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Apple Businesses

The Guts Of An iPod 313

Posted by timothy
from the transmit-viruses-to-aliens dept.
The Infamous Grimace writes: "The folks at this Japanese web site have provided pics of the inside of an iPod. A quick breakdown of it in English is here. The FireWire contoller appears to be TIs TSB43AA82, the chip is PortalPlayers PP5002B w/ an ARM7TDMI-based core. Apparently it has encoding abilities as well. The hard-drive is Toshiba's MK5002MAL."
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The Guts Of An iPod

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 01, 2001 @04:27PM (#2509350)
    Because I wasn't about to waste my money by tearing my iPod apart.

    Can it run Linux? Can you imagine *smack*smack*smack*

    Sorry.
    • by mcspock (252093) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @04:53PM (#2509493)
      Linux is available for the arm7tdmi. This is different from the portal player processer, since portal player (iirc) has a dual core cpu. The second core lets them do mp3 encoding with, presumably, the standard ARM encoding library.

      The funny part about "can it run linux" here is that the line is suddenly blurred. This device is $400, has a fast processor, 5gb hard drive, and 32mb of ram - much nicer features than your standard PDA. Additionally, it would be (relatively) straight forward to enable all the standard device features (read: mp3 playback) under linux.

      Yep, an iPod will totally outclass any windows CE devices we are likely to see in the next few years.
      • by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @05:04PM (#2509547)
        I don't really want to replace the entire operating system in my iPod, but I *would* like to get Ogg Vorbis playback support. Does anyone know how this thing boots; from a ROM or from the hard disk or both?
      • You do know that this is an 80-133 Mhz Arm7 (80-110 for .18 micron, 100-133 for .13 micron) chip, and all current PocketPC (PocketPC2002) devices are based on a 206Mhz StrongArm with 32MB or 64MB of RAM, right? The Intel product info says that 206Mhz StrongArm's are software compatible with Arm v4 processors (which the Arm7 is)
      • Yep, an iPod will totally outclass any windows CE devices we are likely to see in the next few years.

        You're right... I am really sick of displays I can read on handhelds. Why have 32 bit color and 400x200 resolution (or whatever it really is) when you can have 1bit color and half that screen size? Also, who needs a pen to input stuff when you can enter letters by pressing the up and down arrows on your iPod!

        *sarcasm off* This thing is cool but let's not get TOO ridiculous. Hehe.
        • That would be 240x320...
        • All right, it was a joke, but I just could not resist pointing out that this is actually one of the selling points of the iPod. They didn't try to make it a game boy, it just does all it needs to, which is display text and provide a backlight if it might be dark.

          To rephrase, why can we have a device with hours and hours of battery life when we can waste computational power by displaying a cool animation of musical notes coming out of a boom box, that will not help the sound quality in any way? See Steve, bloatware can be fun!

  • by Calle Ballz (238584) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @04:27PM (#2509351) Homepage
    I don't know how it is in Japan, but in Korea there are people who will pay up to 10x what an electronic item is worth just to study the design and create knockoffs. Many US Army soldiers are bribed to buy electronics from the PX and sell them to the koreans who do this. I am wondering if this is something similar...
    • IANAK, so I don't understand why they'd do that. Haven't they heard of Ebay? Are there gov't restrictions on importing stuff?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Well, for the Army, because it is US territory... the soldiers there can buy any electronic item found at your local walmart for about the same price that you'd get it here. In fact, because there are no sales taxes applied to sales on Army installations, they get it much cheaper.

        Say a Korean company would like to produce a knock off of the new video camera. They'd have a hard time legitimately getting ahold of one, so they find PVT Whoever to go to the PX and buy one, then they buy it off of him. No paperwork, only cash exchange. PVT Whoever just made himself a pocket full of chump change, while the Korean company now has a product with absolutely no trace to how they obtained it to reverse engineer it.

        I have a friend who is stationed in Korea, and she found what we both thought was a great deal: a Geforce3 video card for $90. He bought one and tried it and it ALMOST outperformed a Trident 1 MB video card found in older 486's. This was obviously a poor knock off of the Geforce 3 chip.
  • by Ledge (24267) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @04:29PM (#2509362)
    All this to replace my good ole' 8-track? Bah. It doesn't even say Hi-Fi anywhere on it. (Hi-Fi is a technical term for High Fidelity.)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'd much rather see what the insides of Steve Jobs look like.
  • by HalimCMe (528821) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @04:43PM (#2509443)

    The iPod copying limitations are not really restrictions, but rather just hiding the actual MP3 files. The MP3's can be accessed thru the command line in OS X or thru a number of graphical third party utilities, a process outlined in this Mac Observer article. [macobserver.com]

    Some more interesting (?) discussion about the iPod's internals and copy protection is over at a similar article on MacSlash. [macslash.com]

    I'm getting an iPod myself, but not till January when hopefully they'll drop in price a bit when Apple announces their next line of products.

