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Apple to Face iPod Clone Attack 394

chr1sb writes "The Age has a commentary piece outlining how Apple's domination of the online media market is continuing to grow, but speculating that significant competition from the likes of Nokia and Motorola will rapidly relegate Apple's presence in the market to a corner, just as clone manufacturing of IBM PCs dominated the initial success of the Macintosh. From the article: 'The iPod/iTunes system will move into a niche with Macintosh computers because Steve Jobs has again stuck with closed architecture and total control. This will happen quickly because mobile phones are being turned over about every year.'."
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Apple to Face iPod Clone Attack

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  • What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by davidstrauss ( 544062 ) <{ten.ssuartsdivad} {ta} {divad}> on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:36AM (#15044843)
    Companies are trying to compete with the iPod. I shall need a replacement monocle.

    I have got to stop getting so surprised.

  • So are iPods. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saven Marek ( 739395 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:37AM (#15044844)
    This will happen quickly because mobile phones are being turned over about every year.

    Given the buying habits of people I know with the devices, so are iPods.
    • Re:So are iPods. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by L0k11 ( 617726 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:46AM (#15044864) Homepage Journal
      we've heard this all before with the ngage and portable gaming devices

      "mobile phones are going to kill off the gameboy" - it never happened.

      at the end of the day people buy something for one task because it makes the interface simpler. sure my mobile can play mp3s but i'd much rather have something which is designed to play music as its sole function. just look at another example: camera phones. my phone can take pictures but the interface is clunky and the quality sucks. i dont know anyone who wouldn't prefer using a simple digital camera.

      its a jack of all trades but master of none situation.

      • Re:So are iPods. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Greg_D ( 138979 )
        So, if that's the case, then why are there so many camera phones out there?

        You also miss an obvious point: camera phones can't take pictures as well as stand alone cameras can. iPods are nothing more than digital media storage devices with an interesting interface and an earphone plug.

        iPods are winning the war right now because they're a neat fad item with a decent interface and they hold a ton more data than most cell phones. But what happens when affordable flash media starts holding 10-20 gigs? Still
        • Why there are camera phones? Don't ask me. I'd have bought a phone without camera, but the decent ones all come with one...

          I don't think many people use them, though, at least not among my friends.
        • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @07:25AM (#15045049) Journal
          When your phone can hold 10-20 gigs your ipod can hold a terrabyte.

          Who needs that much space. Yeah right. I have heard that one ever since I bought a HD floppy.

          There have always been devices that do it all and there have always been devices that do one thing only.

          There are washing machines that can also function as a dryer. Funny thing, do you know you can still buy JUST washing machines + a seperate spin dryer + a seperate warm air dryer?

          Yes thats right, spin dryers still exist despite the fact that nearly every washing machine can do it that function nowadays. Just not as well as a true purpose spin dryer.

          Oh and the whole camera phone argument is faulty. NOBODY uses a camera phone as a replacement for a regular phone. The camera phone is the replacement of the throwaway/rented camera. Its function is to be always with you for those moments when you do not have a regular camera with you.

          In fact that is the function of all the extra's on the mobile phone. Games? Fun for when you got your phone but not a real game system. Calendar? Usefull for when you do not got access to your real calendar. Music? Nice for when you forgot your real music player.

          Offcourse some people will be happy with the limited capabilities that their phone offers them. Just as some people are happy with a 10 dollar MP3 player they got from the bargain bin.

          That is not Apples market. Apples market is what used to be the Walkman->Minidisc/CD-man market. They effectivly replaced sony for portable audio.

          Oh and if you think your phone MP3 players is not going to have DRM your insane.

        • Re:So are iPods. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @08:12AM (#15045150)
          Two minor nitpick points

          1) Cell phone companies are 10 times worse than Apple or MSFT when it comes to vendor lock-in. if you buy a cingluar phone it will only play music from cingular. They are already doing such things with their vcast, and TV on the road setups.

          2)Cell Phones have horrible battery life as it is. you start watching tv or listening to music during lunch you may not be able to make that important business call at 3pm.

          • Re:So are iPods. (Score:3, Informative)

            by Dionysus ( 12737 )
            Both those points depends on the service providers and phones.

            1) My cellphone plays any music I put on it (as long as it is a supported format, like mp3). My provider (T-Mobile) doesn't have a say in how I use my phone.

            2) I work out with my phone, and still doesn't have to recharge it until at night. And my phone (Nokia) has terrible battery life. Sony Ericsson sells cellphones with great battery life (the K-series of phones). My brother can go a weekend, listening to the radio and talking on the phone,
        • Re:So are iPods. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by arminw ( 717974 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @08:52AM (#15045236)
 DRM lock-in....

          You mean different DRM locking, don't you? Do you think the **AA companies will allow DRM free stuff? I hope that France DOES pass their new law and many others follow suit. It would mean the end of all DRM. The companies would then learn that sales are even higher than before. Most people will pay for their things, rather than walking out the door without paying, especially if the prices are reasonable.
        • So, if that's the case, then why are there so many camera phones out there?

