The iPod Year in Review 2006: Evolution, Not Revolution | iLounge Article

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The iPod Year in Review 2006: Evolution, Not Revolution

Did 2006 live up to your iPod expectations? Were you expecting more? What’s coming in 2007? Share your thoughts in the Comments thread below!

As we think back to last year’s iPod Year in Review, we can’t help but remember the optimism we felt going in to 2006: Apple Computer had for the entire year not only dominated the digital media player market, and popular mindshare, but was preparing us for a new year of even faster-paced innovations. If 2005 had been impressive, 2006 was going to be staggering.

Measured by total iPod and accessory sales volume, 2006 was a great year. But in terms of excitement, it was a disappointment. Apple’s brilliantly staggered 2005 new hardware launches weren’t repeated - one event saw the simultaneous release of mostly incremental upgrades to all three prior iPod models - and some of the iPod’s buzz fizzled as a consequence. Despite record-breaking sales - more iPods were sold in 2006 than from 2001-2005 combined, and the accessory economy grew to an estimated $2 billion - vocal Apple opponents managed to steal iPod thunder for their own products, even if they had to resort to dirty tricks to do so.

Our extended iPod history feature (Five Year Dynasty: iPod + iTunes) with 2006’s significant milestones can be found in our free 2007 iPod Buyers’ Guide; like last year, this Year in Review takes a more opinionated look at what went right and wrong over the past 12 months, finishing with a brief look ahead. Use the “Click here for the story” buttons below to read as much or as little as you prefer.

iPod and iTunes: A Year Too Predictable? (Click here for the story.)

Accessories: More, and More of the Same (Click here for the story.)

The Rise of New iPod Competitors (Click here for the story.)

What’s Next? (Click here for the story.)

Parting Thoughts

As we prepare to leave 2006 and start 2007, we remain confident that the iPod will have an impressive next 12 months: this will likely be the year when the 100 millionth iPod is sold - literally years ahead of the Walkman hitting that milestone - and iTunes Store sales will continue to be counted in billions, while competitors struggle for millions. After a 2006 that was strong on numbers but weak on excitement, it’s our feeling that users and companies on the iPod bandwagon will have an even better 2007; exciting new hardware releases will only be the start of it.

What do you think? Did you think 2006 was great for the iPod? What are you hoping for in 2007? We look forward to reading your comments and thoughts below.

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Comments

1

I hope we see some Widescreen iPods, if we are lucky, ones with Bluetooth (and maybe WiFi)!

Posted by GuitarRocker on December 11, 2006 at 9:06 PM (CST)

2

yes, hope fully at price tags of $300 and $400.

Posted by KUNFUCHOPSTICKS on December 11, 2006 at 9:29 PM (CST)

3

1.) iPods with over 100 GBs of storage.

2.) iPods with WiFi capabilities.

3.) iPods with web browsers to check e-mail (with hotspots).

4.) Widescreen iPods.

5.) Graphic Interface (like Zune & Gigabeat).

6.) Bluetooth Technology for wireless earpieces and wireless remotes.

7.) Scratch-Resistant casing.

Posted by iBod78 on December 12, 2006 at 12:24 AM (CST)

4

8.)ATI Radeon Graphics accelerator (so I can Play Splinter Cell)
9.)Compartment for microwaving pop-tarts.
10.)DVD-burner.
11.)and a hotplate to make some scrambled eggs for those early mornings at work

Come on… if I needed all those things a little higher on the page I would get a laptop.

Posted by Just me on December 12, 2006 at 1:06 AM (CST)

5

I’m definitely with you in wishing that the iTV is only a part of the strategy and that there is some type of wireless hd/wireless controller system in the works. Sonos and Slimdevices rule at the moment but I’m sure Apple could come up with a slightly better set up.
It would be great to have a widescreen wireless ipod that would control it all too ;)

Posted by robroe in Manchester, UK on December 12, 2006 at 4:47 AM (CST)

6

100Gb Widescreen iPod, preferably with a good scratch-resistant screen. I really don’t value bluetooth or WiFi built in because of the effect they’d have on battery life, and besides, what would you really do with these, besides PC-less podcast downloads (which would admittedly be cool).

I don’t think Apple should mess too much with an interface that ‘just works’ - the simplicity of the device (both physical and interface) is one of the things that has made the iPod what it is today.

Posted by Phil B on December 12, 2006 at 6:51 AM (CST)

7

Fine, I see that some people still like the “Simple Interface” - those must be the “simple” people.

Apple prides itself on great graphics - imagine, the Zune (Microsoft) has better graphics than the iPod?

Why does Apple still have the same menu interface and no background images - just as it did in 2001…?

How about they make it an option that a user can select. If the “simple” people still like the boring menu backgrounds (of white), they can still use them…?

Posted by iBod78 on December 12, 2006 at 9:29 AM (CST)

8

My iPod is perfect featurewise, some features just need some fine tuning.

The iTV product is the only new thing I’m looking forward to.

Posted by Gordy. in Atlanta, GA on December 12, 2006 at 10:57 AM (CST)

9

I think that Apple should concentrate on something they should have done ages ago; develop an iPod with easy to change batteries.  Something similar to the GameBoy Macro, who has easy to replace batteries.  Also, when new generations come in, PLEASE make some of our old accessories (remotes, itrips, etc) work with the new ones?  Tired of buying new stuff with each new ipod!

