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6G iPod & Apple's Future

CmdrTaco posted about 7 years ago | from the less-talk-more-iphone dept.

Apple 226

belsin_gordon writes "CNET rounds up what we're going to get from the next iPod and where Apple is heading as a company and as a business juggernaut. [They have the] 100GB widescreen video iPods, Wi-Fi-enabled iPods capable of on-the-fly movie downloads over the air, unlimited downloads from iTunes for a flat fee and the UK finally getting its content-hungry hands on movie downloads. Apple has dropped the 'Computer' from its company name, and is making significant advances into the media-distribution business. It's bringing video to everyone everywhere with iTunes movies and now Apple TV, and the rumours and speculation we've discussed promote the theory that Apple is setting itself up as a major player in the media-distribution industry."

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226 comments

But who buys Apple computers ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18749843)



But who buys Apple computers ? Not that many .

Re:But who buys Apple computers ? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18749925)

Because they're fscking expensive. If they'd release decent and expandable $500-$1000 machines, they could probably crush Microsoft in just a few years.

Before you say get a Mac Mini, please re-read the "expandable" part. I don't want to have my desk covered with external hard drives and cd drives.

Re:But who buys Apple computers ? (2, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 7 years ago | (#18750281)

If BMW started releasing some cars in the $20,000 price range they could totally crush Toyota and GM.

Re:But who buys Apple computers ? (5, Informative)

DJCacophony (832334) | about 7 years ago | (#18750743)

Archos already has Wi-Fi enabled players [archos.com], Widescreen players [archos.com], 160GB HDD players [archos.com], Touchscreen players [archos.com], Camcorder players [archos.com], and all [archos.com] the accessories [archos.com] you can think of, including a DVR station, a helmet camcorder, and an FM radio.
They can play back MPEG-2, .PS, .VOB [shoparchos.com], H.264, and AAC [shoparchos.com].

Archos is the real mp3 player pioneer, they paved the way for large hard drive mp3 players with their Jukebox Multimedia. If you want any of the features mentioned in this article, you don't have to wait for the next iPod, because Archos has had them for a while now.

Re:But who buys Apple computers ? (3, Insightful)

644bd346996 (1012333) | about 7 years ago | (#18750527)

Not all that many people care about expandability. Only the hardcore gamers and geeks who buy the latest-and-greatest cpus and graphics chips really have a use for the kind of expandability that you seem to want.

Most people don't know how or don't feel secure swapping their own cpu or graphics card. Even for those who do, it is hard to justify taking out and throwing away a perfectly functional cpu just because it is too old. It doesn't make economic sense. Just like people who buy a new car every other year.

The current Macs all have room to expand the RAM, and they can be bought with hard drives that are large enough for any normal consumer. As for the optical drives, the burners in Macs can write to any format that will be mainstream for the next several years.

To put it simply: for the vast majority of the computer market, the benefits of having a small and quiet computer completely outweigh the downside of not being able to expand it with pcie cards or extra hard drives.

Re:But who buys Apple computers ? (3, Interesting)

mattatwork (988481) | about 7 years ago | (#18750869)

Because they're fscking expensive. If they'd release decent and expandable $500-$1000 machines, they could probably crush Microsoft in just a few years.

They wouldn't crush Microsoft...lowering the prices on their hardware would put pressure on other PC makers like Dell and Sony.... Microsoft just takes advantage of the monopoly they have over the PC market. MS is the only company that will licence to them and has the OS most people think they have to have to run a computer. A good part of MS's profit is almost guaranteed from the income from licencing XP, Vista or whatever version of Windows that is out. In the long run, selling sub-$1000 machines has hurt PC companies like Dell and Gateway...so why would Apple want to kill its own business?

good for apple (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18749853)

i'm tired of everyone hoping for apple's demise.
(first post.)

Re:good for apple (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18749971)

(first post.)
Nope. You failed it. Now it's seppuku [wikipedia.org] time for you.

Totally Random Comment #102903 (1, Offtopic)

Moggyboy (949119) | about 7 years ago | (#18749873)

As a part-time musician and full-time IT professional, it took me all of 20 minutes playing around with Apple's GarageBand application before deciding to convert. This is an application that has made good on the promise that all these software companies have been promising for the last 15 years - to make creative and business pursuits easier.

End Random Comment.

Re:Totally Random Comment #102903 (0, Troll)

El Lobo (994537) | about 7 years ago | (#18749943)

An application that, of course, was not created by Apple. They only bough and rebranded it.

Re:Totally Random Comment #102903 (1)

carpe_noctem (457178) | about 7 years ago | (#18750071)

Which product did they buy and rebrand?

I really hope you're not referring to logic, because that's a totally different animal...

Re:Totally Random Comment #102903 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18750255)

Said the Apple website text writer.

suure (4, Insightful)

thesupermikey (220055) | about 7 years ago | (#18749879)

As totally hot as a wide screen ipod (more hopefully a phoneless iphone) makes me. I'll believe it when i see it.

Rumors are only that, rumors, and we have been hearing these same rumors for months (if not years now).

ml

Music subscriptions (4, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | about 7 years ago | (#18749913)

I presume by 'unlimited downloads' they mean music subscriptions a la napster, rhapsody etc.

I've always wondered why Apple have been slow to enter that market, but to do so now without opening up their DRM is surely asking for trouble. Real have been trying to get access to the iPod market for years. Apple have tried to stop them at every opportunity. If they now try and copy that distribution method, while refusing to allow anyone else the opportunity leaves them more open than ever to charges of anti competitive behaviour, especially in the EU.

Of course it could also be an indication that Apple are about to open up their DRM? That would be great news for Real and Napster, but could be terminal for the smaller manufacturers of 'mp3' players.

Re:Music subscriptions (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 7 years ago | (#18750489)

Of all of them, that's the rumor I think is least likely. The subscription music services aren't doing such hot business, certainly not compared to iTunes and the other services where you purchase tracks. The article uses the example of renting movies, but I think they fail to realize that music is different. Most movies you watch you have little desire to see regularly. For those few you do, you buy the DVD. BUT, most music people buy they DO want to hear regularly, so most people prefer to buy it outright, rather than rent.

Re:Music subscriptions (2, Informative)

LKM (227954) | about 7 years ago | (#18750529)

Of course it could also be an indication that Apple are about to open up their DRM?