          Because there are times when a mediocre quality picture with no zoom is acceptable for a few one-off pictures.

          The camera phone is increasing in pixels, but still has poor quality, lots of digital enhancements rather than using quality optics, a poor interface, lack of features, lack of flash, lack of any optical zoom, red eye removal, etc.

          Having a few bells and whistles is always a plus, but in the end, a phone needs to work. Combi

      • Re:So are iPods. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Haeleth ( 414428 )
        my phone can take pictures but the interface is clunky and the quality sucks. i dont know anyone who wouldn't prefer using a simple digital camera.

        Nor do I. And yet, most people (apart from photography enthusiasts) just seem to use their phone instead anyway. It's more convenient. Why carry a camera around when you've got one in your phone? Take a camera if you know you'll be taking photos, sure - to a wedding or whatever. But if you've got one in your phone, suddenly you have a camera with you all the
      • Re:So are iPods. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by KZigurs ( 638781 )
        The thing is that I, as being the owner of SE W800i walkman phone, easily can imagine how it may affect iPod market share in the future. In fact it definetly already impacts Nano share, just that the markets are currently not overlapping too much (the persons that would be most likely to buy nano are choosing crappy STYLESTYLESTYLEOMGLOUDRINGTONES phones that isn't exactly the target market for SE K750/W800 devices).

        The phone has 512 mb of memory and a dedicated button that launches pretty good interface fo
  • Ogg Vorbis support (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:38AM (#15044847) Homepage
    Funny, this post shows up right after I ordered an iAudio U2 [] after looking at the Vorbis Hardware wiki. Since Ogg Vorbis is the nerd's audio format, we nerds must have a Vorbis-compatible player, and Apple's offering, while stylish, doesn't have that. Unfortunately, a lot of portable Vorbis compatible players have limited storage size (mine is 1GB), but I'm never away from my laptop long enough to hear more than that much, and so can fill it up with new music when necessary.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I've gone through three portable ogg players, and found while they work and were compatible with OV to give me that warm fuzzy patent-free feeling, the battery life while playing ogg tracks was abysmal. I ended up using them as MP3 players just to get more listening time (3x the battery life on the latest samsung I had if I only played MP3s.)

      In the end my newest player is an iPod, since all I was doing with the others was playing MP3s anyway. It rocks.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        And just FYI it's not that the codec for Vorbis requires more power to decompress (well not significantly), but that custom mp3 chips beat generic chips for power usage. These day even Apple are moving to generic chips in order to play AAC so the players should all suck the same amount of power.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 02, 2006 @06:31AM (#15044953)
      There is a plug in for iTunes that enebles playback and encoding of ogg files []
    • by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Sunday April 02, 2006 @06:44AM (#15044982) Journal
      The long and short of it is, unless you can point to a million customers who would buy an iPod if it supported vorbis, and wouldn't otherwise, it's simply a non-issue to Apple. You are a vanishingly small proportion of their potential market.

      • Did you even read what the parent said?

        He wasn't saying Apple should change, just that it was a dealbreaker for him - and (he contends) many other nerds - as ogg is the premier nerd music format.
        • ogg is the premier nerd music format.

          No, it's not even that.

          • So - what do you think is the premier format?

            • Even among geeks, WAV, MP3, AAC and even Apple Lossless are used far more than vorbis ever is.

              • Hmmmmn, well its not easy to get hard numbers on something like "preferred audio codec for nerds," but your contention that ALE is more popular with geeks then ogg is.... well I'd like to know why you think that?

                Also - I just love your subtle arguing style - changing our discussion from "The Premier music format for geeks" to "The most used music format for geeks"

                If you don't understand what I mean by that, consider "The premier o/s for geeks" vs "The most used o/s for geeks"

                • How would you define "premier"? Vorbis isn't any better than the other lossy encoders, and it's worse by definition than WAV or Apple Lossless.

                  • by tpgp ( 48001 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @09:56AM (#15045376) Homepage

                    I'm not sure if you're being deliberately obtuse or if English is not your first language....

                    Anyway, a little lesson for you.

                    How would you define "premier"?

                    Words by themselves have meanings, but when you use words in sentences, they gain more meaning through context.

                    So, saying "The premier nerd music format" is different to saying "The premier music format."

                    So - what we're talking about is the music format geeks, prefer, reccommend, hack around and play with.

