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Handicapping the 6th Generation iPod 250

Posted by Zonk
from the gotta-love-ipoddery dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It's that time of the year again, when Apple rumors bloom with the fall foliage and the press is inundated with hype and wishful thinking. MP3 Newswire has a reasonably sober article addressing 17 of those rumors, even giving odds on the validity of each. From the article: 'It is the peripheral manufacturers that now have a heavy sway on what features the iPod will add to its 6th generation. The peripheral market has done more to cement Apple's proprietary technology as a standard than Apple itself, adding to the iPod's dominance. Mr. Jobs will not upset that balance without good reason and Apple's recent deal with Creative to make iPod peripherals shows he wants to feed it further. But the iPod needs something new to keep it fresh and ahead of the competition.'"
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Handicapping the 6th Generation iPod

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  • by QuantumFTL (197300) * <justin.wickNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday September 09, 2006 @04:30AM (#16070874)
    I think Apple's priorities here are fairly close to the average consumers (especially those who support copyright even if they dislike restrictive DRM). I trust Steve Jobs' business intuition enough that I don't believe the next generation iPod will be crippled, etc. Who knows what features apple has coming? It could be a new look, a new feel, maybe lighter and brighter? To be honest, I don't know what else I want out of an MP3 player, except easier booting of linux on the damn thing, for whatever reason I'd want that..
    • by JulesLt (909417) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @07:03AM (#16071081)
      It would be a change in practice if Apple were going to start thinking about third parties.
      Historically they have never had a problem with incorporating software and hardware features into the Mac that have wiped out third party markets, and they've never been the best partner for retail stores (even before they had their own / own online store).

      My favourite rumour (the one I hope is true) is the one about Dashboard widgets for iPods, of which there was some hint buried somewhere.
      Given that Nokia phones are using a WebKit based browser, it is not too fanciful to imagine a WebKit port to the iPod, and Widgets would provide a nice sandbox for third party applications on the iPod. With a wifi connection that would be even more useful than just 'sync' based. I'm sure power issues could be addressed there (i.e. don't keep WIfi powered on, until it's actually used). Web access via BT-enabled mobile phones seems a more 'mobile' solution. I can't see a fully fledged web browser yet, given the limitations of browsing on the PSP - but I'd love to have my basic set of widgets on a mobile device.

      I can just see Jobs casually pulling out his 6G iPod and showing it tracking some ebay auctions, then the Weather widget, sports results, etc - that level of functionality seems to have the right 'fit' for mobile browsing, but the typical Dashboard widget looks far better than any WAP page or Java App I've seen on a mobile.
       
      • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @11:50AM (#16071682)
        No no no! Hands off my iPod.

        You're describing a handheld computer -- a little Newton or Palm Pilot or something. I'd love to see one from Apple, but I wouldn't like to see the iPod turned into one.

        Apple has been very good about resisting feature creep in the iPod.
        • by JulesLt (909417)
          Indeed - that is something a lot of techies don't seem to get - 'My iRiver can do X,Y and Z', why doesn't the iPod have Bluetooth, etc, when it is obviously something only a marginal group of people are interested in.
          See also Blackberry : I've seen executives with Blackberries who are also carrying mobile phones that can do email AND laptops that could use that mobile phone to retrieve email - historically, the trend seems to be from complex multi-function devices to simple single function ones.

          However, I s
    • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @10:03AM (#16071375)
      To be honest, I don't know what else I want out of an MP3 player, except easier booting of linux on the damn thing, for whatever reason I'd want that..
      I think that's Apple's problem right there. MP3 playing, in itself, is practically a free add-on for any device with a bit of storage space and a display. Much simpler than designing a good cell phone, I'd argue. I recently noticed an ad for a GPS device. After describing all the GPS functions, they casually mentioned that it is also an mp3 player. I can't see why every cellphone made in the near future would not have a good mp3 player in it. 1 GB flash retails for $25 now, and the power required to power headphones isn't much.
      • Well, 'free' in certain senses. But I don't want a music player burning down the battery in my phone. And I don't want a phone burning down the battery in my music player. And there is very little 'synergistic' circuitry shared by the two devices. Mostly, each function just takes away from the other, power-wise.
        • by timeOday (582209)
          No synergy? Everything an mp3 player needs, a cellphone already has, except a large flash memory - which is cheap and takes no power when not in use. Plus it makes perfect sense for a phone call to pause music playback (or go straight to voicemail, if you don't want your tunes interrupted).

          Last night I had my son's birthday at a "fun center." Inside there were some kids playing video games. But outside, all the preteens were sitting on the curb for what must have been an hour and a half, sitting in a

      • by tepples (727027)
        I can't see why every cellphone made in the near future would not have a good mp3 player in it.

        Because the network operators want to make sure that you buy airtime to transfer the songs, not just copy them to the CF or SD cards using a file manager.

  • Only one thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NexFlamma (919608) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @04:35AM (#16070883) Homepage
    There is only one thing that could actively cripple the iPod, and that is DRM.