No. Jobs has pretty much ruled out that option. Apple wants no DRM on music, and they will not license FairPlay.

Re:Music subscriptions (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | about 7 years ago | (#18750759)

I always thought that Apple stayed out of the subscription model and refused to open their DRM for roughly the same reason: they have no faith in DRM, even their own.

They assume that their DRM will likely be cracked, and will only be cracked sooner if other people know exactly how it works. Further, if you have a subscription model, then it basically means unlimited access to music that you can keep forever for a low monthly fee-- no content holders are going to like that idea.

Re:Music subscriptions (1)

lurch_mojoff (867210) | about 7 years ago | (#18751057)

I've always wondered why Apple have been slow to enter that market, but to do so now without opening up their DRM is surely asking for trouble. Real have been trying to get access to the iPod market for years. Apple have tried to stop them at every opportunity. If they now try and copy that distribution method, while refusing to allow anyone else the opportunity leaves them more open than ever to charges of anti competitive behaviour, especially in the EU.
Why would Apple get in trouble if they decide to offer a FairPlay protected subscription service without licensing the DRM to others? With subscription services you do not buy anything, you just rent it. If you have, say, an iPod and use "iTunes Subscribe" and then at some point decide to ditch the iPod and get a Zune, you just cancel your subscription wit Apple and get one from Zune marketplace (or whatever).

The whole issue with closed DRM (or DRM in general) and anti-competitiveness was that you seemingly bought music, but in fact you could not play it back on players outside a certain brand.

Unlimited? (1, Insightful)

giorgiofr (887762) | about 7 years ago | (#18749921)

unlimited downloads from iTunes for a flat fee
I hope they know what they're getting themselves into. And I bet that pretty soon we'll see some restrictions and limits on how much you can actually download.

Re:Unlimited? (1)

Eddi3 (1046882) | about 7 years ago | (#18750001)

Might you say, then, that all-you-can-eat buffets could not exist (at a profit)?

Re:Unlimited? (2, Interesting)

StarvingSE (875139) | about 7 years ago | (#18750215)

Bad analogy. There is a very real limit on how much you can eat in one sitting (let's call it stomach capacity). Therefore, the buffet restaurant knows, on average, how many plates of food each customer will eat and how to price accordingly.

iTunes, on the other hand, does not have the same restriction. You are pretty much limited to your hard drive capacity, which gets cheaper by the month. You could theoretically just have your computer download their entire catalogue without some kind of restriction on a monthly flat rate.

Re:Unlimited? (5, Funny)

KDan (90353) | about 7 years ago | (#18750269)

You obviously have not met that common animal called the Starving Student. It lives mostly around universities and is capable of eating many stomach capacities' worth of food in a single sitting. In fact, you could say that strange beast's stomach capacity goes up as the meal price goes down.

Daniel

Re:Unlimited? (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 7 years ago | (#18750449)

>There is a very real limit on how much you can eat in one sitting
You haven't met my friends C & D. I suspect they digest at the same rate they eat. I've certainly seen them eat 3-4 large pizzas each at an all-you-can-eat place and at a Chinese one of them had 24 crispy duck rolls.

Re:Unlimited? (1)

guruevi (827432) | about 7 years ago | (#18750503)

Doesn't matter, you can't listen to them all at the same time (well you could, but it would be kakafonie of sounds) and I think you would have restrictions as towards use in commercial environments (DJ's, bars) and as for distribution through P2P: if it costs you $10/month to get a fast, free download of any music without any risk whatsoever, I think I would take that instead of the slow BT search-and-wait game which might get you caught/cut off if they do simple fingerprinting for example.

Re:Unlimited? (3, Informative)

Tim_F (12524) | about 7 years ago | (#18750033)

The summary is very misleading. If you actually go in and read the article it is talking about a subscription service. You won't get to keep what you download.

Re:Unlimited? (1)

cyphercell (843398) | about 7 years ago | (#18750163)

YUUUCK! This might work for movies which IMHO have very little replay value, but music is timeless, and this is disgusting.

Re:Unlimited? (1)

owlnation (858981) | about 7 years ago | (#18750547)

Not necessarily. You're thinking microeconomics. Go macro. Yes, some individuals will download huge amounts of material, but others will only download a little.

Likely, there will be a huge rush of downloading at the beginning of a subscription which will tail off after a few months. There's only so many bands that the average user likes, and the wonderful world of the RIAA produces fairly bland material these days. So once you've got all your fave tunes, you'll only be picking up the odd song or album in any given month.

In all likelihood it will balance out - I'm sure that's how they will have modeled it. That said, there will likely be restrictions to some degree. After all, without that there'd be nothing to stop a school class getting together, designating one person the account holder and sharing the music between them.

& Where is MS? (0, Redundant)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 7 years ago | (#18749929)

I thought MS was "making significant advances into the media-distribution business".

You know, tens of billions in the bank along with the valuable media properties like MSNBC, Media Center, Zune, DRM heaven, et al.

Why (0, Troll)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#18749955)

Why are people buying up iPods in droves when things like the Creative Zen Vision, Archos, and Cowon have had widescreen players for a while. I have a shuffle, and I hate how they try to add all this complex junk that I don't need. I just want it to show up as a thumb drive, drop songs on it from explorer, in any directories I choose, and have it play the music. I don't understand why they have to make everything more complicated. It seems to me that apple is just trying to tie everyone to their media distribution. I'd much rather have something that wasn't tied to the company selling the content, because I think we'd have much better products.

Re:Why (1)

stratjakt (596332) | about 7 years ago | (#18750011)

It seems to me that apple is just trying to tie everyone to their media distribution.

Well, duh.. Of course they are.

You don't just buy an iPod, you buy your very own iTunes franchise, set up in your pocket.

I think that's actually part of the appeal. Buying an iPod gets you "into the club", so to speak, where any other media player doesn't. People just dont realize the "club" is simply "apple consumers".

Re:Why (2, Funny)

kisrael (134664) | about 7 years ago | (#18750093)

Just got an 8 gig Nano.
I'm in the club, but if I'd rather user old fashioned headphones instead of the white buds, am I out of the club?

Re:Why (1)

virgil_disgr4ce (909068) | about 7 years ago | (#18750933)

If walking around Williamsburg is any way to judge, wearing big-ass headphones is the new micro-club. But I'd prefer anything to those shitty-ass white buds.

