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Sirius Confirms iPod Satellite Talks

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the too-bad dept.

Media (Apple) 381

An anonymous reader writes "Remember those iPod Satellite rumors last December? Mel Karmazin, the CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio, announced at the 2005 Media Summit that he had discussions with Steve Jobs about the possibility of putting Sirius' technology in future iPods. Steve's response? Not interested."

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iTunes Says Moo (5, Insightful)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637789)

Songs in iPod will grow old and users will eventually buy new ones to replace the olds, and iTunes the cash cow is waiting.

Being a satellite radio will allow users to use iPod without purchasing anything thing more from Apple.

Re:iTunes Says Moo (2, Interesting)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637804)

Being an MP3 player will also allow users to use iPod without purchasing anything more than Apple. What's your point?

Re:iTunes Says Moo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637820)

Boyakasha! Respect!

Re:iTunes Says Moo (1)

pellis23 (120853) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637879)

Yes, but presumably Apple would get a cut of the subscription fees and/or a bounty for each new user.

Plus, iTMS exists to sell iPods, not the other way around.

Re:iTunes Says Moo (4, Informative)

jm92956n (758515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637891)

Except iTunes isn't the cash cow: the iPod is. Apple has made no secret of the fact that their profit margin on each song sold is extremely low, and the primary objective of the iTunes music store is to sell more iPods, where quite a bit of profit is made off of each unit sold.

For reference, check out this article: Apple profit surges on iPod sales []

Re:iTunes Says Moo (2, Informative)

Justin205 (662116) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637892)

And *everyone* puts ITMS music on their iPod...

Seriously. I don't have a single track from ITMS (although I do have a $30 gift certificate waiting for there to be something I want in the ITMS...). I have mainly Bittorrented albums, along with a few ripped CDs.

Re:iTunes Says Moo (Mu?) (0, Offtopic)

Fletch (6903) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638008)

iTunes Says Moo

I think maybe you meant "mu [] "?

Re:iTunes Says Moo (1)

TrueWest175 (606770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638055)

There's one problem with that. iTunes doesn't own the cow, they only own the milking machine. The Big 5 [] own the cow.

iTunes is in a tenuous position, at best.

fp at last (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637794)

Bah! FP

Ladies and Gentlemen (4, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637795)

Steve Jobs, the Prince Charles of the tabloid computer industry.

Re:Ladies and Gentlemen (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637807)

And slashdot editors: Mac Shills...

Re:Ladies and Gentlemen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637845)

Mod me offtopic, it's still true, I wouldn't doubt that money changes hands for all the news/advertising going on around here...

Re:Ladies and Gentlemen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637833)

Well, saying "Prince Charles, the Steve Jobs of Royalty" doesn't really work.

But Bill Gates works both ways: "Bill Gates, the Prince Charles of the tabloid computer industry", and "Prince Charles, the Bill Gates of Royalty" both work and are both true.

It's hard to build a really good analogy.

the irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637801)

of reading an article about apple on a website called

due you think the clue is in the name ?

Re:the irony (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637824)

Oh the irony of someone who doesn't understand irony.

Re:the irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637839)

I want to "due" your mom!

If you are wondering, itunes is the reason ... (0, Flamebait)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637802)

Apple has itunes, and that's what they want people to use to feed their hungry ipods, sadly, in today's world, copyright makes people more money than real work and sales.


Re:If you are wondering, itunes is the reason ... (2, Insightful)

derEikopf (624124) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638107)

Why is it sad that copyrights make people money? That's the beauty of copyrights.

Steve Jobs did do real work with the iPod and iTunes--he didn't just say "do it" and it got done right.

copyright makes people more money than real work and sales
People make more money with copyright than sales? How does that happen? The ONLY thing that makes iTunes and the iPod monetarily successful is sales.

I think it's a mistake (3, Insightful)

chris09876 (643289) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637803)

Adding satellite radio to iPods could create an awesome portable media player. I don't own an ipod, but adding this functionality might convince me to buy one. The capability to listen to satellite radio, and my own downloaded songs on a single device is a very attractive combination. I think jobs screwed up here... I think they'd sell tons of those units.

Re:I think it's a mistake (1)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637829)

This would make them have to creat another line of satilite iPods, and while diversity can be good, too much can be a bad thing. I would count out a Sirius add-on though.

Re:I think it's a mistake (1)

chris09876 (643289) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637855)

Yeah, this thread points out a lot of possible reasons that they could have made the decision. Too bad though.. it would've been a great unit :) An add-on works too, I guess

Re:I think it's a mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637866)

Adding satellite radio to iPods could create an awesome portable media player. I don't own an ipod, but adding this functionality might convince me to buy one.