Posted by SJH in IL on December 12, 2006 at 12:12 PM (CST)

10

Since we are creating wish-lists here, how about a bluetooth enabled video iPod that can stream video and/or audio to the TV/stereo.  The iPod is, by far, the best remote I have ever had; easy to control, intuitive, and carries all of my video with me.  The screen is fine for personal viewing.  Let me hold my iPod while I watch TV!  Why would I want to hold some crappy $10 remote?  Steve, hear my cry.

Posted by Chrystopher on December 12, 2006 at 12:43 PM (CST)

11

no bluetooth or wifi… battery. No background images, it will clutter up the screen and how does that help anything anyways? Maybe i’m “simple minded” or maybe I understand that the reason apple is so popular is because the UI is simple. WHO NEEDS A BACKGROUND PICTURE??? no one. clearly it’s not going well for microsoft

anyways, sorry for that. All I would really like to see is a widescreen. iTV seems pretty cool too, but the name is lame. But like that matters…

Also random note about iTunes, I like how Music, Movies, Games, Audiobooks, TV shows, and what not are in the source list, but why no ‘music videos’, thats my favorite thing to watch. Ehh…

Posted by Andrew H on December 12, 2006 at 5:55 PM (CST)

12

lol might I ask a question first before I go on, what is the hopes of having an ipod with wifi?  To me, I would rather check/write email from a computer, or leaving voicemails from a cell phone for example..  The PSP really didnt do it for a web-browser for me, as a matter of fact I really dont like my cell phone web-browser lol.

Okay now for my hopes.

Yes I would like a more scratch resistant casing, the other things I would like to see is more space (not that I dont need it, but it would be nice in the end to have that), I had a 20GB model but I honestly dont need that much space, I think I still have like 18GB free on the thing to be honest with you guys.  So the more space thing is nice, but its not needed.

I think what I would like is a moisture resistant ipod, especially the wheel because I like to listen to my music when I take a shower in the morning for example.  Ok thats enough for me :)

Posted by jzakoor on December 12, 2006 at 8:25 PM (CST)

13

I think the original hard-disk-based iPod will be discontinued in 2007. It’s too big for a music player and the screen is too small for video so having lured Microsoft down a blind Apple will continue to sell small flash-based music players and see huge growth in video and phones.

Posted by Andrew C (UK) on December 17, 2006 at 5:31 AM (CST)

14

Evolution or continual refinement is fine by me.  Does anybody not like the new Porsche Turbo?  It’s been evolving since the 911/912 was born in 1965.  The 911/912 really was just the evolution of the hand-built 356s going back to 1948.  If the iPod tries to be a PDA or a laptop it will be doomed.  Apple needs to refine what they have, not reinvent it.  My wish list?  The ability to download from the iTunes Store on any computer with a USB port, internet connection and my password would be great for when I’m away from my home PC.  The next time the iPod syncs with the host PC, the remotely downloaded songs would then be validated and downloaded to the host PC.

Posted by Elcoholic in So Cal on December 18, 2006 at 6:07 PM (CST)

15

1. FM Radio built-in (c’mon an audio player without this! how you dare!. like zune, sansa, samsung k5, lots of cellphones)

2. Speaker!!! we need speakers (take a look at the samsung k5, it has one extremely thin speaker and it sounds really good, and what about the se walkmans or motorokr & e398, not as good but they do the job)

3. bluetooth sharing of media between ipods (if microsoft does, why apple doesnt? i really dont find “necessary” this one for the pc, usb does the work. like zune, cellphones)

4. built-in mic-recorder (again, why on earth should i have to buy a third party hardware?)

5. capable to use bluetooth earphones (just like motorokr e2. i don’t mind if i have to buy those apart. but honestly i dont find this necessary as the previous points but it’ll be cool)

I know i know, those things can be done with accesories BUT we need ONE brand new accesory for EVERY single feature we want, so we need to expend time and money on 3 brand new accesories and we are only allowed to add one at time and our ipod will become in some kind of frankenstein.

C’MON STEVE ONLY 4 - 5 THINGS TO DO AND YOUR IPOD-AUDIO WILL BE DONE. SO YOU CAN FOCUS ON YOUR IPOD-VIDEO AND YOUR IPOD-PHONE

Posted by xvicariousx on December 19, 2006 at 4:59 PM (CST)

16

I say no to speakers…I don’t care for them I don’t need a boom box…I like my ipod to stay personal ...the Samsung w speaker is cool but bulky ...( I don’t care for them ) ...I predict the next ipod will have fm tuner inside ...Bluetooth is just waste ...wifi ?
why ?..that is what your Iphone is for ...
Background are aim for teenagers…Quote from iBod78 “Apple prides itself on great graphics ” ...false statement Apple never cared about graphic at all…think about there products from past to present..Imac..ipod…macbook….there all one color ...that is it..Apple graphic is all about simplicity..They let you add the graphics..
If Apple does create an iphone maybe Ipod nanos and even Ipod video will be eliminated…I am not sure…we will see

Posted by kou on December 24, 2006 at 8:25 PM (CST)

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