Re:Why (5, Insightful)

rabbit994 (686936) | about 7 years ago | (#18750053)

For Majority of people who run Windows or Mac OS X, iPods are braindead to use. Plug into computer, let iTunes replicate all the playlist and music over along with any TV Shows you have downloaded. Unplug, walk around with those white headphones and look chill. Why would you find dragging and dropping from explorer easier? Something tells me Apple Engineering and Marketing Departments know their main audience better.

Re:Why (4, Funny)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 7 years ago | (#18750335)

Why would you find dragging and dropping from explorer easier?


l33tn355. If iTunes had a verbose startup screen no one here would be complaining.

Re:Why (0, Offtopic)

Optikschmoptik (971793) | about 7 years ago | (#18750733)

l33tn355. If iTunes had a verbose startup screen no one here would be complaining.

Verbose or not, iTunes takes way too long to start up. It's a little annoying to wait through three minutes of HD thrashing to update and sync a three-minute podcast episode.

There are 'l33t' solutions, like gtkpod, gpodder and floola that try to bring back the quick drag-and-drop functionality without requiring a great big library sync every time.

Also, it really doesn't seem necessary to make the iPod file system so opaque. For all Apple's touted simplicity on the surface, what's with the underlying maze of randomly-named and randomly-placed folders and and media files? How does that make anything easier?

Re:Why (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 7 years ago | (#18750879)

Also, it really doesn't seem necessary to make the iPod file system so opaque. For all Apple's touted simplicity on the surface, what's with the underlying maze of randomly-named and randomly-placed folders and and media files? How does that make anything easier?

iPods didn't start out with the opaque file system. Originally, Apple made no attempt to prevent users from transferring songs back and forth between the iPod and your computer. Then the content owners (record labels) complained that the iPod encouraged piracy and threatened to sue. This was before the iTMS. In order to appease the record labels, Apple put the music files in hidden directories with random names, and changed iTunes so that you couldn't copy music from your iPod to your library.

So that's what's "with" that.

Re:Why (1)

MrMickS (568778) | about 7 years ago | (#18750069)

I just want it to show up as a thumb drive, drop songs on it from explorer, in any directories I choose, and have it play the music

That's fine for someone that's computer savvy and wants to spend the time doing that. There is a problem with that for the general population though. It requires you, the human, having to be trained to do something that the computer could do for you. If you want to do that fine, the majority of people just want to be able to stick XYZ bands songs onto the player and don't give a stuff how its organised.

I used to be anal about how things were organised. I've now adopted the don't give a stuff attitude. I just want to be able to get to things easily, I don't want to have to spend time organising a filing system.

Re:Why (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#18750225)

The problem is that if you want to use anything but iTunes to load up your content, then it becomes very difficult. Especially when iTunes is such a terrible program. Here's a bug. Enable fast user switching on windows. Start up iTunes on one user, transfer some songs to one ipod, then exit it completely. Then start up iTunes on another user, using switch user, so the other user doesn't log out. Try transfering songs to the second users ipod. It doesn't work. You have to completely log out the other user to transfer songs to the other ipod. This is just stupid, because I'm only using MP3s, and it shouldn't be that hard, there's no DRM to enforce. Just put the songs on there.

Re:Why (1)

mrbooze (49713) | about 7 years ago | (#18750455)

Here's a bug. Enable fast user switching on windows
Wow. Windows *still* hasn't removed that bug?

Re:Why (1)

rabbit994 (686936) | about 7 years ago | (#18750469)

Since on Windows, iTunes doesn't do the transfer as much as it communicates with low level service call "iPod Service" to facilitate the transfer. I imagine something in Fast User Switching is fouling up this service and iTunes communication with it. I agree that it should work properly but it won't. Still for 99% of people, iTunes is both easy to use, easy to maintain and syncs with iPod without issue.

Re:Why (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#18750541)

No it's iTunes. It says there's another using still using iTunes and to log them out before it will even mount the iPod under iTunes. Nothing to do with windows specifically, Althouh, Maybe I should just try restaring the iPod service, that might fix the problem, and would be a whole lot less useless than logging the other user out completely.

Re:Why (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 7 years ago | (#18750587)

I used to have all my music nicely organized in directories (okay, it was a mess), and ditto with thousands of digital photos.

For a while I told iTunes to just link to the music. Then one day I just let it organize it all. MUCH nicer.

Same with the photos when I bought Aperture. Both programs give you the option to organize things yourself, but trying it both ways you quickly realize what a pain it is doing it by hand.

Re:Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18750079)

Why are people buying up iPods in droves when things like the Creative Zen Vision, Archos, and Cowon have had widescreen players for a while.

1) No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

2) ??????

3) Profit!!!

Re:Why (5, Insightful)

pq (42856) | about 7 years ago | (#18750111)

I just want it to show up as a thumb drive, drop songs on it from explorer, in any directories I choose, and have it play the music. I don't understand why they have to make everything more complicated.

Well, good for you. There are a variety of other players out there, as you point out yourself, and you are welcome to them. Apple seems to be targeting the market segment that does want their music player to organize their music and keep track of things (import date, play counts, skip counts, last played, rating, etc) for them. Based on Apple's market share, compared to the rest of the market combined, it looks like they have a better idea of what will sell than you do. But feel free to vote with your wallet.

Re:Why (1)

maxume (22995) | about 7 years ago | (#18750325)

Why does making it work with iTunes preclude it showing up as a storage volume?

Re:Why (3, Informative)

pq (42856) | about 7 years ago | (#18750495)

Why does making it work with iTunes preclude it showing up as a storage volume?

It does not [apple.com]. Every ipod can be used in disk mode, should you so choose.

Re:Why (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 7 years ago | (#18750689)

"Why does making it work with iTunes preclude it showing up as a storage volume?"
It does not. Every ipod can be used in disk mode, should you so choose.


If you go to that page, the first thing it says is that it doesn't work with the iPod functionality at all. It's just a way to embed a thumbdrive/external HDD, but you can't actually use it for anything but dead storage.

Re:Why (1)

maxume (22995) | about 7 years ago | (#18750723)

Sort of. I would describe that as the empty part of the storage inside the ipod showing up, not the ipod. And I understand that iTunes writes file information to a database so that the ipod doesn't have to work as hard, but I'm not real convinced it was for purely technical reasons(go ahead and call me a cynic).