I agree, especially if the resulting iPod was a bit smaller and lighter, retaining its elegant UI and improving on its battery life.

But if it results in a bigger, heavier player with a shorter battery life, well, then forget it.

Re:I think it's a mistake (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637890)

As opposed to now, when they aren't selling tons of units?

I think adding satellite radio would reduce the iPod's crappy battery life even more. I have a silver iPod mini, and although I love it, I wish I didn't have to charge it so damn often. Apple is probably thinking about size constraints too. Notice how with each generation/model, the iPod has been getting smaller. Add satellite radio, and you'll have an even larger bulge in your pants.

wait, maybe that IS a good idea!

Re:I think it's a mistake (1)

kereira (795255) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637937)

That's what I think, too. I mean, it'd make me, and probably a lot more people become more interested in iPods since there's so many other MP3 players etc. out there. What sets the iPod apart from the others except for the fact it's 'pretty'?! Hehe. I mean, (disregarding the shuffle for the moment) there are smaller ones, and ones that play a larger range of file extensions, and cheaper ones... But not all of them have what he just denied x_x I think he needs to fix that, don't you?

Re:I think it's a mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637953)

omg a gurl hey 2 you

Re:I think it's a mistake (1)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638011)

Then you've got the problem with it making it larger and bulkier.. Not to metion then you'd have the iPod, iPod photo, iPod mini, iPod shuffle, then you'd have the iPod satilite.

The best route to go would be a sirius add-on.

Re:I think it's a mistake (1)

kereira (795255) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638046)

Make the others redundant, make iPod v2? It's not like companies never produce upgrades on original products. :P

Re:I think it's a mistake (4, Insightful)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637980)

Wouldn't there be some sort of technical limitations on how small a sat radio could get? And what about power requirements. It seems to me that to recieve sat signals you would need a pretty good reciever and it would probably suck the battery life.

Also sat radio is, as far as I know, only really popular in north America.

Such a device would be useless abroad.

Re:I think it's a mistake (4, Insightful)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638030)

Also sat radio is, as far as I know, only really popular in north America.

And not really that popular here.

Huh? (3, Interesting)

mrseigen (518390) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637805)

I'm not up on the tech, but aren't satellite radios fairly big, and requiring a high-power aerial? We don't have them in Canada, but I saw a couple of XM units when I visited the States and they didn't look iPod-sized.

Re:Huh? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637856)

Then why did you open your mouth?

I'm not up on the tech, but aren't MP3 players about the size of my massive 8" horsecock for a mere 64mb? Lame.

Re:Huh? (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637882)

GPS units started out half the size of a game boy when I first saw them, and then got half the size of that, in 2001. I don't know what they are now, but if they use a similar satelite network for XM, then they don't have to be very big to work, although they might not work so well in a pocket, or on the wrong side of a building.

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637889)

Google [] it and you'll find this [] .

Re:Huh? (1)

mrseigen (518390) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638026)

Oh cool. Thanks, I guess XM must be doing "submarine advertising" of their products nowadays, because I totally missed that. They'd probably get a leg up on Sirius if they could bribe the CRTC to let it in.

Re:Huh? (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638047)

Yeah, it isn't being marketed very well. Just all day on the television during popular shows such as Law & Order and CSI.

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638036)

They radios can actually be made quite small. There is an XM handheld that is about the size of a tapeplayer or so. The antenna is integrated on that unit (I think) and the antenna for my father's car XM unit is only about 1" square (because of the high frequencies used, they are very small).

That said, I think they would definatly have to increase the size of the iPod (maybe double as thick what the lowest capacity iPod is) to make it work. It wouldn't be a tiny addition (like an FM radio might be). See my other post in this topic for my other thoughts.

Re:Huh? (1)

The-Perl-CD-Bookshel (631252) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638049)

MyFi? [] I personally like the "More Buying Choices" bar to the right, what a deception.

Re:Huh? (1)

GrBear (63712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638073)

Fairly big? How about the same size, but about twice the thickness of the original iPod? The satellite antenna, not aerial, is about 2.5" long, 2" wide and about .75" thick, and that's including the magnetic base.

The new generation receivers (like the Audiovox PNP3) are getting smaller and smaller (PNP3 is about 70% of the cubic size as the PNP2) with each new version.

iPod Satellite Radio (5, Insightful)

VermifugeRT (461717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637806)

I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, but I think he made the right choice.

