Reader Editorial: Summer 2006 iPod Speculation | iLounge Article

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Reader Editorial: Summer 2006 iPod Speculation

The pattern is now predictable: once or twice each year, an old iPod model becomes passe, the world speculates on what its replacement will be like, then Apple replaces it. But so far, 2006 has been all sizzle and no meat: we’ve seen plenty of speculation over iPod shuffle, iPod nano, and 5G iPod successors, but no major new iPod releases. Rather than speculate ourselves over what’s to come, we wanted to leave it to you.

Keep in mind that analysts are predicting all sorts of things, but their track records are mixed, and guesses often wrong. Many are focused on iPod nanos and their flash-based replacements: we’ve seen estimates of 6 to 8GB iPod nanos, 10 to 12GB new, high-end flash-based iPods, and discussions of both aluminum and magnesium enclosures, both in multiple colors. There have been dozens of guesses that Apple will release new widescreen video iPods with touch or gesture interfaces, but most of the recent reports have focused on wireless sixth-generation iPods. Additionally, Apple-developed iPhones are also supposedly coming soon.

What do you think is going to happen? And when? Will Apple kill the iPod shuffle? The iPod nano? Re-introduce the iPod mini? What will the replacements look like and feature? Pick your favorite iPod model or models, and give us your best guess on its future in the comments thread below. We look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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Comments

1

My prediction:

The iPod nano comes with a new look. 8GB. Video playback on screen a possibility.

The real iPod video shows up with the same size as the current 5G, but no buttons except the hold switch. It is all touch sensitive with a wide screen. Significant new software/firmware features are expected with the new design. Maximum size is 80GB.

The iTunes Movie Store is released with the new iPod video. Only Disney/Pixar videos are available at first.

Black shuffles may be announced with 1GB being the minimum size.

Posted by kainjow on July 10, 2006 at 4:46 PM (PDT)

2

I think the next iPod will be widescreen of course, but may have a click wheel on the back! Now here me out here…When you touch the wheel a halogram of it will appear on the display and also show you where your finger is on the clickwheel at that moment. Much like the volume and progress bars come up on the 5g now. This way you won’t have the problem of scratching the screen by touching it just to use the device…just a thought

Posted by n5wwy on July 10, 2006 at 7:02 PM (PDT)

3

n5wwy: i was having similar thoughts…

i guess shuffle will be gone, nano will have video and capacities of up to 8 gb, better scratch resistance without hugely changing the look (so no mini-like metal front), full ipod with wide screen and /some/ kind of clickwheel (because it’s the ipod’s signature), as n5wwy said, maybe on the back, maybe as a touch screen. i doubt they will have wireless earphones, and for connectivity… i guess a wireless docking station
my $.02… wink

Posted by formatc1702 on July 10, 2006 at 9:21 PM (PDT)

4

My Predictions

Shuffle: I think the shuffle will continue but maby with a small screen jest sowing a “now playing” screen

Nano: I think they will come out with Nano’s with metal or magnisium (probably metal because everyone loved the iPod mini) shells and the higher end ones (10 and 12 GB) will have video capabilities but not as clear a screen as the current 5G

5G:I think the 5G will still be made because it will probably cost less than the “true” video iPod people will still enjoy the massive memory and still be able to watch movies or music videos on a fair size screen. I would choose the 30 GB over a “true” video iPod if the 5G cost less because the screen isnt that small and it will probably have more memory that the “True” video iPods because the touch technology will use up room and apple loves to make their products as small as possible.

“true” video: I dont expect it to be much bigger than the 5G but im sure their will be a version with less memory that is smaller than the 5G and one with more that is bigger. I think it will probably have about 60-80GB and the smaller version 20-40GB.

iPod Phones: I think that iPod phones will be realeased eventually (probably about 2 years)  but i dont think people will like them because in order to have very much memory it will need to be thick and everyones pushing for the thinner phone

Posted by music-_-lover on July 10, 2006 at 9:35 PM (PDT)

5

Alrighty…

First off, an iPod Video with a clickwheel on the back (in the metal) would be far too unstylish for our good friend Stevie Jobs.I think that we are all going to be blown away by what they come up with, its gonna be a revolution that’s bigger than the mini-to-nano jump. I think we may get a new user interface (yep, a new clickwheel or touch’something’ haha).

