Mix: Baig, Wired, Coursey, Lost iPods | iLounge News

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Mix: Baig, Wired, Coursey, Lost iPods

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Friday, January 21, 2005
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Praising the iPod shuffle’s “breakthrough price” and “excellent battery life,” USA Today tech columnist Edward C. Baig gives the device three and a half stars out of four.

The February 2005 issue of Wired magazine’s “Wired, Tired, Expired” lists the mythical iPhone as “Wired,” the iPod as “Tired,” and the iBook as “Expired.” Strangely, Wired’s January 2004 issue also listed the iPod as “Tired.”

eWeek’s David Coursey gives the iPod shuffle a C- grade, saying that Apple is “trying to make a virtue out of the fact that the device lacks a screen by making it sound like random playback is an advantage.”

LostiPods.com is giving away an iPod mini to the 500th member to register their iPod in the site’s iPod tracking service. The site will also give an iPod mini away for each 100th member after the 500th milestone.

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Comments

1

Random playback isn’t an advantage. Every player has that. (Not all make it so easy to choose WHAT music is being shuffled, though.)

Small size, weight, and cost per capacity ARE advantages. As are autofill and the often-overlooked audiobook support that many players lack.

What Random IS is good marketing. Whatever the size of the player, shuffle-play really appeals to people who are new to digital players. It’s a “killer feature” for the people—I can tell that from the people who play with my iPod, and are excited by the idea of shuffling a big batch of their music collection—even though it seems trivial to me.

And yet 99% of the time, shuffling and skipping without using the screen ARE how I use my iPod.

And really, shuffle-play is the one thing you CAN’T do with CDs unless you have a monster multi-disc changer. Playing in order on one CD is easy. Shuffling all your favorites, regardless of the source? That’s actually a good reason to get a digital player.

Posted by Nagromme on January 21, 2005 at 11:15 AM (PDT)

2

Shuffle-play is feasible on an MP3-capable CD player same as with any medium-to-high capacity digital music player.

Anyhow, I don’t think it’s necessarily a great marketing point, but Apple’s making it great—for new users, like you said.

Something I thought about: It’s important for Apple to be absolutely up front about the shuffle’s lack of functionality. There are a lot of shuffle buyers who may go on to buy a full-blown iPod—I’m already considering it—but a lot of those purchasers may have felt ripped off if the shuffle’s “simplicity” had not been made blatantly obvious, and perhaps would not trust Apple again when considering a bigger buy.

Posted by SPThom on January 21, 2005 at 11:58 AM (PDT)

3

regarding lostipods.com—

does anyone else find that some completely useless? I mean, from what I understand, basically you’re suppose to engrave or stick a sticker on your iPod with the “lostipods.com” text. So if someone finds it, they will supposedly go to the site and return it. But HAVE there even been success stories from that site?

The only so-called “success story” for lostipods is completely suspicious.
It was posted on this thread: http://www.lostipods.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20&sid=05e593813a8ab90d9122b331ab6a0a75 by a person named “newmember”....and less than a minute later, the admin on the site replies to congratulate them on getting back their iPod thanks to the site.

Fishy.

Also, it’d totally suck if you got your ipod engraved with lostipods.com and then the site disappears…After all, the domain is just registered for a year http://www.whois.sc/lostipods.com

Posted by rockthecasbah on January 21, 2005 at 12:21 PM (PDT)

4

^^

ignore the ‘some’ in ‘does anyone else find that some completely useless?’

Posted by rockthecasbah on January 21, 2005 at 12:23 PM (PDT)

5

re: lostipods.com

i dunno… i was thinking that if it became popular it’d be a good service. of course, you have to believe that if you actually lost your iPod someone finding it wouldn’t just keep it for themselves… but you never know, especially if you listed a reward. i might give it a shot. it’s only 5 bucks…

Posted by mrfett in Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2005 at 1:36 PM (PDT)

6

It’s worth $5 just to potentially get an iPod mini   They can afford to do it, too, because every 100 members is $500, so they still make $250 profit.

Regarding the iPod shuffle, I kind of agree with Coursely.  It’s ridiculous how much they’re pushing the fact that it’s random to make it seem spontaneous and exciting.  I really don’t think it is.

Posted by non_zero in New Smyrna, FL on January 21, 2005 at 2:41 PM (PDT)

7

ha “excellent battery life” when there are flash players out there that can get over triple that. the shuffle is pretty much at the bottom.

Posted by Enigma on January 21, 2005 at 3:46 PM (PDT)

8

Wired is tired, and has been for a long time. Forbes is more cutting-edge, and that’s saying something.

