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All Flash iPod Line-up on the Horizon?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the they'd-certainly-be-more-throwable dept.

Media (Apple) 183

VE3OGG writes "Several news reports are taking note of the opinion of Prudential Equity Group analyst Jesse Tortora, who seems to think that an all-flash iPod lineup could be coming in the near future. While some point out that this would ultimately super-inflate the cost of iPod production, Tortora rebukes them: '...the late 2005 Nano transition to flash provides a guide as to the point at which the previously mentioned non-cost advantages of flash memory outweigh the cost premium.' He believes that later this year Apple will unveil either a 32GB or 64GB flash-based Video iPod. Of course, like all good analysts, he also throws out some far-fetched claims. These include: the next round of video iPods will also include an iPhone-esque wide touchscreen, WiFi for Apple TV streaming, and GPS functionality. Will this be the start of a super-high-end iPod line, or perhaps a middle-of-the-road iPod Video?"

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60G of flash? (1, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948644)

w00t no moving parts. Now make the battery user accessible, and make it play mp3/aac/ogg/flac off directories and not itunes databases and we're all set. ... yes I know you can use things like gnupod to put your own tunes on. It's just a pain in the arse.

Tom

Re:60G of flash? (4, Insightful)

wakejagr (781977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948868)

make the battery user accessible, make it play mp3/aac/ogg/flac files from dirs instead of itunes databases - while we're at it, why not give it a built in radio and the ability to record from that radio . . . sounds like we're talking about one of the many competitors to the ipod. if you want something that does those things, buy something that does those things. apple is obviously taking their product in a different direction, and while i won't be buying one anytime soon (i like mp3 and ogg playback, radio, off-the-shelf batteries, etc), apple's idea is definitely working to the tune of a majority share in the marketplace.

Re:60G of flash? (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949648)

Right on, except that you won't get their awesome multitouch screen, which I'm sure is patented, so you won't be seeing it in any competitors products, meaning the consumer ultimately loses out not being able to get all the features they want in one device. Yay patents!

(Yes, I _really_ want that multitouch screen.)

Re:60G of flash? (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950572)

Here in Asia the competition most definitely will have touch screen graphical awesomeness, all packaged up in a cheap knock off housing, and all within a few short months after release of the original from Apple. As an added bonus, the imitation item will also come complete with 283 more functions and features, but with a frustratingly slow user interface that lags 8 touches behind.

9 months later they'll turn up in US flea markets.

Foreign patents don't mean squat here, local patents come in just barely above that.

Re:60G of flash? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17949660)

Forget about Ogg etc... - I'm more worried about their move to Flash. Macromedia is a terrible format for showing video. They should stick to H.264.

Re:60G of flash? (0, Flamebait)

drrck (959788) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950170)

Mod parent funny NOT Insightful. Mods forgot their cup of coffee today.

Re:60G of flash? (2, Insightful)

Bob Gelumph (715872) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949766)

Apple like to do a few things really well that all fit in with one another.
Adding radio could be done, but it is far from core, and could work against people paying for music.
What is wrong with them letting 3rd party manufacturers from making their own plug-ins like the iTrip?
Sure, being able to dump a whole lot of files on the iPod with them being playable would be good, but it introduces more complexity that doesn't fit in with their strategy.
Apple wants a particular structure for the music on iPods because it is easy for them to maintain. What is the problem with that?
They could introduce heaps of new features, but unless it really makes sense from a design point of view, then they won't do it.
I bought a cheap shuffle sized player with a small lcd and very few buttons that allows more flexibility for where you put your music. It even has a radio. The interface is crap, however. I knew it would be crap when I bought it, but I wanted something cheap. When you start bundling in all the features that small segments of your market want, you end up with MS Office 2003. That's why MS got rid of 90% of the stuff for 2007. They want to make it easy to maintain and easy to use, with just enough functionality to satisfy most people.

Re:60G of flash? (1)

punkr0x (945364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949800)

It's easy to dismiss any product if you pick out the features it doesn't have and decide those are the features you want.

Re:60G of flash? (1)

belly917 (928006) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950566)

Well, if it had those features, they would be in the "pros" list instead of a overwhelming in the "cons" list.

Re:60G of flash? (5, Interesting)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950066)

"i like mp3 and ogg playback"

I've always been surprised by how many people don't realize the iPod can play MP3s. It seems like a failure of marketing. I've had to share the good news with 3 or 4 people in the few months alone.

Re:60G of flash? (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950782)

make the battery user accessible
That would make the unit bigger. I want a portable music device to be as small as possible. The competing tend to be 20-50% bigger, which makes the iPod an easy winner in my opinion.

make it play mp3/aac/ogg/flac files
It already supports MP3, AAC and Apple Lossless (ALE). You can transcode to ALE from FLAC without losing any data, and ALE requires less CPU power to play back (giving better battery life). Vorbis support would be nice, of course, and could be a deal-breaker if you had already ripped your music collection to Vorbis.

from dirs instead of itunes databases
I honestly don't see the benefit of this. Why is it better to drag your files over manually using a filesystem view and then have the device be required to either:
  1. Create the DB itself (on a CPU and disk that are slower than your desktop / laptop) or
  2. Use the filesystem directly, costing more disk seeks/reads (and hence a battery life hit)
Opening up the format of the DB would be a better solution, so non-iTunes tools for creating it didn't have to rely on reverse-engineering. These days, however, the DB format is pretty well understood, so you can just run the tool that recreates it as part of your unmount operation pretty easily.

while we're at it, why not give it a built in radio and the ability to record from that radio
You can buy a portable radio for pretty much nothing, and it will be a lot smaller than an iPod. If I wanted a radio, I'd use one of these. Recording radio might be useful, I suppose, but I'd probably rather do that on a desktop and then sync it with a portable player.