                    I think that's probably mp3 (but I'm a geek who's interested in portability), the person you replied to might consider ogg to be the premier geek format (especially if they're say, games developers and don't want to pay a license fee for in game music, or any thing else that requires a cheap, open codec). Other geeks s, (like you presumably) would consider music quality the most important factor (altough most of the lossless camp are using flac or shn as far as I can tell).
      • It is true that Apple doesn't need Ogg Vorbis, but there are two points that need to be mentioned here:
        • Just because vorbis is a non-issue to Apple, doesn't mean it is a non-issue to me. I have no problem with the perfectly valid and obvious fact that Apple cares not about the vorbis niche market, but I get annoyed when people suggest that *I* should support Apple's position.
        • Many people right now are already playing Ogg Vorbis files on Apple iPods using the Rockbox [] firmware. This is the real reason why Ap
    • Rockbox [] supports Vorbis. Works fine on my iPod.
    • by SonicRED ( 15265 )
      I purchased an iPod Nano last September and I now play Ogg Vorbis files on it every day without issue. I've converted my entire collection from Mp3 to Ogg in fact. Previously I was convinced that deviating from Mp3 would limit my choice of a player in the future but I no longer have that concern.

      The solution is Rockbox [].

      MP3, OGG, FLAC, AAC, ALAC, AC3 and WavPack playback.

      You also get gapless playback, crossfading, a real EQ (not just presets) and ReplayGain support. Not to mention the rapidly growing collect
  • (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ericdano ( 113424 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:39AM (#15044850) Homepage
    Judging from what I have seen, no. Cell phone companies seem to want to LOCK people into buying songs over their networks. And, the two phones out that work with iTunes limit you to 100 songs. What would replace an iPod is an iPod with cellphone features. I don't need games on my phone. I like having the camera, but it is a pain to get pictures off it (I have a RAZR).

    Give me something like a Treo, except in the size of an iPod or RAZR and I'd be happy to donate my iPod with video to someone.
    • (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:53AM (#15044876) Journal
      I like having the camera, but it is a pain to get pictures off it (I have a RAZR).

      Just use the 'browse device' feature of your OS's bluetooth support and grab it out of /pictures/ - ten seconds, start to finish, I do it with mine all the time.
    • Cell phone companies seem to want to LOCK people into buying songs over their networks.

      So, how many online music stores can you buy music for your iPod from?

      And, the two phones out that work with iTunes limit you to 100 songs.

      Quick question for you: do you think that this is because

      (a) the phone companies are stupid and want to provide you with a crap experience, or
      (b) Apple refused to let them compete with the iPod on a level playing-field?

      Oh, sure, Apple has every right to decide how much access they give
  • From TFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ereshiere ( 945922 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:49AM (#15044870)
    iPods themselves will have to become phones.

    Yes, and an Xbox will have to become a Playstation, lions will lay down with lambs, and Apple will be forced to give up on OSX and move to Windows.

    I have a phone already. I have an iPod.

    • It is obvious: The next iPod will have to run Windows Vista Ultimate Edition, be a video phone, have a resolution of 3200×2400 on a 2" screen, support 7-band GPRS, UMTS, FireWire, USB, Bluetooth, WiMAX, SCSI, ADSL2, SkyDSL, Fibre Channel, ATM, IPv6, FLAC, Bink and Theora and has to be the reborn Phantom or else Apple will die.
  • But, But, But ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fastdecade ( 179638 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:50AM (#15044874)
    Hasn't this "clone attack" been happening for years, from the likes of Sony, Creative, Archos, and others? What's different here, what the headline doesn't make clear, is that these are *phones*.

    The important quote is buried towards the end of the article:

    With digital music and video it will be Nokia, Samsung, Motorola and Sony Ericsson -- the mobile phone manufacturers.

    This year they will start releasing phones with the same storage as iPods -- up to 30 gigabytes. iPods themselves will have to become phones.

    One device in my pocket or two? It's a no-brainer if you ask me.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yep, my biggest complaint about my mobile phone has always been that the battery lasts too long.

      Now, if I used it to play MP3s as well - maybe I'd need to charge it every day.

    • by Yahweh Doesn't Exist ( 906833 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @06:05AM (#15044903)
      >will start releasing phones with the same storage as iPods -- up to 30 gigabytes

      that's half the storage of my *current* iPod. and I hope they're going to have support for podcasts, photos, videos etc.... actually, forget that, what about the chance that it'll even sync with my mac in the first place, let alone not requiring me to use it's own ugly little app that messes everything about?

      >One device in my pocket or two? It's a no-brainer if you ask me.

      twice the battery life in my pocket or not? imo it's a bad idea to converge devices that have different usage patterns. for example phone: always on, with occasional high usage, always with me. ipod: usually off with regular high usage, usually with me but I like being able to NOT take it everywhere. also, phone battery life can be important in emergencies, ipod battery life is just entertainment. my ability to use a converged device would be restricted by needing to ensure enough battery life remaining for emergencies; my ipod can run dry if I so choose.

      I'd probably get an iPhone, but not because it's a converged device, but because it'd probably be a very high quality "just works" phone with complete mac compatibility.
    • I still don't see it happening. It's more like, "One device in your pocket that does everything poorly or two devices dedicated to their niche" right now.

      And truthfully, as a consumer, I wouldn't want all my eggs in one basket. At one point, I'd prefer to have my phone stay my phone, my mp3 player stay my mp3 player, and my pda be a good pda. And my digital camera be a good digital camera.