    • The iPod copying limitations are not really restrictions, but rather just hiding the actual MP3 files.

      Just in case anyone is too lazy to follow the links...the hidden files are unhidable by using ls in the terminal window, or by setting the "show hidden files in finder" thing in TinkerTool.

      My theory is they did it just so iTunes' sync function can't accidentally delete user files just because they end in ".mp3".

  • by 2nd Post! (213333) <gundbear@pacbe l l .net> on Thursday November 01, 2001 @04:44PM (#2509449) Homepage
    I'm *glad* Apple doesn't restrict itself to only in-house designs. They *can* and *do* use products designed elsewhere if it can offer them a competitive advantage...

    Lucent 802.11b cards, AMD based base stations, and not Portal designed mp3 player and UI by Pixo.

    Now if they can only work together with AMD and NVIDIA to introduce a new low cost entry level Mac ($500 range) and use DAISY type runtime optimzation and recompilation in the OS to make it hardware agnostic...
    • by mblase (200735) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @04:49PM (#2509479)
      I'm *glad* Apple doesn't restrict itself to only in-house designs.

      True, but it's a little weird to see that the OS for this device isn't actually Apple's, but a third party's. Seems like the only thing Apple really contributed to it was the design and, of course, the iTunes 2 integration.

      But hey, it looks like a Mac product and works like a Mac product. Who really cares who actually designed the guts?

      Now if only they'd open-source the OS so that we could build our own....
      • The OS and UI are dependent on Portal Player and Pixo, so if you want to mess around with the OS/UI, go to them.

        Still, it makes me wonder how hard it would be to hack it make it so uploaded mp3s via FireWire are playble, and thus make it PC compatible :)
      • According to my anonymous source at PortalPlayer, it's based on Lineo's RXTC [lineo.com] microkernel. Of course, the ``application'' side has been hacked on quite a bit and has had significant additions to the database and filesystem added, but it's still RXTC based.

      • Third-party OS. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jcr (53032)
        True, but it's a little weird to see that the OS for this device isn't actually Apple's, but a third party's.

        I hear that the company providing that OS was founded by Paul Mercer, who used to be the tech lead of the Finder team, back around the Mac OS 7.x days.

        -jcr

    • Now if they can only work together with AMD and NVIDIA to introduce a new low cost entry level Mac ($500 range) and use DAISY type runtime optimzation and recompilation in the OS to make it hardware agnostic...


      Or use instead of an expensive AMD a cheaper G3 processor.
      The problem is, that most G3 processors are cheaper than those from AMD and use 10 to 20 times less power.
      One of the advantages of the PPC family that it uses less power for more computing power.
      The PPC8500 will use something like 15 watts peak on 1,6 Ghz and will be two times faster than the P4 running at 2 Ghz..
      So, with 60 watts you get 8 times the computing power of a P4 at 2 Ghz..
      O yeah, you can get a G4 with Nvidea Geforce 3.
      No problem at all.
      • So the question is, why is an entry level 600MHz iMac *so* expensive if the screen, hard drive, memory, video, etc, are all commodity parts?

        If the CPU is cheaper than AMD's, why is an entry level Mac 50% more expensive than an entry AMD or Intel?

        Okay, so maybe I don't know enough to judge, but somewhere some component is raising the cost... and if the hard drive, memory, video, and CPU aren't it... maybe it's the chipset and drivers, in which case using the NForce and NVIDIA drivers may drive the cost down of the system by $100? Who knows except Apple?
        • by shandrew (113220) <shandrew+slashdot@shieh.info> on Thursday November 01, 2001 @07:19PM (#2510178) Homepage
          The case isn't cheap. The engineering and design involved in putting it all together isn't cheap. Quality components are not cheap. The OS development isn't cheap. Also, selling price is set mostly by market forces rather than by costs.


          PC-clone makers don't need to do any of this. They just buy commodity parts, assemble them, and the most expensive component they have is Windows. For consumer machines, their goal is to have the biggest MHz number and CD/DVD speed rating.