    Apple's machine has an insurmountable mindshare lead on the competition. They have reached the point where their product name is synonymous with it's purpose. Tell 50 people that you're going to the store to buy a DAP and they'll have no idea what you're talking about, but if you tell them you're going to buy an iPod, they'll smile and tell you all about how they think iPod's are the bee's knees.

    However, if Apple falls into the trap of DRMing the iPod/iTunes interface to the point where it becomes too difficult for the average person to use quickly and efficiently (read: anything that takes more than 30 seconds will lose the average person's attention span), just to appease the music conglomerates, people will very quickly lose interest.

    Luckily for Apple, they're smart enough to know this, and the powers that be in the recording industry are quickly realizing that they need Apple more than Apple needs them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cptgrudge (177113)

      anything that takes more than 30 seconds will lose the average person's attention span

      October 12th, 2006.

      Steve Jobs was arrested last Monday on suspicion of flooding the black market with Ritalin in anticipation of the forthcoming holiday season. Details at 11.

    • Dopey Alert! (Score:2, Informative)

      by PopeRatzo (965947)
      Nobody calls their mp3 player a "DAP". It's called an "mp3 player". I go to Best Buy and ask "where are the mp3 players" and the pimply kid points me to the right aisle.

      And as far as "..DRMing the iPod/iTunes interface to the point where it becomes too difficult...", for me it's too difficult if there is any DRM at all on it. I'm not interested in DRM and I won't buy a player or music with DRM as long as I have an option. And with music-lovers on the internet and flash memory so cheap, I'll always have
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica (681592) *

        If you won't buy a player with DRM, why did you buy the SanDisk? It does have DRM (namely, "PlaysForSure") on it, you know!

      • by tepples (727027)
        I go to Best Buy and ask "where are the mp3 players" and the pimply kid points me to the right aisle.

        So should some people be asking "Where are the MP3 players that also play Vorbis?"

    • by 10Ghz (453478)
      Tell 50 people that you're going to the store to buy a DAP and they'll have no idea what you're talking about, but if you tell them you're going to buy an iPod, they'll smile and tell you all about how they think iPod's are the bee's knees.


      Maybe that's because no-one uses the word "DAP"? But if you mention that "I'm going to buy an mp3-player", most people will know what you are talking about.
      • by ceoyoyo (59147)
        Most people will know what you're talking about if you tell them you're going to to store to buy facial tissue too, but they still call it Kleenex in daily conversation.
        • by hesiod (111176)
          It's a pointless observation, but most people I know call them tissues, not Kleenex. They call our copy-making devices "copiers," not Xeroxes... and they are Xeroxes. Although they do still call gelatin food products Jell-O.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 09, 2006 @04:40AM (#16070897)
    "iPod Home Entertainment System = 125:1 - Like the in-dash iPod I think it is inevitable, with an Apple widscreen TV connected to an Apple Mac mini-based DVR with dock for whatever the future top-of-the-line iPods will offer. I just don't think it is on the near horizon."

    You don't need a "ipod dock on a mini" to accomplish attaching a mini to any HDTV input, you just need to be able to get the content to it easily somehow. One friend of mine has had a mini attached to his HDTV for awhile now, and have most of his DVD's on the HD for play. The mini comes with a remote already, all that is missing is convenient movie sales via ITunes, or perhaps it shoud be renamed IMedia. And that seems to be a sure bet, given the "It's Showtime" announcement on Thursday.

    IMHO we are on the cusp of a change in the way A/V is delivered to our tubes.... er.. i mean plasma/lcd/DLP/etc... :)
  • Ahem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ThePengwin (934031) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @05:01AM (#16070925) Homepage
    Has anyone realized that pretty much all of these rumors, if real, would be crap? Theres far better things you could put in a media device. For one why don't they have a different form factor and make a longer screen, that could change orientation like many handhelds to give better movie playback? Or even better a SCRATCH RESISTANT SURFACE?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 09, 2006 @05:20AM (#16070953)
    1) Replaceable faceplates
    This is a HUGE issue for me. I'd like the iPod to have snap-in faceplates in various colors, and some patterns like flowers and camoflauge. White is just so... boring.

    2) 3D interface
    I think, with the color screens, we need to get rid of the boring list interface and do some sort of 3D spatial interface. Imagine flying through your playlist!!!

    3) Integrated camera, and bluetooth headset
    Get rid of the accident prone earbuds, and go with one of those cool bluetooth headsets that the business guys wear for their phones. And a camera, so I can upload pictures to all of my friends!!

    4) Wireless connectivity, and IM integration
    I'm thinking like a slide-out keyboard, so I can chat with my friends whenever I'm near a Wifi spot. That would rock!

    These are just some of the ideas I think would make the iPod a much better product. I mean, it's a good entry into the MP3 player market, to be sure. But if Apple wants to be taken seriously, they need to start including some basic features. I don't want to pay that much money and then just be able to play MP3's.
    • The GBA had them, although not officially and you had to open the whole machine but it did solve the scratched screen problem easily and cheaply. Just buy a new one for a couple of bucks, fiddle a bit and you had clear vision again. Granted the GBA case itself was robust enough and who cares anyway if that gets marred because it ain't a fashion accesory that makes a statement about you! (at least I hope not since mine was pink)

      If you could easily replace the transparant part of the iPod then all the scrath

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cynicalmoose (720691)
      Bluetooth headsets are a no-no, given they only support 8kHz. Not good for decent audio.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)
      Oh hey, I've got some stuff on my wish list too!