The nano will get bigger capacities, but i highly doubt it will have video capabilities, the screen is tiny! Apple wouldn’t let that fly - the nano will stay a music player.

I think the 5G will just get bigger capacities and will remain a music counterpart to the iPod “V”.

As for the iPhone, who knows - maybe the iPod itself will become a phone? That’s what should happen…

Posted by j4Pod on July 10, 2006 at 10:49 PM (PDT)

6

My thought is that there won’t be any new iPods until the fall. The only reason I have for this is that I recently received a 35 EUR discount code for purchases of 350 EUR or more for the Apple Store (in France, where I live), good through 9/30. Historically, Apple has sent these reductions for periods when they have no major new products. (It seems likely that there will be new tower Macs and servers in August, but given the price points of these models, 35 EUR won’t even make a dent.)

This suggests that either there _will_ be a new iPod soon and Apple really wants to push sales (35 EUR will be nearly 10% off), or that there won’t be any new models, even at the Paris Apple Expo in September. Of course, that and 75 centimes will buy you a baguette…

Kirk

Posted by Kirk McElhearn on July 11, 2006 at 2:24 AM (PDT)

7

A touch sensitive screen would be an awful idea!  The 3G iPods were pretty damn tricky to operate by just touch (without looking at them) as you were never quite sure if you were on the right button, and the sensitivity was variable.  Sometimes the buttons would respond before your finger even reached the surface, other times you had to tap them multiple times to get a response.  I much prefer the clickwheel as it gives tactile feedback and with the clickable areas distributed around the perimiter it’s fairly easy to find the right area by touch.  (Having said that, the 3G with its touchwheel and red backlit buttons really looked classy, the grey clickwheel just never looked quite so good to me somehow)

The touch sensitive iPods were extremely difficult to use without pulling them out of your pocket/off your belt unless you used the remote.  Of course back in those days the remote was bundled with the iPods so it wasn’t a massive problem, but I doubt Apple will be including remotes with new models. 

Things I’d like to see? Well top of the list is GAPLESS PLAYBACK!  This has been missing for far too long, and WinAmp proves its possible with MP3 as long as you use the right encoder when ripping your CDs.  I think that the third party iPod firmware even supports this, that the official firmware still doesn’t is a major oversight in my opinion.

Posted by phennphawcks on July 11, 2006 at 4:29 AM (PDT)

8

A klickwheel on the back would feel like poking around in the iPos ###, rather than playing with its bellybutton, as we do today. I don´t think that would spell success…

Posted by andersbac on July 11, 2006 at 5:27 AM (PDT)

9

I think the aluminum or magnesium caing for the nano is a good possibility. People loved that mini, and as cool as it was to see the nano and the 5G match, I think the scratches on the surfaces of every nano I’ve seen prove that they need an update. Also, it’s a no-brainer that the storage capacity for every model of iPod will go up.

I think Apple is brewing up something new for the video iPod, whether it’s a touch screen or whatever, I’m sure Apple will do it well.  I’d like to see a touch screen, but at the same time my Nintendo DS gets pretty dirty when I’m playing games without my stylus, and I had to buy a screen protector because the original screen was getting scratched when I did use my stylus.

I think where Apple will really shock us will be the iPhone.  Imagine a phone slightly bigger than a nano, with a flip body that flips around with a click wheel on one side and numerical keypad on the other.  That could work, or, numbers around the click wheel that you could enter phone mode and press just like the regular buttons.  OR… an on screen dial, using the click wheel like a rotary phone, and the center button to select.  4GB would be a sufficient start for the storage capacity I think, with bigger models coming later in the year maybe. 

As for the shuffle, I think we’ll see a skinnier shuffle, with a tiny screen that shows what’s currently playing, artist, album, whatever, but not much else.  Hopefully we’ll also see it in black. 

I’m also really hoping for bluetooth integration with most, if not all iPods. We see wireless technology in Nintendo DS, PSP, cell phones… why not iPods?  If you’re in range of your computer, wouldn’t it be great for your iPod to be able to talk to it and get new songs or podcasts that recently downloaded? Of course, this might mean Apple would have to start packing in the wall charger again, but who knows.