          • Ah, quite right, quite right. I'm paying for form and style, right? ;)

            Still, then, it's a question of economies of scale, isn't it? Cases are slightly more expensive, CPUs are slightly more expensive, mobos are slightly more expensive, engineers to write drivers, etc, because there's no volume involved...
        • by stripes (3681) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @07:39PM (#2510241) Homepage Journal
          So the question is, why is an entry level 600MHz iMac *so* expensive if the screen, hard drive, memory, video, etc, are all commodity parts?

          Part could be they tend to use high quality parts (e.g. the monitor on the iMac may be small but it has far less edge distortion then the small monitors I see at CompUSA, and better color then most of them). They could get away from that by making a "craptastic" Mac, but would it help them to convince people that Mac's are better by selling them something bad? (Note: many people already think this about the iMac, or about leaving SCSI for IDE, or...still one has to admit that many parts of the iMacs are not the cheap parts that the "value" PCs use)

          Part of it may be they have to spread the design costs over a smaller number of sales. It costs X dollars to make a new motherboard chipset. If you take Apple's claim of 5% market share as fact, then a PC part has the potential of having 20 times as many people to spread the design costs and other NREs over then a Mac part. So the "northbridge" is going to have a lot more cost charged to each buyer then one from SiS. They can combat that a little by only having a few different parts there (say one for the whole iMac line, maybe shared with the iBook, one for the 1st gen TiBook, one for the 2nd gen TiBook and the G4's...), the PC market's five or so chip makers still have more people to spread the NREs over... There are also NREs for each machine. Again Apple can make that hurt a little less by only having four lines of machine and only 2, 3, or 4 in each line vs. the N bizzilian PCs, it still hurts a bit.

          Apple also has to pay more for quality control. They make a fairly wide array of products, and they all have to work together because they can't point their fingers at as many other people. If you buy an HP PC and it sucks, when you call they can point their finger at the maker of the app (most bundled Apps on a PC are not made by the PC maker, Apple tends to ship largely their own software, or software branded as theirs), failing that they can point their finger at Microsoft (or wash their hands of you if you have Linux), Apple can only blame themselves for the OS...

          Apple also seems to do more research then most places, and that costs. It also pays though.

          Lastly, Apple has higher profit margins then PC makers (except in the server market). It makes sense to me for them to trim those to the bone on the low end iMac, but who knows if they do.

    • UI by Pixo

      The OS is Pixo's, we don't know if the UI is Pixo's or Apple's.

  • D'ohhh! (Score:2, Funny)

    by BoarderPhreak (234086)
    No warranty for you! :-O
    • Yep, lost that 90 day warranty. I suspect anything that survives shipping lasts 90 days.

      It worries me a bit that they put such a short warantee on it. Apple knows how to set warantees. The early Airport base stations had a huge failure rate after just over one year. (Bad capacitors. Thank goodness a google search and a trip to radio shack will get you back in business.)
      • I agree - I think 90 days is just long enough for the gremlins to creep up or for your friend to sit on it in the car or close your car door on it when it's in your pocket... It's so small, and something you would handle a LOT and it does after all, cost $400!


        Let's just hope there is no "burning powerbook adapter" issue with this thing... ;)

  • by Olentangy (118364) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @04:48PM (#2509470)
    I followed the link to Toshiba site. They will sell me the 5 GB little hard drive for $399 retail. Apple will sell me a complete iPod for $399.

    If anyone wants the Toshiba drive, they should buy an iPod and rip it apart. This gives them the drive, PLUS you get a battery, various ICs, an LCD display, and some decent earbuds :-)

    Guess Apple's price for the iPod isn't really a rip off.

    -- Olentangy
    • I followed the link to Toshiba site. They will sell me the 5 GB little hard drive for $399 retail. Apple will sell me a complete iPod for $399.

      [snip]

      Guess Apple's price for the iPod isn't really a rip off.

      Must...control...fist...of death.

      Oh, certainly; every OEM in the world buys these drives by going to the Toshiba website and putting in an order for 10,000 of them @ $399 each...

      Use your heads, people. I have seen so many smug comments about how Apple is not making any money on this produt, with the premise being that the drive alone costs them $399.

      It doesn't, of course. Now, the drive probably isn't cheap, but you can be *sure* they have got as sweet a deal as is humanly possible on these drives (which are now no doubt getting great press). The high price at the website probably partly reflects the fact that a good, big, chunk of Toshiba's entire production is going to a certain hardware vendor in Cupertino, with an option for them to buy even more drives, so they don't now have much incentive to lower prices for anybody else until they've got their production process ramped up a bit more.

