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Inside the Third Gen iPod Nano 230

ahess247 writes "When the leaked photos of the 3rd-gen iPod nano first hit the Web it quickly took the nickname 'little fatty,' but fat could be better used to describe Apple's profits on the project. BusinessWeek reports that a teardown analysis by iSuppli finds that it costs Apple only $58.85 to build the 4-gig iPod nano, and $82.85 for the 8GB version. The analysis also reveals some of Apple's suppliers, about which it is usually very tight-lipped. Synaptics is back as the supplier of the click-wheel technology, beating out Cypress Semiconductor which had it previously. Also of note: The same Samsung CPU chip that powers the video and audio in the nano is being used in the iPod Classic as well."
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Inside the Third Gen iPod Nano

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  • Wait... (Score:4, Funny)

    by hax0r_this ( 1073148 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:08PM (#20659919)
    You mean an Apple product is overpriced?
    • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by p0tat03 ( 985078 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:10PM (#20659945)
      You mean that the total cost of building a product is just the sum of its components, excluding research/development, manufacturing costs, shipping costs, and marketing costs? Shocking!
      • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @06:43PM (#20661247)
        It only costs 10c to make a CD that MS sells for hundreds!

        Like parent says, when you buy any electronic gizzmo you're not just paying for the parts. You're paying R&D costs, distribution costs, profit for share holders and the stores etc.

        It is quite common for electronic products to sell for apperox 5x the cost of the raw components.

        • Like parent says, when you buy any electronic gizzmo you're not just paying for the parts. You're paying R&D costs, distribution costs, profit for share holders and the stores etc.

          Clearly there is a need here for more open source involvement then. R&D could be free since we could use Usenet groups and web forums to research technologies, distribution is also free since you could distribute the plans and geeks could breadboard them or produce their own PC boards.... profits for shareholders is irre

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by kestasjk ( 933987 )
          There's a problem with your analogy though: MS Windows/Office is (99.99%) written by Microsoft.

          The iPod nano, however, is pieced together from parts from various suppliers; the price of these individual parts pays for the price of the R&D that went into that individual part. So you should only be paying for the price of the R&D that went into putting it all together.

          e.g. You could argue using the same logic that Red Hat is justified in selling their Linux distro for hundreds of dollars; it doe
          • by NoMaster ( 142776 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @01:16AM (#20664103) Homepage Journal
            You've never actually done any product-level R&D, have you?

            It's a little more complicated than the LEGO experience you seem to be describing...

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by kestasjk ( 933987 )

              You've never actually done any product-level R&D, have you?

              Wow, so for what iPod like products have you been on the R&D team?

              It's a little more complicated than the LEGO experience you seem to be describing...

              What I said was "I really doubt $90 of R&D per iPod goes into putting together $60 worth of electronics in a well put together package." I never said Apple just takes components and clicks them in place, just like I never said Red Hat just downloads source code and burns it to a CD.

              Remember Apple needs to pay for marketing, product replacements, assembly costs, marketing, non-bulk shipping costs, and yes some R&D, and some

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by alienw ( 585907 )
        Not to mention, Apple's margins are actually quite slim there. I used to work for a company that made telecom equipment. They were a very low-cost supplier; even then, their bill of materials on any given product rarely exceeded 20% of the price. After all, they aren't selling a bag of parts. They are selling a product that costs real money to design, assemble, program, sell, support, and service. Profit only comes after all that.
    • maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:17PM (#20660049) Homepage
      You mean an Apple product is overpriced?

      That's one way to look at it, in the context of the whole marketplace. Another way to look at it is that they've priced it according to the amount people have told them they're willing to pay. So if it were cheaper, it would be underpriced for that particular offering from Apple.
      • Re:maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hmbcarol ( 937668 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:47PM (#20660553)
        Nothing which has been purchased can be overpriced, at least not in that transaction. The buyer weighs the money in one hand and the product in the other. They decided that they wanted the product more than the money. The seller has done the same calculus and arrived at the opposite conclusion. They would rather have the money more than the product.