I guess there is this thing:

http://www.floola.com/modules/wiwimod/index.php?pa ge=WiwiHome [floola.com]

Re:Why (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 7 years ago | (#18750625)

It does show up as a storage volume. You can drop anything you want onto it. BUT, mp3s you drop on won't play, because they need their metadata added to the iPod's database. Why? So the iPod can do all its fast scrolling, instant on and organize by this or that or the other thing tricks. For me it's more than worth it.

Re:Why (1)

maxume (22995) | about 7 years ago | (#18750853)

I'm pretty sure they could have made it work both ways, with the itunes 'experience' being better but the other way actually working, without even creating all that much confusion.

Re:Why (1)

norminator (784674) | about 7 years ago | (#18750769)

Why does making it work with iTunes preclude it showing up as a storage volume?

It doesn't. You can have your iPod show up as a storage volume. That's an option. You still can't copy songs to it and have them play on the iPod, but you can get other files on and off the iPod, and you can copy your whole library back off of your iPod.

Some applications, like Floola [floola.com] let you copy songs and videos to and from your iPod without using iTunes (under Win/Mac/Linux), so you're really only tied into iTunes if you want to buy and transfer songs and videos from the iTunes store.

Re:Why (5, Informative)

igb (28052) | about 7 years ago | (#18750543)

The huge advantage that Apple's model has is building the metadata database on the source computer. In the Apple model, the on-device menu of music is built on a fast computer with oodles of RAM and a fast disk, from a database containing all the information. For iTunes users, when you import a track into iTunes, the metadata goes into iTunes as well. When you sync the music onto the iPod, the last move it to construct the byte-image of iTuneDB and copy that to the device. That contains all the metadata, so when the time comes to display menus and titles it's all in one place. If, like me, you have home-brew software based on gnuPOD, you can for entertainment create tracks which have one set of metadata in iTuneDB and another in the ID3 tags: the ID3 tags are completely ignored. My homebrew solution uses a MySQL database for the same purpose.

In the ``drag and drop'' model, the device has to build that database itself, presumably by reading the ID3 tags. That's a nightmare. To build it incrementally is incredibly hard. To build it from scratch every time involves reading the tags out of potentially tens of thousands of files, grinding it into a database of some sort and writing it to disk. On a ~100MHz low-power CPU with a small amount of RAM, out of either flash or a slow microdisk. That'll take forever. And the moment you say ``ah, but there's this application you can run on the host computer'' then you're back essentially with the iTunes model. And that's before we consider the living hell that is parsing ID3 tags consistently, writing to FAT32 filesystems safely and all the rest of the tasks an iPod doesn't have to do.

ian

Re:Why (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | about 7 years ago | (#18751065)

Mod parent up. This is incredibly true and immediately visible on my Xbox 360. Sometimes I connect my iPod to it, and it takes *forever* for the device to reconstruct the library on the Xbox interface. The speediness and responsiveness of the iPod is at least partially due to the fact that the system has a highly device-optimized database that's guaranteed to be there.

Re:Why (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18750145)

Yay! More anti-ipod FUD!

Is starting iTunes and then dragging and dropping files unto your ipod of choice really all that complex? Most people would say: no.

Yes, every geek wants to control exactly where every file goes. But once you get over yourself and realize that you can make playlists (with drag and drop none-the-less) to simulate your "utlimate directory of ultimate tunes" and still be able to do other things like sort by album,artist,genre etc. without chewing up your battery life you start to appreciate a slightly more modern interface.

Ipods are quite capable, despite what you believe, of surviving without ever purchasing things from iTMS. CD rips, your favorite illegal, quasi-legal, or legal mp3 sources can all be used to feed your ipod.

Re:Why (5, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | about 7 years ago | (#18750149)

That's something I never quite got, the iPod hate. A friend of mine recently introduced me to his Cowon D2, which is a very slick piece of hardware: 52h battery life on music, 10h on video, smaller than an iPod and has a touch screen to boot. Why wasn't I sold immediately?

Because it meant the endless tedium of synchronizing my music with the god-awful "drag into Explorer" (or in my case, "drag into Finder") interface. The whole explorer drag-drop thing was fine when our music players were

The D2 also promised great things like album covers and even lyrics (which actually is a sweet feature), but both of which required you to maintain your own music library with their proprietary software - a bit of an attempt at cloning iTunes, except the software wasn't nearly slick enough to take over as my primary media player app - which would mean I'd still have to maintain two parallel libraries.

I keep explaining this to people: the secret of iPod's success is not only its marketing, but that it rolls the entire experience together from end to end. You play your music, download your music, play your videos, download your videos all from the same spot. The software provides all the features you need - album covers for example, and it also syncs automatically with your portable player. Slick.

I enjoy the end-to-end experience so much that even a clearly superior piece of hardware like the Cowon D2 has not converted me.

Re:Why (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#18750337)

Where Apple fails though, is that once something in that chain breaks, the whole system breaks down. You can use Cowon's software, but you don't have to, and when you don't, you may lose a couple features, like album covers, but it you can still put music/videos on it. Have you ever tried tranfering music to your iPod without using iTunes?

Re:Why (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | about 7 years ago | (#18750427)

Theoretically true, but when's the last time iTunes failed on you? For me, never. I see it like a manual/automatic shift thing. Some people prefer to drive stick, because it gives them more control. For some of these people they truly need/prefer this level of control, others are just flaunting their ability to drive stick (Slashdot demographic anyone?). Some of us prefer to drive auto, because our point is to get to the destination, and the whole bit about driving there is rather irrelevant to us.

Re:Why (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#18750499)

But to the person using itunes, it doesn't matter how the music shows up on the iPod. It doesn't need to be laid out in a bunch of randomly named directories, with randomly named files, and only play songs that are put in some database file. It doesn't need to be that way, because it's transparent to the end user. So why not make it easier for those of use who don't want to use iTunes? Because it has failed them.

Re:Why (1)

MrMickS (568778) | about 7 years ago | (#18750901)

Because for the vast majority of users iTunes works. Providing a single method of putting media onto the iPod reduces support costs. All that is needed is to make sure that iTunes can populate the iPod. If there is a problem its either with the iPod not reading the database file from iTunes, in which case reset it and reload, or there is a problem with iTunes.

If you go down the model of allowing drag/drop then the player has to do more work. That require additional software on the player to handle this. That takes up more space and makes the firmware more complex. It also means that some content (iTunes loaded) will be available straight away whereas other won't be until it has been indexed. This dilutes the experience and adds complexity. When dealing with consumer devices complexity is the enemy. The KISS principle is heavily at work here.