Small size, weight, and cost per capacity ARE advantages.

Have you seen the MPIO players? Some of them are *tiny*, literally half the size of the shuffle, and with screens. But they *are* significantly more expensive than the shuffle for similar capacity. It’s an odd turnaround when Apple is competing with other players not based on compactness, but just cheaper prices.

You know, when the original iPod was introduced at a significantly higher price point than the market average, it had the odd effect of dragging the average cost-per-device upwards for a couple of years (very atypical in IC-based consumer electronics).

This actually helped Apple’s competitors, who had been focussed on cutting costs and nothing else for years. Their quality was poor and they used cheaper, bulky 2.5” drives. After a couple years of higher margins, however, they managed to add smaller disks and more styling. Apple’s entry therefore had the effect of dragging the entire market for HD players upwards, adding more cost and features.

I think this upward-dragging creaping featuritis effect spilled over into flash players. I took a walk through a big box electronics store just today, to see what was on offer. There was indeed a range of around 10 flash players on sale, and all of them offered some combination of FM, screens (some color), and FM/voice recording. All-round convergence devices. And they were all signficantly more expensive for similar MB than the shuffle.

So if Apple is right, and based on their focus groups a significant portion of people don’t want the bells and whistles of added features along with the added cost, then if the single-tasking shuffle is a hit (and AsusTek says it has contracted to produce 500K per month for 12 months!) then I expect a retrenchment in the general featureset and average selling price.

Given that the Apple brand generally commands a price premium, I’d expect to see similar cut-down feature-free players hit the shelves at the end of this quarter, probably offering 512MB for $75 and 1GB for around the $125 to undercut Apple. I wonder if the $200+ luxury flash niche will remain - its very existence seems to annoy Steve Jobs no end considering he stated at its launch that the iPod Mini would eliminate it… Maybe the shuffle will deliver the death blow?

Posted by Demosthenes on January 21, 2005 at 5:39 PM (PDT)

9

Coursey rates iLife 05 only C+, for not offering very many features.

!

!!!!!!

It boggles the mind—even more so since my copy arrived today—until you read that he based his review on glancing at Apple’s iLife page… he never actually tried it.

GarageBand 2 alone (my copy just arrived!) is worth twice the price if iLife 05. And I can’t wait to use all the new stuff in iPhoto 5.

iLife ‘05 is like $600 of outstanding, feature-rich, easy-to-use software… for $79. It’s one of the best features of any Mac. My rating would have to be a bit higher than C+ smile

Posted by Nagromme on January 21, 2005 at 6:49 PM (PDT)

10

GarageBand 2 alone (my copy just arrived!) is worth twice the price

It’s a bit like Acid> or Cubase SE or Fruity Loops or even Multiquence though, really, isn’t it?

Posted by Demosthenes on January 21, 2005 at 7:37 PM (PDT)

11

“It’s a bit like Acid or Cubase SE or Fruity Loops or even Multiquence though, really, isn’t it?”

Yes, it is, genius!  Total up the price of those applications and let me know what you come up with.  Let’s see $79.00/5= $15.80.  That’s the REAL cost of GarageBand.  You’d have to purchase several of the other applications you mentioned to achieve the feature set of GarageBand.

Not suprisingly, you do not know much about the capabilities of the software you mentioned.  I do. I’ve used them all, and then some.

Posted by Quoth_the_Raven in Herndon, VA on January 22, 2005 at 5:55 AM (PDT)

12

By the way, Demo. Acid is not even available on the Mac platform.

Posted by Quoth_the_Raven in Herndon, VA on January 22, 2005 at 6:07 AM (PDT)

13

$79.00/5= $15.80. That’s the REAL cost of GarageBand

Not really, because if I wanted it on its own and wasn’t interested in the others then I am SOL. Bundling can work against you as well as with you, and non-negotiable bundling is a hallmark of a monopoly supplier. Just go ask Microsoft how it works.

You’d have to purchase several of the other applications you mentioned to achieve the feature set of GarageBand.

Oh come now, if you have used as much sequencing software as you claim then you know this simply isn’t true. GB just recently added *multitrack* for crying out loud! Why don’t you tell me what features it has that other low-end sequencing software so drastically lacks? Each of the low-end softwares instead has a particular gamut that generally overlaps but specifically omits or includes certain features.

Acid is not even available on the Mac platform.

Big fish, small pond.

Posted by Demosthenes on January 22, 2005 at 6:33 AM (PDT)

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