Re:60G of flash? (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948912)

It really isn't a pain in the arse. I use amarok with my iPod, and I have no trouble at all. It's never gonna play ogg, unless you flash it with rockbox, so stop wishing. Clearly iPods aren't for you, try a player that meets your needs, or buy an iPod and give up.

Re:60G of flash? (1, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949672)

I use gtkpod with my iPod. The interface is similar enough to iTunes to make no difference (except for being gtk of course) and it's preferable to having to dual-boot. Of course, it doesn't cooperate with Apple's DRMware they try to sell us, but that's fine by me since I prefer to encode my own mp3s from CD.

Re:60G of flash? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17949496)

Might want to look at Rockbox open source replacement firmware for the ipod...
It has everything you asked for except for the battery.

http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/WhyRock box [rockbox.org]

Support for over 10 Sound Codecs, including OGG and FLAC.
It runs off fat32 directory system and no database needed.

Re:60G of flash? (1)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949712)

Gnupod, AmaroK, WinAMP, etc Many players now have (at least basic, but in the case of WinAMP quite advanced) iPod support. Install RockBox (www.rockbox.org) on it, and you can play all those files you mentioned, fully accessible by your local-generic-fat32-over-usb volume manager (read: linux, osx, win*, etc) No databases to update, no wierd filenames. Just your music, copied directly over USB to external USB Mass-Storage Plus, Rockbox plays Doom (get your own WAD)

Re:60G of flash? (3, Funny)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950200)

Now make the battery user accessible, and make it play mp3/aac/ogg/flac off directories and not itunes databases and we're all set.

In other words: change everything about it.

Re:60G of flash? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950552)

I wish I could mod you "+5 If Only"

Nano! (-1, Redundant)

romland (192158) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948676)

My nano is flasy enough, thankyouverymuch.

Re:Nano! (-1, Offtopic)

romland (192158) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948722)

What does that preview button next to submit do?

That damned preview button (-1, Offtopic)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949498)

What does that preview button next to submit do?
It creates a post-September 11th bomb hoax. DON'T PRESS IT!

Golden Plated Requirements (3, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948678)

Most analysts and (unfortunately) executives look at golden plated requirements as a good thing, even though (in many cases) they really aren't ... An all flash iPod with tons of flashy features sounds great on paper until you see the price tag at $800; the price tag is never seen as that bad by many of these people because their six figure salary is (way) above their average customers income level.

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948752)

But the original 10 Gig ipod was around $700 and it didn't have much problem selling. Most people will just go from some unit with less memory, like the 4 Gig Nano. If you really want to have the iPod video, you're prepared to spend big bucks anyway. I don't think there's that much of a difference between a person willing to pay $400 for a portable music player, and one who wants to spend $800. Either way it's outside the reach of 80% of people.

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948946)

I don't think there's that much of a difference between a person willing to pay $400 for a portable music player, and one who wants to spend $800.


Just like we are seeing PS3 units flying off the shelves though it has a slight premium over the Xbox360.

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949532)

I didn't say that I'd people would be flocking to buy the $800 iPod. I said that the people who would buy the $400 iPod would probably also buy the $800 iPod. With consoles, very few people buy the PS3, because it's too expensive. In the same light, very few people are actually buying the 80 GB iPod Video. Most people opt for the Nano, or the Mini (do they still sell that?) or the shuffle, because it is what is affordable to them. If you're going to go out and spend $400 on a portable music player, then I don't see you really see an $800 price tag stopping you. If you wanted a cheap music player, you'd get a Shuffle, or an MP3 cd Player for $30.

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949950)

If you're going to go out and spend $400 on a portable music player, then I don't see you really see an $800 price tag stopping you.
Except you're going out to spend X amount of dollars, and instead they want you to spend 2*X amount of dollars. I don't know about you, but when I go to buy something, especially a somewhat large something (you can do a lot with 400 bucks!), I'm not usually in the mindset of saying "oh well" to spending twice that.

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17951046)

But in the case of the 80 GB iPod video, you aren't going out to spend $400, you're going out to buy the best MP3 player you money can buy, instead of just getting something that would fulfill all your needs just as well (if not better) and spending half as much. It doesn't matter what the price is, because if it did, you wouldn't be buying it in the first place.

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949074)

But the original 10 Gig ipod was around $700 and it didn't have much problem selling.

The problem with that argument is that the cost at the time was due to limited quantities of new technology (2.5" hard drives). Back then there was no alternative to the technology so the price was high. Thus the iPod was unique. These days, the technology is commonplace and so are other players.