      If Apple is making less than a 20% margin on the iPod, I'd be completely stunned. Not that this is a rip-off (many people will pay it), but let's not get all silly here...

  • ARM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PRickard (16563) <pr@nOSPAm.ms-bc.com> on Thursday November 01, 2001 @04:49PM (#2509477) Homepage
    Too bad Apple sold its shares in ARM... They purchased them when the Newton used ARM chips and then sold most of the investment about a year ago. I thought it was a mistake at the time - but Apple could probably purchase the entire company now for what it made selling the shares last year.
  • You gotta admit, it's pretty nice. too bad it won't work on other platforms though. Why won't they release iTUNE for other platforms when they are giving Quicktime away for free? Apple make no money off Quicktime (client) but they can actually get some nice profit from this device. I know they want people to buy macs, but who would buy a mac solely for iPOD?
    • Well, now some Windows users can "feel the pain" just like Mac and Linux people have been feeling for years when support for some nifty thing is not offered. Maybe it is some sort of "justice" :-)

      Anyhow, it seems likely that the supply of the components might be a little tight for a while, so it makes sense to set the price high and sell it to the faithfull for a little while, before dropping the price and making it more widely available. It does Apple no good to make it available for Windows or at a low price but then not be able to meet the demand. Much better to hold off and make it available to Windows and/or drop the price later when the supplies grow.

      Then again, they already sell a number of very nice things such as their LCD monitors that will not (easily) work on anything other than a modern Mac. Why should this be any different? If you want one I suppose you can hack your own support into your system of choice, eh?

    • It will work on other platforms, but you won't get any help from Apple. What you need is some utility that supports the HFS+ format, a Firewire card and the drivers to go with it. Now all you have to do is mount the drive and copy the files using the expected directory layout.
      • Now all you have to do is mount the drive and copy the files using the expected directory layout

        sorry but you will also have to update the database file in the ipod somehow so it knows the new mp3's are there I don't know what that invovles but it's a bit more then just copying the files over
  • by swordboy (472941) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @05:00PM (#2509524) Journal
    Does anyone remember that Saturday Night Live episode with Tom Hanks posing as one of those "flea market electronics hustlers"?

    Sony Guts!
  • Article on geek.com (Score:3, Informative)

    by rsimmons (248005) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @05:05PM (#2509552) Homepage
    Here is a good article [geek.com] about the iPod on geek.com [geek.com].
  • by FooBarney (253298) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @05:18PM (#2509619) Homepage
    I have to laugh every time i hear someone in Slashdot forums or the media talk about how Apple's killing themselves by making the iPod Mac-only. True, they ARE limiting their market to less than 5% of computer owners, but there's one thing no one seems to get:

    Apple didn't create the iPod to sell iPods. They created it to sell Macs.

    Interface used to be a compelling reason to pick a Mac over a Wintel box--the Mac OS was just THAT much better. Say what you want about Windows ... for the average user, that's just not true any more. The Windows 98/ME/2000/XP experience ain't so bad. So Apple needs a new compelling reason to make users buy their products.

    In short, they need to offer things that you can ONLY do on a Mac. They've already done a few of these things ... Mac OS X's UNIX roots offer some unique features, and tight integration with iTools is great. Apple's future strategy is to make a Mac a "digital hub" ... to sell lots of little electronic gadgets for home users with a Mac at their center. Apple's key technologies (early 802.11 adoption, FireWire) are uniquely suited to tying together digital devices.

    In short, every columnist and reviewer who criticizes Apple for making iPod Mac-only is just doing their work for them. That kind of criticism is EXACTLY what Apple needs right now ... it just amounts to more people shouting out "here's something you can only do on a Mac."

    Plus, the iPod is all shiny. I like shiny.
    • I know what you are getting at but Wintel boxes are so cheap now, Apple cannot possibly beat the price. OS X looks really slick now and I am actually thinking about getting a el cheapo iMac just to play with OS X, but then again, it will run like garbage on a 233mhz CPU. It is hard for average Joe NOT to attract by the low price tag, HIGH mhz number for an iPOD (which cost around same as a El-Cheapo PC). I say bring the price of the Apple boxes down and I will certainly get a mac box for fun.
    • In short, every columnist and reviewer who criticizes Apple for making iPod Mac-only is just doing their work for them. That kind of criticism is EXACTLY what Apple needs right now ... it just amounts to more people shouting out "here's something you can only do on a Mac."

      If by 'something' you mean 'use the iPod', then you are correct.