        Both parties believe they received the "better" bargain or they would not have traded. Of course a wise seller will offer a product at a price they feel will be the most profitable overall to sell at, balancing margin versus volume.

        Nothing has an "intrinsic" value; only the value the seller and potential buyers would assign it. It will vary by person, time, and circumstance. Two people, one recently well fed at a nice restaurant and the other tired from working all day and skipping lunch would value a street venders hot-dog very differently.

        • You're not offering offer a fair analysis of an economic situation if you reason about it axiomatically, from an impoverished set of axioms that assume that the parties to every exchange are perfectly rational, that what they value doesn't change by the act of purchasing, and that they possess perfect information. All you're doing is demonstrating that you have an unempirical adherence to the axiom that trade only happens because both parties wanted the trade to happen, and that whenever you see some situa

          • You sure managed to use a lot of words there, many of them are not in Joe Sixpack's vocabulary, so bonus points to you.

            Now, I also noticed that you didn't provide any examples of a 'situation that contradicts it'.
            • Re:Nonsense. (Score:4, Insightful)

              by radl33t ( 900691 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @07:29PM (#20661745)
              Now, I also noticed that you didn't provide any examples of a 'situation that contradicts it'.

              Apparently GPs vocabulary was not the only thing that escaped you. GP gave two important reasons as to why the GGP's claim was nonsense. The economic transactions as you an I know them are not the same as those idealized in economic fantasy land (described by GGP). This is because the fantasy land assumption set is invalid in the real world. Namely 1) The actors are not rational 2) The actors do not possess complete and accurate information. If you extend this to rigid extremes then every 'situation' contradicts the axioms of fantasy land because you will never have perfect information. Ahh the blending of Heisenberg... As for GP's language. I do not think it was overly erudite.
              • So once again someone cracked a thesaurus instead of making an argument.

                Provide. Examples.

                In what type of situation might the things you say actually occur?

                I can say the sky's made out of bubble yum because it's blue, but that doesn't make it so. You saying "LOL URRONG" no matter how many $3 words you use doesn't mean they're wrong.

                I want specific examples in which "The actors are not rational" and in which "The actors do not possess complete and accurate information." (that second point is kinda bu
          • by vakuona ( 788200 )
            Actually, that is not nonsense.

            There are a couple of things preventing price discrimination.

            Resaleability, and laws against price discrimination.

            I might be willing to pay more for my electricity than my neighbour, but I certainly don't want to be charged more than my neighbour for it.

            There is nothing in his argument about the economic actors being rational. Economical rationality is very limited form of rationality anyway. A buyer does not need perfect information to make a choice. Some people buy PS3s at l
        • by Ajehals ( 947354 )
          Apart from medical care presumably as you don't have any real choice whether to buy it or not. Or car insurance (if it is mandatory) for the same reason. Apple can charge whatever they want for their product, it is only over priced if they have no buyers, that's because portable music players, like mobile phones, laptops, game consoles etc.. are luxuries. That theory however breaks down when applied to necessities, especially necessities that are supplied by a monopoly or near monopoly.

