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Media (Apple) Businesses Media Apple

Rumors of Mini iPods 621

TheKidWho writes "According to Thinksecret: 'Reliable sources inside and outside of Apple have confirmed Apple will announce the new pocket-size iPods in a number of capacities and in various colors, including stripes. Capacities will be 2 and 4GB -- meaning users could store some 400 and 800 songs, respectively. Prices will start at around $100US, Think Secret has learned. It is not known if the new product line will be available immediately after introduction. It is also expected that current iPod models will be revamped to add body colors as well.' With the $99 price tag, it seems these rumored iPods could make big headway in the low end mp3 player market."
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Rumors of Mini iPods

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  • Batteries? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) * on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @04:30PM (#7797382) Homepage Journal
    But will they introduce a user replaceable battery?
  • Re:Batteries? (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Goyuix ( 698012 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @04:35PM (#7797453) Homepage
    What I want at least as much as a replacable battery is for the MP3 player to just show up as removeable storage... that way it is easier to have it be cross platform, and the software can simply read and write it like a file system because it is.

    There are a few players out there that support this - and here is to hoping (even though it is in vain) that Apple makes this dream come true.
  • Xmas? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by clmensch ( 92222 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @04:36PM (#7797471) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't it have been smarter to release these BEFORE the holidays? Are they so down to the wire that a Jan. 6 announcement is the last possible day they can release them?
  • Brand Dilution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kiwioddBall ( 646813 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @04:37PM (#7797482) Homepage
    Can this be true?

    Steve Jobs is well known for keeping a clean image on his products - it seems strange to me that he would allow rainbow iPods. Rumour has it he objected to the coloured backgrounds in the iPod adverts.

    It seems strange that he would dilute the iPod brand at such a critical point in its existence.


    Small iPods - no hard drives, only RAM based??
  • Re:Batteries? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gandalf Teh Ghey ( 733925 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @04:39PM (#7797517) Homepage
    i want an mp3 player that can record with an internal microphone. thats way more useful than a camera-in-a-cellphone
  • Ogg Vorbis (Score:1, Interesting)

    by gspr ( 602968 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @04:41PM (#7797533)
    Time for Ogg Vorbis support too, don't you think?
  • User Interface (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CmdrWiggle ( 697247 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @04:42PM (#7797547)
    I am iterested to see what kind of user interface Apple comes up with for such a small device. As a G3 iPod owner, I think the control pad is about perfect. Any smaller, and it wouldn't be as usable. Not to mention the hassle of scrolling through 5 gigs of songs on a smaller display.

    But, I am usually impressed with Apple's industrial design, so I'll probably be impressed again (except for the color choices - I mean *stripes*? Ugh).
  • Storage device? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by John_Booty ( 149925 ) <johnbooty AT bootyproject DOT org> on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @04:42PM (#7797548) Homepage
    What kind of storage device would these use?

    My first thought was the CompactFlash-sized "microdrive" hard drives developed by IBM (not sure if they belong to Hitachi now). A 1GB microdrive sells for about $200, though. Even with the volume discount Apple would surely get, it's hard to image they could hit that $99 price point at any capacity. And I guess flash memory is ruled out for price reasons too....
  • Re:Xmas? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by McAddress ( 673660 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @04:44PM (#7797572)
    the entire idea is to release them after the holidays, this way no one will get a low cost iPod instead of a $300 dollar one. wether this will work or not remains to be seen.
  • by adamwright ( 536224 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @04:44PM (#7797578) Homepage
    All I want is the iTunes music store in the UK. My new 40G iPod is reading, meerly 2gig full. My credit card is ready, my bank account is ready. I've got enough of a buy list to spend 100 in 30 seconds.