Even within Apple's product offerings, there would be alternatives. Why would any want to pay $800 for a 32GB flash player when you can get an 80GB HD for $349? Currently people pay $249 for an 8GB flash player when they can get the 30GB player for the same price. Why? My guess is form factor. Some people don't care about the larger capacity because they don't have enough music anyways and want something smaller. Second reason is colors. For some people, they have to have the blue one. The larger iPods don't come in colors. It doesn't make sense for the pragmatic people, but who said most people are pragmatic?

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (4, Informative)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949820)

There are a lot of reasons people would go for the 8 gig flash player over the 30 gig iPod. FM radio for one, smaller form factor, and more physically robust. I myself just purchased the Sandisk Sansa e280 for $170. Its a great player; it can play videos, radio, record voice and radio, and holds 2000 songs. By the time I go through 2000 songs, I'll be home from whatever trip I'm on and can swap them for new ones. I'm not interested in storing my entire music collection on an mp3 player; that's what a computer is for. I think a lot of other people think this way.

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (3, Informative)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949714)

But the original 10 Gig ipod was around $700

The original iPod was 5GB (for $400) with a 10GB ($500) debuting shortly there after.

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (3, Insightful)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950738)

But the original 10 Gig ipod was around $700 and it didn't have much problem selling.

It also didn't have an earlier iPod version before it with more capacity and a lower cost.

Currently, an 80GB HDD-based iPod is $350. I can't possibly imagine a 64GB Flash-based iPod going for less than $500. Why should I pay more for the ability to store less content?

Gotta Love Them Thar Golden Plated Requirements! (1)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948814)

The first iPod is what made all the other iPods possible. It was sexy, it did cool stuff very well, and it was too expensive. Now you can get an iPod Nano for a fraction of the cost of the original iPod and yet it does more stuff better.

Soon people willing to spend extra money to get cool features will be buying very expensive iPhones, and in a few years the spawn of the iPhone will be cheaper and do more stuff. Hooray!

Re:Gotta Love Them Thar Golden Plated Requirements (1)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949998)

Just like..... well, everything else. Technology is always expensive at first, then later it gets cheaper. This is called "progress". Imagine that. If not for the early adopters, we'd never be seeing the cheaper spawns a few years later.

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (4, Interesting)

mp3phish (747341) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949228)

lets see, you can buy 1GB SD cards for ~10$ at retail. So 320$ for the flash itself(apple will pay less than that). Considering that it is only 249$ for a 30GB ipod video, the chassis of the ipod couldn't cost more than 249. So 240+320 would be the maximum price of a 32GB ipod video flash. Unless they wanted to jack up the price more, which I doubt.

Now, take out the 30GB moving parts hard drive, that should save you about 100$. Add in the fact that apple isn't paying 10$/gig, but somewhat less than that.. say $8/gig.. so $256$. New total (retail) price would be about 405, or $399.00 for the new 32GB flash ipod video.

Unless Apple decides to mark up the flash memory more than they mark up the hard drive, your 800$ price point is pretty far off the mark. Factor in that the failure rate will be significantly less, and the battery requirement will be less , so smaller battery (or longer life), they could actually cut the price even more if they wanted to. I say they could sell it for $349 easy and still make just as much margin as they currently are on the 30GB video Hard drive ipod.

Factor in that the price of flash goes down every time production is ramped (about every couple months), you could have a $249 32GB flash video ipod within 6 months easy if they wanted to (but I doubt they will, Apple tends to wait and increase pricing when new stuff is available).

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (2, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949866)

Man, this stuff is dropping faster than I can pay attention, went to see what a 16GB memory stick costs these days as I thought that'd be a better match than 1GB cards since costs often don't scale - take away VAT and I found it retailing here for 175$ converted to USD. 2*16GB = your 32GB for 350$. I think your $100 quote is high though, I see 1.8" 30GB disks retail for about 80$, and Apple probably pays less for that too. So +270$ retail and maybe +200$ to BOM, they'd have to take a helluva drop to margins (in percent, not dollars) to sell that.

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (1)

DanielG42 (906032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950014)

At the local computer store they had 2 gb sd cards on sale for 15$ That probably means that apple could get them at 5$/gb.

Better price estimate (2, Informative)

babakm (617355) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950428)

I posted something like this elsewhere, but... From a recent semiconductor industry report, the latest NAND Flash spot prices (2/5/07) are: 2Gb ... $2.6 4Gb ... $3.9 8Gb ... $6.3 Assuming the same ~1.6x-ish price increment for each doubling of capacity: 16Gb ... $10 32Gb ... $16 Times 8 to get GB gives me a rough estimate of $128 for the NAND chips in the 32GB drive. Add a bit more for the other hardware and contract pricing and a cost of $160 for the storage portion of a 32GB flash iPod at current prices isn't too bad. Note that prices will fall by "later this year". I'd guess a starting list price of over $300, for which you'd get the slim design, better battery life and probably, bigger screen (maybe even some iPhone design elements).