      Up to now, any "convergence" device I have used was always a piece of crap in terms of interface if nothing else (and
      • Please mod up the parent comment - it definitely deserves a "+1, Insightful". If you put every last bit of functionality into one device, you'll end up with one gadget that can do everything but excels at nothing. I don't want to say camera phones aren't useful, for example, but the fact that my cell phone has a built-in cam does not mean I'm going to get rid of my digital camera. The former is good for taking quick snapshots when you don't care about what they actually look like (for example, when you just
        • BS (Score:2, Insightful)

          by rmstar ( 114746 )
          If you put every last bit of functionality into one device, you'll end up with one gadget that can do everything but excels at nothing.

          It might be true for current gadgets, but I don't see why it will be true for future gadgets. Is this just lack of fantasy on your side?

          I have no problem imagining a single gadget the size of a 9 volt battery that does everything very well and then some, including serving web pages and running seti@home, all while fed by a betavoltaic batery that lasts 20 years. Actually, lo

    • by Ulrich Hobelmann ( 861309 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @06:37AM (#15044969) Journal
      Sony? Ugh!
      Creative - weren't they the ones who didn't look good at all and were expensive?
      Archos? Whossat?

      iRiver: good devices, but the nice newer ones (like the H10 I almost bought) didn't have Vorbis support anymore, and I want at least one good format (AAC or Vorbis) to rip my CDs to.

      So that leaves: Apple.

      I don't own an iPod, only a humble cellphone with 30MB memory, but if I were to buy anything right now, I'd have to say Apple's competitors just don't cut it.

      But there's nothing inherent that says that in the future they couldn't build awesome devices.
      • YMMV, but my Archos GMini is fantastic for the price ($200 for a 20GB thing), tiny in size and just works as a normal USB mass storage thing. And quality with LAME or even WMA is great. I wouldn't dream of getting an iPod.
    • Re:But, But, But ... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by macbrak ( 101794 )
      Mobile phones will never become viable media players.

      Cell phone companies want you to buy over the air. They also see nothing wrong with charging you about $2.50 for 10 seconds of a song as a ringtone and probably at least $3.50 for a full song (including air charge). Do the math on how much time/money it will take to fill 30 Gigs.

      Nokia, Samsung, Motorola and Sony Ericsson will bend over backwards to meet the cell companies needs whether it creates a good product or not. Just as Sony can never created a go
    • The game is much different this time. This is not any kind of repeat from the initial IBM PC clone days.... For example:

      - Apple never had an 80% and growing stranglehold of a marketshare - across multiple product categories no less.

      - The "clones" were just that - all making the same thing. Here we have a couple different clones all keeping closed systems and fighting each other.

      - The integration between content and player and where the money comes from is much trickier this time. Everyone having to license
    • by masklinn ( 823351 ) < .at.> on Sunday April 02, 2006 @08:11AM (#15045149)

      Well, first of all the iPod market isn't about storage, the Nano (and former mini) segment wouldn't be the best selling iPod niche if it was. So the storage doesn't matter that much to the public, that's been proven.

      What did we see with the iPod? That what mattered was the interface. iPods are sleek, beautiful, and dead simple to use. A cell phone is, basically, a cell phones. I has a dozen keys already just for the phone functions which need easy access. You won't get a simple mp3 player interface on a cell phone, ever. And simple interface and stunning user experience is what the iPod is based on and what made it's success! Apple wasn't the first on the mp3-player market. It's never been a leader technology-wise (low number of supported formats, low number of functions), it's rarely been the smallest available, it's probably the less open player out there. But. It's. Easy. To. Use. And it just looks great.

      On top of that, cell phones are currently unable to feature near the autonomy they'd need. Add an mp3 player without changing the battery? You're looking at a 20h autonomy if you don't actually phone anyone there matey, looking forward to that? i'm not.

  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by jibjibjib ( 889679 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:53AM (#15044879) Journal
    Begun, this iPod clone war has.
  • by QuatermassX ( 808146 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:54AM (#15044880) Homepage

    Alan Kohler's piece in The Age just seems to be an unfocused piece of non-analysis. What was the point of all this? A warning against the siren call of the little white box? A broad survey of the digital media playback marketplace?

    Oh, I see ... after a paean to Apple's iPod (well, he seems like a happy customer), he goes all gloom and doom as he thinks the mobile phone operators will be chomping on the iPod for their din din. Right.

    Of course that's real perspective on the way the market is going, but Kohler doesn't provide and facts, figures, reasoned arguments, etc ... And someone needs to submit this to the Apple Deathwatch folks from TFA: "It is quite a thrilling time to be alive. We will witness the creation and destruction of a market dominance in the time it used to take to work up a business plan." Sure, um, ok.

    Please, lets try not to promote, sloppy, lazy journalism and opinion pieces ... Kohler's sub should have sent this story back.

  • for the ROKR (I know it was, at least supposedly, a total pos) and another model or other thats supposed to be better than the ROKR (both are supposed to work with iTunes, right?)

