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Apple Businesses

6G iPod & Apple's Future 226

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the less-talk-more-iphone dept.
belsin_gordon writes "CNET rounds up what we're going to get from the next iPod and where Apple is heading as a company and as a business juggernaut. [They have the] 100GB widescreen video iPods, Wi-Fi-enabled iPods capable of on-the-fly movie downloads over the air, unlimited downloads from iTunes for a flat fee and the UK finally getting its content-hungry hands on movie downloads. Apple has dropped the 'Computer' from its company name, and is making significant advances into the media-distribution business. It's bringing video to everyone everywhere with iTunes movies and now Apple TV, and the rumours and speculation we've discussed promote the theory that Apple is setting itself up as a major player in the media-distribution industry."
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6G iPod & Apple's Future

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  • suure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thesupermikey (220055) on Monday April 16, 2007 @09:06AM (#18749879) Homepage Journal
    As totally hot as a wide screen ipod (more hopefully a phoneless iphone) makes me. I'll believe it when i see it.

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

    ml
    • And a new version of the Newton OS to run on the iPhone with full third party app functionality and and and ...

      Yeah, I doubt it too.
  • by Albanach (527650) on Monday April 16, 2007 @09:08AM (#18749913) Homepage
    I presume by 'unlimited downloads' they mean music subscriptions a la napster, rhapsody etc.

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

    Of course it could also be an indication that Apple are about to open up their DRM? That would be great news for Real and Napster, but could be terminal for the smaller manufacturers of 'mp3' players.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)
      Of all of them, that's the rumor I think is least likely. The subscription music services aren't doing such hot business, certainly not compared to iTunes and the other services where you purchase tracks. The article uses the example of renting movies, but I think they fail to realize that music is different. Most movies you watch you have little desire to see regularly. For those few you do, you buy the DVD. BUT, most music people buy they DO want to hear regularly, so most people prefer to buy it out
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LKM (227954)

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

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)

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

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AndersOSU (873247)

        Further, if you have a subscription model, then it basically means unlimited access to music that you can keep forever for a low monthly fee-- no content holders are going to like that idea.

        Which is really stupid. Unlimited downloads that I could keep forever and burn as I see fir for a low monthly fee would likely do it for me, and the many other people who's music buying habit has tapered off. If I could pay ~$20/month for unlimited downloads that would be about $15 more per month than the music industr

  • Unlimited? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by giorgiofr (887762)

    unlimited downloads from iTunes for a flat fee
    I hope they know what they're getting themselves into. And I bet that pretty soon we'll see some restrictions and limits on how much you can actually download.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Tim_F (12524)
      The summary is very misleading. If you actually go in and read the article it is talking about a subscription service. You won't get to keep what you download.
      • YUUUCK! This might work for movies which IMHO have very little replay value, but music is timeless, and this is disgusting.
        • "This might work for movies which IMHO have very little replay value, but music is timeless, and this is disgusting."

          Depends on how you look at it. I'm a Rhapsody subscriber, have been for years. I've had a LOT of music come and go. (i.e. not all music is 'timeless'.) In the mean time, I don't have to store music on my machine, and if I really really wanna keep a song (and it happens sometimes) I just purchase it. The subscription service is really useful for finding new music without having to succumb
    • by owlnation (858981)
      Not necessarily. You're thinking microeconomics. Go macro. Yes, some individuals will download huge amounts of material, but others will only download a little.

      Likely, there will be a huge rush of downloading at the beginning of a subscription which will tail off after a few months. There's only so many bands that the average user likes, and the wonderful world of the RIAA produces fairly bland material these days. So once you've got all your fave tunes, you'll only be picking up the odd song or album in
  • wi-fi hangup (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sluke (26350) on Monday April 16, 2007 @09:11AM (#18749957)
    It seems to me that apple will resist having wi-fi in the ipod because it would break their grip on the interface to the ipod. They have a great revenue stream with all of the third party gadgets that connect to the dock connector and if they gave the ipod a meaningful wi-fi connection, it would be a lot easier to make such additions without paying a licensing fee to apple. It would be nice though...
    • It will surely drive innovation where ipod skins are concerned!
    • Well most of the devices I have seen are just external speakers. I have a clock where a iPod Mini is hooked up to and it has a nice set of speakers on it so we play the iPod threw the clock. Wi-Fi wont effect that market much because it also doubles as an iPod charger. As do most of the 3rd party stuff. Other think like Radio Tuners, would probably still be best designed if hooked up via real connectors. Other devices hook up just to the Headphone jack (this has been standardized for many years) Wi-Fi
  • Portable Video (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday April 16, 2007 @09:15AM (#18749997)
    For many of the same features being described in the future video iPods, check out the Archos 704. It's got the wifi, the browser, the big touch screen, the USB ports, etc. Personally, I think it's a bit big, but the features are amazing. Soem competition to keep Apple on their toes is nice to see too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      Archos seems to have a nice line up of players. I don't see why they aren't more popular. They are defintely better than the current offering of video iPods. There's also a couple other companies like Cowon and Creative that have pretty good offerings. My guess is that not a lot of people see much of a need for a portable video player, as you can't watch TV while doing something else. But the iPod is marketed as an audio player first, with the ability to play movies, which to most people seems like a m
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tlhIngan (30335)

