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NYTimes: The Guts of a New Machine

Author's pic

By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Saturday, November 29, 2003
News Categories: iPod

Rob Walker for the New York Times Magazine has written an extensive article (6 web pages) on all things iPod - past and present. The article touches on the cult of iPod, the design - inside and out with Apple’s Jonathan Ives, the system, the competition, comments from Steve Jobs and more.

“Two years ago this month, Apple Computer released a small, sleek-looking device it called the iPod. A digital music player, it weighed just 6.5 ounces and held about 1,000 songs. There were small MP3 players around at the time, and there were players that could hold a lot of music. But if the crucial equation is ‘‘largest number of songs’’ divided by ‘‘smallest physical space,’’ the iPod seemed untouchable.”

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Comments

1

“It has been updated twice and now comes in three versions, all of which improved on the original’s songs-per-space ratio.”

2nd paragraph in, and the author is already wrong. It has been updated 3 times, and comes in 10,20,15,30,40GB models.

6 pages of false info i suspect.

Posted by Kobe Bryant on November 29, 2003 at 10:31 PM (PDT)

2

i think by updated its safe to say we are talking about ‘generations’ eg the current generation is the 3rd, hence, updated twice. (1G updated to 2G, updated to 3G)

don’t get yer panties in a bunch ya anal retentive motherfucker.

Posted by egg on November 30, 2003 at 1:53 AM (PDT)

3

“6 pages of false info i suspect.

By Kobe Bryant on Nov 29, 03 11:31 pm”

What was the point of that?! Why not read the article and make an informed statement instead of guessing?

I’m not sure how many errors there are, but some of it made interesting reading, particularly for people who maybe only found out about the iPod relatively recently.

Posted by bobsyerunkle on November 30, 2003 at 3:23 AM (PDT)

4

I think the crux of the article comes here:
————————————-
Pixo, which is reported to have created the original operating system for the iPod. Pixo has since been bought by Sun Microsystems, and the credit has disappeared from both newer iPods and even more recent software upgrades for the original model.

Apple won’t comment on any of this, and the nondisclosure agreements it has in place with its suppliers and collaborators are described as unusually restrictive. Presumably this is because the company prefers the image of a product that sprang forth whole from the corporate godhead—which was certainly the impression the iPod created when it seemed to appear out of nowhere two years ago.
————————————-

So the company that writes the iPod’s OS and firmware are now a part of Sun, the small hard disk has been cloned by Hitachi/IBM, and the iPod hardware platform can be bought off-the-shelf from PortalPlayer.

That means pretty much any company in the world can bu ythemselves an iPod clone within 6-9 months, and that Apple’s margins on the iPod (already lowered because of its many third-party licensees) will be hammered over th enext few years as people copy their value chain.

The sooner iPod gets WMA the better!

Posted by Losing on November 30, 2003 at 12:11 PM (PDT)

5

“More recently, PortalPlayer’s work has formed the guts of new players released by Samsung and Philips. “

I *knew* that little Samsung player looked nice. I guess it and the iPod are kissin’ cousins!

Posted by Cloned on November 30, 2003 at 12:13 PM (PDT)

6

>The sooner iPod gets WMA the better!

Absolutely. To corner the mp3 player market, you need to be shamelessly embracing of formats - very similar strategy of Windows/PC platform.

Posted by mwidjaya on November 30, 2003 at 1:53 PM (PDT)

7

Until the I-Pod and it’s sister machines have better support of standard 44.1 k formats as well (there are serious cacheing issues here), the one that can do this seamlessly and the quickest can expect the first place to repalce my home CD player.

Posted by Angry Black Man on November 30, 2003 at 2:12 PM (PDT)

8

Great article.

But… I wish a reporter would say, “You know, I have an iPod and it’s great, but it suffers from distorted bass and inserts gaps between songs. Can you address this?” It’s funny because the iPod was often refered to as being “seamless” in the article, but it certainly doesn’t have seamless playback.

That’s all.

Posted by monkedsel on November 30, 2003 at 3:34 PM (PDT)

9

monkedsel:
one word for your distorted bass:
mp3gain

Posted by dcx693 on December 1, 2003 at 3:45 AM (PDT)

10

...All (well, nearly all) my music is in AAC format. :( There is also the issue of having to use a 3rd party app to correct a problem encountered with Apple’s own AAC format, encoded on Apple’s own software, played back on Apple’s own hardware. It’s just not right. Yet only the iPod is fabulous enough to keep me hanging onto it despite this, and twiddling the EQ to get something (merely) adequate. Thanks for the tip, though. smile

Posted by monkedsel on December 1, 2003 at 12:39 PM (PDT)

11

and the iPod hardware platform can be bought off-the-shelf from PortalPlayer.

No, the article also mentioned that Apple threatened to sue Samsung or some company that was going to make an MP3 player with a touch wheel like the iPod.  So Apple will protect one of iPod’s most important parts, the UI, from imitators.

Posted by Byron on December 1, 2003 at 1:55 PM (PDT)

12

“Apple will protect one of iPod’s most important parts, the UI, from imitators.”

Yeah well Apple’s history in protecting its niche products using UI Attack Lawyers is not so great. It reminds me of the Dutch kid with his finger in the busting dam—you can’t sue the whole world.

Posted by UIGuy on December 1, 2003 at 3:38 PM (PDT)

13

Nice article.I liked the backstory bit,and the walk-through of what’s inside. As I was reading it,I realized that what I love about my Ipod was spelled out in the article. So much so that I finally realized that all of the stuff I love about my Ipod,has been the stuff that Mac users drone on about. In fact,my next computer will be an Apple. I don’t have to carry around an excessive amount of CD’s or data discs.I can listen to stuff on a whim.The UI,as the writer pointed out, is pretty incredible when it comes to ease of use.I can also troubleshoot on my own,which is something I couldn’t do with my old MP-3 player.I can’t imagine being without it. It may not have some of the stuff that Dell has,but it does everything I want without a problem,without the klutziness of the Dell. 
  I also had to cop to the fact that when I’m on the subway,I subconciously zone in on the white earbud wearers,which is kinda spooky. However,I then have to stifle the urge to ask how can they stand listening to the earbuds? As pretty as they are(and as expensive as the Ipod is),the sound quality and comfort level suck big time.I wonder what Apple plan on doing about that? I also wondered why the writer didn’t ask whether or not Apple has any plans on improving the battery life,‘cause that sucks too.In fact,that is probably the only thing I envy Dell for.
  The sound field options are good,but it wouldn’t kill them to work on those either.Other compatible formats would be nice too,but then again,I guess you can’t have everything. The annoyances (and Steve Jobs’ arrogant cynicism is one of them) are more than outweighed by the pluses.

Posted by Christianiconv.2 on December 6, 2003 at 3:21 AM (PDT)

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