NAND $ rapidly dropping (1)

jollygreengiantlikes (701640) | more than 7 years ago | (#17951416)

See http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID =197002923 [eetimes.com]

$5.15 for 8Gb NAND (though I wonder what the space requirements would be for a 10 NAND package iPod might be). Also note that even though this is current market price, predictions are for these parts to get much cheaper yet and Apple could potentially be setting up contracts with that in mind (i.e. contracting now in volumes at say 67% market)... so rather than $200-300 it'll be more likely that an 80GB iPod would require $30-50 of NAND flash memory.

History has shown execs have no problem with price (3, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949298)

the price tag is never seen as that bad by many of these people because their six figure salary is (way) above their average customers income level.

History, especially recent history, and very especially the history of the iPod, has shown that's false. Execs are acutely aware of prices of their items. Sales price is the single most important thing to any exec because it's how you make money!! People think that because an iPod isn't $25 that it's not priced for the masses. Guess what? If you can only afford $25 for an mp3 player, then Apple is NOT targetting you. Execs spend boku bucks figuring out the right market for their goods and services.

Will they use market forces to keep their prices high? Sure. Corporations aren't by any means populist, they know exactly what they are doing.

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (1)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949300)

Which give even more credence to this [penny-arcade.com]

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949486)

Today, yes. In the next few years, it's inevitable. Given the rate that flash is growing, a $149 32 GB iPod Nano will be possible in six years. At that point, why bother with hard drives?

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (1)

djrogers (153854) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950184)

a $149 32 GB iPod Nano will be possible in six years. At that point, why bother with hard drives?
Perhaps because I will only be able to hold a handful of HD videos on my shiny new 1080p ipod if it only has 32Gb of RAM?

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17951490)

Video? Why do I want to lug around something with a big enough screen to watch video when all I want to do is listen to music?

The sales of Nanos shows pretty clearly that many people care more about the size of the device than the amount of storage on the device.

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950858)

Given the rate that flash is growing, a $149 32 GB iPod Nano will be possible in six years. At that point, why bother with hard drives?

In six years, $149 might buy you an HDD-based iPod with 400GB of storage. You see, 400 is clearly a larger number than 32.

Re:Golden Plated Requirements (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949618)

Well, the early iPods were hardly cheap either. I certainly remember the commotion when they were releasing new and cheaper iPods (read: less expensive, they never went for price leader). Since flash prices are rapidly dropping, if they can establish it as the new "bling" item and then roll it out to the mainstream market as they introduce new models (Apple doesn't cut prices) I smell another winner in the works. The idea is hardly revolutionary, several have announced 1.8" and 2.5" flash HDDs for laptops already. I think it might take a little longer than he expects, but flash-iPods taking over for the classics? I believe that.

This could be good (2, Insightful)

jdcool88 (954991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948724)

While I expect an iPod equipped with 64GB of flash memory would be quite expensive, it is also the perfect market to lower the cost of SSD drives. Go Apple, go!

Re:This could be good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17950610)

Any semiconductor company that gets orders for NAND from Apple will have their stock rise sharply as a result.

Do you realise how many iPod's Apple sells? Googillians! THEY HAVE BUYING POWER, something the likes of Creative etc don't have on this scale.

Yes it reduces Apple iPod BOM's (Bill Of Materials) and thus increases their profit taking but that will allow them to still maintain the price levels without losing profits. It won't cost much more than the current pricing levels. That is their levels they have set just as computer makers and gfx card makers have their levels set.

Re:This could be good (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17951296)

ACtually no. The inscrease in demand will slow down the price-drop.

Steve Jobs: Please Keep Re-buying iPods! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948748)

Since Apple is starting to distance themselves from desktop computers with the corporate name change recently and the almost complete focus on iPods as the Mac worldwide market-share continues to flounder down around 3 percent, I guess Apple's long-term strategy is clear:

Pray people keep re-buying iPods over and over again.

Anything is possible (5, Insightful)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948758)

This is a classic 'disruptive technology' situation. The Flash memory is more expensive and has less capacity than the moving disc, but in the long term, the benefits would outpace the downsides. When the 3.5" hard drives started coming out, they had lower capacity, cost more, and were slower than the 5.25" hard drives, but they were smaller. How many 5.25" hard drives are being made today? Many of the companies that built 5.25" hard drives failed to survive the transition because it was obvious that the public wouldn't stand for paying more for less. Obvious and correct weren't in agreement, as history showed us.

On a side note, I'm betting we'll see bluetooth enabled iPods before too long. Wireless headsets are cool, sure, but the real money maker will be as a wireless link for the iPods to be available as external storage for things like the iPhone. Doesn't need to be super fast to stream or one-up songs from "The archive" to the iPhone, and there's a continuing market for iPods even for people who just dropped $500+ on the iPhone.

Re:Anything is possible (2)

mrcdeckard (810717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949102)


i never considered that someone who bought the iphone would want an ipod, too. as far as i'm concerned, i want less gadgets in my pocket, not more. i certainly wouldn't want to lug around another ipod just for archiving -- and if the ipod just stays at home, why wouldn't i archive to my laptop or desktop?

mr c

You don't quite get the typical Apple consumer. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17949408)

It's not about functionality. It's not about value. It's not about speed. It's about having the smallest, sleekest, hippest gizmo on the block. It's not uncommon to see people scrimping and saving for weeks to purchase the latest iWhatever even though they've got two or three functional previous models at home. Like shoes... Apple sells consumer electronics the way people sell tennis shoes.

