Handicapping Apple's iPod launch

Handicapping Apple's iPod launch

Summary: Apple confirmed a September 5 "special event" so now the handicapping of the announcement can begin in earnest. Officially, Apple is introducing new digital media offerings, according to a bunch of folks who got the invite.


Apple confirmed a September 5 "special event" so now the handicapping of the announcement can begin in earnest.

Officially, Apple is introducing new digital media offerings, according to a bunch of folks who got the invite.

Unofficially, Apple is expected to roll out new iPods--as it tends to do this time of year. The twist this time is that these new iPods are widely expected to be based on OS X.

Piper Jaffray analyst and avid Apple watcher Gene Munster threw in his predictions this morning in a research note. Here are the key points:

New iPod Nano: Munster expects a new iPod Nano with a wider screen and new colors. "We expect Apple will enable video features on the Nano line for the first time, and the capacities will likely range from 2GB to 8GB. Apple will likely to maintain its lowest price point of $149 for the Nano," said Munster.

New iPod: Munster writes:

"The iPod may also be dramatically improved. Though we are less certain of the specifications for the new 6th generation iPod, it may closely resemble the iPhone (without calling features). Specifically, we expect the 6th gen iPod to be a widescreen device with multi-touch technology. It may also have WiFi capability and the capacity could be as high as 160GB. Apple will likely raise the lowest iPod price point back up to $299 (from $249). The 5th gen iPod is the long-lasting iPod model ever; it was released nearly 2 years ago and refreshed with high capacities and a lower price last Sept."

If that plays out one theme to watch is whether an iPhone-ish iPod cannibalizes the iPhone (see Jason O'Grady's diary). For instance, I'm more interested in the iPhone as a media device not a phone. Web surfing is nice, but I prefer the laptop card. And I have no desire for the AT&T network. An iPhone-ish iPod might be the ticket for me. These theme also gets at the touch screen ecosystem Apple is building.

OS-based iPods. Munster also predicts that OS X will be at the heart of the new breed of iPod. If this happens--and it is widely expected--Munster notes that Apple is effectively focusing its business even as it goes into new markets. Munster writes: "Currently, Macs, the phone, and Apple TV run on OS, and with these OS-based pods, Apple would have an entire line of consumer electronics products based on OS. Instead of diversifying its business too dramatically, as some have argued, we believe Apple is focusing its business."

That's a very interesting point--and a valid one at that.

Topic: Apple

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  • iPhone sales are not iPod sales

    A 100-160GB touch iPod will not cannabilize iPhone sales. An iPod does not have phone capabilities and an iPhone cannot store more than 8GB. The two are mutually exclusive.

    Someone who needs both may get both, but a cheaper phone might be a better partner for a touch 160GB iPod.
  • iPods are over priced as it is.

    Consider you can buy a flash memory thumb drive, say 2 gig for $30. Add to that $10 worth of materials for music playback, and maybe another $10 for an LCD screen for it. Why is a 4 gig iPod $150 instead of only $50? Creative at least sells MP3 players for what they are worth. Apple's been #1 for too long and are getting greedy. The Creative units even SOUND better than the iPods, as does many other MP3 players. Go Figure.
    • Says who?

      You do know the definition of a fair sale--when a willing buyer and a
      willing seller agree on a price and transact the deal. If you are not a willing
      buyer of an iPod, or anything else, don't buy it. Look around for what suits
      your needs and budget and go for it.

      However, it seems lots and lots of people, for probably many reasons,
      decide the iPod suits their needs and budget. Is it perfect? No. Does it work
      better than most or all competitors? Seems to. Does it integrate
      transparently with a simple-to-use music store? Yup. Does this make Apple
      greedy? Nope. It just means they offer a product that suits a lot of buyers,
      and on which they make a profit--that lets them pay their stockholders a
      return on their investment, and have funds to invest in new technologies.
      How many companies in ANY industry keep coming out with new and
      improved technologies and products that sell so well?

      Oh, do I own an iPod? No, but the three recent college graduates in the
      family sure seemed thrilled to get them as gifts from us.

      Som, buy what suits you and get off the name-calling.
      • Says Me, ipod Buyer Beware

        apple customer svc is the worst I've ever experienced. Only being able to take infuriating aggravation for a few hours each day. I spent 3 weeks trying to get one replaced. apple kept telling me the warranty had expired, regardless of what my receipt said. Something about a program that automatically assumes every ipod has been sold a certain number of days after production. Had I been paid minumum wage for the time involved to replace one, I could've bought a couple of ipods.