          Not disagreeing wit
        • I'm sorry, but you seem to be having a problem understanding the meaning of the phrase "product X is overpriced". When people say "product X is overpriced", they are obviously not disputing the fact that product X might be sold at the price at which it is sold. What they are saying is that "people who buy product X at the current price either have incomplete information, or they are acting irrationally". In fact, it is often the buyers themselves that later realize that when they get more information.
      • Re:maybe (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:55PM (#20660679) Journal
        I was really surprised when they didn't bump the capacity of the iPod Nano. Some of their competitors are already making 16GB devices in a similar form factor to the Nano. If I'd been in their position, I'd have jumped to 24GB, making it an ideal replacement for a 3G iPod (same features, smaller form factor, no moving parts). Adding video support seems a bit misguided; the Nano seems to be aimed more at the market segment that don't care about video (smallest screen of any iPod, not enough storage space to be useful as video player plugged into a dock). These number just confuse me more. It seems like they could have added two more 8GB RAM chips and still been making a decent profit, so I wonder why they didn't.
        • At the time of the 1st gen Nano, the flash memory chips was a huge fraction of the parts cost. What was is it? $35 a GB? Since then flash prices have dropped like a rock while Apple either kept the old price points or dropped them modestly. 2nd gen 4GB Nano was $200 compared to $150 for a 3rd gen 4GB Nano. To Apple's credit, 4GB of flash is worth about 40 bucks retail, so the $50 difference between the 4GB and 8GB Nano is a decent price.

          Now also consider that an equivalent Sandisk flash player, the 8GB e280
  • Call me back... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Poltras ( 680608 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:09PM (#20659931) Homepage
    When you have a better analysis of what it costs to develop the software, the amortized cost of engineering and other non-hardware costs (marketing, managing, distribution, etc) so that we can see a margin. Those numbers (58.84$) are totally irrelevant and only serve to misinform. Sure, you could buy the pieces that price, but for what it's worth...
    • by catbutt ( 469582 )
      Although....mixing in fixed costs with marginal costs isn't necessarily a good way to analyze something like this. If the $58.54 is indeed a good estimation of the marginal cost (the theoretical amount it costs them to make one additional unit), it isn't irrelevant at all. It's just not a direct indicator of profit -- which you are never going to get anyway without knowing how many they are going to sell through its lifetime.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Poltras ( 680608 )
        Worse, sometimes they might be spending more engineering some other products that they plan to amortize with this one. So basically, you can only look at the profit a company made from all its product line, which is already public from Apple, instead of just one, which is unknown.
      • Re:Call me back... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:24PM (#20660169) Homepage Journal
        The firmware is significantly different from previous generations. It looks to me that they more than doubled the complexity of the firmware relative to the previous nano.

        I don't think that this $59 is the marginal cost even, because the iSuppli numbers don't even include packaging, shipping, average warranty expense, retail mark-up and so on. In the past, they didn't even include the cost of the ear buds.
    • Re:Call me back... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:21PM (#20660123)
      iSuppli is actually generally pretty bad at figuring out what the pieces cost too if any of the parts are even the least bit exotic. It also doesn't include packaging costs (We're probably talking whole percentage points in the costs for packaging), and assembly, which isn't trivially cheap on tiny devices as it may be for larger electronics. Their numbers are even less relevant than you'd think.
      • Re:Call me back... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by catbutt ( 469582 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:46PM (#20660523)

        Their numbers are even less relevant than you'd think.
        They are only irrelevant if you don't know how to read them.

        Companies hire iSupply to help them calculate how much a competitor's products cost, and if iSupply didn't know what they were doing, they'd be out of business by now.

        It's not their fault that dumb readers make naive conclusions.
        • Re:Call me back... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by lazyforker ( 957705 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @09:57PM (#20662949)
          The fact that companies hire iSupply doesn't mean that iSupply know what they're doing. Haven't you ever worked in a company that hired "Consultants" that don't know their asses from their elbows?
        • by ivan256 ( 17499 )

          if iSupply didn't know what they were doing, they'd be out of business by now

          If only business actually worked that way...

          Since there's no accountability in this type of analysis, these guys sell their numbers based on marketing, and old fashioned salesmanship. That, and they probably get the obvious stuff pretty well.

          For cutting edge stuff though, they generally overestimate by a lot. And that can get their customers into a lot of trouble. It probably does.

      • Don't Forget (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        There's also the retailer's cut. Retailers taking 60% of the final price is not unheard of.

        I usually stop reading when I see "iSuppli."

        • There's also the retailer's cut. Retailers taking 60% of the final price is not unheard of.

          I usually stop reading when I see "iSuppli."