      However, if by 'something' you mean 'use a cool MP3 player', you are dead wrong.
    • I posted this on another thread, but i'll explain more here.

      Apple created iPod to make a profit on iPod. They did not create iPods to break even on iPod and proliferate the mac platform, nor did they create iPod to take a loss on iPod and proliferate the mac platform.

      At the very worst, Apple is avoiding additional software costs on the iPod project by leaving it as Mac only and not worrying about other platforms. But the truth here is that Apple did not make a $400 MP3 player so they could sell more $800 desktop computers. That would be the most ludicrous marketing campaign ever, since any company could come out with a $500 MP3 player next month with superior features, support all platforms, and invalidate any need to purchase both a mac and a computer.

      I really dont understand why people think this is unique to a Mac. If you look at what's really going on here, Apple outsourced a lot of the work on the iPod. Chances are, the companies that did this work retained some rights to the work they did. So, if any other company wants to make an MP3 player, they could easily come in with a similar offering to the iPod, at a similar price, with whatever customizations they want, by simply contacting the companies Apple outsourced the work to.

      Really, honestly, wake up and smell the maple nut crunch.
      • The word from the tech support team at Apple is that they'll barely be breaking even on iPod sales; in fact, a single tech support call would put them at a loss for the unit (which is why they will be offering web tech support ONLY for iPod).

        Clearly, in light of this, they haven't designed iPod to fatten their wallets. There's more than meets the eye here.

        The hard drive alone, when bought by the end-consumer, retails for $399.

        Personally, I've already ordered my iPod and I can't wait to get it!
      • Outsourced most of the work? how so? like they used other people's chipsets and hardware? go look at a Power Mac G4 logic board, its got Texas Instrument chip sets, motorola, IBM, and a few other smaller comapnies. apple really doesnt make many chipsets of their own, there was a time when they did more of that, but it was dumb and costly.

        so yes they used outside hardware, as they do 90% of the time. so what did apple do themselves? well how about the design? how about putting it all together to work so perfectly? how about the easiest MP3 player interface ever to be released today!

        ive heard many people talking about the archaos MP3 player, have you ever navigated through over 1000 songs on there, looking for one paticulair song? its a nightmare! apple knows interfaces, they are one of the best at it, its so easy with the ipod.

        before i let ya go, id like to address your BOLD statement. "Apple did not make a $400 MP3 player so they could sell more $800 desktop computers". you are very right my friend, they did not do it to sell 800 dollar boxes, cause apple wishes they didnt even have to sell an 800 dollar box. they want this to increase the sale of iBooks and Power Books and Power Macs and top of the line iMacs. of course they are making some money off the iPod, but its all about selling macs, thats all its EVER about with Apple. i gurantee you that.
    • by MasterVidBoi (267096) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @07:13PM (#2510164)
      I think there is another factor here, just as important as the iPod being mac only.

      Sure, Nomads are going to keep selling, just because they're 20 gigs vs. 5 gigs, but do you think people are going to continue to put up with USB transfer after they've seen what FireWire can do?

      Apple gets a royalty from every firewire port sold... Six months from now, will you even consider a mp3 player that has USB over one that has firewire, once all the other companies get FW into their products? Of course not, 10 minutes vs a day to transfer all your music is pretty significant.

      The iPod is going to have an incredible effect on FireWire's consumer adoption, even more for PC users than mac users. USB2 may have just had yet another stake driven into it's heart.
    • Apple didn't create the iPod to sell iPods. They created it to sell Macs.

      Maybe so, but the majority of people who will want one of these things will already have a perfectly good computer with their favourite operating system installed.

      However nice the iPod is, Apple are severly delluding themselves if they thing that people are going to purchase an iMac because of the iPod.

      Some people might, but I cannot see droves of people throwing away their P3's in favour of an iMac.

  • by ioman1 (474363)
    I think this could be Apple's attempt to promote their personal computers through a device that requires an Apple. Intel has been trying to do this with their consumer electronics line for the past 2 years. They failed miserably. Hopefully Apple does it right this time.
  • by vrmlknight (309019) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @05:41PM (#2509748) Homepage
    This is not meant as a troll but it is a smart-ass question that I would like to know the answer to... in the article it says "The cache is made up of solid-state memory, meaning that it has no mechanical or moving parts" is their cache that has moving parts? Or is this just more of a ... 'hey this is in our product isn't it cool....' To impress the average Joe???

    • by stripes (3681)
      is their cache that has moving parts?