Satellite radio has limited appeal. I don't know many people that are excited about the idea of radio you have to pay for, commercials or not. Digital Radio (Digital FM & AM) will offer CD quality broadcasts in the near future effectively killing the satellite Radio market.

I discovered MP3s nearly 10 years the time I spend listening to the radio has decreased. Even before that CD players often omitted a radio tuner further effecting how I listen to music. The iPod and other MP3 players have eliminated my need for radio.

The impeding failure of satellite radio aside, I don't see how it would even fit into Apple's bigger plan for the iPod. The iPod allows us to create out own personalized 'radio station' without commercials.

Now I'm just dependant on friends to introduce me to new music. I think they have better taste then the DJ's and what the big labels want to shove down my though any way.

Re:iPod Satellite Radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637983)

I don't know many people that are excited about the idea of radio you have to pay for, commercials or not. Digital Radio (Digital FM & AM) will offer CD quality broadcasts in the near future effectively killing the satellite Radio market.

Digital Radio (HD) will be the same crap that is on FM & AM now, with less static. Still 25 minutes of commercials each hour, still the same old songs. Satellite gives listeners exactly what they want and unique programming like audio books, specialized genres like reggae, standards, and bluegrass.

Re:iPod Satellite Radio (1)

VermifugeRT (461717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638061)

And that differs from iTunes how? I pay every moth rather then a one time fee for each song?

Re:iPod Satellite Radio (1)

Triumph The Insult C (586706) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638063)

personally, i didn't mind when satellite still had commercials ... they really weren't that instrusive

i haven't listened to regular radio in years (xm subscriber currently, moving to sirius). it's not because it's commercial free, but more because

1. i have plenty of choice. there are 100+ channels. i don't buy the "yea ... 100 channels of shit" argument. if i'm feeling the blues, bam, got a channel. classic rock? got a few to choose from. on an ecstasy groove, a few channels for that too

2. it's cheap. for $10-$15/mo, I can listen to 720 hours of tunes. ok, i'm asleep for half, and probably not listening to a radio for another 70% of what's left over. that's still about 100 hours/mo i can listen. $.10/hour isn't bad. what's an hour of music cost on iTunes? $15?

3. i'm telling the FCC to go fuck themselves. regular radio is crap. everyone is offended by everything, and with the new legislation going through Congress to allow for fines of individual performers, forget it. i was tired of avril lavigne 2 years ago

4. regular radio plays the same shit over and over on 3 or 4 hour loops. want to hear that new jimmy's chicken shack? ain't gonna happen on regular radio. instead, you get to listen to that ultra hip new britney or ashlee simpson

frankly, i'm happy the deal didn't go through. imo, apple is a pretty shitty company when it comes to treating those who have helped them get where they are. if sirius partners up with someone else, great. and i hope they pound the shit out of apple

Why bother? (4, Interesting)

sploo22 (748838) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637808)

Why should I bother with satellite radio anyway? I can just subscribe to a few podcasts, maybe download a few extra tracks from the artists' sites once in a while and I have plenty of music to keep me busy, given how much I use my iPod. Plus I get that warm fuzzy feeling of being RIAA-free.

Makes sense (1)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637809)

They probably don't want to make a whole new line of satilite iPods, thus diluting the product lines.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637909)

As opposed to the iPod, the iPod Mini, the iPod Shuffle, and the iPod photo?

There are numerous reasons why they wouldn't want to do this, such as encourage users to buy songs from iTMS, keep costs on the units down thus keeping profits high, and a lack of desire to ecourage a separate monthly subscription which would be required to use that function of the product, but if they wish to not dilute the product line, they've already failed.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637942)

You forgot the Special Edition U2 iPod! Shame on you!

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11638052)

You're right! I did!

Revoke my Apply Fanboy license now... my Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field is clearly non operational! *sob*

Missing link (1)

thundercatslair (809424) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637810)

This is a big mistake, the money they both could make would be huge and what would apple lose? Not making money?

A song not downloaded off iTunes is a loss (5, Insightful)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637811)

If you consider that any song that is ripped from original media instead of being downloaded from the iTunes store is a potential loss of revenue for Apple, then you can see how Steve would be against the idea.

With Apple at the forefront of online music stores, it makes sense that we support them by buying our portable music at iTunes rather than listening to radio (whether free or otherwise). Not only can we, the listeners, decide what we want to hear at any given time, it benefits Apple in a way that mere words cannot.

Steve Jobs has again seen the correct path. While it may hurt Sirius XM in the short term, in the long term I think it will be a boon to everyone to have a strong Apple Computer company.

