BusinessWeek: ‘Expect a flash iPod sometime next year’ | iLounge News

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BusinessWeek: ‘Expect a flash iPod sometime next year’

BusinessWeek’s Alex Salkever is expecting Apple to unveil a flash memory-based iPod that will hit shelves “sometime next year.” Salkever says the flash iPods would sell for significantly less than the current hard drive-based iPods, allowing Apple to reach new consumers who balk at the higher prices. “iPod, which clocked 3.2 million units sold in the last quarter, is logging an annual sales rate of roughly 13 million units. That leaves Apple plenty of room to maneuver if it wants to assault the flash player market… If Apple could sell just 5 million flash IPods in the next year at prices between $120 and $199, that would likely generate revenues of between $600 million and $1 billion. It would certainly push Apple closer to its goal of rejoining the $10 billion revenue club in the next two years. Add it all up, and the flash iPod hardly looks like a flash in the pan.”

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Comments

1

i can’t wait!!  new ipods are always great to see, play with, buy, obsess over….

Posted by StinkieDMB in Pittsburgh, PA on November 11, 2004 at 7:51 AM (PDT)

2

OK… so which fantasy world is it where flash memory in reasonable quantity is suddenly less expensive than hard disk space? Same bloody arguments everyone made re: the ipod mini using flash and costing $100 apply here.

If I had an unending supply of magic pixie dust and sold it for between 120 and 199, I could sell 5 million and make between 600 million and 1 billion next year, too…


Now, maybe someone like Griffin or Belkin will come out with a sort of baby ipod accessory that you can plug into the ipod and sync a playlist or two to, for ‘on-the-go’ use. I can see that happening… something the size of an italk or smaller, that plugs into the dock port… 64-128 megs, with the selling points being that it matches the ipod and synchs with it rather than with a computer… but not apple looking to out-mini the mini and magically finding the $10-$20 per gig flash card prices they’d need to make businessweek’s prediction work… and it’s still going to have to be about the size of the mini, if they want to keep the click wheel.

Posted by JCO on November 11, 2004 at 8:16 AM (PDT)

3

so which fantasy world is it where flash memory in reasonable quantity is suddenly less expensive than hard disk space

Flash is definitely not cheaper, but it does offer a different kind of convenience.

Say Apple sold a Flash player for $100 with minimal memory bundled but with an SD/CF slot.

Now, you can buy 1GB CF cards for arounnd $50 these days, and 1GB SD cards for around $60. And I’ve seen them go for $40 after rebate. Afvter rebate prices basically presage the sticker price in 4 months time…

So if you sell $100 iPods to “kids” or people who don’t want to plunk down a larger bag of cash at once, then you can lock them in by selling them an “upgrade” 1GB (or the forthcoming 2Gb cards) for around $50 every few months.

Carrying around several SD cards is no big deal, they are tiny. You can get a caddy that holds 10Gb and is smaller than the end of your thumb.

Organizing different artists or genres on different cards also offers an easy, physical way for people to manage their collections without resorting to extreme tagging and playlist noodling.

One advantage of the Flash media model is also that the price of “upgrades” basically halves every 9 months or so. So if you don’t want to add 5GB now, you can settle for adding only 1GB, knowing that in a year’s time you could spend the same amount of money for another 2GB.

Consider also the possible business advantages of selling these low-end cards for Apple. The selling price of the cards could be subsidized by including bundled songs for a fee - a great way for record companies to distribute new music gratis. Or snippets of songs as adverts, jungles, or ringtones. This could lower the retail price of an Apple-branded “media card” by 10-20%.

Yes, even given the continued growth in capacity of flash media, they will never equal the price or capacity of hard disk media. However, at what point does enough space become too much? Lots of people seem to be happy with their iPod Minis, and they have a tiny capacity compared to some other options available (my Archos stores 80GB and I wouldn’t have it any other way!).

It seems like lots of people are happy with just a few GB of music “on-hand” at any time. Hell, people get by with 256MB players! When and if Flash capacities reach the 4GB mark for $50 (I give it two years tops) then wouldn’t a lot of the people who currently buy iPod Minis also consider a similar, half-priced iPod Flash?

Posted by Demosthenes on November 11, 2004 at 9:07 AM (PDT)

4

game set and match

Posted by jellyMEETSjam in NA on November 11, 2004 at 9:17 AM (PDT)

5

What about all of the “Expect a flash iPod before Christmas” predictions. What is to say that nothing will happen again.

Posted by Daveoc64 in UK on November 11, 2004 at 9:44 AM (PDT)

6

Daveoc64,

Media expectations was for 2 new iPods before Christmas (U2 iPod, iPod photo) the flash part was speculation on the end-user part.

Posted by Zardoz in Austin TX on November 11, 2004 at 10:28 AM (PDT)

7

Apple won’t make a flash based ipod because the whole point of them is the fact that they are small in size and capacity and if it’s small it won’t be able to fit a click wheel and then there’s the whole software business so apple won’t be able to use the two main selling points of the ipod, so it would just be a run of the mill flash mp3 player with the word ipod and an apple on it

Posted by Zer0cool in Cold City AntArctica on November 11, 2004 at 11:57 AM (PDT)

8

Yeah - in much the same way that the iPod is hardly anything more than run of the mill if you deconstruct the concept - it’s a small HDD with a very basic interface and a small LCD screen. I think the Flash player should have come instead of iPod Mini. Mini’s are ridiculously overpriced, although the size is far more reasonable. A flash based system, using cheap storage like SD cards as mentioned above, would open the brand up massively. It would be a hell of a lot easier to slip in your pocket…don’t know about you, but I find the size and weight of my 15gb 3G iPod a real pain hanging on my belt or weighing down a side of my jacket. That’s not going to be a problem with a Flash based system. Other than relentless surfing through your library, who really has the time to sit and listen to all of what’s on their iPod? By giving a smaller capacity, you’re actively encouraging people to get into iTunes more often, to buy new fresh content, and to interact with their system more as well. That’s good marketing.

Posted by Dave Cochrane in scotland on November 11, 2004 at 12:09 PM (PDT)

9

Why would Apple go backwards in technology? With a 87-92% market share, do they REALLY need that last 8%? I don’t think so.

If anything, making a cheap flash-based iPod would cheapen the iPod name. I felt the U2 was gimmicky, the flash-based one would be just as bad.

Please Apple, say it isn’t so!

Fishes,
narco.

Posted by narco in Burbank on November 11, 2004 at 3:40 PM (PDT)

10

no its not going back backwards in technology because, its just in the North america tat ipods are popular and famous. In the eastern asia no one will think of carrying this big fat thing as they have small flash based mp3 with built in digital cameras, radio, 7 lcd lights, voice recording when ipod offers none of those.
so it would be a definetly a good idea to make a flash based player and it would definetly boost apples reputation

jstylex0r

Posted by jstylex0r on November 11, 2004 at 4:18 PM (PDT)

11

A flash based Ipod would be nice - imagine if it had SD expansion as well..
I just want one to use when snowboarding. The mini or regular will freeze.

Posted by iKiwi in Toronto, Canada on November 12, 2004 at 5:01 AM (PDT)

12

narco,

digital-audio players are set to generate US$58 billion in revenue worldwide by 2008, according to a new study from research firm IDC.

if apple made 8% more due to the introduction of a flash base player. That would give them 4.64 billion extra. I think they might like that.

Posted by Zardoz in Austin TX on November 12, 2004 at 6:33 AM (PDT)

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