Needless to say I’m very excited to see what Apple does.  Having currently a 3G and a shuffle, I’m feeling like I’m almost in need of an upgrade for my main iPod.  The 3G has done it’s job, but with so many good video podcasts, TV shows and hopefuly movies, it may be time for the 3G to retire.  Here’s hoping Apple wows me enough to drop the money for a new one!

Posted by geetar_playa on July 11, 2006 at 6:02 AM (PDT)

10

Quite unlikely that Apple will remake the current iPod nano because it was just introduced.  Some cosmetic changes to the iPod nano can be expected with a bigger capacity too.  Other than that, I dun think Apple will add video or other functionality to the nano as I feel that they will want to keep the nano solely as a music player instead of video.  By adding more capacity to the nano, I believe Apple might drop the shuffle so that they could push the price of the 1GB nano lower to make way for the higher capacity nano.  Nano form factor is great and so is its sales.  Apple would not risk the change.

Posted by willyboy on July 11, 2006 at 6:11 AM (PDT)

11

I would really love to see a iPod video.
Current iPod design is already very old.  From the 1st gen to the current 5th gen, there is not much exciting changes to it except for the cosmetic change to the wheel and added functionality.  Increasing availability of video contents makes iPod video the next natural step forward. 
Wide-screen (16:9) and Scroll Wheel are given, but I do not think that it would be a touch screen because that would make the product too costly.
Apple will make the wheel smaller and place it in the front beside the screen. I m predicting it to me in the side middle for the convenience of left and right hander.
The thickness would be about 0.5” (same thickness as the current 30GB iPod) and significantly thinner than the current video player in the market.
Screen size should be about 3.5” by 2” to maintain at the pocketable size of a PDA.

Posted by willyboy on July 11, 2006 at 7:08 AM (PDT)

12

With the introduction of this new iPod video, Apple might drop the 60GB iPod model and make 30GB as the entry capacity of this new iPod video.  I think that Apple might not use 60GB because it might increase the thickness of the device like the current 60GB iPod and also to keep the price of this device low.  Eventually, Apple will kill the 5th Gen iPod and add more cap to this new iPod video with 60GB, 100GB etc.  Price of this iPod video should be at the current 60GB model level which is the reason why I believe that the 60GB model will be killed next.

Posted by willyboy on July 11, 2006 at 7:10 AM (PDT)

13

From a market perspective, Apple needs an entry level player, a workout/travel player, and a full function/full library player. The current lineup meets those needs, so I don’t see them toying with the formula.

I’d like to see the entry level player at a $100 price point. Next step up would be $200 for something that would hold as many songs as possible while still having an 18 hour battery life and weighing something between the current nano and the original mini. At the top end, I see them splitting the audio and video lines. $300 should get you an audio player that could hold a full library (30g) like the current 5th gen. $400 and up would be the new video optimized player with a 60g+ capacity. Depending on sales, I see them dropping the 5th gen style mid-way through next year.

Posted by Aceon6 in New England, USA on July 11, 2006 at 9:03 AM (PDT)

14

I reckon the updated lineup will go like this:

iPod nano in a mini-esque shell, 8GB, colours. no video, even if the whole nano’s face was a screen it would still be too small for video. 18 hour battery life, or similar.

iPod video in a similar 5G form factor but in 10/12GB flash, therefore they can keep it slim whilst having good battery life and a bigger screen. They’ll probably be able to hold about 5 full length movies, which is plenty if you think about it… full screen with a touch screen, no clickwheel (impractical on a touch screen), stylus perhaps? 10 hour + battery. mainly video and photo focused.

iPod comes in 40 or 80GB sizes, same form factor, higher battery life, music, photos and same videos in low res, for people that like to put a few vids on it, but becomes a mainly music-centric device.

Thats what I reckon. If they made a true video iPod with a hard drive it would kill the battery and be huge, thats why i think flash is the way forward for video.

what do you think?

Posted by louispavlo in Southampton, UK on July 11, 2006 at 2:40 PM (PDT)

15

oh, and the normal iPod will have wireless aswell. otherwise it’d be a pretty boring update to it! confused

Posted by louispavlo in Southampton, UK on July 11, 2006 at 2:44 PM (PDT)

16

K…

Someone above wrote about iTunes replacing you lost music.  I think that’s an execellent idea! 