    So where the hell's the store!?
  • Re:Finally! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheKidWho ( 705796 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @04:53PM (#7797660)
    ThinkSecret actually has the best track record out of any apple rumor site. And I dont think Thinksecret EVER released any pictures of a forged Apple PDA.
  • Re:Batteries? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @04:55PM (#7797684) Homepage Journal
    This is certainly the crux of the matter. IMO the solution is to make it run off 2-3V external power, and then sell a battery pack that will snap on, plugs into the AC adapter hole (though it probably won't have one, instead running off USB) and you can slap alkalines, nicds, or nimhs in it. Sony has made a number of small portable devices powered on just this plan, and it worked really well. Then they can sell it with a removable battery pack with whatever battery technology they want in it, and you can replace it with an apple-sold or aftermarket (but unsupported) battery pack as well.
  • by unassimilatible ( 225662 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @04:55PM (#7797690) Journal
    as an AAPL shareholder, I do wonder what the margins would be on these.

    Plus, would a new battery cost $99 too?

    One thing I'd like to see is an AM/FM module on these. I have an AM/FM radio on my Sony MD player, which is nice.
  • by xxyyxxzz ( 87887 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @04:55PM (#7797692)
    Because Apple's bottom line is far better served if a person spends $400 on a 20 gig model than $100 on a 2 gig model.

    In that sense, it makes perfect business sense.
  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @05:01PM (#7797769) Homepage
    The *big* one, speculated about on http://www.macosrumors.com/

    seems more interesting to me. . .

    Sounds like an ideal companion to a mini-dv camcorder. If one could dump video to it in the field, and possibly do edits to it (portable iMovie?) - that'd be great. I don't really have much use for an ipod - too big for pocket transportability (really). Too small (storage-wise) to be useful as a semi-portable "desktop music server" - (though a G4 iBook serves that purpose pretty well).
  • by ljavelin ( 41345 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @05:13PM (#7797878)
    I run at least 18 miles a week with my iPod for the last 14 months or so. So far, no problems.

    Of course it can't last forever, but it's lookin' good so far.
  • Finally (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tang101 ( 412435 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @05:22PM (#7797988) Homepage
    Finally - I can deal with a $100 iPod.

    Apple tends to think that we all have oodles of money we can just throw at their neat gadets.

    My budget has been cut since the economic down turn. Nice to see Apple givin' us po' boys a chance to participate.

  • by ELiTeUI ( 591102 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @05:32PM (#7798135)

    Toshiba's new 0.85-inch hard disks! [eetimes.com]

    ...or at least it would be QUITE a coincidence if they did not use these drives.


  • Good Point (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Razzak ( 253908 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @05:40PM (#7798229)
    With the $99 price point, replacing the battery is no longer necessary. Just buy a new one when your old one dies.

    So you've got:

    People buying iPods and exposure to 'Mac Life'
    People buying Music to go with their iPods
    People re-buying iPods to match their music when their iPod dies.

    Is Steve finally giving apple a smart business plan to go along with smart products?
  • Re:Storage device? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stuartkahler ( 569400 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @05:52PM (#7798389)
    Up until now, the only demand for Microdrives has been camera owners who want a single Compact Flash card to take thousands of high resolution pictures. Microdrives use very few parts compared to a regular hard drive, so if they were produced in massive quantities, they could slash the price to a small fraction of the current one. Building the assembly line is likely the greatest expense in producing the drives.

    If Apple came to IBM with an offer to buy a million of the 1 gig drives at $40 each, ($40,000,000 contract), I'm sure some VP would work their ass off to make it happen. Especially since it would help them reduce their price on CF Mirco Drives, and push regular flash memory out of the market. There's a massive market for 1-2 gig Micro Drives that is waiting for the price to get reasonable. Portable USB storage, video and photo cameras, MP3 players, PDAs, digital picture frames, just to name a few. It's actually pretty amazing that a solid state storage device has greater market share than a disc based one right now.
  • Re:Batteries? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by w3weasel ( 656289 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @06:19PM (#7798651) Homepage
    just to clarify... you can not load music (mp3, aac etc.) files via the os and have them show up in the ipod's playlists. You can manage files by directory using only the OS's GUI, as long as you dont want them to be available in the ipod's playlists.