      Yes, many multi-level filesystems use them. Recently accessed files tend to live in RAM and a hard drive. Not so recently ones on a hard drive. Really not so recently used ones are off on mag tape (or WORM media) in a jukebox.

      AFS also use to use local disk to cache files from the network, I think CODA can do the same.

      Oh, and many web browsers cache files on local disk (or at least in the filesystem, which is normally local disk, but could be solid state, or across the network...). Netscape, and MSIE for example :-)

  • by The Infamous Grimace (525297) <emailpsc@gmail.com> on Thursday November 01, 2001 @05:51PM (#2509787) Homepage
    When the iPod first came out, it was decried as yet another soon-to-be-discontinued Apple experiment. It was called over-priced and under-valued. Many were the posts that blasted it as too niche for even Apples niche market. Now, suddenly, we hear people asking for a Windows version of iTunes, and can it run Linux (or BSD). We hear that the drive it uses retails for the same as the iPod itself. The iPod may in fact be the breakthrough that Jobs claims it is (ok, maybe not, but closer than people thought it was a week ago). Here's why -

    Anyone who may have been considering purchasing a Toshiba MK5002MAL will now give MUCH greater consideration to buying an iPod instead. I know it's not as easy to switch out as a 'true' PCMCIA device, but even if you don't have a Mac, you can still use it as a FW drive. This will drive sales up considerably - there is a market for it outside the Mac world even without iTunes and its MP3 capabilities. And how long before someone hacks it, makes it work with other OSes.

    Know what I think? I think Apple SHOULD release a Windows version of iTunes, and CHARGE FOR IT! How long have Mac users had to pay extra to play with Windows? VPC, SoftWindows, Orange Micro PCI adapter cards, MacLink, the list goes on. Well, you know what, Windows users? If you want the ease, the function, and yes, the glitz and shiny baubles, then BUY APPLE! Or else commence hacking...

    In addition, one easter egg has already been discovered - the game Breakout! is hidden within. MacAddict [macaddict.com]reports on it, as does MacityNet. [macitynet.it] Who knows what other goodies lurk within, or that Apple will release for it. I, for one, do not believe that an MP3 player is all that Apple has planned for it. We've had a few pleasant surprises since it's previewing, who knows what will happen once it's released to the general public. I, for one, want one VERY much.

    Santa? I've been a REAL good boy this year, I swear...

    (tig)
  • The underlying theme (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AllieA (170303)
    One of the underlying themes that runs through the thread anytime Apple is brought up seems to be "converting Wintel users to Mac". Does this really happen? I mean, I've periodically had to use Macs since 1984 and I don't like the interface. Never have, still don't. Sure, there are always going to be arguments going back about which one is faster, which one is easier, which one is a better bang for the buck. But I find it pointless.

    Does anyone actually see people going from the Wintel environment to Mac? How about the other way around? It seems to me that Mac's market share has been pretty stagnant for awhile, and I just don't see anything changing it as this point.

    This seems to be Apple trying to solidify their own market, and push out into a currently unexplored market. But even if a few Wintel users drop the $400 for the device, I seriously doubt that many are going to buy a Mac to go with it. I still see both machines at targeted at different markets, different consumers.

    Face it, both Apple and Wintel are good at what they do. I sometimes think that the perception that there is a market for "converting" people between these two platforms is ludicrous. I don't think Apple thinks they can convert people to Mac with this device because I don't think that market really exists in any significant number.

    Especially when you see the bitterness between the two camps.
    • I switched from Wintel to Mac and am very happy with the switch. Mac OS 9's interface was a little difficult for me to like and the hardware is a little pricey, but everything else about the computer is great. It is nice to have a computer that is easy to set up and is stable. My Apple computer is my bitch! It does what I tell it to do without giving me any lip! I still used my old PC to run Linux, but since installing OS X, my Linux box has been collecting dust. Apple is counting on more people like me to switch. That's why there are Apple Stores popping up all over the country.
    • I've been using Wintel (and Lintel) machines from about the P90 on (Atari ST's and Timex Sinclairs before that). I just ordered a Powerbook. I've never had a Mac before but look forward to the switch, both the form factor and features of the Powerbook and OSX itself have convinced me to switch.

      I'm tired of all the crap I put up with when working on PC's (and I've worked on lots of different PC's, having to work on not only my own machines but also machines at work and friends machines). Also, the Mach core of OSX really appeals to me and I love the ability to have a well put together Unix environment (I'm especially fond of the OSX packaging structure).