          While I'm not disagreeing with you that iSuppli's numbers seem to be lacking in several sunk costs, often in the case of the AppleTM iPod, the distributer is apple.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
      I love it when people do those sorts of "analysis." They like to do them for digital cameras too. Guess a value for this, guess a value for that, add it all up and get this tiny little number then scream at how much they're being ripped off.

      I guess if they think it's true they should go into business building whatever it is for a fraction of the cost. Funny how none of them ever do.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dupup ( 784652 )
        Funny how none of them ever do.

        Actually, this is a good point. A fair price is not the price of the sum of an item's parts, it's the price that the market will bear. If an item is priced too high, people will stop buying it. As long as people are still buying the item, it must be priced fairly.

        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
          Absent some factor that prevents customers from choosing something else, of course.

          The iPod doesn't benefit from such circumstances though -- there are lots of other music players available.
      • I dont think iSupply works for consumer being ripped of.
        They provide data that can be useful for competitors, investors, financial analysts, component suppliers, etc.

        Also, as long as Apple is not more open, iSupply and the likes are going to take their best guess, hopefully backed by some research, and not just coming from a hat...

        I suspect packaging and shipping cost are pretty much the same for every other manufacturer, so I assume that there is not much value in providing that information.

        Also I'm pretty
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
          No, the iSupply article seemed pretty reasonable. What was unreasonable was the article submitter's summary.

          Some people seem to have that problem. I remember a discussion about the price of a Canon camera. Someone decided to do a little amateur analysis and asked for help. A manufacturing expert and a logistics manager happened to be reading the same forum and replied that his estimates were pretty far off the mark and his methodology was wrong. Naturally he got indignant instead of listening to two pe
  • Manufacturing Costs (Score:4, Informative)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:10PM (#20659935) Homepage Journal
    Are not all that go into the final street price. You got R&D, Marketing, Logistics.. Steve's Salary...
    • by jstockdale ( 258118 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:40PM (#20660409) Homepage Journal
      R&D: $10 000 000

      Marketing: $25 000 000

      Logistics: $5 000 000

      Steve's Salary: $1 ...

      Bringing a new iPod to market: $40 000 000+

      Having your CEO cost less than your annual paperclip budget: priceless

      Most things money can by; and if you have enough of it: you probably buy Apple.
      • I had a sig like yours, but no one seemed to get the reference.
        • by acvh ( 120205 )
          what do you guys have against AA anyway?
          • Sure they want to be anonymous. If I found out who those damn alcoholics were that peed on my flowers, I'll kid them so hard that they'd sober up.
      • Steve's Salary: $1 ... ...
        Having your CEO cost less than your annual paperclip budget: priceless
        ...seeing the reaction when tax code catches up to him in the form of unescapable taxes: Epic.

        Some things are meant to be business-friendly, the Club for Avarice [] complains about the rest.

    • by rm999 ( 775449 )
      At this point, it is obvious Apple is making massive profits off each iPod. A lot of development costs have been done in previous models, e.g. software.

      From a simple economic theory stand point, competitors should have reduced their pure profits (after paying salaries and advertising, etc) to almost 0 - this is what would happen in an entirely competitive capitalist model. The fact that Apple can still sell millions of these at at such a large return indicates not that Apple is greedy, but that their compet
      • by nurb432 ( 527695 )
        Wasnt debating if they were charging too much ( i also feel they are ) i just wanted to make the point that its more then the absolute manufacturing cost that goes into play here.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lymond01 ( 314120 )
        The fact that Apple can still sell millions of these at at such a large return indicates not that Apple is greedy

        Apple may be greedy, but the fact iPods sell for so much is a quality of the market, not Apple. Apple has a great product and people are willing to pay more for it and its related items (iPods, iTunes, iPod-related devices made by 3rd parties, etc, all of which a user buys into). An iPod is a luxury item and it is being sold for what the market will bear.