    Correct me if I'm wrong (about my argument or the phones), but that looks more like cooperation than competition...

    • for the ROKR (I know it was, at least supposedly, a total pos) and another model or other thats supposed to be better than the ROKR (both are supposed to work with iTunes, right?)

      Correct me if I'm wrong (about my argument or the phones), but that looks more like cooperation than competition...

      That was cooperation all right, but it fell through. I remain hopeful, though, for events and reasons completely different. And my hope even comes with its own half-assed speculation. Follow:

      Apple and CompUSA g

  • I Don't Buy It (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neoshroom ( 324937 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:58AM (#15044886)
    This year they [cell phone makers] will start releasing phones with the same storage as iPods -- up to 30 gigabytes. iPods themselves will have to become phones.

    This makes perfect sense. We all know cell phones are amazingly easy to use with simple and consistent interfaces. I can't wait to run out of batteries from listening to music so I miss important phone calls.

    There is also the consistent leapfrogging Apple seems to do. This generation of iPods might be able to be almost feature-matched by the next generation of cell phones, but by the time the next generation of cell phones come out the iPod will be a VCR/TiVO as well as a music player.

    I'm sure journalists then will be saying the iPod will die because the next generation of cell phones will play videos.

    Elephant Essays [] - Custom-created essays and research papers.
  • "Killer app" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dotwaffle ( 610149 ) <slashdot AT walster DOT org> on Sunday April 02, 2006 @05:59AM (#15044887) Homepage
    When will people get over the Killer App mentaility? The iPod wouldn't sell nearly as well without network effects. I'll explain:

    iPod connects to iTunes, which does an excellent job of managing your music.
    iTunes connects to the iTunes Music Store, which is a cheap(ish) and easy way to get tracks, as well as easily manage podcasts and subscriptions - if TV shows were available in the UK, I'd be using iTunes to get them, almost definitely.
    iTMS connects with pretty much ALL the major music companies, so that when you buy tracks from X, it suggests Y and Z, which you may be interested in.

    The combination of all of the above leads to Apple not only having market share, but DESERVING market share - their products are good, and if anyone comes up to me wanting to get into online music, I suggest iPod everytime.

    However, as others have said, Ogg Vorbis support should be in iTunes, and either converted within iTunes or playable on the iPod. I can't see it happening anytime soon though :(
    • Re:"Killer app" (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Firehed ( 942385 )
      Why all this fuss about ogg? I'm certainly geeky enough, but I could care less. It'd be adding in another chip that maybe 1% of the userbase would make use of. Say 2% for flac. Within iTunes, yes, especially if it would let me easily convert my flacs to aac lossless. But I don't see it happening. The only devices that currently have flac and ogg support do so just to hope to capture that niche ultra-geek market, not because they're mainstream-necessary. If formats other than mp3 and aac made a big de
    • Re:"Killer app" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by clifyt ( 11768 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @08:19AM (#15045162)
      "When will people get over the Killer App mentaility? The iPod wouldn't sell nearly as well without network effects"

      Beyond your easy to use networking examples -- even if the phone companies dead simple to download the music, they have this inbred notion that ANYTHING you do on the phone should be at your expense and they should get a huge cut of it.

      For example, I found out my new phone could play MP3s...unfortunately, no way to get them on without buying them from my provider. Its a Bluetooth phone and comes with USB cables for computer connectivity. But getting files on to it? Nope. Actually, thats wrong -- I can get files onto it, but only as portable storage -- I can load up photos or delete the files that are already there (as I did the crappy MP3s), but not placing in the phones memory where I can retrieve them. I had to call the company to find this out after having difficulties -- and I was told that as this was a 'locked' phone, I would not be able to do what I needed.

      Along with this, I can for a small fee, rebuy the same song for my desktop. Oh yeah, you can DELETE the MP3 files you buy from their crappy store -- but not download them. Its not as much, the operator tells me, but I think I would have already spent twice as much as I would for the same iTunes based purchase (and maybe exactly the same to get it for my desktop). For some reason, the phone companies have convinced the content providers that one can get extended use out of these files and thus its got to be more expensive. Either that, or they take their 50% network fees cut even before they take their shared revenues on the content. And the file you can get for your desktop is I believe WMA -- which probably won't work on my Mac.

      Screw the phone manufacturers. So long as they are willing to provide the cell providers with locked phones, we are never going to see any innovation. They make far more money off of selling these directly to those retailers that have a vested interest in locking down our features then then ever will selling directly to the public -- why do you think the original iTunes phone took so long to get here -- because none of the cell providers wanted it (though apple's bullshit 100 song limit is just that, bullshit -- though rumor has it this may be lifted soon as they realize their mistake, but I'll believe that when I see it).

    • Fuck ogg vorbis. You already have your material in crappy, lossy and rarely supported "open source hahaha" format, you can as well write simple script to convert it to another crappy, lossy, but widely supported "closed source" format.