I’m not quite sure what I want to see in the new 6G, and I really don’t care at this moment, cause I like my 5G.  I would like to see the nano in a scratch proof shell… and I would like for Apple to offer the nano in 1GB - ONLY if they do away with the shuffle.  However, if the keep the shuffle (which would very,very nice for me) then I don’t care what they do to the nano.  I hope the shuffle is offered in other colors, and I’m not that interested in a screen, that I will quickly scratch up as I would use this player in the gym or when I go running.  I really want something that is not too high tech, wonderful and works well!

Just my 2 cents…

Posted by Black Beauty on July 11, 2006 at 6:00 PM (PDT)

17

Nano size with a Mini body would be awesome… When it comes to larger iPods I imagine a 16:9 scale with clickwheel or somerthing on the back. It would be cool if with you touch it a clickwheel apeared on the screen with a circle that shows where you finger is and gives you a guide so your not completely in the dark. Also this would allow them to keep the famous wheel look integrated into the front of the iPod.

Imagine it the add starts with like a movie… Then the click wheel fades onto the video and you see a circle moving on the click wheel mimicing a finger and changing volume or video…

I just thought of this but I think im on to somthing… not the click wheel on the back ofcourse but the display showing you were your finger is… eh? eh?

Posted by JeremytheIndian on July 11, 2006 at 9:30 PM (PDT)

18

What about a flip-iPod?  The outside is a widescreen video player you hold sideways.  Flip it open, and you see the current iPod setup with a click wheel. 

A touchscreen interface will get filthy fast and has no tactile feedback.  That feedback is very useful and important for people to feel engaged with their device.

Wireless might be neat, but I don’t see it as terribly useful.  I listen to my iPod while using my computer, if it stopped playing every time I changed anything in iTunes I would not be amused.

I really appreciate the beauty and simplicity of my 5G, and any new version would have to be dramatically better for me to upgrade.

Posted by Chrystopher on July 12, 2006 at 7:38 AM (PDT)

19

This year: new ipod nanos with 8GB (I don’t think the 10 or 12 is coming yet). I think they will keep the 1GB, 2GB and 4GB models. After all they basically only just introduced the 1GB model. They’ll have a new outer shell (aluminium, magnesium, who knows) but be the same form factor not to piss off the case manufacturers.

Ipod video late this year. I don’t think the touch screen will come to fruition, it’s just too hard to engineer with too many problems. The click wheel on the back isn’t too bad an idea, but I just don’t think it will happen either. Either it will have a tiny nano-size click wheel at the bottom or some other idea that nobody has predicted yet. It will replace the current 5G.

If by some chance the touch screen comes to fruition, I predict it won’t be until early next year, and the 5G will remain in production, because this would be one expensive piece of kit. But don’t think the touch scren thing will happen.

Posted by Countach on July 12, 2006 at 9:05 AM (PDT)

20

Hi,
I think that “Apple” will produce a new ipod which will be look like the ipod mini, but will color screen and another ipod video , but with much bigger screen then in the reguler.

Posted by johnni katz on July 12, 2006 at 11:32 AM (PDT)

21

Ok here are my predictions for the future of ipod:

Shuffle: apple will either discontinue the shuffle or lower its price dramatically

Nano: Nano will be lowered in price but remain mostly the same

Mini: the mini gets re-introduced as a high end flash based ipod w/ 6 - 12 gigs in between the nano and the regular ipod. And will have aluminum casing and color choices like the old mini but be shaped like a nano

6th gen Ipod: Ipod becomes wireless and bumped up to 40/80 gigs

True ipod video: Called the Ipod Cinema will be a similar size as the current ipod but have an entire frontpanel screen which can be turned horizontal to watch widescreen movies. a virtual semi opaque click wheel will show up when ever the screen is touched and will be 80/100 gigs

Posted by Jordonyez on July 12, 2006 at 3:50 PM (PDT)

22

While I understand the enthusiasm for some of these ideas, they are too fanciful. That is, I am not sure they would fly in the real world.

I’d like to see either the nano or 5G in that same aluminium shell as the Mac mini. So it will be flat on the sides, top and bottom and only the corners will be rounded. A much classier look than polished steel under shiny plastic (not that I dislike the current design!).

Gapless playback is far more important IMHO than widescreen, wireless or any of that jazz. And I agree that the clickwheel is a better solution than the 3G’s touch wheel.