        If your silly enough to buy music from apple, they pwn you. It is thier format, it won't work on any other MP3 player. When your ipod breaks, they all will eventually, you "MUST" buy another apple product, or throw out all that music/money.

        This is America, if someone sells me crap disquised as top shelf products, I'm going to warn everyone, every chance I get. A lot of good people have died to preserve our right to do so. You can tell me not to call a spade a spade, but I'm free not to listen.

        The taste left getting it replaced was so bad, after a couple of weeks I was so disgusted it was tossed into a drawer and hasn't been touched since. Everytime I looked at it, I'd get infuriated all over again.

        • That's awful!

          Wow, invmgr@., you really had a bad experience--I can only guess you are
          nowhere near an Apple store where, in person, I can only hope you would
          have gotten treated better, and faster. All I can say is that, since 1984, I've
          had only top-notch service from Apple, directly and through a local
          authorized dealer, on a series of Macs. No iPods, no experience there.

          I do suggest you send a letter to Apple, right to the top, and explain what
          happened to your iPod and to you. It is almost certainly worth a stamp and
          a few minutes of your time. I believe the old saying that one "oh, sh*t"
          supercedes a dozen "attaboys" and Apple surely wants good PR, not bad.
        • Powerful vitriol there...

          Someone needs to calm down a bit with patriotism and people dying for freedom in

          I can completely understand when someone who had a catastrophically bad
          experience with customer service doesn't want to deal with that company ever
          again. If we step back, however, and look at all the research out there, it is clear
          that your experience was more-or-less unique. As you probably know (not that it
          matters to you personally now), Apple consistently ranks at the top in customer
          service, ahead of all others. Not that it matters, but my personal experience
          confirms this: recently ordered a refurbished MacBook (old model, Core Duo); WiFi
          card was bad; went to an Apple store, had their expert ("genius") examine it; long
          story short - they are sending a replacement - Core 2 Duo machine with double the
          HD space, faster DVD drive and faster processor - no extra charge! I've heard
          similar stories from two people before (and thought they were exaggerating before
          experiencing myself).

          It's the matter of large numbers. There are over 100 million iPods out there. Some
          are bad; among the owners of those bad ones, some had bad experiences with
          getting them fixed. Whenever there is human interaction, there is a potential for
          conflict. Apple's customer support is staffed with actual people. Therefore, they
          simply cannot have 100% customer satisfaction.

          My advice to you would be to unload that iPod of yours on eBay or Craig's List.
          You'll have more than enough money to buy a new Creative device of similar (if not
          better) specs, and you won't have to get infuriated every time you open that
          drawer. And let the rest of the world buy what they want.
          Predrag Vasic
    • Well, let's see....

      There's assembly.
      There's programming.
      There's the battery.
      There's marketing.
      There's the designers.

      Oh, I forgot. Apple has little kids like you sitting in their basement creating these things for free.
    • Get what you pay for

      Organic produce is more expensive than conventionally grown produce.
      A BMW 325i is more expensive than a Ford Taurus.
      The parts of a PC cost less than one bought from directly from a manufacturer.
      I really would love to own a Ferrari but, just because I can't afford one doesn't mean that the Ferrari company is ripping consumers off.
      If the iPod is out of your price range and Creatives MP3 are in your price range then spend your money on the one you can afford.
  • Will the new iPod include wifi?

    If the new iPod includes wifi and has all the features of the iPhone minus the phone it could be very attractive, especially for people that don't want to subscribe to ATT and/or don't like the phone features of iPhone. In fact, it would be better for watching movies than the iPhone because it has 120GB of memory (iPhone only has 8 I think).
  • Tempered Vitriol

    Yes, we've been relatively free so long, many people take the costs paid for freedom, for granted. I'm thankful every day for just being here.

    So far as the apple customer svc, they had way more than 3 weeks to do the right thing. 3 weeks was spent speaking with them every day, the whole process took over 2 months. It went from being just a warranty replacement to a matter of principle. After faxing and sending multiple documents, photo ID, copy of my SS, Birth certificate, sworn affidavits, genetic samples, and finally paying for the replacement first, in the end, they acted as if they were doing me a favor replacing it.

    I spoke with many levels, over the weeks, from flunkies to supervisors. The attitude seemed prevalent throughout. Like I was lying and my receipt was bogus.