Apple’s Steve Jobs talks iPod in interview | iLounge News

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Apple’s Steve Jobs talks iPod in interview

In an interview with Fortune, Apple CEO Steve Jobs answers the question of how the iPod has changed Apple. “It feels great,” Jobs says. “We’re having fun. Most of us can’t wait to get to work in the morning. But it’s not like Apple has somehow morphed into a mass-market consumer electronics company. Our DNA hasn’t changed. It’s that mass-market consumer electronics is turning into Apple.”

Jobs also discusses how young people are migrating to iPods and matching portable speakers from larger stereos made by electronics giants.

“You or I move into a new house, and the first thing we do is call the phone company to get our land line turned on. Kids, they just move in with their cell phones. Stereos are the same: Kids aren’t getting stereos; they’re getting speakers for their iPods,” Jobs says. “That’s become the audio market. People are buying iPods and Bose speakers instead of a JVC or Sony stereo system. And those guys have never come to us and said, ‘Could we work with you on the iPod?’ Some companies are prisoners of their point of view.”

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Comments

1

I’ve got a CD/tuner/speaker system sitting in one room that is just about as useful as a doorstop. I’m either listening to my (wonderful) Tivoli radio system or plugging my iPod into it.

This is the next big shift and Jobs (and god knows iPodLounge!) knows it. The cellphone vs landline analogy is spot on.

Posted by iPodPartout in Old Europe on February 7, 2005 at 1:17 PM (PDT)

2

Sony and those other stereo makes should simply provide wifi and controls for iTunes in their stereos.

Posted by minty on February 7, 2005 at 2:48 PM (PDT)

3

The problem with that view of things is that what you’re ultimately doing is sacrificing quality in the name of what? Portability? Convenience? Those portable speaker systems will never sound as good as a component system. Even the pricier ones. There are plenty of ways to connect your iPod to a stereo and reap the benefits of a full sound system.

It’s so similar to people using cell phones at home as their main phone lines. Convenient, and often times cheaper. But, I HATE it when I’m talking to someone on the phone and their reception is good for crap. They occasionally fade in and out during the conversation—never happens on a land line. I’m all for progress, but a lot of times it’s progress at the expense of quality. Standards occasionally get lowered when we talk about convenience.

Posted by JimmyJ on February 7, 2005 at 3:18 PM (PDT)

4

If stereos are going out as he says, then why the airport express? The main feature is that it syncs with the stereo

Posted by tumblingwall in u.s. on February 7, 2005 at 3:27 PM (PDT)

5

^Agreed.

Posted by dino in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada on February 7, 2005 at 3:29 PM (PDT)

6

Stereo’s may be going out, but home theatres most definitely aren’t.  Mine, and I’m assuming many others, has a stereo tuner built in.  I think the point is that you no longer need a standalone stereo unit as home theatre rolls that into its functionality.

Posted by quadraphonic in alberta | canada on February 7, 2005 at 4:36 PM (PDT)

7

I agree with JimmJ. “I’m all for progress, but a lot of times it’s progress at the expense of quality.” -JimmyJ. My thoughts exactly. I have a full sound surround sound system set up for my home theater that’s hooked up to my T.V. I funnel sound through it when I’m watching DVDs. Sorry, but those tinny, hallow portable iPod Speakers just aren’t going to cut it even the Bose and JBL ones. And a lot of people know that. If you’re a “grown up” you’ll have a surround sound system set up and maybe a pair of “iPod” speakers near your PC or in another room, but you won’t give up the rich, full, enveloping sound of a try speaker system.

Posted by FallN in New York, NY on February 7, 2005 at 6:10 PM (PDT)

8

Everyone knows that the first item you move into your new home is the stereo! wink

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on February 7, 2005 at 9:47 PM (PDT)

9

But as pointed out you really don’t need to sacrifice quality.  Buy a small amp.  Use this six foot Sony speakers you already have. 