Re:Anything is possible (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949774)

On a side note, I'm betting we'll see bluetooth enabled iPods before too long.

I wouldn't count on it. Apple isn't above reducing functionality when it suits them. I'm thinking of the current Nano crop which doesn't even support firewire...

Not a big surprise (3, Informative)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948830)

As we all know flash based hard drives are coming to PC's (the Mac is a PC too), I don't think this is a big surprise and is probably the way all small devices that have mini-drives are going to go once the cost is wrestled down. Phones for sure will go this way too. It seems like a logical evolution, not a wild new thing.

Re:Not a big surprise (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949736)

I'll be overjoyed when flash "hard drives" for desktop PCs are available. In the work I do on my digital audio workstation, I'm always fighting the noise that my computer produces. I've spent lots of money and countless hours playing with various cooling systems, enclosures and even really long cables so I can put the box in another room. Anything that can make my computer quieter is great for me.

By the way, I just bought an inexpensive off-the-shelf system that is surprisingly quiet. It's a PowerSpec T450. Comes with an E4300, 2gigRAM, decent mobo (compared to other off-the-shelf systems) and the usual other stuff. The case is well ventilated, the fan is very quiet, and even after I put an ATI x1600 Pro video card in yesterday, the noise level is still pretty good. I was worried when I saw the fan on the x1600 video card, but I was pleasantly surprised by how quiet it was. A few baffles and I can record good audio no more than 5 feet away from the machine. Tomorrow I'll put in a pair of SATA 10k drives, so we'll see what that does to the noise it makes.

Re:Not a big surprise (1)

Steve B (42864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17951392)

I'll be overjoyed when flash "hard drives" for desktop PCs are available.

The limitation on how many writes flash memory will take before crapping out are acceptable for applications like an iPod, but deadly for a computer's main storage.

Re:Not a big surprise (1)

clifyt (11768) | more than 7 years ago | (#17951482)

"'ll be overjoyed when flash "hard drives" for desktop PCs are available. In the work I do on my digital audio workstation, I'm always fighting the noise that my computer produces. I've spent lots of money and countless hours playing with various cooling systems, enclosures and even really long cables so I can put the box in another room."

Off-Topic:

Dude...do like the rest of us do...KVM. No sense dealing with cooling and otherwise. Heck, I do most of my work off my laptop these days...even if the main rig is in the next room, I just remote into it.

Cost me what? $70 for 50ft cables and a $20 2unit KVM (which if I ever need a processing node, I guess I could use the extra port...I just wanted it because it amplified the signal on the other end...though I've heard with the REALLY good cables, you don't even need that). Noise in a computer should never be a factor in a DAW at this point. It way too cheap to not just slide it in a closet, or put a hole to the basement or the next room down the hall.

HD Video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17948834)

It's hard to imagine the iPod going flash only if for no other reason than the emergence of video. Sure 64GB of flash is nice, and it certainly holds a boatload of music. But if I start downloading tv shows and movies, that space is going to get eaten up quickly. Also, I would imagine that margins are higher with hd based units. Apple already commands a decent premium just for the ipod name, would they want to eat into this profit by using more expensive flash (assuming they keep their price points about the same?). Does the avg consumer really care if their ipod has a hd or not? I don't think they do. The hd based ipods are already being constrained in size by their screens, so other than making them slimmer, do you really need the space savings? So all that leaves is battery life, and again, is it really worth it for Apple just for that?

New iPod to have atomic battery. And a pony. (1)

Canthros (5769) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948880)

Seems dubious to me. Will these new iPods (fictional edition, very rare) also include sensors that can detect your current mood and select music appropriately? Perhaps they will have an attachment that will let you record your thoughts by directly tapping your brain. In fact, I predict that the next iPod will eschew headphones entirely and instead will manipulate your brain such that you will only think that you are hearing music.

Re:New iPod to have atomic battery. And a pony. (4, Funny)

Intocabile (532593) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949152)

The atomic battery will corrupt the flash memory and the pony will scratch easily.

I'll wait for the second generation.

Re:New iPod to have atomic battery. And a pony. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17949758)

I hope the atomic batteries don't produce all those flames, like the ones on the Batmobile do.

Re:New iPod to have atomic battery. And a pony. (1)

Canthros (5769) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950800)

No. It will just give you cancer.

Re:New iPod to have atomic battery. And a pony. (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950068)

Actually, I expect that the form factor of ipods will continue at the same rate. In ~5 years, Steve Jobs will get up at a developers conference, take some white powder out of an envelope, and inhale it, claiming that the new ipod costs $500 per gram.

The envelope will have printed on it: "Don't share your stash."

People will line up for it like you wouldn't believe.

Analyst wrong, no larger screen (2, Interesting)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17948894)

... the next round of video iPods will also include an iPhone-esque wide touchscreen ...

I expect that this analysis is wrong. iPods are getting smaller and that is making people happy and driving sales. Also, the iPhone will be pretty damn expensive and needs to have a bunch of upscale features to justify it. Keep in mind that phones and digital music players are converging, what I expect to happen is that an "iPod" will be effectively built into the iPhone.