Too Bad (0, Troll)

jull1234 (752298) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637813)

Too bad. Everyone knows that would be one sweet product. Besides, everyone would go out and buy a new iPod, yes?

Wait (-1)

elid (672471) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637817)

There are more important things that should be added to the iPod before satellite radio: a microphone and/or a line in, for one.

Re:Wait (1)

deutschemonte (764566) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637852)

Or maybe a mini-fm broadcaster?

That way it could truly become your own personal radio station (and you could share with others at the gym etc.

Re:Wait (1)

ajwitte (849122) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637940)

iPod already has an audio input. It shares the headphone jack (I think). That's how the various audio recorder accessories work.

I for one... (0)

Vombatus (777631) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637819)

welcome our satellite dish toting ipodders

or something like that

This is SO last night (0, Offtopic)

jkmiecik (242175) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637831)

Looks like slashdot is picking up Ars Technica's sloppy seconds [] .

shiny things.... (0, Troll)

letchhausen (95030) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637837)

and then Apple will release a piece of tinfoil tied to a string and all the magpies will line up to chase the shiny things around and get one for themselves.

They might as well get with radio, the shitty 8-track like sound quality of an iPod would be uber-retro if satellite could capture the sweet tinny sounds of AM.....

Re:shiny things.... (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637919)

Shitty 8-track sound quality?

What color is the sky on your planet?

Not interested (2, Funny)

weighn (578357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637854)

they're NOT doing anything. Why is that newsworthy?

M$ buys an anti-virus firm and decides NOT to integrate AV technology into Longhorn.

Now that would be news.

Sirius sucks (2, Interesting)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637858)

Somehow I get the feeling that Steve would have been more positive about this if XM had been knocking on his door and not Sirius. The biggest problem with Sirius is that is has a terrible signal -- on my last two vacations we rented cars with Sirius systems, and were regularly frustrated by not getting a signal when driving in forests, under light cloud cover, fog around the San Francisco bay, or clear skys in Napa Valley. XM radio on the other hand, has an excellent signal - I have used it inside of brick buildings with no trouble.

The only thing Sirius has going for it is Howard Stern, who won't be on for a few years yet. They had better launch a decent satellite first, or all he'll talk about for the length of his contract is how much Sirius sucks.

Re:Sirius sucks (1)

JJahn (657100) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637957)

Speak for yourself. Here in Wisconsin XM radio (my dad has it in his car) dies anytime there is any sort of obstruction above, and even sometimes on the sides of the car. I have no experience so I can't say anything about Sirius.

Re:Sirius sucks (2, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637993)

I don't think so. In fact, I know it's not so.

XM's Hugh Panero has already spoken to Steve Jobs [] and nothing has come from that either.

The satellite providers would love to get involved with the iPod, but why would Apple want to break its strangle-hold on locking out any competitors to the iTunes Music Store?

Re:Sirius sucks (1)

Paralizer (792155) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638004)

Sirius has 3 satelittes. XM has 1.

Re:Sirius sucks (2, Informative)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638034)

sirux has 3 in elipitical orbit.
xm has 2 in geo-sync orbit.


Re:Sirius sucks (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638059)

Sirius has 3 satelittes. XM has 1.

Wrong. XM has a satellite position on each coast. [] XM uses geostationary positions.

Sirius has three, but they're in Low Earth Orbit so at any given time one is on the opposite side of the world and useless.

Re:Sirius sucks (1)

GrBear (63712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638018)

Funny, I experience the exact opposite.. I live about 400 miles north of the US border, and I get solid full signal strenth ALL THE TIME (without the benefit of terrestrial repeaters). Sounds to me like improper installation of the antennas on those rental cars.

Oh, and Howard Stern starts in January of 2006, not "for a few years yet".

Re:Sirius sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11638045)

Was the brick building that you used your XM radio in located in a large city (NY, etc.)? XM, and I think Sirius as well, does place some sort of ground receivers in select large cities. This might be why signal was easily obtained inside of a building. I can't really speak for Sirius's signal quality why driving, as mine sits on my desk with the antenna outside the house, but I have witnessed my friends XM radio cut out many times while driving. Tall trees on the side of the road, and even large trucks passing by have blocked the signal. I just figured this was one downsides of having either XM or Sirius devices placed your car.

Re:Your sample sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11638088)

Sirius has great reception here in the concrete jungle of NYC.

Also, my rental care experience is the opposite of yours throughout my travels in the Midwest and South with very good signal always.