And the Airport Express is more about a cheap and portable base station for most of us.  You have one Mac, your bud has one Mac, but you both have broadband?  Insta inexpensive Airport Extreme base station (and plug in the stereo if you’re in the mood).  wink

Posted by glockster in U.S. on February 8, 2005 at 12:57 AM (PDT)

10

You can’t say you’re concerned about quality vs. convenience if you’re an iPod user (unless you’re one of those guys who imports CDs at the highest bitrate, thereby cutting your iPod capacity in half or less). 

The iPod is all about convenience at the expense of quality:  We take music, convert it to a bitrate that is less than the original music was recorded at, and then carry it around.  And the higher quality sounds systems will only amplify the drop in sound quality on those pieces of music you’re carrying around.  That’s why the old CDs that were recorded in AAD or ADD always had a disclaimer on the back that read “The digital mastering system may expose flaws inherent in the analog recording process.”

Posted by jfarrx19 in Pittsburgh, Pa. on February 8, 2005 at 2:46 AM (PDT)

11

Jody, I agree. I actually use CDs at home and in my car. And although I do rip my CDs at a high bitrate, I’m not using lossless. My iPod is used when I’m on the go (and I truly love it for this purpose!). But, taking music outside of your home has always been a give and take situation. To those who are concerned about audiophile sound quality on the go, they can get their iPod close to what they desire with the right bitrate (100% there, for the most part, if you rip in lossless) and, equally as important, the right ear/headphones (maybe even a small headphone amp, if you so desire).

That said, I know that there are many people who use their iPods at home as their main source. In that situation, there still is a dramatic difference in sound quality between hooking up the line-out of your iPod to your component system and doing the same into portable/stand-alone speakers.

Posted by JimmyJ on February 8, 2005 at 8:31 AM (PDT)

12

People, you all miss the point.
Steve Jobs needs to come up with a solution to wives that complain of any music, regardless of through small bad quality speakers or a good quality sound system. 
right now the earphones are all I get for extended listening periods!
Damn these one room New York apartments smile

Posted by snappy on February 8, 2005 at 9:57 AM (PDT)

13

Who still buys standalone stereo components? Even the cheap low-end Philips and “Soony” models in K-Mart now msotly come with USB ports for playback, and anything over $120 has an ethernet port for wired or wireless streaming. The Streamium range is pretty good here, and Lite-On make some nice networked media players. On the high end, some of the Denon stuff with ReplayTV built-in is awesome.

Personally I can’t take the iPod seriously as the center of a system when Apple saw fit to disable the spdif out and all you have is crappy analog cables from a miniplug! Buying extra dongles to enable it just adds cables and clutter. I hope the 5G *finally* adds a real digital output.

Posted by Demosthenes on February 8, 2005 at 2:53 PM (PDT)

14

Steve Jobs is not a fool.  Yes, he focused on the youth market in the remark being discussed.  People who prefer cell to land line and portable speakers to big, boxy home stereo systems.  And, I believe he is right about that market.

But, there is another market.  It happens to be the one Sony, JBL and Bang & Olufsen cater to—well-off grownups who can afford expensive, high-quality audio devices.  Bose has already discovered the synergy between the iPod and such products.  Jobs wants the others to.

Furthermore, Jimmy got close to another interesting aspect.  Affluent adults who want to be as lossless with their digital audio as they can may drive the high-end market.  For them, there will be small devices that provide quality sound without the bulk of traditional home stereo systems. That is partly the influence of Apple toward miniaturization.  Some products already exist.

Last, but not least, those of us with 40 and 60 GB iPod can easily record at the highest bit rate without having much impact on filling up our iPods.  The ‘poor sound quality’ claim is vastly overstated.

Posted by Podesta in Portland, OR on February 8, 2005 at 2:58 PM (PDT)

15

those of us with 40 and 60 GB iPod can easily record at the highest bit rate

But not actually *with* the iPod. Isn’t the recording software-limited to something ridiculously sub-standard? Like, 8KHz or something? Maybe this is part of the settlement with Apple Corps?