Re:Analyst wrong, no larger screen (4, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949034)

I completely disagree. I think there is enourmous demand for a widscreen touch screen iPod. In fact I think sales of the current video iPod are really going to suffer. I know have decided to wait an see about a widscreen iPod instead of buying one of the current video iPods.

I believe he's dead on on that one. Sometime either shortly before or shortly after June, Apple will NEED to release the new widescreen iPod, because not everyone will be willing (or able - thats me) to get an iPhone. All of these people do not want the current iPod video we want a widescreen iPod.

Also for some convergance is overratted, some people just want a music (and video, ok some convergance isn't overrattted) player.

Re:Analyst wrong, no larger screen (1)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949194)

And books dammit!!! Some of us still *gasp* like to READ!!

so let me scroll the page with my finger.. love that - already do alot of reading on nano (yes, i have good eyesight)..

Re:Analyst wrong, no larger screen (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949234)

I completely disagree. I think there is enourmous demand for a widscreen touch screen iPod ...

I believe "enormous" is an overstatement, the trend in iPod sales is that the less expensive smaller units dominate the sales. While I agree that there is a desire for a widescreen touchscreen iPod it is in Apple's best interest to deliver the functionality that satisifies the desire via the iPhone rather than the iPod. More revenue and pump up sales of the new unproven product, iPod functionality would be a big part of the iPhones competitive advantage.

Re:Analyst wrong, no larger screen (1)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950060)

What I really want is a screen that I can read without taking off my polarized sunglasses.

Re:Analyst wrong, no larger screen (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950822)

Apple will pretty much have to deliver this with the iPhone beause of the portrait/landscape switching.

Re:Analyst wrong, no larger screen (1)

Canthros (5769) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950270)

IMO, YMMV, etc, etc: Convergence is overrated inasmuch as I don't need a PDA/phone/camera/music player/video player/heart monitor/glucometer/food pellet dispenser/etc. Combinations of functionality that make sense are actually fine. A video player that does double duty as a music player? Fine. My DVD player can do this already, and, in fact, so does my TiVo. A phone that syncs to a PIM and covers major PDA functionality (appointments, contact info, limited notes) is also fine (I don't need a smartphone, but I'd appreciate a bit more functionality than my RAZR actually has).

Consider the claw hammer: it can drive nails, and remove them (and act as a wrecking bar in a pinch). It does both of these things fairly well, even though it will never be a saw. And that's just fine for most people.

As regards the widescreen-iPod-that-doesn't-exist: I want one. It's what I'm waiting on to dump my iPod photo, because I need more hard drive space than a Nano (or an iPhone, for that matter) can give me. I'm not sure I'd bet on it happening, though.

Re:Analyst wrong, no larger screen (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950996)

Consider the claw hammer: it can drive nails, and remove them (and act as a wrecking bar in a pinch). It does both of these things fairly well, even though it will never be a saw.

Consider on the other hand a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman multitool. It's not going to be as good a knife/screwdriver/pliers/wire stripper as a tool dedicated to just a single purpose, but there's ENORMOUS value in only having to put one little thing in your pocket instead of carrying a whole toolchest around.

Re:Analyst wrong, no larger screen (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950288)

"I think there is enourmous demand for a widscreen touch screen iPod."

I look forward to meeting the demand for screen wipes as people try to read screens through a thick haze of fingerprints and crud.

Re:Analyst wrong, no larger screen (1)

ncohafmuta (577957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17951064)

am i the only one that thinks they should just put an SDHC slot in the iPhone and be done with it? new ipod, widescreen, removable storage, with phone functionality, etc.. -Tony

Re:Analyst wrong, no larger screen (1)

lasthemy (754179) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949172)

If they have the capability to make a screen as large as the iPhone, you bet they're going to use it for a video iPod. However, that's about the only feature I'd expect he's right on. And the iPod is essentially built into the iPhone, but all the phone features in the iPhone give it a price premium. I expect a hard-drive based (60-120 GB, for all that video) video iPod with the full 480x320 screen and a good chance of the gestures used on the iPhone for controls. But I don't expect much more than that, because that essentially fulfills all the requirements people might have of a video and music player. The other predictions might make sense in 5-10 years, when costs come down more, but right now 60+ GB of flash memory would be incredibly expensive, in the range of $1,000-2,000, the wireless would be a power drain that doesn't have the infrastructure support to be useful (i.e. ubiquitous WiFi and a full-featured internet TV provider - it exists in Japan, but I haven't heard of it in the US). And GPS is just a random feature thrown in that doesn't really make sense; it makes sense in the iPhone, which attempts to be an all-in-one device, but not in the iPod, which has a very specific use. I expect the music-only iPods (which may be reduced to the just the iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano) to be all Flash, but I just can't see it for a video iPod yet.

Re:Analyst wrong, no larger screen (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17951096)

The minor issue with building the iPod into the iPhone is space. I carry around just under 60GB of high quality music with me at any time, and the stuff I regularly listen to accounts for just over 17GB of that. Unless the iPhone 2G contains at least that much memory, I won't be using it as an MP3 player.