      What is really missing is support for flac - the de-facto standard of compression for people that care about their music. That is the thing that really pisses me off - support only for Apple's Lossless Codec that cannot be integrated with anything else I have/use/am used to.

  • How many times have people written about some new device that's going to be THE iPod killer? Well, it hasn't happened yet. Who cares if it's a phone, a video jukebox, or a pocket toaster that plays MP3s, nothing's slowed down the iPod yet. I don't see any of the handset manufacturers getting there any time soon either.
    • How many times have people written about some new device that's going to be THE iPod killer?

      Lots, of course, to little effect. More will come The Apple Advantage is that they have a solid reputation for doing the 'Just works' thing and getting it right. That they seem to have some very able designers doesn't hurt, either. Showing off a brand new iPod is plain attractive :)

      My take is that the iPod reaches a market segment that cares less about features/capacity for the money and more about having the cool

    • Or, in other words: "Stop trying to hit me and hit me!"
  • lock in (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LetterRip ( 30937 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @06:01AM (#15044894)
    That only works if they can work with peoples existing music collections.

    People have already bought a massive amount of music through itunes. Thus for those with an itunes locked in collection, it will need to be compatible with Apples DRM. So sony and motorola have to either partner with Apple, figure out a way to migrate Apples DRMed files to their service without an Apple partnership, or go after those individuals which have yet to purchase music through itunes, or who went with one of the competing services.

  • Obviously, the hardware and its capabilities don't matter. Apple didn't get this market because they were first (they were not) or because they are best (they are not--other players have better UIs, more capabilities, more storage, etc. at less money). Apple got this market because of integration with their on-line store, and a good deal of branding, marketing, and design.
    • by NMerriam ( 15122 ) <> on Sunday April 02, 2006 @06:51AM (#15044998) Homepage
      On the contrary, Apple got this market precisely because it had/has the best UI.

      Argue whatever you like about particular pet features/compatibility, but Apple is #1 because they saw what an UI mess most MP3 players (both software and hardware) were and simplified them both so that normal people were capable of operating them without having to know anything about the underlying technology.

      Very few competitors have even matched the simplicity of operation, and none have surpassed it yet. Until they do, consumers simply aren't going to be interested in jumping ship without massive financial incentive. And I don't see how anyone can undercut the iPod by a significant margin given Apple's huge volume discount on parts and continued willingness to forego profit for market share.
    • "other players have better UIs"

      Define better UI, please. FYI I don't have an iPod, so I'm not saying you can't possibly be right, but my very limited experience with these gizmo's happens to be "what is this", "WTF" and "Oh please" for everything non iPod, and "mmm, this I get" with the iPod.

      I judge consumer stuff by consumer standards, not technological or brand (not saying I'm not sensitive to that, everybody is). And I would love to hear someone explain how a UI could be better than the iPod UI. Serious.
  • "The iPod/iTunes system will move into a niche with Macintosh computers because Steve Jobs has again stuck with closed architecture and total control. This will happen quickly because mobile phones are being turned over about every year."

    Not if all the mobile phone users have died of cancer... [] ROFL! :)

  • by somewhat_distant ( 629705 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @06:17AM (#15044921)
    If they want to kill the iPod, they have to kill iTunes, the iPod and MusicStore in one blow. The iPod success is not just a result of better hardware. It's the whole package, the iLife integration, the fact that it simply works without any hassle.

    I organize all my music on my Mac, plug in the iPod, and whooops, shazam or whatever, it's all in my pocket without any technical fuzz.

    This may not be the right crowd to voice this opinion in... But in this case I don't want umpteen technical options, and I can live with Apple as a music industry near-monopolist. As long as it works. If someone does it better, fine. Good luck. A colleague just told me that he finally could use his iPod without iTunes due to some hack. Nice! To me, that is a solution without a problem.

    Techie stuff is work. Music is play!

    And I'm not waiting for an iPod-wannabe (aka iPod-killer).
    I'm waiting for something new.
  • Problem.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chanc_Gorkon ( 94133 ) <> on Sunday April 02, 2006 @06:19AM (#15044927)
    The problem is that battery's won't keep up with both devices. My Cellphone can last 3-4 days with moderate usage (although if I do mobile web on it, the battery usage goes up). If I used it as a MP3 Player which I can already do, the battery would crap out in an hour...

    To truely integrate a iPod and a cellphone, it would have to be as large as my last analog only cell phone which was quite large (I lived for a while without a phone). The reason is for the battery. The biggest thing holding a converged mp3 player and cell phone back is the battery. Only fuel cell tech or an advancement in bettery technology will drive this.
  • Someone [] obviously hasn't been reading John Gruber's latest pieces []. Idiots.

    Maybe TMO could start an "iPod Death Watch" to go along with their "Apple Death Watch", which, IIRC, is up to something like 60 now.

    No, I didn't dignify the glaring fearmongering of The Age by reading TFA. That was exactly what they wanted you to do, and Slashdot fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.
  • Why why why... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 02, 2006 @07:00AM (#15045014) people keep writing stories about iPods as if you could only put music from the iTMS on them?

