Why the 1GB iPod won't do video; RIP shuffle?

Why the 1GB iPod won't do video; RIP shuffle?

Summary: In a suprise Tuesday announcement Apple released a 1GB version of their popular iPod nano (US$149) that will hold up to 240 songs or 15,000 photos. At the same time Apple dropped the price of the iPod shuffle to US$69 and US$99.

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TOPICS: Apple
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ipodnano_blk_front.jpgIn a suprise Tuesday announcement Apple released a 1GB version of their popular iPod nano (US$149) that will hold up to 240 songs or 15,000 photos. At the same time Apple dropped the price of the iPod shuffle to US$69 and US$99 for the 512MB and 1GB models respectively. If you're a student or an educator you can buy the new 1GB iPod nano for US$129 which is the same price as the 1GB shuffle was one year ago.

In my Macworld Expo article I predicted that Apple would release a 1GB iPod nano and euthanize the shuffle (like they did with the iPod mini). The couple extra bucks the nano commands is a bargain considering that you get a color screen with photo playback and a dock connector for connecting accessories. I also speculated that Apple would add video playback support to the nano line via a firmware upgrade (to boost sales of TV shows and video content) but it turns out that it's not possible.

In a January article on the PowerPage I posted a couple of reasons why the nano won't do video: The iPod Video has two CPUs. One generic CPU running at ~75Mhz (which is the same as all iPods) and a specialized video DSP running at ~150 MHz that is able to decode h.264 video in real-time. The video playback only uses that DSP and not the main CPU. No other iPod model other than the video has this DSP in it making video playback impossible on the nano.

We can deduce from the 1Gb nano announcement that the end is near for the iPod shuffle. There's just no reason to keep it around with its stripped feature set and low profit margins. Don't be surprised when the nano gets upgraded to 8GB and 16GB capacities in the late summer/early fall.

1GB nanos are perfect for Valentine's day, but 8GB and 16GB nanos would be killer for back-to-school.

Topic: Apple

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9 comments
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  • There are two things missing I really want...

    FM Tuner and a subscription service. If the second ever appears, I'll drop yahoo music like a hot potatoe.
    BitTwiddler
    • To each his own

      To me, those are both useless things that I have no interest in, no
      interest in paying for, and would be extra weight and wasted space
      for me.

      What I want is maximum storage space.
      tic swayback
    • Shuffle will be around for a while

      The shuffle has it's place. I just lost my 1 gig shuffle and thought
      about getting the 1 gig nano. I use the shuffle for the gym/
      riding/outdoor activities.

      Shuffle gets tossed in my gym bag, back pack, or beach bag -
      sweet covered. No screen to scratch or case to ruin.

      And the battery life kills the nano. So when you are on the peak
      of a mountain that extra battery life is great.

      Got the big ipod for extended travels and the office...
      panic man
  • 16 gig nano?

    no way.
    at least not this year.
    the flash cost for the 4gig $250 nano is supoosed to be at
    around $100 - so in order to ensure a decent margin, even
    factoring in falling flash prices, apple would have to ask at $500,
    probably more. NO WAY.

    apple will play this slow, as slow as the market permits, i.e.:
    expect an nano upgrade this year to 2, 4 and 6 gig, probably in
    autumn, maintaining the price points etc pp ...
    isserley
  • 4 GB is fine by me

    I started a new job a week after the nano was introduced. The new job has me on public transportation about 100 minutes daily. The 4GB nano is fine by me. I've got about 390 songs on it now and never get through that amount prior to a charge and the reordering of the shuffle. Video wouldn't be a useful feature with such a tiny screen. Maybe if some shows lend themselves to a podcast of their audio track then maybe ...
    metsjets
  • No hardware on iPod nano for video

    iPod nano won't do video because it lacks the Broadcomm chip that
    does video decoding. The Portal Player chip has enough
    horsepower to do audio decoding and user interface in its dual-
    ARM device, but it does not have the companion Broadcomm chip
    for video decoding that the iPod video includes. Hence, the price
    difference.
    prg99
  • iPod's future

    I think there will be an Air Tunes wireless integration into the iPod
    Video and, perhaps, Airport Express will connect to TV somehow.

    Touch screen features may be coming this year, as well, making a
    larger screen possible for DVD playback, etc.
    mlindl
  • Probably they will

    My friend just came back from China and gave me what I thought was an Ipod nano, but it was a China-made look-a-like. Much cheaper, poor build quality and bad UI. But the nano lookalike had some features that the Nano doesn't do. It has radio, a mic for recording and it has video. Yes. IT PLAYS VIDEO. Mp4 to be more accurate. I predict that future NANOs will have video, else apple will lose out to other MP3 player makers who will make use of this technology.
    den_lim
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