What I like about Sirius is the programming diversity. XM is fine too but I have been very pleased with Sirius.

stern in 'years'? (1)

Triumph The Insult C (586706) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638104)

try 10.5 months, or maybe less ... right at the top

First things first (1, Interesting)

NoData (9132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637864)

Satellite shmatellite. How about a damn FM tuner and recording to step up to the feature set of every other high end MP3 player?

Re:First things first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637987)

YES! I know every time I go to listen to the 40 GB music collection on my iPod, I wonder what FM quality line up of songs Clear Channel Communications has strung together for a handful of genres appropriate for my area. Hmm, what are those 25 country | light rock | gay energy | rap songs they are playing this year over and over?

I'm also missing out on the local ads for diamond importers and used car lots that get edited into the corporate satellite feed that I call my own personal home town radio station.

And if only I could also record analog audio in from my music player! What else could I ask for?

OH RIGHT! When will I also be able to pay a subscription fee for all the downloads I can handle, so I don't have to just listen to the 40 GB of music I own and/or purchase? I don't want to compile too many songs of my own, I just want to pay monthly for some rented tunes, maybe the same ones I hear on the radio, but with the ADDED ability to skip songs I don't want to hear.

Re:First things first (2, Interesting)

NoData (9132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638109)

No cynic like an anonymous cynic, but here goes.

1) My gym has TVs in front of treadmills with FM broadcast of the audio portion. I'd like to run while I watch. Also, listening to NPR while I walk across campus wouldn't be bad from time to time.

2) While I don't need or use it, using mp3 players as audio recorders for lectures, concerts, note taking is an extremely popular feature.

And, yeah, the kids like their clear channel crap and recording the same from radio and friend's CDs. And while these uses may be too pedestrian for you, it doesn't mean there aren't better ones, and that all of them would sell more ipods and bring them in line with what a personal media device ought to do.

Uh oh. (2, Funny)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637875)

Is Steve gonna sue Sirius now? ;) (Hint: What happened to the last person who revealed Apple's short-term plans? OK, so this is more of a lack of one specific plan, but...)

One Word (2, Funny)

Pwned (799180) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637881)


Re:One Word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637968)

Naw, it's the iSat.

The smaller, cuter version with the pastel plastic is the iSat lite.

Addon (1)

kff322 (752112) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637896)

It would be a nice addon, but it would most likey be priced at something like 399 which i think is what most of the sat radios go for...


Looks like... (2, Funny)

MasterOfUniverse (812371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637897)

Steve is not that serious about sirius.

payment? (1)

endlessvoid94 (767811) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637906)

but what about payment?

users wouldn't get free xm, would they? that would definitely be a downside for me (i have a 4th gen ipod)...

or maybe they could come up with some sort of prepaid plan for xm....either way, like the article says, the battery life required for something like that would be enormous...probably an impractical battery size by today's standards...

just my two cents :~D

Sirius Stock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637936)

This will be fun to watch fall in the morning. It closed today at 5.93 down 1%


What I'd prefer anyway is PodCasting via iTunes (3, Interesting)

garagekubrick (121058) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637939)

Make my iPod like TiVo... There's a radio show I like in L.A. called Morning Comes Eclectic on KCRW. I'd pay a small fee to every morning sync my iPod on the way out the door to download the entire program from the morning and have it last for say, five days before expiring. People can get commercial free the radio programs they want directly in the genre they wish without fiddling.

Apple would do well to look at PodCasting and figure out how to bring large name radio broadcasts such as this (or say NPR's This American Life) to the iPod.

As a Sirius subscriber, what I REALLY want is... (2, Interesting)

kilonad (157396) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637951)

As a Sirius subscriber, what I REALLY want is a Sirius unit for my car that also plays MP3s. Think satellite radio unit with built-in iPod, not the other way around. That way, when there's nothing good on (which happens from time to time) or I want to listen to something specific, I could have thousands (or at least hundreds) of MP3s at my disposal. Of course, I'd also like a receiver that's much closer in size to the iPod, and isn't hot enough to fry an egg. Sirius, are you listening?

MyFi complaints (5, Informative)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637959)

Perhaps Steve's just seen what some people ran into with the MyFi.

Right before I graduated from college, I was working at a large consumer electronics store to pay the bills. As frequently happened, we were given the opportunity to purchase XM equipment directly from a manufacturer at ludicrously low prices. This sort of thing is common in certain sections of electronics retailers; car audio and home audio traditionally have a huge markup, and manufacturers offer direct purchase plans that end up being better than the normal employee discount, all in the hope that an employee will fall in love with the product and recommend it to customers.

This time, we were offered the XM MyFi for 6 months of service. That was it. We paid shipping on the player and prepaid six months of service. That meant $60 for a player that was retailing in the mid to high- $300s. Several guys jumped on it.