Having a hard time seeing it. (2, Insightful)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949080)

Is it just me? Apple makes this hugely antcipated announcement for the iPhone that has more bells and whistles than any other phone, now you are going to keep the iPod on the cutting edge? My guess is that the iPod won't really evolve much until the technology gets cheaper. Why spend $500 on an iPhone, then turn around and spend another $500 on an iPod that has the same capabilities as a player? Sorry, but I will stick with my smartphone and my iPod Nano which costs about the same as an iPhone.

Let's have a big welcome for Artie McStrawman! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949332)

Because some people want an iPod and not an iPhone.

Why spend $500 on an iPhone, then turn around and spend another $500 on an iPod that has the same capabilities as a player?

Who is planning on doing that? Many people? Actually, I can see having the iPhone, but also a Nano for working out or some other situation where the phone my be too bulky.

I like the I iPhone but [1] I really don't need *that* fancy of a cell phone and [2] Cingular can suck my hard one.

Re:Let's have a big welcome for Artie McStrawman! (1)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949770)

Yeah i thought that some people will only want an iPod, but I bet a lot of them will re-evaluate their options if the two are even remotely the same cost, which was my point. I can see people still buying the smaller iPods for $200 for the to bulky to use an iPhone situation. IMHO, either the iPod becomes second fiddle and eventually dies off or the iPhone fails miserably and dies a horrible death. Having two devices with similar capabilities and costs is bad planning and a nightmare for marketing.

Doesn't Make Sense (1)

Captain Rotundo (165816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949142)

Even apple points out that the best selling ipods are the cheaper ones. I don't actually think it has anything to due with the form factor for the nano, its the price. The 200$ price point is a popular one, and apple should due whatever they can to keep increasing the desirability of the 200$ model.

awesome! (1)

Geek_3.3 (768699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949184)

Now keep it at around normal "premium" ipod prices ($300) and we have a deal!

OH, and make sure i can rip that sweet solid state drive out and stick it in my laptop. :-D

Great. And the 80GB iPod will cost HOW much? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949244)

Flash is getting cheaper, yes, but even the 32GB flash hard drive is still way more pricey than the spinning media version by an order of magnitude. An 80GB flash hard drive will probalby set you back the better part of $5k or so. Even at Apple's flash pricing, we're still looking north of a grand... and no, I won't give up my disk space. My iPod functions great as a general purpose portable hard disk (that also happens to play mp3s and videos).

Re:Great. And the 80GB iPod will cost HOW much? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949752)

You might want to check retail prices of flash drives. While a single card may be expensive in an 80GB size, the underlying memory is not. Nearly all flash formats in retail channels are available for about $10-15/GB at the sweet spot. That would be $600-900 for an equivalent amount of memory. Remember - a non-swappable device memory isn't limited to a stock form factor, and memory sizes are shrinking. I just got my first microSD card - 1GB for $12 - it's insanely small, and there is a 4GB model being released now/soon. At apples flash pricing, I would expect a 64GB model to run them under $300. Now, that's still not going to fit in the current pricing model, but it may in a year. A good question to ask is how badly they're going to want to put a bunch of HD video on the yet-to-be-released (sub SD) widescreen.

Re:Great. And the 80GB iPod will cost HOW much? (1)

jimbo3123 (320148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949894)

A 4GB flash jumpdrive currently goes for about $80.00
http://cgi.ebay.com/TRANSCEND-JETFLASH-V30-4-GB-US B-FLASH-MEMORY-PENDRIVE_W0QQitemZ320066574635QQcmd ZViewItem [ebay.com]

Ignoring the mark-up and extra cost of the casing, usb chip and hardware, etc. that works out to $1600 for 80GB.

That's pretty far from "the better part of $5k or so"

Re:Great. And the 80GB iPod will cost HOW much? (1)

bancho (621456) | more than 7 years ago | (#17951484)

Re:Great. And the 80GB iPod will cost HOW much? (1)

bancho (621456) | more than 7 years ago | (#17951524)

...or Office Depot even. At least I got the price right. (preview is my friend)

Flash Cache (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949264)

A full DVD holds 4.7GB, for lots of video at TV rez. If new iPods had wireless networking, even an iPhone, their Flash would be a cache. 4GB is already only $35, which sounds like a workable replacement for HDs in a networked environment.

obvious, but where's the flash memory? (1)

mrcdeckard (810717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949278)


saying ipods will become flash-based is like saying all houses will eventually have indoor plumbing after it had been installed.

but i thought usb drives were an indication of the state of the art with the stuff. i see 4G drives now, and that's what the nano ipods are. how are they going to make this huge jump from 4G to 64G within a year -- and keep it affordable?

mr c

Re:obvious, but where's the flash memory? (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949870)

Actually iPod nano's are already at 8GB. Remember also that while a flash-based iPod would be smaller than an equivalent HDD-based one, it needn't be as small as the nano. It could probably have about 3x the volume of a nano and still be notably smaller, lighter and more energy efficient than existing iPods. That'd give an approximate 24GB on existing flash chips, meaning you'd only need a 2-2.5x increase in memory density to get the sizes talked about in the article - a 2.5x increase is pretty likely to be available in 12-18 months.

PDA! PDA! (1)

Beefslaya (832030) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949388)

I have a dire need of a multimedia PDA.