Posted by Demosthenes on February 8, 2005 at 4:50 PM (PDT)

16

regarding bitrate: with AAC and the default 128 bitrate, experienced listeners cannot tell the difference between that and CDs… Jobs is not an idiot.  MP3s suck at 128, yes. AAC is very good at 128, due to its variable sampling rate.

“Lossless” is a theoretical consideration that does not reflect the quality of the experience. “Lossless” is completely unneccessary, and in fact, there is ALWAYS loss of some kind, whether you listen on CDs, AACs, or with the naked ear.

I have been a muscican for 25 yrs, and to my ear, AAC at 128 sounds very fine. But don’t take my word for it. Just Google Dolby and AAC and you’ll get more than enough info.

Posted by mmacavo1 on February 8, 2005 at 7:27 PM (PDT)

17

experienced listeners cannot tell the difference between that and CDs

No, you’re wrong.

MP3s suck at 128, yes. AAC is very good at 128, due to its variable sampling rate.

VBR MP3s also have variable sampling rates within the frequency domain.

“Lossless” is completely unneccessary, and in fact, there is ALWAYS loss of some kind, whether you listen on CDs

But lossless *preserves* the fidelity of the source input. Lossy does not and cannot, by definition.

it’s also worth noting that CDs are limited to 44.1KHz, 16-bit. With a good soundcard (like mine!) you can do sampling at up to 192KHz, 24-bit, and so greatly exceed the CDDA standard. That’s when you can use BVR MP3 or, yes, AAC, or even lossless to encode with better quality than 25-year-old CD format.

Jobs is not an idiot

No he’s not. That’s why he doesn’t want to have spend the money upping his bandwidth costs by 50% to provide 192Kbps tracks. If he could get away with 96Kbps, he would! It amazes me that a no-budget Russian operation like AllOfMP3.com can will let customers pick their bitrate and format but such an excellent idea is not implemented by any major US online music company.

Here’s some blind listening tests for 128K lossy formats. Vorbis scores the best, AAC and VBR MP3 are tied for joint second place…

http://www.rjamorim.com/test/multiformat128/plot18z.png

You want more on this topic, check out HydrogenAudio’s Listening Tests forum.

Posted by Demosthenes on February 9, 2005 at 4:11 AM (PDT)

18

Demosthenes said:

“it’s also worth noting that CDs are limited to 44.1KHz, 16-bit. With a good soundcard (like mine!) you can do sampling at up to 192KHz, 24-bit, and so greatly exceed the CDDA standard. “

yes but the highest frequency the human ear can hear is 20 KHz, or more like 18 KHz if you’ve been to the occasional rock concert over the years.  Therefore sampling at rates about 40 KHz is unnessary, although the iTunes AAC format allows for much higher sampling rates than that. So like I said before, there is no need to waste time and storage space trying to collect inaudible frequencies that, if you could hear them, are only a hiss anyway. You’ll waste a lot of time and money doing that.

Now if you want your dog to enjoy the highest frequencies unadulterated then knock yourself out.

Posted by mmacavo1 on February 9, 2005 at 12:48 PM (PDT)

19

Interesting, M.  So, some of the elitest audiiophile posturing has no real world value.  I think that is true of a lot of things.  Wine, for example.  Much of the minutiae of connoisseurship is dubious at best.

Posted by Podesta in Portland, OR on February 9, 2005 at 1:24 PM (PDT)

20

the highest frequency the human ear can hear is 20 KHz, or more like 18 KHz if you’ve been to the occasional rock concert over the years.

Your misunderstanding of the principle of super-sampling is based on a lack of appreciation for the effects of induced harmonics and the action of the Nyquist sampling theorem.

This article explains better than I could why super-sampling from an analog source into the digital domain is always going to produce better results except for artificial situations where with weird gated filters.

Moving forward, if you want to have 24-bit sound and multi-channel sound, you are simply not going to fit that into a 44.1 or 48 KHz sample domain without distortion. ALso, a putative 5G iPod will be unable to pass a multi-channel soundstage signal to an external amp without a digital output.

Posted by Demosthenes on February 10, 2005 at 3:34 AM (PDT)

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