These things were wretched. I'm not sure if we got a crappy batch (although some personal online reviews at the time were similar to our experiences), but these things couldn't hold onto a signal if the fate of the earth depended on it.

One guy actually walked outside with his MyFi while it was hooked to a small set of portable speakers for purpose of demonstrating the new utter crappiness to the rest of us. He held it out from his body. The unit played fine. He held a small stack of about 15 papers above it. The signal died completely.

Most of us simply sold them on eBay. The profit was reasonable, but given the amount of problems, I was just glad I never purchased one.

Indirectly, it confirms what I'd already seen with my father's car satellite radio system. Terrestrial rebroadcast is great in some areas. In others, pulling into a gas station cuts out audio entirely.

iPods work damned well. The iTunes sync system is great, the interface is nearly as simple as it gets, and unless you have a peculiar niche desire for your player, it does everything most people want. Now imagine the same player randomly cutting out when you walk under trees by the sidewalk, or when you walk into the gym because rebroadcast isn't reaching the area you're in, or when you stick it in your pocket (if it behaves like some of our MyFi's). If and when Sirius or XM can demonstrate a 99% effective coverage system for a player that can't guarantee free view of the sky, then we'll talk.

Until then, Steve, don't pollute an otherwise great player.

Re:MyFi complaints (1)

PureCreditor (300490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638014)

the pollution has already started

the iPod mini is priced too close to the next level up (249 vs 299) but with specs much closer to the next level down (1GB flash vs. 4GB hdd).

spending $50 extra bucks (299 vs. 349) just to get a black case/red wheel U2 edition

or spending upwards to 599 for a top model ipod photo

when flash becomes cheaper, a 2GB shuffle at $199 will seriously erode into mini's market share.

what apple needs to do to de-pollute :

clarify it's future strategic positioning of how the mini will fit the niche between the mass market flash players and the elitist full-size HDDs

Re:MyFi complaints (4, Interesting)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638094)

Eh, I wasn't hinting at pollution here. I think a satellite-enhanced iPod would be great, provided it worked. Thing is, that's a big "if."

I disagree with your statements, though.

The Mini was the fastest-selling product in Apple's history. While you (and I) may disagree with the price/capacity point, it's obvious that a lot of consumers did not. I learned long ago that in most cases, Apple knows what people want far better than I.

The U2 edition is a limited edition. The $50 does get you a different case, but it also gets you a credit toward the U2 uber-Box set on iTunes. I've never even seen one in a store (although I guess Apple stores probably have one). It seems more like the kind of thing that a U2 fan would actively seek out. It's there, it's $50 more, you're welcome to buy it if you want.

The iPod photo is an asinine product, IMHO, but see above. Apple usually knows people better than I do. I could see buying the $599 model to get the 60GB drive, though.

Apple probably won't do a $199 shuffle. What they will do is the same thing they've been doing with the iPod since day one: Same price, bigger capacity. The $99 price point would get you 1GB, the $149, 2GB. Oh, yeah, and the iPod mini would probably bump to 6 or 8GB as hard drive capacity marches right along. We won't even get into the fact that the mini has many things consumers want (screen, colors, etc.) Again, see above: Apple knows what people want better than I do.

Re:MyFi complaints (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638092)

Antenna problems.

The antenna for a car XM unit is about 1" square, but that is because it sticks to a large metal car body that acts as a ground plane. The home antennas for XM units are squares that are 2" to 3" per side. They get pretty good signals too.

I never understood how they could put a decent antenna inside that little unit. Sounds like I was right. The problem would only be worse if the unit was smaller (like an iPod). It's easy to pick up that 100,000 watt FM station that's 20 miles away with a little tiny antenna. But picking up a satellite whose signal is broadcast across the whole US with a tiny antenna (and the signal is probably not 100,000 watts at the source either)... it can't be easy.

Now if you were in a metro area where XM has singal repeaters on the ground, things might be better. Are you in such an area? There is usually a symbol next to the signal strength meter if you are getting the signal from a relay station.

I'm with another poster. This would work better as a "CarPod". A combination iPod/Satellite/AM/FM/CD/Radio unit for your car, not some little portable (I would buy one in a heartbeat.)