        Gasoline, however, has become a necessit
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Admittedly, very few people have heard of the Trekstor Vibez [], which really deserves to at least become the geek's DAP of choice. It mounts as a USB mass-storage device; supports MP3, Ogg Vorbis, Ogg FLAC, FLAC, and WMA (with DRM); comes with a small cable for the headphone jack that lets you pipe your DAP music into any stereo with audio-in; and comes with firmware built from that of the Rio Karma.

        But the company is German and doesn't market in the USA, so nobody gives a damn.
  • Who cares? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vrmlguy ( 120854 ) <> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:10PM (#20659947) Homepage Journal
    The price of a product only relates to the price of its components to the degree that the maker avoids taking a loss. I keep having to explain this to people. Adding a $50,000 extension to your house doesn't increase its value by $50,000; in some cases it could actually decrease the value. iPods are just jewelry (why else would there be a special U2 edition?), and the last time I checked the mark-ups on jewelry is way higher than any margnis that Apple would dream of.
    • Adding a $50,000 extension to your house doesn't increase its value by $50,000; in some cases it could actually decrease the value.
      I suppose so...but what would be an example? I am thinking an entire wing built from bludgeoned children [] would pretty much do the trick.
      • An extension that fails code or obstructs a view, or is awfully conceived from an architectural point of view (basically, it should integrate with the rest of the house and avoid angry fruit salad sorts of things). It could also be constructed in a much cheaper fashion, thus making the house look disjointed or slapdash.
      • Or the extension is in the form of a pool. The added maintance, associated costs, and other turn-offs of having a pool seems to pretty much offset the benefits of having one when putting a house on the market. I've heard stories of sellers having to fill in the pool to get their house to sell.
        • by vrmlguy ( 120854 )
          That happened to a house I know. When I got out of college, my best friend bought a building that had originally been a Victorian Romanesque-Revival quadraplex (one duplex on the first floor, another upstairs). The rehabers had gutted one side and installed an indoor pool. We had some wild parties there, especially at New Year's; some of them even broke up people's marriages. Eventually, though, my buddy sold the building (the pool side was a maintenance nightmare) and everyone in our circle of friends
  • News Flash! (Score:5, Funny)

    by EggyToast ( 858951 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:10PM (#20659949) Homepage
    Companies create and sell products in order to make money!

    It is neat to see that the Nano has the same guts as the "classic" now, though.
  • Worthless Numbers (Score:5, Informative)

    by Guanine ( 883175 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:11PM (#20659963)
    Many of the numbers iSuppli comes up with are pretty much made up. Regardless, most news organizations assume that the entire difference between retail of the device and the iSuppli number is "pure profit," etc. - this is utter nonsense. Previous iSuppli numbers have been shot down by reason [], I hope to see the same thing in this instance.
  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:11PM (#20659965) Homepage
    Yeah, the v3 Nano is cheaper to build. Its also cheaper to buy, with a 4 GB unit now $150 and $200 for the 8 GB, as opposed to 2 GB for $150, 4 GB for $200, and 8 GB for $250.
    • by aliquis ( 678370 )
      Wow, you mean that even Apple products gets cheaper as prices on the components falls!?!

      However this is totally irrelevant when one have no idea what the other players cost to make and sell for, and even that is rather unintresting.

      Only thing I care for is what I get for the money I have to pay, and in that regard there are many players which offers more value for your money than Apple (and not only more value but also better players, or lower prices.)
      • You're probably smarter than most people then. I know plenty of people who could not operate something much more complicated than an iPod.

        Unfortunately for you the average IQ is 100, and is probably 80% of the population.
        • by aliquis ( 678370 )
          My sister is technically retarded and she can handle her Samsung YP-Z5 even thought she didn't knew how to clear the content of the memory card in her digital camera ..

          Thought that players interface are said to be decent, I've only tried and iPod once and it took me a while to use it aswell (a while probably being 30-60 seconds or so but anyway.)

