on the first page of a Google Image Search for iPod Killer

I have not yet seen it announced.

Watch out Apple!

(linked image is Safe for Work...)

Nerd elite only? (1)

toumai (818893) | about 10 years ago | (#10550502)

Normally I would agree that nobody cares about ogg support, or xvid support, or whatever the new nerd codec is. Being the token nerd at my job, and amongst my friends people ask my what they should buy. So... yes support for these codecs will get them more business because people will ask that token nerd what is important.

Killers go home (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550507)

There goes another bunch of "iPod Killers". So far, all attempts to kill the iPod have led to the untimely demise of the would-be assassins. You do not have to beat the iPod alone, but the combination of the iTunes application, the iTunes Music store and then the iPod itself.

--> iTunes application: One of the best jukebox programs around, for windows and Mac. Sorts and finds your stuff, looks cool, works well. Do competing services have anything comparable? Not yet. iTunes is in version 4.6. That's a mighty headstart.

--> iTunes Music store: Huge store, good price (iTMS pioneered the 99 Cent price model), liberal DRM, user-friendly. What more do you want?

--> iPod: Last is the iPod itself. A cultural icon, practical, easy to use, and not too pricy.

the only ipod killer (2, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | about 10 years ago | (#10550531)

Will be a decent cellphone that is as easy to use most likely. Media players and cell phones and PDAs are all merging eventually, you can see it coming. I will predict that.

And frankly, hundreds of dollars for just a portable tiny media player is a stretch for a lot of people. I guess some folks can afford them but really, it's too expensive, and I am just too old to get sucked into consumer "fad" hype anymore. If you can get a right decent desktop for 400$, there's no rational reason some small media thingamajig should cost the same, none, other than there's a sucker born every minute and people seem to love to be exploited. It's a collection of asian electronic parts, which are today *cheap*, to the point of throw away cheap.

I know they sell a lot of them at that gross inflated price, I won't dispute that or argue marketing,that stuff is what it is, it's reality, but that just proves (to me anyway) a lot of people have more money (now) than common sense, and a pretty skewed sense of priorities. I might get one once they have been out long enough so that they are in the used market at like 20 dollars or something, same with a PDA. Or, like I said, wait until a cell phone at a reasonable price has a lot more features to it.

Guess I am just getting cranky and cynical, but to me enoughs enough on this OMG GOTTAHAVEIT deal with over priced gadgets. I'm a geek and I like gadgets, I have just cut way down past few years because it's gotten out of control. I have a box full of cxellphones, all of them work, it costs more money to rerplace the battery than it does to get a new phone. Sucks. Same with a few laptops I got. sucks. I have some portable radio/cassette thingees, they still work fine and take cheap batteries, and paid for them years ago, done. I am NOT going to listen to 10,000 songs in one day, and it's just not that hard to have a few tapes handy. I dfon't go to work to watch some media movie or to play games, so don't need those sorts of features. OTA radio still has tunes and talk, if you have a decent one and can actually learn to tune in channels better.

I used to be a serious mac fanboy, but really, they got enough of my loot, time to move on. I used to be able to justify their high prices when the only rational competition was having to run early windows,so I paid it, but now, nope,they switched to a unixy system and kept the same high prices on their boxes, refuse to drop prices down to any entry level that is comparable with anyone else, their computers are way too expensive and no way would I pay that 400 buck price for some teeny music player, I got real adult grownup things that need to be paid for first.

Not trying to flame anyone for their selections, but just think on it, that much money for THAT? If people got that sort of spare change, then I'd like to see less whining about the economy, they must be better off than 95% of the humans I know, who wouldn't even consider owning something like an ipod at that pricing level.

To each their own I guess, just this thread needed a contrarian viewpoint on the whole phenomenon.

It's going to be a while before the ipod dies (2, Insightful)

scribblez (745500) | about 10 years ago | (#10550554)

Majority of the people that buy ipods aren't technically inclined. They see it as a status symbol. So, until the fad moves to a new and 'cute' product, the ipod's to stay. Besides, the ipod is so shiny :)

MP3CD (1)

c0dedude (587568) | about 10 years ago | (#10550568)

I picked up a DCP-400 [ign.com] off of ebay a while ago. Got it for 75, it looks great, and I'm having a great time with it. The American equivalent is the SlimX by Iriver [amazon.com] , which I personally think isn't quite as nice, but if you want a cheaper alternative, check one of these out.

AM/FM For Ipod (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 years ago | (#10550572)

How about one of these to make the Ipod complete?

Dont need some fancy new 'killer' with feature bloat beyond what an Ipod really is.. a music device that works, and is easy to operate....
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