Re:Why (1)

IwarkChocobos (881084) | about 7 years ago | (#18750687)

Yeah, it's called Winamp. Not to mention there are ways to make it "explorer" or "finder" drag n drop like. The way its set up by default is just to make it easier. There are plenty of ways around it.

Re:Why (3, Informative)

ParadoxDruid (602583) | about 7 years ago | (#18750835)

Have you ever tried tranfering music to your iPod without using iTunes?

Yes, I have, in fact. I regularly transfer music to my iPod from Amarok [kde.org], and it works flawlessly. Next question!

Re:Why (1)

norminator (784674) | about 7 years ago | (#18750861)

There are other apps that can transfer music and video to the iPod. I like Floola [floola.com] which can run on Windows, Mac and Linux, and you can keep the binaries on the iPod itself in disk mode, so I can easily copy whatever I want to and from my iPod, from any computer. It will also update the podcasts on the iPod directly (as opposed to iTunes, which updates the podcasts in your library on the computer, then syncs with the iPod to update it).

Re:Why (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#18750957)

I tried floola. It takes at least half an hour to fill up my 512 MB Shuffle. Do other users experience similar problems, or is it just me?

Re:Why (1)

Echnin (607099) | about 7 years ago | (#18751067)

Why would you want do? I don't. 100 million other people don't want to either. 3 people on Slashdot do. Fine, they can buy a Cowon or Creative or whatever. Apple is doing something right at least.

That said, this article annoys me. I'm getting an 80 GB iPod next week (father making business trip to the US, and I'll use the chance to get him to pick up one for 2/3 of what it would cost me here...). Here's hoping the widescreen rumors are false. :P Don't care much about the wireless though - what's the use for that anyway?

Re:Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18750521)

You're a Mac user, and you'll find very few Mac users who hate iTunes. I think the reason is that iTunes on the Mac is a reasonably well-behaved Mac app, but I guess iTunes on Windows is sort of Mac-ish too. Windows users are looking for something different, with skins and a dozen different visualizer plugins and all that.

wi-fi hangup (5, Interesting)

sluke (26350) | about 7 years ago | (#18749957)

It seems to me that apple will resist having wi-fi in the ipod because it would break their grip on the interface to the ipod. They have a great revenue stream with all of the third party gadgets that connect to the dock connector and if they gave the ipod a meaningful wi-fi connection, it would be a lot easier to make such additions without paying a licensing fee to apple. It would be nice though...

Re:wi-fi hangup (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 years ago | (#18750631)

Well most of the devices I have seen are just external speakers. I have a clock where a iPod Mini is hooked up to and it has a nice set of speakers on it so we play the iPod threw the clock. Wi-Fi wont effect that market much because it also doubles as an iPod charger. As do most of the 3rd party stuff. Other think like Radio Tuners, would probably still be best designed if hooked up via real connectors. Other devices hook up just to the Headphone jack (this has been standardized for many years) Wi-Fi will not stifle the 3rd party market that much nor will Apple loose licening revenue for 3rd party apps.

Re:wi-fi hangup - battery saving! (1)

eggstone (957547) | about 7 years ago | (#18750697)

Well, I don't think apple don't include wi-fi in the iPod is because of the third party gadgets. In fact, if they found third party gadget is making money, they try to make them too! such as apple's own ipod cases, well, ipod hifi, if you count it as an ipod accessory. The main reason for no include wi-fi is because it trains the battery! Currently, the playback of a video iPod for movies is about 3.5 hours (if I remember correctly), if they include wifi, which use batteries for search wireless network, I doubt how long it can last. Even worse, if you want to download a movie from iTunes using iPod through wireless network, I doubt you'll have enough battery for downloading a full-length movie and play it without charging, well, I guess that's the limit of current iPod battery. Conclusion, unless they found new ways to save energy, no wireless.

Re:wi-fi hangup (1)

zlogic (892404) | about 7 years ago | (#18750909)

They can always create an encrypted/copyrighted/patented/DRM'ed/whatever protocol (not WiFi, but another layer) and sell specs to hardware manufacturers, just like they're doing now with the dock.

Portable Video (3, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 7 years ago | (#18749997)

For many of the same features being described in the future video iPods, check out the Archos 704. It's got the wifi, the browser, the big touch screen, the USB ports, etc. Personally, I think it's a bit big, but the features are amazing. Soem competition to keep Apple on their toes is nice to see too.

Re:Portable Video (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#18750065)

Archos seems to have a nice line up of players. I don't see why they aren't more popular. They are defintely better than the current offering of video iPods. There's also a couple other companies like Cowon and Creative that have pretty good offerings. My guess is that not a lot of people see much of a need for a portable video player, as you can't watch TV while doing something else. But the iPod is marketed as an audio player first, with the ability to play movies, which to most people seems like a much better idea.

Re:Portable Video (2, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 7 years ago | (#18750959)

Archos seems to have a nice line up of players. I don't see why they aren't more popular. They are defintely better than the current offering of video iPods. There's also a couple other companies like Cowon and Creative that have pretty good offerings. My guess is that not a lot of people see much of a need for a portable video player, as you can't watch TV while doing something else. But the iPod is marketed as an audio player first, with the ability to play movies, which to most people seems like a much better idea.


Probably because of several factors.

1) User interface. Until the 604WiFi was out, the UI has steadily deteriorated since the AV300 series (I have an AV420, which was probably the last model before they messed up the UI). These models had simplistic interfaces - you had a 5 way navigator, a back button, and three "soft" keys. And still could do everything. Now they took the same UI, and remapped everything differently - the softkeys now access some sub-menu thingy on the edge of the screen, settings are hidden either along the top bar or the edge buttons, and you still havigate the main icons via the 5 way navigator (+back). Exiting menus and going back doesn't quite seem so easy anymore. The iPod interface hasn't changed much the past 5 years - you use "Menu" for back, center ro select, wheel to choose... with the only things really braeking this are the iPod games you can buy off iTunes.

2) Button placement - The AV300/400 had simple intuitive placement. The new 400/500/600/700 series put all the buttons in rectangular areas along the edge, with left and right doing different things. Not only are they hard to press, but the button layout makes you go WTF as they all feel alike.