          But you might have a point, since I haven't tried many mp3 players and used their interfaces, I really doubt the iAudio D2 or 7, iRiver Clix 2, Creative Zen V (
    • The new 3G iPod nano is actually very nice, but do be aware of two things:

      1) The case does smudge rather easily and I worry about the chrome back scratching easily, too. Hopefully, this problem goes away when the new protective cases for the 3G nano starts hitting stores in the next 30 days or so.

      2) I high recommend updating the firmware on the player to Version 1.0.1. The new firmware fixes two problems: the slow operation of Cover Flow and the battery charge level display problem.
  • From the referenced article:

    "ISuppli's estimates don't account for nonhardware costs, including software development, intellectual property, packaging, final assembly, and distribution."


    "When you look at all these other costs, which you can't see from a teardown, then you begin to see why Apple's gross margin tends to be in the 30%-to-35% range historically."

    Just to save folks a trip and an excuse...

    As is usual in such things, the cost of the hardware itself is not the majority of the cost of the device.
  • The summary is not correct. The article is talking about the cost of the parts, not the cost of producing the iPod. There can be much more to the cost of development than just the cost of the parts. For example, what is the cost of developing software? Obviously it's much more than the cost of the physical medium.
  • Real cost (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dizneedave ( 1089861 )
    When YOU can build one for $58.85, then this becomes relevant. I couldn't build one for $5885.00 without hiring somebody else to do it for me.
  • by Overd0g ( 232552 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:38PM (#20660377)
    except for Apple ownership. Each person needs to decide if the retail price represents a good value to them personally. If it doesn't, don't buy it. It doesn't matter if it costs Apple 1 cent to manufacture the product. Thus is the nature of freedom. They can ask whatever they want, and you can pay it or not. FYI, the same thing applies to your salary.
    • > Each person needs to decide ... Thus is the nature of freedom.

      You make it sound like an obligation, whereas freedom of choice means exactly the opposite. I may choose, for instance, to purchase XBox to make myself a DVR just because I know that it costs more MS to produce it than the retail price :P
  • Man, they must be losing a lot of money. All the ads I see for them say, "Free ipod nano!"

    Maybe they're hoping to make the money back in itunes sales?
  • by klossner ( 733867 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:58PM (#20660723)
    The comments about how parts pricing != cost to build are all correct. TFA got this right, but then the Slashdot summary changed their wording to make it wrong.

    Business Week:

    After taking apart the nano, iSuppli estimates that all the parts inside cost Apple $58.85 for the $149 model ...

    BusinessWeek reports that a teardown analysis by iSuppli finds that it costs Apple only $58.85 to build the 4-gig iPod nano
    Business Week reported nothing of the sort.
  • I have one. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ryanisflyboy ( 202507 ) * on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @06:15PM (#20660915) Homepage Journal
    I purchased a 3rd gen Nano for my wife. She is very pleased with it. She even manages to watch some of her favorite TV shoes on it. It might be slightly wide - but it is very thin. Our only complaint is the dozens of bugs. However, these all appear to be software based so hopefully most of the annoying ones get fixed soon. How hard is it to code something like coverflow? Please forgive me if I'm wrong - but that feature is by far the most buggy. I also can't say too many nice things about iTunes. Is apple trying to make it suck on purpose? That's what it seems like to me.

    Including it's shortcomings we are happy with it overall. Being able to personalize the player by engraving the back actually was a selling point. It takes a dumb electronic device and turns it in to a sentimental keepsake.
    • Bah! Why didn't I preview!! Shows! Shows! She likes to watch shows not shoes! What is a TV shoe any way?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MtViewGuy ( 197597 )
      If you need to correct the known issues with the 3G nano download and install the 1.0.1 firmware for the player--the Cover Flow runs a lot smoother and the battery life indicator actually works correctly for a change. I also noticed that videos rarely freeze the player, unlike the original firmware.
    • Re:I have one. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by graffix_jones ( 444726 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @11:44PM (#20663565)

      How hard is it to code something like coverflow?

