Why I don't want a wireless iPod

Why I don't want a wireless iPod

Summary: DigiTimes on Wednesday reported that a new iPod "may have wireless capabilities." But then at the end of the same article they contradict themselves by noting that Apple Taiwan has denied it. While Wi-Fi might be cool, I sure don't want Bluetooth wireless headphones...

SHARE:
TOPICS: Wi-Fi
16

DigiTimes on Wednesday reported that a new iPod "may have wireless capabilities." But then at the end of the same article they contradict themselves by noting that Apple Taiwan has denied it.

Apple Computer is expected to launch soon a new iPod that supports wireless capabilities so as to compete with Microsoft's planned year-end launch of its Zune-branded MP3 players, according to market sources.

Apple's headquarters has begun dispatching its staff to its major markets in Asia, to teach local sales how to demonstrate the new products, the sources noted.

Apple Taiwan, however, denied the market reports.
Wireless capabilities could mean a number of things in the context of the iPod.

1. Bluetooth wireless headphones. Wireless headphones make little or no sense to me with an iPod. Bluetooth headsets are barely tolerable when they're within four feet of a mobile phone, otherwise they break up and sound horrible - not a good combination for a music player. I'll take a pair of wired earbuds over anything wireless any day.

2. 802.11. Wi-Fi could allow you to connect an iPod wirelessly to your Mac to transfer songs but the killer application would be to purchase music directly from the iTunes Music Store directly to the device, Over-The-Air (OTA). Wireless OTA music downloads could surpass online music service users by 2010 according to IDC:
In order for wireless music services to reach critical mass, a variety of music-enabled devices need to first find their way into the hands of wireless subscribers. This has not happened so far due in part to limited offerings from the handset vendors. However, the shift towards a greater variety of music-enabled mobile phones at various price points is already in motion. IDC expects music-enabled mobile phone shipments to reach nearly 60% of all handsets shipped in the U.S. by 2010.

NPD Group anticipates a quick ramp up in OTA sales volumes as music-enabled handsets get into the market.

More than one million mobile phones capable of downloading full songs over the air (OTA) via the Sprint Music Store or Verizon's VCast Music have been sold, as of February 2006.

    * Though not a jaw-dropping figure, the fact that more than two million downloads from the Sprint Music Store - and some volume approaching that from Verizon - shows consumers will download full songs on a trial basis. As prices fall for OTA-download-capable phones, we expect more consumers will buy them, and OTA download volumes will rise in the near term.
Adding a wireless radio to the iPod is going to have an adverse affect on battery life which is going to present a problem for Apple. The iPod's current 14-hour battery life (which drops to only 2 or 3 hours when playing video) pales in comparison to other devices like the 30-hour battery life of the Sony Net Walkman NW-HD1.

If Apple is going to add wireless capabilities to the iPod they need to make a serious advance in battery technology (direct methanol fuel cells, anyone?) to balance good run time with the increased power demands of a wireless radio.

Do you want a wireless iPod? Are you willing to give up some battery life to get it?

Topic: Wi-Fi

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

16 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Keep it

    No, I don't see the big draw to wireless iPods. I'm happy to download music from iTunes on my Mac. Then I have my music backed up on two sources, and I'd rather listen over my Klipsch speakers on the Mac when I'm home than put on some headphones.

    What I want is an iPod that's even smaller, even thinner, with even more battery life. If widescreen video comes out, it may be something fun. However, my main use is still music.
    wbeem
  • Are you blind?

    Once you have a portable device hooked to the Internet, you can STREAM audio. The bandwidth required is pretty tiny (less than 1Mbit). If you can stream audio, then you won't need local storage (maybe just to cache).

    Streaming video requires decent bandwidth (2-3Mbit/s), but audio streaming can almost work on 56k.

    The Streaming Paradigm will take over from the download-wait-and-store Paradigm. It would be nice if Apple trumped the competition and went straight to WiMAX. They would be first to market for sure . . .
    Roger Ramjet
  • Killer App

    I still don't get why pundits seem to think that being able to buy a song wirelessly is so valuable. Honestly, how often do you HAVE to buy a particular song NOW? You need it so badly you can't wait till you get home? You're willing to pay 3 times more just to get it now?

    Is this a regular occurence for a lot of people out there?
    tic swayback
    • Impulse buying

      is a tried and true strategy - and it works.
      Roger Ramjet
      • Is it really impulse buying?

        I tend to think of that as items they put up at the register in a store, or McDonalds asking if you want fries with that. Is this really the same thing? Seems to me that in this situation, you aren't being presented with a specific product to buy while you're in the act of buying something else. You'd have to take the initiative and find it yourself.

        Could be a handy thing on a roadtrip. You're bored, and you can download an audiobook to pass a few hours. But really, how often does that happen and is it really a "killer app"?
        tic swayback
        • On impulse

          You are 16 years old. You have money. You are out with your friends. Some cute girl wants to hear the latest song. You quickly come to her "rescue".

          You are 40 years old. You *almost* remember some song from your youth. You talk to a friend and he provides the title. Since its been bothering you all day, you buy it.