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

    • Re:Portable Video (Score:5, Informative)

      by escay (923320) on Monday April 16, 2007 @09:44AM (#18750365) Journal

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

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

  • Let's See:

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

    2) UK iTunes Movie Downloads
    Wouldn't Apple wait for the EU regula
    • by Lars T. (470328)

      2) UK iTunes Movie Downloads
      Wouldn't Apple wait for the EU regulators to force the music companies to allow one EU wide Music Store before they open a country specific Movie store? I mena, really Crave.
      But Apple has already said they would sell Videos in the European stores.
  • by Heian-794 (834234) on Monday April 16, 2007 @09:27AM (#18750157) Homepage
    TFA does indeed have six rumors about Apple, but they're all related to the iPod.

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

    There are several other reasons to be excited about Apple -- possible super-thin/light MacBooks, a new revision for the iMac, and of course the now-delayed Leopard. Updates on those much-anticipated items would also have been appreciated.
  • by Flying pig (925874) on Monday April 16, 2007 @09:27AM (#18750161)
    There was an extremely feeble sketch on a supposedly humorous BBC program last Friday (I won't dignify it by naming it) which purported to be Steve Jobs meeting Bill Gates. While their wives are removed by studs for extra-curricular activities, Jobs works Steve up to orgasm by describing the hardware of the next Mac.

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

    • by CmdrGravy (645153)
      I'm not sure how far you can get using Harry "loadsamoney" Enfield as an indicator of the understanding the entire British media have of Apple !

      Maybe the same distance you'd get using Kevin & Perry Go Large ! as the definitive guide to the Ibiza club scene except that's probably more accurate.
      • By executives and also by lawyers looking for libel or defamation. (IANAL but if I were Jobs and had it brought to my attention I'd certainly pay Carter-Ruck to send a nasty letter.) None of them seem to have noticed. If they had, they might just have had the wit to substitute Michael Dell for Jobs (Dell is a recognised brand in the UK), which would have been more accurate. Conclusion: BBC execs and lawyers don't actually know who Jobs is or what he is doing. Nor does Enfield or his scriptwriters. I bet you
        • by CmdrGravy (645153)
          Are you familiar with much British TV ?
        • by NDPTAL85 (260093)
          What part of comedy and parody do you not understand? You don't have to be accurate when you are making fun of people, in fact being INACCURATE is the entire point. Thus libel and defamation do not apply here.
  • 6 Gig? (Score:5, Informative)

    by CrazyTalk (662055) on Monday April 16, 2007 @09:28AM (#18750169)
    My iPod already has 8 Gigabytes, and is one of the smaller ones. Ohhh, you mean 6th generation. Wonder who else read this wrong.
    • by Bob54321 (911744)
      I though they must mean the nano but there is already bigger ones out there... I really had no idea there had been that many iPod generations. Those things breed like rabbits!
  • I'm not the biggest apple fan but thats because I like to piss people off on a regular basis and apple cult people seem to be a good target. I've always thought that the iPod hasn't made any huge improvements over the years since it released the original iPod. It was always good and if someone gave me one I would probably keep it. But I never really had something from apple peak my interest as much as the announced 100GB widescreen video iPod. 100GB in a video player, this sounds fantastic, but then I r
  • by alfredo (18243) on Monday April 16, 2007 @09:38AM (#18750293)
    Apple to "Knife the baby." Of course they were talking about QuickTime. MS knew Apple was going to do an end run around them, but they had that pesky DoJ case against them and couldn't crush Apple like they wanted to. In the end Ashcroft gave MS all they wanted and more (as punishment), but it was too late. Apple had out maneuvered them. Even Ashcroft couldn't protect MS from Apple. (MS was a contributor to Ashcroft's losing congressional campaign*)