3) Size - Even the 404 is still very much bigger than an iPod... The only thing the 704 is missing is well... the DVD drive.

4) Possibly DRM - if you record anything with Macrovision encoded in the signal, the Archos AV400 onwards put DRM on the video so only that unit can play it back. It also regenerates Macrovision on the TV-out. I'm not sure if the current ones store the video in the protection partition these days (since the disk is partitioned for both Windows Media DRM and general disk storage.

Of these, I think #1 and #3 are the reason the Archos haven't really taken off - even after 5 minutes of playing with it I can't confidently say I can easily make my way around it. (I suppose the default wallpapers don't help by making it impossible to read...).

Re:Portable Video (5, Informative)

escay (923320) | about 7 years ago | (#18750365)

Personally, I think it's a bit big
That's it right there. For portable devices, size does matter. On a quick comparison from the archos and apple websites:
Player - Weight - Size
Arch704 - 22oz - 7"x5"x0.8"
iPhone - 4.8oz - 4.5"x2.5"x0.5".

The primary drawback of archos players has always been size and weight - which also happens to be the primary requirement for these devices. if it does not satisfy this preliminary constraint, it does not matter what amazing features the archos provides.

Appley says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18750061)

I'm the juggernaut, bitch!

Moron (2)

MCSEBear (907831) | about 7 years ago | (#18750143)

Let's See:

1. iTunes Subscription Service
How many times does Steve have to say that people prefer to own their music. How many different subscription services have to loose bucket loads of money before the media stops pretending apple needs subscription services just because they don't have one? If this was such a great fucking idea, then why didn't Naptster or Yahoo or one of the others make a big profit doing it?? Very lame, Crave.

2) UK iTunes Movie Downloads
Wouldn't Apple wait for the EU regulators to force the music companies to allow one EU wide Music Store before they open a country specific Movie store? I mena, really Crave.

3) Widescreen video iPod
Hey, one I agree with, although pretty damn obvious since the introduction of the iPhone.

4) Wi-Fi enabled video iPod
Hmmm... Zune has proven what a big draw a Wi-Fi enabled music player is. Those things are just flying off the shelves! Well maybe it's more their shitty DRM mania at Microsoft than something wrong with Wi-Fi. Still, how hard is it to drop your iPod in a dock to charge and sync it. We know how to share mp3's without Wi-Fi. Ever heard of a DVD burner??

5) Flash-based video iPod

6) The 100GB video iPod
Now that would be big enough to hold some serious porn. If the battery held out you'd even have time to let your buddies borrow it and have some fun too. Heck, you could even choose to carry around some actual music and some normal photos of the family too.

That would be two out of six that predictions that make some sort of sense. But only the two really obvious ones. After the iPhone demo, how bright do you have to be to know that it was also the 'future' iPod demo? How bright do you have to be to see a larger hard drive and think that Apple may use it for a video iPod hard drive? Crave... As prognosticators... You suck!

I want subscription (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | about 7 years ago | (#18750299)

1. iTunes Subscription Service How many times does Steve have to say that people prefer to own their music. How many different subscription services have to loose bucket loads of money before the media stops pretending apple needs subscription services just because they don't have one? If this was such a great fucking idea, then why didn't Naptster or Yahoo or one of the others make a big profit doing it?? Very lame, Crave.

Napster never got my business because I can't load their DRM format onto my iPod. Apple got my iPod business because I like their straight-forward, no-nonsense methods of organizing and synching.

I absolutely refuse to buy a single track from the iTunes Store. Steve can talk all he wants about our desires to "own" our music, but I don't own the music if it's crippled with DRM. On the other hand, I would pay a significant amount of money per month to "rent" unlimited iTunes songs. In this case I am willing to submit to DRM because there's no confusion about the fact I do not own any of the songs. I will happily enjoy hours upon hours of DRMed protected content that I do not own. And I will happily purchase music from iTunes if they switched to this method -- or anyone else for that matter if their tunes played on my device.

Until music is rented as "All I can eat" I will continue to own my music in the form of CDs, ripping them to my format of choice for my player of choice.

Sixfold *Apple* rumours? (3, Insightful)

Heian-794 (834234) | about 7 years ago | (#18750157)

TFA does indeed have six rumors about Apple, but they're all related to the iPod.

Call me a stickler for accuracy, but "sixfold Apple rumour round-up" implies six different rumours (tidbits, what-have-you) about various things related to Apple. If all six were connected to the iPod, as all six do indeed turn out to be, a more meaningful headline would have bee "Apple iPod rumour round-up" or something similar -- the Slashdot summary title improves on it at least.

There are several other reasons to be excited about Apple -- possible super-thin/light MacBooks, a new revision for the iMac, and of course the now-delayed Leopard. Updates on those much-anticipated items would also have been appreciated.

And the British media don't get it (3, Interesting)

Flying pig (925874) | about 7 years ago | (#18750161)

There was an extremely feeble sketch on a supposedly humorous BBC program last Friday (I won't dignify it by naming it) which purported to be Steve Jobs meeting Bill Gates. While their wives are removed by studs for extra-curricular activities, Jobs works Steve up to orgasm by describing the hardware of the next Mac.

Whoever at the BBC approved it obviously hasn't got a clue about what Jobs and Apple are about (or, probably, Gates). Wildly extrapolating, if a media company like the BBC seems to have few people who know what Apple is about nowadays, how far does the blindness extend? Right up until Jobs and Branson jointly attend the funeral of the conventional media industry, I guess.

Re:And the British media don't get it (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | about 7 years ago | (#18750377)

I'm not sure how far you can get using Harry "loadsamoney" Enfield as an indicator of the understanding the entire British media have of Apple !

Maybe the same distance you'd get using Kevin & Perry Go Large ! as the definitive guide to the Ibiza club scene except that's probably more accurate.

These things are supposed to be reviewed (1)

Flying pig (925874) | about 7 years ago | (#18750943)

By executives and also by lawyers looking for libel or defamation. (IANAL but if I were Jobs and had it brought to my attention I'd certainly pay Carter-Ruck to send a nasty letter.) None of them seem to have noticed. If they had, they might just have had the wit to substitute Michael Dell for Jobs (Dell is a recognised brand in the UK), which would have been more accurate. Conclusion: BBC execs and lawyers don't actually know who Jobs is or what he is doing. Nor does Enfield or his scriptwriters. I bet you they know who Rupert Murdoch is. Or Richard Branson.