      I'll still keep my old Wintel machines and use them as Linux servers, but I look forward to using OSX as a primary development environment.

    • by iso (87585) <slashNO@SPAMwarpzero.info> on Friday November 02, 2001 @01:58AM (#2511089) Homepage
      They got me to switch. I didn't really like OS 9 (it seemed to limiting and a lot of the features seemed "tacked on"), but OS X is phenomenal. Sure the Mac was more expensive than another x86 box, but I don't regret the purchase one bit. I was skeptical, but I know honestly believe this is one of those time that you get what you pay for.

      OS X has been making some really impressive inroads in to the Windows camp. Many tech columnists who have been anti-Mac forever have actually been saying that OS X trumps Windows XP. That's really impressive.

      The iPod, of course, is only the first step. It's quite obvious from this story that the iPod has more capabilities than Apple is enabling at this point. I predict that they're eventually going to roll out a lot more "digital devices" in the future. Sure similar things will on the PC side, but the ease and integration of the future "iPods" will be the real draw.

      Apple has a good solid business plan, healthy gross margins and a strategy. I really think that OSX, the future iPods, the retail stores and the attention to detail and integration are going to bring some very impressive returns for Apple in the near future. They'll never have 95% market share, but if one in every ten home computers is a Macintosh, that will all the critical mass they'll need.

      But I digress. Apple has screwed up a lot in the past, but this is not the same Apple they used to be. If they can convert an old time Mac-hater like me, I have a lot of faith in their future.

      - j
    • I think part of the incentive is not just to bring people over from wintel, but to keep those who are alredy in the Mac arena there more permanently. One of the things Mac people get trashed for is lack of software, which isn't really true unless you're talking about games (how many major pieces of software do you know that don't run on mac or don't have a suitable mac alternative.)

      This gives Mac people something to feel good about, something else to point to and say "Look, isn't this cool? Don't you wish you had one?" Me, I'm glad I left Mac for Intel and Linux, but the iPod does make me pretty jealous. It's something to make those who stayed feel like whatever sacrifices they've made are worthwhile.
    • I switched from Windows to Mac a couple of years ago, and it was the best tech decision I ever made. We put in a $299 AirPort Base Station almost two years ago, and it made getting on the Internet transparent. I just bought a PowerBook last week, took it out of the box, turned it on, and it was already on the Internet, before I had so much as plugged a power cable into it. For years, adding more storage has meant just getting a FireWire drive and plugging it in and going. I am way more productive, and working with rich media is a joy because the whole system is oriented towards that. QuickTime has been there as a rosetta stone for media files since 1991 or something, so even the most popular text editor for the Mac (BBEdit) can display audio and video and picture files you drop on it. The audio subsystem in Mac OS X is unprecedented, like having Cubase built-in for other apps to build on top of.

      Since I switched, most of my friends and family have switched to Macs and we are all happier than ever before. I don't get calls about "Windows won't print!" and "there's no sound!" and "Windows is mysteriously crashing!" etc etc anymore. My 56 year-old aunt tried to record her music for two years on a high-end desktop PC and never got it to work right, and then she recorded a song and made an iMovie around it on her first day with a PowerBook. She put the movie on the Web in streaming video, just working with the built-in tools that came with the box, and she had never put anything on the Web before. Even the Web space and streaming server space was included with the price of the box. Once people start iMovie, they just "get it" right away. It's amazing to watch them work with no help required and turn out cool stuff.

      I still have one close friend who calls me with Windows problems. Recently, she had one of those Outlook viruses that sends out your personal files to your address book, and she basically stopped using her computer for a long while because she was so frustrated by the privacy violation that it represented. She already uses a Mac at work, and when she found out that Mac users just rolled merrily through Y2K, Melissa, I Love You, Code Red, Nimda, etc she decided to get a Mac, too, and is shopping for one right now. An educated consumer is Microsoft's worst problem, because they have been lying to people for years. My friend realized she had enough computer-savvy to trust her own decision to pick the best computer for her needs, and it was a Mac. A few years ago she would just get the "safe" choice.

      > Face it, both Apple and Wintel are good
      > at what they do

      Sure, but a lot of people are out there trying to make Windows PC's do the things that Macs are good at, like working with audio, video, graphics, or easy plug and play reliable operation for the home user. Some of them are even doing that professionally because their IT guys are all MSCE's who want to "standardize" on MS in order to "cut costs". Ha ha ha ha ha. So stupid. Like it fucking matters to make IT guys happy! Think about the users and their productivity and your core business why don't you? Too many people are being shoe-horned into the Windows platform just for interoperability, when (ironically) a cross-platform industry is the only thing that will ever guarantee interoperability. You can now run the same software on Linux, Solaris, Irix, and Mac OS X with very little trouble at all, while on the other hand, MSN (the ISP) starting trying to block non-Microsoft browsers the other day. I mean, think about it.