    It says:

    "The only place you can easily buy material for your iPod, as opposed to stealing it, is the iTunes online store."

    and refers to it as a "closed system".

    Total nonsense. You can "easily by material for your iPod" on CD. Or, you know, from that dodgy Russian MP3 store.

    But it's by no means a "closed system". I have 2,000 songs on my iPod and a total of 12 are from the iTMS.

  • by theolein ( 316044 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @07:12AM (#15045031) Journal
    Author of "Attack of the Clones", a.k.a "It's April 2 and I don't know what to write about, so I'll write one trashing the iPod and you can all listen to it on PODCAST which I advertise on the bottom of my page".

    When Nokia and Motorola make a phone that's as easy to use as an iPod (have you seen mobile phone menus?), is as simple as an iPod (have you seen mobile phone navigation?), is as reliable as an iPod (my brand new Sony Ericsson crashes every 3 days, my previous Nokia would crash every two weeks or so), with the battery life of an iPod (how long does your phone last while playing sounds? mine lasts about 1 and half hours max), the capacity of an iPod (this one I belive will happen sooner than the rest) and the tight integration with iTunes, which is god's gift to music store software and jukeboxes, then I'll believe an article that an Australian hack in Melbourne wrote on the day of the Melbourne Formula one.
    • ... then I'll believe an article that an Australian hack in Melbourne wrote on the day of the Melbourne Formula one.
      Now, that's not fair.

      Today's Sunday. He would have written the article last week...

  • call me old fashioned but I like a phone that is good at keeping my phone numbers handy and making calls. I always go for the cheapest Nokia. Because it's easy.
    And I don't see that changing soon. Maybe I'm not typical. Or maybe I am, most people with iPods lack the interest or capacity to handle all those superior iPod killers out there. So maybe they won't buy a phone that adds ten more features to replace their stupid simple iPod?
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @07:44AM (#15045081) Journal
    The poor old mobile phone is supposed to bloody kill everything on this planet while all it wants is to sit in your pocket and cook your testicles.

    Lets see: The article claims that this year phones are going to be launched with 30gb storage, the same as an iPod.

    Mmmm, what they really mean is that 1 phone is going to be launched, possibly this year, in japan, that is going to cost a fortune, eat batteries for lunch, not going to tiny while having the storage of the smallest 5th gen iPod.

    Doesn't exactly sound like it is going to sweep the market. In fact the mobile phone market is incredibly fractured with not a single manufacturer having the kind of market share that apple enjoys in the mp3 player market. Let alone that a single new model will achieve anywhere near the penetration that iPods have.

    Oh but there is the anology to the PC's where IBM clones pushed Apple into a corner. Yup that is true.

    Except that how does this relate to mp3 players? The "clones" arrived first in this case. It was the tiny asian "clone" companies that launched first and only later did Apple join the party and even later did the real big boys like Sony get involved. If anything this is the exact opposite of what happened with PC's. This would have like if Compaq and the other clones had their PC market gobbled up by IBM.

    For some reason when it comes to IT most people seem to loose common sense. Surely we all here remember how the N-cage was supposed to take over? Nintendo better watch out with its GBA.

    Didn't happen.

    Some people point to camera phones as to how the mobile phone can replace single purpose devices by combining them into the phone.

    Except that this did not really happen. The camera phone did not replace regular camera's. Or do you really record your kids birthday party on your mobile phone? No the quality seperate camera market is still there. What the camera phone replaced is the throw away camera and incredibly cheap, good for 1 holiday, market. What it mostly did however was expand the market. There are now simply more cameras about then there were before.

    I think the same will be true for mobile phone MP3 players. They will partially replace the very cheap players and partially expand the market so that people who never owned a portable music player before will have one now.

    The iPod is as threathend by the mobile phone as the SLR camera is by the camera phone. Or the GBA is by the N-cage. Or the computer is by the PDA.

    Offcourse the PDA is under threath by the smart phone and one day it may be true that the mobile phone will be so powerfull that it can replace the iPod. Looking at current tech I think that is still years if not decades away.

    But a headline off "Business as usual" does not sell ads does it now.

  • This is clearly one in a row. Follow the money and the ads.

    Should become "Apple's iPod survives sustained Clone funded Media Attack"

    'nuf said.

  • This is stupid. Part of the industry has kept making these predictions ever since the iPod and iTMS came out (respectively). I don't blame them for having those thoughts in the beginning, since neither was immediately successful, and Apple hasn't had similar success in the past. But despite being proven wrong by facts constantly, they keep predicting the same thing over and over. At this point, it's not unlike making the prediction that in three months, we'll all use Macs, and I'm not sure anyone here would

  • Cell phones are too confusing for most people who use them beyond making a phone call. I can't for-see any cell manufacturers writing a well established program that would handle their music and make the transfer of songs to the device easy and transparent, let alone provide content that is affordable (these are the same people who sell ring tones for up to $3.00 USD for a piece of a song at really bad quality). What are they gonna use? Windows Media Player? Have you ever set up an MP3 player that uses
  • by EnglishTim ( 9662 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @10:04AM (#15045397)
    There'll always be a market for standalone mp3 players, but I think the article is right to suggest that that market is going to get squeezed by mobile phones, mainly at the low end.