6 Gig? (4, Informative)

CrazyTalk (662055) | about 7 years ago | (#18750169)

My iPod already has 8 Gigabytes, and is one of the smaller ones. Ohhh, you mean 6th generation. Wonder who else read this wrong.

Re:6 Gig? (1)

Bob54321 (911744) | about 7 years ago | (#18750327)

I though they must mean the nano but there is already bigger ones out there... I really had no idea there had been that many iPod generations. Those things breed like rabbits!

Not the biggest apple fan (1)

prelelat (201821) | about 7 years ago | (#18750179)

I'm not the biggest apple fan but thats because I like to piss people off on a regular basis and apple cult people seem to be a good target. I've always thought that the iPod hasn't made any huge improvements over the years since it released the original iPod. It was always good and if someone gave me one I would probably keep it. But I never really had something from apple peak my interest as much as the announced 100GB widescreen video iPod. 100GB in a video player, this sounds fantastic, but then I remember such thing as quality of screen and if it will play all the files that a creative zen vision and I've seen archos and they kill anything for apple video out right now. The screens that apple picks are not quite the best thing, and they don't come with tv-out like other players(I believe you can purchase one for the ipod video). On that note I never believed that that ipod video was a pmp it just seemed to be an add on to make people buy the next round of iPods and get into videos. I will say that if it does have a nice big quality screen like the archos or the iriver or the zen vision, I might have to consider it. 100GB is pretty kick ass, and I assume it won't be 1000 dollars to boot.

On that note it seems that apple does things in baby steps I mean they went through like 6 ipods to get to the current version and they could have added most of those features in the second version. They want to keep selling iPods so I don't know if it will be as good as I imagine.

Re:Not the biggest apple fan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18750259)

Video iPods all have tv out. Its the headphone jack, you just have to switch around two of the plugs when using a regular cord.

MS saw this coming in the 90's when they ordered (4, Interesting)

alfredo (18243) | about 7 years ago | (#18750293)

Apple to "Knife the baby." Of course they were talking about QuickTime. MS knew Apple was going to do an end run around them, but they had that pesky DoJ case against them and couldn't crush Apple like they wanted to. In the end Ashcroft gave MS all they wanted and more (as punishment), but it was too late. Apple had out maneuvered them. Even Ashcroft couldn't protect MS from Apple. (MS was a contributor to Ashcroft's losing congressional campaign*)

They knew Apple wasn't going after the bean counter business. Apple was heading to the living rooms, and MS could not compete against the axis of evil: Jobs, Ives, TBWA Chait-Day.

It has been fun watching this unfold. That's is what made me a fan of this company. Sometimes it is how you play the game, and Apple played it well.

* He lost to a dead man.

if sony was smart... (2, Interesting)

insanius (1058584) | about 7 years ago | (#18750317)

they would re-work the psp. shrink it down a little, add another analog on the right, and either dump the umd drive entirely for a hd or start selling psps with a big memory stick in the box(>=4gig). with a decent d/l service, it would be everything that apple is trying to turn the ipod into and more with the addition of running ps2 quality games on a screen that is far superior!

i'll probably get modded a troll for this as i was last week for questioning the crazy demand for the wii even though the games are seriously lacking, but i feel it has to be said...for the $, the ipod is currently pretty low on the list of good buys as far as mp3 players go. i believe apple has been lucky to be able ride the ipod wave as long as it has. and unless they open the iphone up, it is going to fail miserably.

my $200 sanyo phone has a gig hdd in it with 8+ hours of play time, a 2 mega pixel camera, unlimited ev-d0 net access, and o yea, i can call people on it too!

imho, apple has got to push a little more than this to maintain their dominance. or just keep charming the masses with their stale commercials...i guess that works too...

Mostly "duh." (1)

sootman (158191) | about 7 years ago | (#18750435)

1. iTunes Subscription Service - unlikely. Has been discussed ad nauseum. Some people love subscription services, most don't. Look at the numbers. Plus, Apple likes things simple. They wouldn't want to sell music two ways. Plus subscriptions = more complexity and more DRM. Apple's already making a killing. Why double their efforts for 5-10% more sales?

2) UK iTunes Movie Downloads - duh. Eventually, all services will reach all major countries.

3) Widescreen video iPod - duh. But don't look for it until 6-12 months after the iPhone debuts--not "right around the corner." Anyone who thinks Apple would release a cheap widescreen iPod before the iPhone and let it cannibalize iPhone sales hasn't been watching Apple very long or very closely. Release the expensive, limited product first, let everyone fret and moan and bitch online, watch them sell like mad anyway, add one requested feature, lower the price a bit, lather, rinse, repeat.

4) Wi-Fi enabled video iPod - duh. Might be another year or two, though. It's not that Apple is resting on their laurals, they're just pacing themselves. Apple obviously has the capability to release a widescreen, touchscreen, flash-based, movie-playing iPod with wireless that connects to the iTunes store and syncs wirelessly tomorrow--but then what would they do for the next few years?

5) Flash-based video iPod - possible, but not likely (flash is still much more expensive) and there's not much point--which I think they know, because their whole comment is about how video iPods are better matched with traditional drives. WTF?!?

6) The 100GB video iPod - duh. iPods have gone from 5 GB to 10 to 15 to 20 to 30 to 40 to 60 to 80. And CNet.uk is predicting 100 GB will be next? Wow, they've got a bunch of fucking geniuses working there. Let me be the first to predict that at some point in the future, Apple will release a 120 GB iPod. Possibly followed by a 150 or 160. You heard it here first!!!!!11oneone

morose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18750445)

old and busted: Apple iPod (ALL flavors)

Steve Jobs can kiss my butt

Development - Liberation (1)

catxk (1086945) | about 7 years ago | (#18750471)

Reading the comments here and elsewhere, as well as seeing what is happening in the content industry and what is about to happen, I feel great relief that it seems to be a fact that development, here exampled by Apple, inevitably leads to the opening of standards and devices, through for example wifi and DRM free EMI music.

This is an obvious trend, which I believe and hope will open the eyes of consumers, resulting in increased pressure to open up the movie industry as well. Not least since Apple is a mayor player in both fields.

Who knows, maybe even RIAA will seize and desist one day.