    If you are reasonably adept at the CLI, you can shoe-horn files into and out of the active playlists directory on your ipod. This would be a laborious task, and there is no reason to do so, when the iTunes interface is so slick.

    As for flexibility from your iPod, I'm shocked that no-one mentioned this: http://ipodlinux.sourceforge.net/

    The hardware you want, with the OS you want.

    quit crying you fscking baby!
  • Re:Batteries? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jon Abbott ( 723 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @06:20PM (#7798654) Homepage
    What ISN'T done, is the ability to manage files by directory: to drag and drop them using your os and "just have it work."
    Just to clarify, the iPod does allow you to manage files by directory, and allow you to drag and drop them using the OS, however it does not allow you to do this with MP3 or AAC files that you wish to listen to with the iPod. iTunes manages music files on the iPod, but Finder (or Windows explorer) manages the rest of the files on your iPod (for when it is in firewire disk mode).

    I'm not sure about how it works on Windows, but on a Mac you can have it in firewire disk mode and have iTunes open at the same time, which provides you access to both modes quite easily.
  • Hope this comes true (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @06:24PM (#7798698)
    I've felt for a while that there wasn't any really good options for mp3 players for most users. Flash based mp3 players are either really low capacity (256mbs or less) or start going up significantly in price. The HD based one's seem to be just inflating the size with out decreasing the price and are far beyond the capacity of what most people need. The 2-4gb size range would seem to be the sweet point for me and if apple can put something as slick as thier Current iPods out at the 100-150$ price range I think it's gonna be a huge hit.

    I recall some arcticle on slashdot i think about some drive manufacturer working on small 2-4gb hd's that they where trying to decrease cost and power consumption by integrating as many things into a single chip on the drive as possible, eliminating the caching on the drive etc. Basically just simple cheap low power storage for portable devices. Sound like the type of thing they would be using.
  • by jaysones ( 138378 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @06:36PM (#7798802)
    This is not at all the case. Copying your music to the iPod happens automatically by default. You can get songs off the iPod with lots of 3rd party software tools. It's much easier than any other mp3 player I've seen.

    If you have to mortgage your house for a 50 dollar battery, you need to move anyway.
  • Re:Batteries? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CapnRob ( 137862 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @06:43PM (#7798856)
    Yeah, but what you *can* do is carry a wall adapter with you, and charge where you are. Wall adapters are cheaper and lighter than the batteries - true, they're bulkier, and they're not terribly handy in every case, but it does work in most.
  • Preposterous (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Godai ( 104143 ) * on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @07:04PM (#7799016)

    This is just silly. The only DAPs similar to these 'mini-iPods' are the Rio Nitrus [digitalnetworksna.com] @ US$219.99 SRP and the RCA Lyra RD2760 [rca.com] @ US$249.99 SRP.

    So what we are to believe is that Apple is going to put out a 'mini-iPod' that has 3 times the capacity for less than half the price? Make sense: after all, Apple is known for putting out products that are all of sleek, stylish, well-made and cheap.

    Wait, no, they aren't; we forgot the Apple Tax(tm)!

    I can believe that possibly Apple is reading a 'mini-iPod', but if it's less than US$300 I'll be damned surprised.

  • by joe_bruin ( 266648 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @07:04PM (#7799019) Homepage Journal
    no, not flash, DRAM.

    2 GB of flash is currently much too expensive. however, in volume, dram should be sufficiently cheap. yes, it's volatile. but if they have enough battery power to spin up and power a hard-drive, keeping dram alive for a few days at a time should not be a big deal. if you plug it into a usb port every few days, it should never lose power. and if it dies, well, you just have to reload all your music.

    pretty clever.
  • DRM + Ogg (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Phantasmo ( 586700 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @07:25PM (#7799171)

    Apple's in a very good position right now - they've managed to get themselves into the good books of both the Free software community and the music industry.

    However, if they add Ogg Vorbis support to the iPod then they'll have to

    • add DRM technology to the Ogg container format, thereby pissing off the Free software people
    • or add support for another DRM-free format to their player, and infuriate the music industry

    It seems that they are pursuing the third option: ignore Ogg Vorbis and piss off the very small (and to them, not particularly useful) Xiph community.