    My Wife's new mobile phone has half a gig of memory in it which she can store songs on, and she can upgrade it with a memory stick if she wishes. The phone came free with a new phone contract and she's not paying any more that she was on her old plan.

    So she's basically set up with an mp3 player without having to spend any more money than she would have anyway. Sure, she'll probably get a memory stick to boost the capacity, but that'll still not cost her that much, and considerably less than an iPod nano with a similar capacity would.

    Now, I'm sure all of you with high-capacity iPods are scoffing at my Wife's meagre storage space on her phone, but many people just don't need that high capacity. My current mp3 player (A Rio Carbon) holds 5Gb, and I don't have any space problems on it. It'll not be long before phones with a similar capacity are commonplace.

    So for those who don't require high capacity, a phone with mp3 playing is going to be an obvious choice; especially as you then only have one object to carry around.

    I think it's interesting to compare it with low-end cameras and PDAs; Camera phones nowadays are approaching the quality that they can be a reasonable replacement for the low-end pocket point-and-shoot cameras, and phones now do many of the simpler functions of a PDA. Those who wish for a large collection of music at their fingertips will stick with their iPods, but many others (and I suspect this is a large chunk of the market) will migrate to mobile phones.

  • by KU_Fletch ( 678324 ) < minus caffeine> on Sunday April 02, 2006 @11:27AM (#15045656)
    The reason people buy iPods and love them so much is the same reason people buy pre-packaged vacations or use travel agents. Sure, you could go book your tickets with an airline, find a hotel and book that, research a dozen locations to go to at your destination and when they are open, and do all the logisitcs, or you can just have somebody else do it. Sometimes its worth the fee to save your time.

    Sure, my iPod cost more than a lot of other stuff on the market, and it doesn't have video, but it's so freaking easy to use. Now, I love playing around with tech toys like the next guy, but ease of use is ease of use. Pop in a CD, rip it and file it away without worrying about setting up the files and folders correctly. If I hear an artist Ilike, I can download their latest album in 4 or 5 clicks instead of driving over to Best Buy. Pop my iPod in, and it puts all my new music on, updates my playlists, puts my photos on, and updates my Outlook calendar. Simple. I didn't have to do anything. I didn't have to open up 4 programs like I would have to with other playesr or a cell phone.

    So why would I possibly buy one of these merged cell phones and music players. All of their synching software I've seen in bloatware with extremely slow upload speeds. Very few allow native mp3 playing, so you have to run their converter for half an hour. And given my level of trust for the cell phone industy, I can only assume there is some low level spyware involved so that I can get some fun text messages telling me I'll enjoy the next Black Eyed Peas single. Then I can hop in my car where my cell phone won't play to my radio, so I hve to use headphones. My battery will be dead by the time I get to work. Gee, what a fun end-user eperience that will be.

    All of that being said, I really do want to see what a rael iPod killer would like like. My bet is it will probably come from Apple themselves (PowerPod?). In the mean time, I'm happy with a product that I get a kick out of playing with that is also simple enough for my mother to use (seeing 60 year old woman who can barely surf the internet be able to plug in a Shuffle and use it correctly is amazing).
  • I won't buy one (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SideshowBob ( 82333 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @11:49AM (#15045734)
    I will not buy a cell phone with music capabilities. Or, if not given a choice (something the cell phone networks seem to just LOVE to do), then I will disable/ignore the music features.

    When are the cell phone companies going to realize that most of us just want a simple voice communications device? We don't want music, video, web, still camera, video camera, etc. etc. in our phones. All of these features are seldom used and clutter up the interface, not to mention sucking battery. We want a compact phone with as much battery life as possible and the best sound quality possible, and that's IT.
  • iPod is safe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZoneGray ( 168419 ) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @01:23PM (#15046065) Homepage
    Apple is so safe with the iPod that it's not funny. Just look at how many people they're licensing the dock interface to. It's available in new cars, in aftermarket cart stereos, it's in all kinds of accessories. The prevalence of the dock connector simply makes the iPod more desirable than its competitors, and the fact that it's proprietary gives Apple a lot of safety.

    Microsoft has implemented their "play anywhere" USB interface, and some car stereo makers are starting to implement it. Eventually, it will provide an alterenative to the iPod dock, but it looks to be somewhere in 2007 before it achieves any uptake.

    The catch is that the "generic" MP3 player makers will be fighting each other on price, while Apple will be able to maintain much better margins on the iPod. So the iPod will eventually drop some market share, but it will remain profitable for Apple. Meanwhile, Creative and iRiver and all the others will be beating their brains out trying to undercut each other.

    He who owns the interface owns the market. I didn't say it's good, it's just a fact of life.

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