      This is a little tidbit of info, that I thought some of you might find interesting. Coverflow was originally coded [] by a chap with the username of 'Catfish' over at the Ars Technica Macintoshian Achaia forums, as a little project to play around with OpenGL. It was basically a standalone application that allowed you to browse your music collection with visual album covers, and would then launch iTunes and play that album (no individual song choices back then). People loved it, because once again it felt like you were thumbing through your stacks of CD's (or Vinyl). Development was brisk at times, and at times it seemed like nothing was happening, but the concept was awesome.

      Then 'Catfish' just up and disappeared for a couple of months, and when iTunes with 'Coverflow' integration was released, he returned amid astonished guffaws from the rest of us.

      Not only did Apple love the concept, they bought the name to it as well.

      With the amount of Coverflow integration going into Apple's products, I really hope that he was well compensated for his little learning experience.

      That's all I got.
  • When I saw the headling "Inside the Third Gen iPod Nano", I was expecting some serious hard{core,ware} porn. Boy, was I disappointed! For any others looking for the true meaning behind the headline, let me refer you to a google result [].

    Speaking of which -- on those pictures, I see no Samsung CPU as the summary stated. The only major Samsung chip I can see is the flash chip.

  • It's just an opinion, but Apple's marketing power seems to be the most amazing feature of the new iPods...I really don't see anything in the current lineup - especially the nano - that makes them interesting technologically. iRiver, Creative, etc etc have comparable, and in my opinion, better players in the 2-8GB range...yet I see 20,000 iPod stories to every non-apple PMD one. Granted, they've released some impressive, slick hardware at various points, but geez, the 4GB nano has a smaller screen and bigge
  • by gig ( 78408 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @11:54PM (#20663621)
    Microsoft has like a 70% profit margin on Windows, which on a technical level is a product that doesn't even work. How much better would Windows be if Microsoft had only taken a 25% profit on it? Why don't we ever hear complaints about that?

    The cost-of-parts teardowns of Apple gear are tiresome. They don't take into account the cost of software development or product design, let alone warranty fulfillment and legal and localization, shipping, retail sales, demo units, so much else goes into a product like this other than just a bag of parts. Most of the work that brought us the new iPod nano happened inside heads at Apple. And being a publicly-traded company, you can plainly see what Apple's profits are, and they are always 25-30%. That includes really high-profit sales of software such as Final Cut Pro, and really low-profit sales such as personal computers. Yeah Dell wants that margin but they're not willing to work for it, they gave up all the high-profit software parts of their business to Microsoft. But when you combine Microsoft and Dell's profits on a PC purchased from Dell it matches up to Apple's profit on a Mac.

    Why do the vast majority of all music players ever made suck so much if all you have to do to make an iPod is buy $85 in parts and hire someone to put it together? Why didn't the iPod nano with video come from Microsoft six months ago as Zune 2 while Apple was doing the iPhone? $85 is less than what Microsoft pay per unit to fix each Xbox.

    And calling Apple a monopoly in music players conveniently ignores not only that there are hundreds of brands of music players but that every large manufacturer other than Apple is part of an anti-consumer cartel led by Microsoft, a convicted abusive monopolist. All the other music player manufacturers have tied one of their hands behind their backs and chained the other one to Microsoft. They are a failed monopoly that left one honest competitor with a exponentially better product.

    The FUD that is going around today is just amazing. For the same US$149 as an iPod nano with video, you can buy a remaindered overstock Zune, one year old, sitting in a box with the battery aging, and from a two year old design, and requiring you to BUY another Microsoft product (Windows) just to make it work, and man that thing is HUGE.

  • by LKM ( 227954 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @04:06AM (#20664869) Homepage
    I don't know why people keep listening to them. Time and time again, they report margins of >50%, and time and time again Apple reports their usual margins of 20-35%.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"