One fancy feature I’d like: XviD support. It’s a free and open codec which requires no license fees. Same for Ogg Vorbis. What difference will it make to Apple? After all, you can rip your CDs to MP3 regardless of thte fact that iTMS is AAC. Customers will benefit and Apple won’t lose.

Posted by Pikemann_Urge on July 12, 2006 at 6:17 PM (PDT)

23

Partly building on what has been said before, how about this for the “true” 6G video iPod: On one side, it will look very much like the 5G iPod does today, with click-wheel AND a normal screen. This would be the controller side and primarily used when listening to music. When you want to look at a movie, choose what you want to see and then flip the iPod over. There you will find a glorious large 16:9 screen. Maybe, this screen could even be protected by some kind of smart lid or sliding curtain.

/Galex

Posted by Galex on July 13, 2006 at 4:04 AM (PDT)

24

Apple will move into a phone that has video, music with the touch screen.  The size would be smaller than the ipod, but larger than the nano.  It would use flash, with the touch screen, so that the whole screen can be used to view videos.  I would say minimum of 6 gigs, so that two movies could be stored, while still holding about 4 gigs of music.  And movies/music could be downloaded to the phone via bluetooth, usb 2.x connection or purchased directly from the phone.

Posted by fiverone on July 13, 2006 at 11:57 AM (PDT)

25

I think Apple will probably drop the shuffle and add a new high capacity nano to the range, probably with the new casing that has been rumoured.

As for the true Video iPod I can imagine that the 2007 estimates could well be right, they will want to get it spot on and can probably just about get away with boosting the capacity of the current iPods for the Christmas season.

I dont know how much of this is technologically possible but of the rumours I’ve heard I would like the true video ipod to have a full ipod sized screen, the “non-touch” touch screen where you just hover your finger a short distance from the screen,a boost to capacity and decent battery life.

I would also really like some type of controller for streaming music in the home, ideally give the ipod some sort of wifi capaility and have it turn into a sonos type controller when the airport express/mac mini media center is about.

Posted by robroe in Manchester, UK on July 15, 2006 at 12:33 PM (PDT)

26

Least we forget, Ipod is foremost a music player with a bigger capacity than any other support, what made it the biggest thing since the walkman. Therefore, if you think about it, CROSSFADE PLAYBACK is THE only exciting upgrade worth our hard earned cash. If I want to watch a movie I’ll buy a TV, thank you very much, I want my Ipod to play music.

Posted by bunny46 on July 17, 2006 at 9:56 AM (PDT)

27

Ignoring the “cinema” ipod (useless to all outside the US because Apple can’t get any content on foreign music stores), the Nano will resurface with a rock hard front casing and screen, with capacities at least doubled: the basic 6G ipod will have 60 Gb capacity (and be the same thickness as the current 5G 30Gb) and it will have a user replaceable battery (joke). The sound quality will take another useful notch upwards and iTunes music store will at last give the option of high bit rate and lossless downloads! Can’t wait!

Posted by drevo_uk in UK on July 24, 2006 at 9:09 AM (PDT)

28

I think apple will drop the shuffle because it is just too small a platform to fit in with the amount of power needed to enjoy the new features that an iPod with more GB offers. The sales for the shuffle will start to decline because people will want the iPod they own to do more.

Sincerely,
Allen Brock
applemp3.blogspot.com

Posted by Allen Brock on July 27, 2006 at 11:45 AM (PDT)

29

I really hope they come out with the ws ipod because why not bring on the movies if they added so many shows and just the shows,trailers,music videos, and live performances have a been a hit this year! Im not so into the idea that it will be touch screen i’d rather have the click wheel. But not sides or back. I predict that will happen. But I also predict that they will bring the ipod mini back.Or introduce a different small ipod. Every year they have a different small ipod.

Posted by smitherss on August 1, 2006 at 11:34 PM (PDT)

30

2003: 40 GB Ipod And Ipod Shuffle

2004:5-60 GB Ipod(Color)Photo And Ipod Mini

2005:30-60 GB Ipod Video And Ipod Nano

2006:60 GB-? Ipod ??? And Ipod ???

So it seems the pattern is they come out with a new big ipod every year and small ipod. They also always upgrade the big ipod and small pod is 1 year behind so next the small will be with video and big will go higher? Movies? Camera? Phone? those are my guesses

Posted by smitherss on August 1, 2006 at 11:42 PM (PDT)

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