      This article is about how iPod is not as expensive as it first appeared, once you see how much better it is at what it does than its competition. The same is true for all Apple products ... there is lots of hidden value because you get a lot of stuff included, and then the whole is more than the sum of its parts because everything works together so well (burning data DVD's from the Finder like they were floppies is a good example) and the interface is so good. Look a little more deeply into a Mac and you'll find out that it has tons of VALUE. Massive bang for the buck. It's worth checking out if you haven't already. Make sure that it's not for you, so that you don't find out later that it is for you and regret missing these exciting years on the platform.
  • Software guts (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mr100percent (57156) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @07:04PM (#2510122) Homepage Journal
    Better yet, how about software Guts?

    If Windows could read HFS+ hard drives with firewire without the 3rd party software, you could just plug it in and upload whatever you wanted.

    All the music files are in an invisible folder at the root level of the drive. Very easy to copy. I don't know about adding files that way, there may be a playlist that needs to be updated as well...

  • Do lithium polymer cells have any nasty "memory" characteristics like Nickel-Cadmium cells do?

    -jcr
    • The "nasty" memory effect you are refering to, in a warm and fuzzy explanation, basically means that if the units battery is run down (but not drained) and recharged to full repeatedly, the unit will "forget" its zero point and you get less and less battery time (i.e. 100% becomes 80% of actual battery life).

      Keeping the unit under consistant trickle charge (ie maintained at full) will aviod this until you use it. When in use, allow the battery to fully discharge before charging in order to maintain battery effeciency. It's annoying because I think that the all chargers should come with a "discharge" option.
      • I know what the memory effect is, and how to minimize it with NiCads. I was asking whether Lithium Polymer batteries have the problem.

        -jcr
  • FYI
    We're closing down our forums for about 30 minutes due to extremely high traffic. Our higher-capacity server is ready, and we will move to it in the next few days, which should prevent problems like this.
    Thanks for your patience.
  • Streaming audio data from a disk really doesn't demand much in the way of bandwidth or low seek times. I would expect that a user wouldn't even notice a half-second seek time when loading up an MP3 to play.

    Is there a benefit to be had from running the disk in a "minimal performance" mode? Hopefully, someone perusing this discussion will have some answers to the following:

    1) Does the rotational speed of the disk have any significant effect on its power draw?

    2) If so, is it feasible for a disk to be operated at a lower RPM when it's on battery power than when it's plugged into a power supply?

    3) If so, how slow can a disk spin, and still be reliably read by the pickup head?

    4) I've heard of disks that use the kinetic energy of the spinning platter to supply the power to park the heads. Would it be reasonable to dump any excess energy into a capacitor, and use that charge to start the platters rotating when you want to access the disk again?

    -jcr
    • iPod loads up its 32MB of RAM with the tunes it needs and sleeps the hard drive while it plays those tunes, to save power. 32MB is like 20 minutes or so at 160kbs, which is the bit-rate Apple prefers and uses when it talks MP3 (the "1000 songs" feature is based on 1000 160kbs MP3's). Apparently, they have been more successful with the power consumption and battery life than even they hoped. In the iPod intro video, you can see where Jon Rubenstein (Apple's hardware tech boss) says "eight hour battery" and they dubbed over "ten hour battery" later, and now reviewers are saying their demo units are getting 12 hours of playback on a single charge.

      So, given that the hard drive is sleeping much of the time, I would guess that they just use the standard Toshiba drive in the way that Toshiba recommends, without complicating things.
  • If you're a hardware geek like myself, these [toshiba.com] should [toshiba.com] whet [toshiba.com] your [toshiba.com] whistle [toshiba.com]!

    The drive has a normal 44-pin notebook IDE connector, but pins 41 and 42, instead of being 5V for logic and motor, are 3.3V.

    • 1.8" sized drive
    • 1 Platter
    • 5.007 Gigabytes
    • 5mm High
    • 15ms Average Seek Time
    • ATA (1 - 5) Interface
    • Ultra66 Supported [they seem to contradict themselves here!]
    • 1024KB Buffer
    • Rotational speed of 4,200rpm
    • MTTF 300,000 Hours
    Beautiful little unit...

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