      1) Bigger screen, better resolution. 15" MINIMUM and at least 1200xwhatever. Widescreen preferred.

      2) Built in speakers

      3) I like the keyboard idea. Let's have a track pad too

      4) DVD burner

      5) More USB and Firewire ports, gigabit ethernet and a digital video connector

      6) How about a decent processor? Core maybe? Make it dual while you're at it.

      7) Magsafe connector. ;)
  • Playlist management? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nithron (661003)
    Well, uh... They could let you remove songs from a playlist without needing to plug it into a PC. Maybe.
    • On-The-Go-Lists (Score:2, Informative)

      by vkapadia (35809)
      You can add/remove songs from On-The-Go playlists on the newer iPods, I believe.

      All you need to do is hold down the center button on the song until it blinks to remove that song from the playlist.
  • iNewton (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ptomblin (1378) <ptomblin@xcski.com> on Saturday September 09, 2006 @09:40AM (#16071327) Homepage Journal
    I bought a Treo so I wouldn't have to carry a phone AND a PDA AND an iPod everywhere I go - now I'm down to Treo + iPod. If Apple would make a combined iPod + PDA + phone, I would buy it in a minute. The Newton had features that the rest of the PDA community still can't hold a candle to - why don't they dust those designs off and have another look at them?

    Hey, and if they could put a spot on the back for credit cards and money, I could leave my wallet at home too! :-)
    • I went back to my m500 because my T3 was too bulky.

      Someone needs to release a PDA in the same thinness factor as the nano, and they need to do it stat.
  • ... (after all, this is slashdot!), but I had this line of thought today :

    Video iPods exist. Apple is doing its downloadable "DVD" video thing with Disney. What are the odds of a video iPod with SD 720 x 540/576 TV output turning up in the next generation or two?

    I mean, it's the perfect match. Apple want content, and know that people want to use that content anywhere - but studios want content locked to a device. Well, if you can't have portable content, how 'bout a portable device?

    An iPod-sized pocket port
    • by NoMaster (142776)
      (Oops, I meant 720x480/576 TV-out. Why does every other forum in the world have edit capabilities, but not /.?)

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @10:31AM (#16071450) Homepage Journal
    While an FM reciever is cool, a built in transmitter would be even better.

    And speaking of FM, why hasnt anyone made one with a AM receiver?
  • What it will be (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lepton68 (116619) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @10:59AM (#16071536) Homepage
    The new device will be 4" by 6" by 0.75. The unit will be white plastic. All sides will be flat except all corners are rounded. There are no controls on the device except a hold switch. There will be an iPod dock port and a headphone jack and an infrared port. The entire front will be a touch sensitive 16:9 color screen. The front is touch sensitive. The device will have a rechargable battery and a hard disk. The battery is user replacable and the unit can be opened relatively easily by the user.

    The device will work in multiple modes. As an iPod you hold it vertically. The entire screen shows the list of artists, menus and so forth. Touch anywhere on the screen and a translucent image of a click wheel appears. The location of the wheel varies a bit according to unit orientation and touch position. You use it as usual. Drag around the circle to scroll, tap or press to click in the five positions. The unit senses strength of touch by pressure on the case and/or variation in area of contact. Bluetooth allows loading stuff on the device albeit slowly, and using BT headphones.

    The unit also works as a video player. The click wheel appears on top of the video as you touch. BT allows slow file transfers. Of course the port is high speed.

    The unit also works as a learning remote control. A set of remote buttons appears on touch. It is an IR remote for CE devices, and a Bluetooth remote for your Mac. Your Mac shows a second screen on the screen of the device. Your touch controls the cursor and you can use guestures, and type if necessary on an onscreen keyboard. Fully control your Mac through this, ala Apple Remote Desktop. Audio output from Mac transmits to device so you can hear it. Using a bluetooth headset you can both hear the other Mac and transmit your voice to it, to control ot via Apple Speech recognition.

    The unit also is a GSM quad band phone. You open the unit and put in your SIM card. Phone controls appear on the touch screen. Use BT headset and voice control.

    This is all speculation. But it is perfectly logical and CAN BE DONE NOW. Well worth $500. I don't know if it comes out next week but you can bet the farm it will come out.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The new device will be 4" by 6" by 0.75. The unit will be white plastic. All sides will be flat except all corners are rounded. There are no controls on the device except a hold switch. There will be an iPod dock port and a headphone jack and an infrared port. The entire front will be a touch sensitive 16:9 color screen. The front is touch sensitive.

      This is all speculation. But it is perfectly logical and CAN BE DONE NOW. Well worth $500. I don't know if it comes out next week but you can bet the farm it

  • I need something that will play on both my Sansa e250, and my fiance's iPod. MP3 is nice, but ogg is just as good (if not better, depending on the crowd) and it can be much smaller! That's ideal for me, considering I have 2GB to work with. My fiance could care less, she has 30GB! I'm also smart enough to realize this isn't going to happen.

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