Ipod wifi... (3, Insightful)

Mockylock (1087585) | about 7 years ago | (#18750477)

Jobs talked so much smack on the Zune's WiFi capability, that I doubt he'd throw wifi into an iPod that would have a stronger functionality and actually keep your battery from discharging on power-up. Granted, I wouldn't put it past Apple to innovate something clever as they've always done. But, if Apple went to WiFi, I'm quite certain Microsoft would enable a more complex access as well.

Why haven't they already(ms)? Nobody has WiFi yet, why up the ante 2 full steps when nobody else even uses it at all? I'm sure that WiFi enabled (network/internet connectivity) iPods and Zunes would not only waste batteries in wholesale fashion, but they would also be pretty iffy when talking about security. Granted, movies and music being hacked into aren't a huge ordeal... but having millions of iPods roaming around with WiFi would have to be a pretty decent target for some type of exploitation. There are tons of other wifi-enabled objects floating around, yes.. But, I'm sure the platform they're running on is a bit more complex than a handheld jukebox.

More power to them if they can pull it off... if they can, MS will follow as they always do.

As for iTunes... screw iTunes and everything around it. I own an iPod Video, 20G iPod, nano and a zune. Once I grabbed the zune, I realized how much of a pain the iPods were... resetting, getting it to recognize, having to erase all my music when I installed a new OS or go to a new PC... clearing out all my music in any error, and starting over... every month. And the only thing they had over the zune was the click wheel... and that wasn't even a plus when you didn't lock it and put it in your pocket. Again, Apple is innovative and I dig 'em for throwing out great products... but, there are too many other products that have more features and have better and more reliable interfaces to work with than the iPod and iTunes nowadays. Now, it's just people buying a name as a status symbol. The ipod is now cliche.

Re:Ipod wifi... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18750711)

Here's a tip for you. Turn off the auto-sync and you can keep the data on your ipod when you hook it up to iTunes that doesn't have your songs on it.

Re:Ipod wifi... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18750783)

More power to them if they can pull it off... if they can, MS will follow as they always do.

MS has done one hell of a lot more with wifi than Apple has. Who's really the follower here? You must be completely off of your nut to act like this would be an Apple "innovation" if it ever comes to being, not that it's really all that much of an innovation at all.

Not understanding the practicality (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 7 years ago | (#18750557)

It's nice to want things, but to me, it didn't seem that the author understood why things are the way they are. A lot of the article seems to dispel how difficult changes could be technically or practically.

1. iTunes Subscription Service
...
Music companies love these rental services, because they continually receive money without actually letting anyone do much with the music they buy. Why shouldn't iTunes offer a similar service? Well, maybe it will. It would certainly be a less agonising use for the DRM Apple is stripping from its library of tracks.

Yes the media companies would love this, but there are far greater technical barriers to this than the current system. To do this, Apple would have to develop a different way of securing and authenticating the files. Roughlydrafted went into detail how FairPlay works [roughlydrafted.com] and why there is no subscription service. Besides technical reasons, Apple has always argued against it on principle as it was anti-consumer.

2) UK iTunes Movie Downloads
iTunes users in the US have had access to a mountain of downloadable TV shows and movies since 2005, but why hasn't the UK? It's no secret that British consumers pay through the nose for media, so why aren't we having our love of moving pictures exploited too?

The main reasons are purely legal which translate into technical reasons. They don't have permission from the content providers. Groups like MPAA has always tried to maintain strict control of all aspects of release from time and location. DVD, HD-DVD, and BlueRay all have region encoding for a reason. FairPlay would have to match that. Now Apple has to devise a way to separate out all users based on location at the file level so that certain movies do not play for the users until the local release date. That makes things a lot more complicated for FairPlay. So the easiest solution is to limit purchases only to American users.

3) Widescreen video iPod
With our imminent access to movie downloads, Apple TV's recent availability and the iPhone's widescreen video talents, surely the ultra-desirable widescreen iPod should be right around the corner? All that video content being pushed and pulled around is just crying out for a better portable medium to enjoy it on and Apple knows how much everyone wants just such a device.

The iPhone is Apple's first attempt at a widescreen. I would expect newer generations of iPods to do the same as Apple works out the kinks.

4) Wi-Fi enabled video iPod
Microsoft's Zune has Wi-Fi, but it's hopeless beyond hysterical. Give the iPod Wi-Fi capabilities, coupled with on-demand video and the phenomenally successful iTunes Store, and you'll find yourself with the most capable portable media device ever created.

I suspect the main reason why no company has done it before MS was that it wasn't practical. They could have released wifi iPod but there would be a drastic difference in transfer rates. You and I might understand that 802.11g takes 10x as long as FireWire or USB2.0, but the average consumer might not and would hate it. "It takes hours to transfer my small collection. This sucks!" 802.11n is on the horizon. When that is in place, you will probably see a wifi iPod.

5) Flash-based video iPod
We've previously discussed the possibility of an all-flash video iPod before, but no further rumours or leaks have arisen since. Flash memory is significantly faster than the good old hard disk, but at a significant cost increase. We think Apple is going to focus on video this year, and video requires vast quantities of storage more than it needs flash read speeds. We expect a larger-capacity iPod long before any kind of all-flash version. Which brings us neatly to...

There is no technical reason why Apple couldn't have done it years ago. The main reason is cost. Another factor is that to play video, the iPod has to have enough capacity to store lots of them. So a 8GB flash video iPod while technically possible will not hold enough videos and music for the average consumer. The capacity would have to be 30GB or greater to make it worthwhile. To get 32GB of flash memory to match the capacity of current disk-based models, the iPod would have to cost at least double what it costs today because per GB flash is much more expensive than disk space.

6) The 100GB video iPod
It wasn't long ago that Toshiba announced its ability to manufacture 100GB hard disks that just so happen to fit perfectly into the existing video iPod. With all this video bursting out of iTunes, not to mention the sheer velocity the Internet is making video content available to us, a widescreen video iPod with gigabytes measured in three figures is a certified certainty. It's a far more business-friendly move for Apple than making all-flash iPods or Wi-Fi enabled iPods geared up for on-the-fly Internet shopping.

For supply reasons, I suspect Apple has not announced this yet. When the 1G iPods came out, Apple had to buy all of Toshiba's 5GB HDs in order to ensure that they had a good supply. Apple has been burned by supply problems before. Motorola and IBM could not make enough PPC CPUs for their computers. The 1G iPods only sold in the hundreds of thousands; can Toshiba make the millions of 100GB HDs that Apple will need?

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