I hate Cingular (Sprint subscriber myself, all hail PCS!)So no iPhone for me.

I wish my iPod did more "personal" things like a palm does.

Consider the market, once you add personal organization into the devices?

"Mom, I need an iPod to keep track of my homework assignments."

Then what will Zune do?

I suspect Apple is shooting itself in the foot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17949396)

I really cant see a flash-based iPod running for too long before the memory wears out. I suppose it will last just as long as the other parts though... that is, a month after warranty.

*cue rimshot*

My predictions (4, Interesting)

sootman (158191) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949418)

...and I'm always right... ;-)

- of course iPods will EVENTUALLY be flash-based, same way that LCDs have pretty much displaced CRTs in the computer monitor market. But it'll be a couple years at least. I'd say HD-based iPods will be with us until at least until Summer 2008. There's a big difference still between 2 GB, 8 GB, and 80 GB. Not everyone needs a ton of storage on an iPod, but some people really, really do, and they won't settle for smaller. Flash iPods are higher-capacity than the very first HD-based iPod, but that doesn't mean no one's buying the bigger ones. Apple can make plenty of money on 100 and 120 GB iPods before they've got to switch designs.

- don't look for ANY new features (widescreen, touchscreen) in the iPod until AFTER the new iPhone is released--long after. Apple always introduces nice but expensive stuff and makes a ton of money off the early-adopting/big-spending crowd, then they release a version that's a bit better and/or cheaper and get the next round of people, and so on and so on and so on. Apple is going to get a lot of money from people who want a widescreen iPod by selling them the iPhone first. THEN they'll put out a widescreen/touch-based iPod. Since the iPhone comes out this summer, I doubt Apple will release a new iPod until Jan or Feb '08. Look at what they just did with the Shuffle--they released a new one last Fall, sold a bunch over Christmas, then, January 30, HEY! LOOK! COLORS! Raise your hand if you think Apple forgot that they know how to anodize aluminum when the new Shuffle was introduced last fall. Get all the money you can, improve, repeat.

Skip Intro? (1)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949504)

I'm in web design mode, and read this as Adobe/Macromedia Flash, not flash memory. Imagine my relief upon realizing that wasn't what "All-Flash iPod Lineup" meant!

I call BS (2, Interesting)

orb_fan (677056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949630)

From the article:

Tortora explained that a 30GB of HDD-based iPod is sufficient for around 40 hours of video content, but only has about 3.5 hours of battery life for video playback. He added that replacing the hard drive with flash memory would allow for an increase of about 60 percent in battery life to 5.5 hours of video playback.
Based on these numbers, 5.5 hours only needs about 4GB of flash, so if you really want this, combine both flash and HDD in the device - then simply move the video file to flash before playback.

Samsung already has single chip 32GB flash (1)

charnov (183495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949664)

Samsung already has single chip 32GB flash as of September of last year and expect to hit 64GB this year. You can buy 16GB solutions already for less than $300 in onesy-twosy retail (and generally a chunk less for millions of them).

There is no reason not to think 64GB of flash will be down to $300 retail Summer of '08.

Sorry...Giga BIT (1)

charnov (183495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949698)

Sorry to confuse...those would be gigaBIT chips not BYTES. Translation: density goes up, price goes down.

Apple should just go all the way... (2, Funny)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949726)

...and develop a Flash-memory-based, forearm-mounted computer with a 7"x2" (or 2.5") touch-sensitive screen. It's hard to fathom how much booty that would kick. iPods are great and all, and the iPhone is rubbish but a proper computer that basically turns you into a sci-fi techie all Predator-style actually interests me. Charging "bases" at home, office, and car means you can keep your art-mounted compy permanently charged.

The screen would need to be that multi-point pressure-sensitive one that the Asian guy from NYU demonstrated recently... wish I remembered the link to the video for that...

And yes there should be "future-proof" versions of various levels, with option including a laser cannon, self-destruct mechanism, retractable blade, Star Wars-style grappling hook, tranquilizer gun, mace spray, and spare tire.

Re:Apple should just go all the way... (1)

mrpaco18 (958815) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950796)

You mean this video? [youtube.com]

Some people may want capacity (1)

slysithesuperspy (919764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17949790)

People with more than 60gb of music may want to put all their music on their mp3 player. Looks like they might have to wait longer.

iPhone (1)

Rav3L0rd (1062012) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950296)

Sounds pretty good, but for me iPhone is going to be a better choice, since I can merge all my pocket devices to one...

Is 60 gigs the reasonable max for portable use? (1)

confu2000 (245635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17950548)

There are people who can't fill their 8 gig nanos and people who are stuffing their 80 gig videopods. Is there a realistic upper bound to how much space a person really needs to hold whatever media they care about between syncs?

It seems to me that this isn't just a case of flash finally getting cheaper, but also people potentially reaching the limit of how much data they need to carry around. Flash is getting cheaper, but in principle, so is harddisk technology. What it costs to get a 30 gig harddrive today, you can in principle use to get a 60 gig harddrive tomorrow.

So the question becomes not so much "I can get 32 gigs of flash for a reasonable price now" as "I have no need for more than X amounts of storage." And thus harddrives will eventually lose on the scale of what I need and how much I'm willing to pay for it.
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