  • Re:Preposterous (Score:3, Interesting)

    by burns210 ( 572621 ) <maburns@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @07:54PM (#7799369) Homepage Journal
    why don't they just reintroduce the 5gig model for sub $200? I mean, everyone would like an ipod, but they are friggin expensive to most people.

    The only reason i am not getting one for christmas is becasue of price. If my significant other could have saved 100 bucks and gotten a 5gig instead of 10gig, i could be rockin out christmas night to my cool new mp3 player.
  • Re:perfect gift (Score:3, Interesting)

    by soundofthemoon ( 623369 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @08:48PM (#7799683)
    Because I'm a software geek, not a hardware geek. Sure, I'll spend a weekend building a PHP/MySQL app to organize my DVD collection, but the most I'll do with hardware is install a new hard drive or memory. I don't get off on "some assembly required" gear, and you can bet my nieces don't either. Now, $250 for 20GB is a pretty good price, but how well does it work? I love how well my iPod works, and it's nice to have all my phone numbers etc with me wherever I go too. Add to that the add-ons like the hookup for dumping photos from a digicam. So yeah it might cost more, but you get a lot more too. There's always a market for quality and features, and even some of us on slashdot shop that way sometimes.
  • Re:iPod battery FAQ (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Brat Food ( 9397 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @09:36PM (#7799949) Homepage
    Course, theres also a little bit of economics to consider here:

    Lets say, the iPod had the choice of using 2AA batteries. Lets's say you got your AA's at $0.50(too high? too low? i dont have to buy them). Lets's see what youve paid for JUST BATTERIES over the "300-500" charge average lifetime of apples built in battery:

    err, $300-$500... I made my math too easy =(

    Probably more depending on how much you use the ipod, if the ipod could run on only 2AAs, and what quality battery you buy for it. Still complaining? If you are really desperate, i think some companies offer *gasp* external battery packs. But even at 99 bucks, Apples battery replacement nost likely means your not gonna blow double that much on batteries over the next few years.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 24, 2003 @01:57AM (#7801125)
    I have the original version of the ipod and I have had it 'come out' of the little pouch I made for it on my mtn. bike handlebars two times. I was going at least 15 mph and it hit the pavement and I thought 'oh #@$%! I just lost my pod! It was scratched and the center of the wheel came off but it works perfectly. Amazing
  • Re:Brand Dilution (Score:2, Interesting)

    by scottgfx ( 68236 ) on Wednesday December 24, 2003 @04:15AM (#7801562) Journal
    Quote: "I don't need to carry around 20 gigs of music anyway..."

    Nobody does. But what I've found after owning a 10GB ipod is, that I use it more to shuffle files between home and work. About half of the drive is uncompressed video files for design and compositing work. Of all the things I own, I think it's my favorite. :)
  • Re:Batteries? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by darien ( 180561 ) <darien@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday December 24, 2003 @12:28PM (#7803020)
    Dunno about your iPod, but on my Windows one I can just open "My Computer", click my way into the relevant folder on the iPod and copy, play or edit my mp3s to my heart's content. The only "restriction" is that the iPod software uses a cached database of songs rather than indexing the actual drive (which seems to me like a better option than scanning thousands of ID3 tags in realtime), so if you just dump a file in that directory the iPod won't see it until you update the DB using something like EphPod. Obviously if you use iTunes / EphPod / whatever to copy the file there in the first place then that program will also update the DB for you.
  • by berniecase ( 20853 ) * on Wednesday December 24, 2003 @02:43PM (#7803698) Homepage Journal
    Most of my songs are over the 5 minute mark. Then I completely blow that away with a 20 minute version of Moby Dick from the Led Zeppelin DVD. Or, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Or a two-hour trance mix from Oakenfold. I've found I just have to limit my playlists on my iPod by MB rather than time.

VMS must die!