Music Store Sat for Apple (1)

SnprBoB86 (576143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637961)

clearly, Apple rather people buy songs from iTunes Music Store than strike a deal with a Sat radio company

The technology is not ready (3, Insightful)

ky11x (668132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637969)

There is a very simple explanation for this. Satellite radio is not yes sufficiently fault-free to be put into a mass market portable device yet. This article [] from the NY Times looks at one of the first such portable devices and explains why it doesn't work. The radios require line-of-sight to the satellite (so you can forget about all the subway commuters, the primary city iPod audience), and need a good antenna to get a really clear signal. There's also too much "geek factor" involved in all the various attachments necessary to get it to work properly in different conditions (a separate antenna for each type of listening location).

Apple is not interested in the iPod becoming (just) a geek toy. Most users, I suspect, would want satellite radio to work normally if they are underground, lying around in their apartment, or walking through the streets -- just like their iPods do now. Until Apple can figure out a way to get the technology to work as simply as most people expect, they'd rather not add it to a mass-product device.

I suspect Apple will eventually be the first company to offer a really usable satellite radio device though. Jobs likes to say no until the technology is ready.

Buy This Song Now (1)

ReadParse (38517) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637981)

They oughta really integrate this thing... "buy this song", or at least "add a stub of this song to my playlist so I can easily find it once I'm connected to the Internet through iTunes". You can't beat the listening to good, commercial-free radio with the option to easily buy songs you like.


Jobs hates subscriptions (5, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637986)

This is just a conjecture on my part, but it seems that one of Jobs' insights, or pecadilloes, or whatevers about selling is that he thinks people hate supscriptions. He could have made iTMS a subscription service, but didn't, and he prospered. He shows little interest in Sirius because you only really rent Sirius or XM, and perhaps he takes a given that this makes people think twice before buying -- subscriptions are the anathema of gee-whiz, they reek of responsibility and if you are being sold a subscription, you're going to put a lot more thought into it before you do it. It also perhaps worth remarking, if only in passing, that the most successful internet/IT ventures of the last decade have been either free to the consumer (Yahoo, Google) or paid on instance of use (eBay, Amazon).

Contrast this with everyone's M$ conspiracy theory, where .NET is a big trap to suck everyone into paying monthly to use Word. I don't think this would work; imagine all those home users seeing "MICROSOFT.COM THANKS YOU-0231" on their Amex statement every month, and then wondering if there was another way. Even if monthly subscriptions are cheaper than buying a new package every 5 years, the psychological impact of paying monthly for something that only seems to get more features every year or two would insurmountable (and, after all, how many features could they possibly add to Word to justify the constant payment, the days the net is slow, etc.)

So, I guess I agree with Jobs on this, and I have doubts about subscriptions for pure information services.

Although, I do have .mac.... Hmm. I'm a hippocrite.

Re:Jobs hates subscriptions (1)

vicparedes (701354) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638071)

That doesn't explain Apple's strategy for .Mac. Which is obviously subscription based.

Satellite Radio is a GOOD thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11637997)

but not for the iPod.

The MyFi from XM is portable but bigger than an iPod by itself.

That said, satellite offers somethings iPods don't - random exposure to new music, seamless integration into your entertainment world (Sorry my stereo is not USB enabled and my better than $200 PC speakers still suck compared to a Yamaha reciever and good Boston Acoustics speakers.) all of the MLB games, lots of news, a very smooth interface, rewind capability. I could go on.

But for $9 a month XM kicks ass and will not be slowed by dgitial FM, as digital FM is going to be the same crap, but now at higher resolution.

I, for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11638000)

...dont have to finish this sentence

Not Suprised (5, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638010)

I'm not suprised at all. Let's look at the reasons why:
  • Size - The iPod is small. While the Delphi portable XM radio is not big, it's much bigger than an iPod. So you'd have to make the iPod bigger (or at least much thicker) do it it.
  • Demand - People are having hard times finding iPod Shuffles because they are very hard to keep in stock. The "old" iPods are still selling like hotcakes too. Apple doesn't need the help/feature to sell iPods, they are doing fine now.
  • Demand 2 - How many people are actually demanding one of these things? First to use it (or at least the main feature that differentiantes it from a normal iPod) you have to pay a monthly fee. And to record the Sirrius content (assuming they allow that which would be a major reason to get one) you'd either have to keep it running (battery would die fast) or keep it plugged into the wall (so it could only record things when sitting in it's cradle at night for example). You want it to record a program that comes on at 2:00 PM? Better find a cradle you can stick it in (that has an antenna setup) so it can record it.
  • Battery - As already mentioned, having that radio in there would use battery. And to have it record live radio so you can pause it (like the Delphi unit does) you have to run the audio electionics, the satellite radio electronics, and the hard drive. That has GOT to be a battery drain.
  • Complexity - Not only is that a lot of stuff to put into a small box, but the interface would probably suffer too. Navigating radio stations wouldn't be too hard, but how do you make it so you can easily schedule recordings and such? I think it would be hard to make that as clean as the rest of the iPod UI while making it integrate well.
  • Why Sirrius? - If the satellite iPod is such a hot product (I admit it sounds intereting), why should they use Sirrius? Isn't XM doing better? And either way, I'm sure XM would KILL to get that deal too, so why not play them both off of eachother for a while to get better terms? You don't have to accept the first formal offer. Heck, Apple probably has enough clout that they could make BOTH a Sirrius iPod and an XM iPod (none of those "you can't work with out compeditor" contracts) because the idea is supposedly so lucrative.
  • Sirrius and XM to merge - As long as you are talking about rumors, there was that rumor that the two would merge and then where would Apple be? They might want to hold off because of that speculation.
  • New Products - Last is the iPod line. We got the Mini a year ago, 4th gens not too long ago, with the iPod Photo about the same time. We got the iPod Shuffle last month. I'd think they'd want to wait a year before introducing anything more than an evolution (like 2nd gen to 3rd gen).