          There are many instances when impulse buying works .
          Roger Ramjet
          • I just don't see that as a major market...

            ...or a "killer app". Especially as things currently stand where wireless songs cost 3X what a song bought from a computer cost.

            As an extra added bonus bit of income, great. But is there really strong consumer demand for this?
            tic swayback
  • car audio

    I've gone to great lengths to get automated wireless updates to my car (omnifi dmp-1). I would love to put a car-powered, semi-dedicated ipod in its place. I currently use a podcast aggregator to upload to my player every morning so I have fresh content.
    manwich
  • Depends

    Your article focused mainly on the purchasing or downloading of Music via WiFi. I don't necessarily think that would be a "killer Application". That's like going back to Dialup IMO, it will take longer to download songs for instance, compare to the speed of iTunes over broadband everyone has gotten used to.

    Here is a Potential Killer Application:

    What if the focus was on sharing music with other iPoders via WiFi instead, or sampling other iPoders music. Imagine walking down the street with your iPod+WiFi turned on, and listening to dozens of stranger?s shared playlists. Just like iTunes sharing music feature over a network. It can create a whole new market with endless possibilities. Teens would buy these iPod+WiFi like bubblegum. Advertisers would jump all over this new market though. I think Microsoft "Zune" will have something similar, I am waiting patiently to see how it would be implemented.
    dave95.
  • Who needs an iPod?

    With a Pocket PC PDA, I have bluetooth, WiFI, MP3, WMA , movies, radio, USB storage, a computer with standard apps, email, the Web and most importantly a PHONE!.

    Why do I need a hideously expensive separate MP3 player? Why does anyone?

    Let's hope Apple manages to bring out its phone before all the iPod luddites catch on ;-)
    TonyMcS
    • The IPOD Story ....

      The ipod has always been a 'me too' mp3 player by design.. What folks fail to notice is the massive subliminal and subtle marketing tactics employed to become a 'runaway' hit. In the early days ipod was endorsed by celebrities. In the media too, there has never been a single day , when I dont get to read something about an ipod..
      There has been a false claim that ipod market share is greater than 75% since last few years ..I really dispute this number ..why ..just visit your local gym and see how many are carrying an ipod ..i would be surprised if more than 3 of 10 mp3s are ipods. The perceived 'cool' factor has gone a long way to help the selling. You need an ipod because your friend is carrying one ...not because you really need one. I find that folks who do a bit of research often end up buying another mp3 player. The sound quality of some SONY mp3's leaves ipod in the dust..(people who have used NW-MS series might know what I am talking about..)
      The wi-fi was already launched 2 years back by Soniq Cast Aireo Mp3's , where you could download by taking the mp3 near any hot spot. Some of the reviewers here seem like frogs in the ipod well , you need to get out..and stop helping folks like Steve make a 70% gross on a piece of sh*t.
      An ideal future portable player will be opposite of the "stored in a limited space" concept. All your music would be some where hidden in Data banks, you would carry a tiny device with a big screen..and this would acceess all your music/video over wifi or GSM/Mobile or Wi-Max. Folks like google can manage the back end (storage) and Mobile providers can manage the user side. Lets see What tune will Apple play here ...
      faisalinc
      • Are you kidding? What a baseless rant...

        Do you really expect us to believe that tens of millions of ecstatic
        iPod users have been hoodwinked by Steve Jobs' clever marketing?

        Those of us who are longtime, mature observers of the personal
        technology world can see the iPod/iTunes combo for what it truly
        is... an innovative, paradigm-shifting work of genius.

        You are, quite obviously, someone who hates Apple. Give them
        some credit, for crying out loud.
        pbromelkamp
    • Who Needs a Pocket PC

      Does your pocket PC have a 60GB hard drive? I use my ipod as a portable hard drive at least as much as I do a music player. And palmtops are better than Pocket PCs anyways <G>. I have owned both, and would never shell out cash for another clunky PocketPC. I have tried to think of ANY advantage that they have over a Palm, and could come up with only 1- there are programs available for the PocketPC that allow one to read .chm files on the device......Some day, some company will figure out that people want a portable device that combines the features of a Palm with a 100GB HD.
      wj_grimm
  • The reality is the cell phone ....

    ... will be the iPOD killer!!! In the game of wireless music the cell phone providers have a huge edge becuase of infrastructure. People don't need to caryy two devices. The cell which is already a camera will soon replace the iPOD as the MP3 player of choice. The new phones will replace the Bluetooth low-def headset of today with Stereo High quality headphones that will work far better then the wired alternatives.
    ShadeTree
  • iPod Battery will do it in

    i think that the poor iPod battery life will be the downfall of the item. i have already has to replace my battery once. luckily i found this site called http://www.laptopsforless.com/mp3playerbattery/apple-ipod-Battery and was able to get an affordable battery. untimetly the cell phones will take over it Apple cannot fix these battery issues.
    GreenApple123
  • vleqbgp 98 pmp

    abipwo,lxkdadbh88, toezk.
    bhomeioy75-24378986895595962364685123716946