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

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

    * He lost to a dead man.
  • if sony was smart... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by insanius (1058584)
    they would re-work the psp. shrink it down a little, add another analog on the right, and either dump the umd drive entirely for a hd or start selling psps with a big memory stick in the box(>=4gig). with a decent d/l service, it would be everything that apple is trying to turn the ipod into and more with the addition of running ps2 quality games on a screen that is far superior!

    i'll probably get modded a troll for this as i was last week for questioning the crazy demand for the wii even though the
  • 1. iTunes Subscription Service - unlikely. Has been discussed ad nauseum. Some people love subscription services, most don't. Look at the numbers. Plus, Apple likes things simple. They wouldn't want to sell music two ways. Plus subscriptions = more complexity and more DRM. Apple's already making a killing. Why double their efforts for 5-10% more sales?

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

    3) Widescreen video iPod - duh. But don't look for it until 6-12 m
    • by JWW (79176)
      3) Widescreen video iPod - duh. But don't look for it until 6-12 months after the iPhone debuts--not "right around the corner." Anyone who thinks Apple would release a cheap widescreen iPod before the iPhone and let it cannibalize iPhone sales hasn't been watching Apple very long or very closely. Release the expensive, limited product first, let everyone fret and moan and bitch online, watch them sell like mad anyway, add one requested feature, lower the price a bit, lather, rinse, repeat.

      I'd have to say th
  • Ipod wifi... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mockylock (1087585) on Monday April 16, 2007 @09:53AM (#18750477) Homepage
    Jobs talked so much smack on the Zune's WiFi capability, that I doubt he'd throw wifi into an iPod that would have a stronger functionality and actually keep your battery from discharging on power-up. Granted, I wouldn't put it past Apple to innovate something clever as they've always done. But, if Apple went to WiFi, I'm quite certain Microsoft would enable a more complex access as well.

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

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

    As for iTunes... screw iTunes and everything around it. I own an iPod Video, 20G iPod, nano and a zune. Once I grabbed the zune, I realized how much of a pain the iPods were... resetting, getting it to recognize, having to erase all my music when I installed a new OS or go to a new PC... clearing out all my music in any error, and starting over... every month. And the only thing they had over the zune was the click wheel... and that wasn't even a plus when you didn't lock it and put it in your pocket. Again, Apple is innovative and I dig 'em for throwing out great products... but, there are too many other products that have more features and have better and more reliable interfaces to work with than the iPod and iTunes nowadays. Now, it's just people buying a name as a status symbol. The ipod is now cliche.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Here's a tip for you. Turn off the auto-sync and you can keep the data on your ipod when you hook it up to iTunes that doesn't have your songs on it.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday April 16, 2007 @09:58AM (#18750557)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Th

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

      This issue is already solved, it applies the same to audio. Firstly, iTMS downloads are tied to a user. Secondly, the user it tied to a location and therefore a store, I understand this is done using the billing details of your payment card. So to solve the time issue all Apple has to do is to just make sure they release content into each store at the right time, like I guess they must do with some of the music already.

      But you are right, the reason this hasn't happened yet is legal and content rights, i

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

      Well, roughlydrafted is (1) the ultimate Mac fanboy, and (2) not at all stupid and often has goo
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sl3xd (111641) *
      Groups like MPAA has always tried to maintain strict control of all aspects of release from time and location. DVD, HD-DVD, and BlueRay all have region encoding for a reason.

      You're almost right.

      HD DVD does not have region encoding. This is actually one of the reason some studios chose to support Blu-ray exclusively -- the studio demands region encoding, and HD DVD doesn't allow it.

      The lack of region encoding (and less restrictive DRM in general) is why I choose to vote with my wallet for HD DVD instead of
  • by bhunachchicken (834243) on Monday April 16, 2007 @11:12AM (#18751629) Homepage

    Just one thing and that is plugin support for extensions and add ons. It means that people could easily write things like cross faders, support for additional codecs, etc. There could be official unoffical community website for getting hold of these plugins, providing users with source code, etc. to minimise the chances of malicious code.

    Of course, there are probably some major security risks around stuff like that... But it would still be cool.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gig (78408)
      > Just one thing and that is plugin support for extensions and add ons. It means that people could easily write things like cross faders,
      > support for additional codecs, etc.

      This exists one level down from iTunes, in OS X.

      You can add codecs through QuickTime. Once you add a codec to QuickTime it is available in all of your applications from both Apple and third-parties, both playback and authoring apps.

      The plug-in format for audio processing is called "Audio Units" ... it is part of CoreAudio. OS X sh
  • Why would they use the relatively high powered Wifi instead of the low power Bluetooth for this kind of short-range wireless?

The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.

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