I'm not saying it's not a good idea, but I think it is definatly too early. It will be a while before we see such a thing. I don't see how it could happen right now. Just doesn't seem to make sense.

Even Steve Jobs Makes Mistakes (-1, Troll)

reporter (666905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638022)

Unfortunately, Steve Jobs made a mistake that will hurt both him and Howard Stern. Stern will be moving to Sirius radio in 2006 January [] . If Jobs had linked the iPods to Sirius, he would have created a ready audience for Howard Stern and, simultaneously, expanded the market for iPods.

Current iPod buyers are part of the young "hip" crowd, and they have just the type of personality that would be attracted to a Stern radio show. So, too, the current middle-aged crowd who grew up with Stern would likely buy an iPod to tune into the "King of All Media".

Jobs really blew this one. If you are a Stern fan and want Stern to succeed at his new home on Sirius radio, then send an e-mail note to Steve Jobs and tell that arrogant CEO to work with Sirius.

Sometimes, Jobs acts like ... well ... a "Carly Fiorina".

To the Author (1)

The-Perl-CD-Bookshel (631252) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638024)

Since your called Jobs a "realist," I must call you a "sensationalist." I don't think your going to get Apple whipped into a frenzy with this one, but you tried. This story is bait.

Jobs = Smart Man (2, Interesting)

buddha42 (539539) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638031)

1.) adding a radio (fm or xm) gives a user a reason to not buy more through itunes. I can't remember the last time I loaded new mp3s onto my iRiver, to me its portable NPR + harddrive.

2.) the size of the unit would be really big to accomidate the extra electronics and most importantly the much larger battery.

I'm sure Jobs knows, like we all do, that eventually the ipod will have to go there. But for now he can reap the design benefits of the smaller battery and the revenue stream of itunes for a year or two until miniturization runs its course.

makes sense (0, Redundant)

btnheazy03 (829328) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638041)

if apple integrates a sirius or xm satellite-based subsription system for ipod it would jeopardize apple's iTunes, so this was to be expected.

A nail in the coffin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11638076)

This is the sort of thing that's going to drive another nail into the coffin of broadcast-type radio.

With podcasting now starting to catch on with the general public, broadcast and satellite radio are increasingly going to need a share of the iPod listening market in order to stay profitable.

Obviously Karmazin realizes this. I'm not sure if Jobs doesn't realize there's a profit to made there, or if he doesn't care.

iTunes is NOT a cash cow right now (1)

melted (227442) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638089)

It has some potential, yes, but in order for it to become the real cash cow, they need to sell billions of songs every year. Consider this. They've sold something like 250M songs since opening iTunes. This is just $250M in revenue, out of which a half (at least) goes to the record company and the artists. $175M is not that much. I'd think that R&D and operations of iTunes are at least $30-40M a year. That's another $60M to cut out of this pie (2 years). What's left? $115M, a measly $57M per year of profits.

I think they're making a lot more on iPods themselves.

Size.... (1)

SirDrinksAlot (226001) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638096)

To apple, Size matters. Smaller is better and its the motion of the ocean that gets the job done. Adding satellite to the silly thing would make it much larger. MAYBE they could talk apple could into licensing its look and interface but asking apple to add their stuff to it in my opinion sounds unreasonable.
If they want to be cheeky, they could make their own add-on for the ipod that uses it as a control unit.

iBrick (2, Insightful)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11638111)

I don't want an iBrick; I just want a freaking MP3 player. Jesus, will companies get over this "everything in one" idea? If I want a satellite radio, I will buy one.
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