It's a rather nice review, but why do these publications insist on comparing the iPod mini to the 15GB iPod instead of rightly comparing it to it's real competition, flash based players? Do auto magazines routinely compare sedans to sportscars? Of course not. It's the same premise here, compare the mini to it's competition. The original iPod is not marketed to the same set of people that will want a mini and vice versa. Aside from that glaring problem, it's a rather accurate and balanced review.

Posted by Matt on February 23, 2004 at 3:58 PM (PDT) Comment 1

My God just because Steve and his tame marketroid minions say it over and over, it is not true!

The Mini is not competing with flash players. One typical flash player costs around $50-$60, comes with around 128MB on-board, and has a CF/SD clot that lets users swap in and out 256MB/512MB/1GB cards for around $50-$100 dollars each. These players are smaller than the Mini and last around 15 hours on a charge. Most have FM. Some have recording.

Another flash player costs around $100, doesn't take cards, but is tiny. Like, some are less than an inch. They weigh around half an ounce. They last for 30 hours on a single AA or AAA. Some haf FM and/or recording.

So you see both these flash players are different from the Mii. Now, Steve Jobs picked a few of the super-weird high end flash players for around $200 and said "this is our competition". No, they are not, they are obscure, mutant players that always sold in miniscule numbers.

The real competition for the Mini are the other similar form factor devices using 4GB and 1.5 GB microdrives. These are available from Creative, Rio, and RCA. They cost around $150-$200 dollars, most lack FM and recording. They are around the same size as the Mini.

Using your auto analogy, the Mini needs to be compared to these other sub-compact hard drive players. The real flash players are not like these - think of them as scooters instead. Very cheap, very specific functionality.

Posted by competition on February 23, 2004 at 4:16 PM (PDT) Comment 2

Either way, Matt is right on by saying that it is stupid for these reviewers to continue to compare the original iPod to the mini. They aren't in the same class of player and that's the point here. The mini does favor much more comparatively to the flash players in terms of size and portability than it does to the other bigger HD models. In reality, it's more or less in between the cheap $100 flash players and the $250+ larger HD based players. All I know is everytime I hear someone say "you can get an iPod with almost 4x the capacity for only $50 more" it makes me want to slap some sense into them. They're always trying to play the "Apple is too expensive" angle and in this case, they have to resort to comparing one Apple product to another in order to make their biased point which is actually humorous in itself...

Posted by Jason on February 23, 2004 at 6:56 PM (PDT) Comment 3

Matt - I wouldn't have put it in exactly the same way as "competition" did above, but that's exactly the reason. The $200 flash players are an aberration. Apple's real competitors with this device are low-end hard disk-based players like the Rio Nitrus and the Creative MuVo2. And it will likely thrash them.

In the consumer electronics industry, each $50 price increment is a major step towards greater mass market acceptance, and the iPod mini is about therefore 2 steps above the flash players we think that average people are buying - not the high-end ones, but rather the 128mb + 256mb ones. Apple tried to spin the mini as an alternative to flash, but at only $50 lower than the lowest-end iPod and ~$100 more than the -typical- $150 or lower priced flash-based player people are buying, we see the mini as a product that takes one step further towards mass-market ubiquity of the iPod non-flash concept, but will not by any means eliminate the flash-based market. Yet. At this price point.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on February 23, 2004 at 6:57 PM (PDT) Comment 4

It doesn't matter what any of these press types say, Apple is laughing all the way to the bank. They now have the 2 best selling, most popular and highest quality players on the market. They're absolutely dominating in market share and that's all that really matters to them as a company in the end. If the $249 price was really "too high", then they wouldn't have sold a ton of them already like they have. Anyone that throws that out there is either biased toward a different brand or else they're too cheap to spend the money. I'm sure Apple doesn't lose any sleep worrying what those types think anyway.

Posted by RobL on February 23, 2004 at 7:00 PM (PDT) Comment 5

Well, I myself thought I wouldn't use up even like over 3 gb on my brand new 3G 15 gb first ipod ever owned, but I noticed the sound quality on full blast wasn't so great it was skipping due to disconnecting my ipod from my computer to fast sometimes so I decided to change all my 128 kbs stereo files into 320 kbs 480000 hz stereo or whatever format and the sounds much greater, although it went from about 3.3 gb or so to 8 something gb.

This is about 890 somewhat song's too.. So i can't imagine 4 gb.

Honestly I would think that it must be bigegr than a buissness card which it probably is seeing it said like 3.6 inches, but honestly my apple ipod is small enough for me.

My main point here is, the price is $50 in America and estimated to be only a 50 dollar difference in Canada. Honestly, this for a matter of 50 canadian dollars is not worth buying in my words.

Posted by JaGWiRe on February 23, 2004 at 8:22 PM (PDT) Comment 6

Enjoy the flash competition: US$450 for 250 songs!

(Also note that ALL competing players except the Zen Extra ALSO use a built-in battery. At least the iPod is popular enough that there are several sub-$50 battery replacement options out there.)

Posted by Nagromme on February 23, 2004 at 8:25 PM (PDT) Comment 7

Actually, RobL, while Apple said that it controlled around 30% of the "MP3 market" (which leaves 70% in its competitors' hands), the company made very clear at the MacWorld introduction of the iPod mini that it very much wanted to go after the remaining market share, which it attributed largely to less expensive products, especially ones at least $50 less expensive than the iPod mini. I'm sure we could debate whether the 70% of the existing market - and the millions of people without either iPods or their competitors - are "too cheap" or just more concerned about throwing cash into new gadgets than us, but I hope we could agree that bias doesn't necessarily have to be the motivation for a comment that ubiquity depends at least in part on price.

To address a second point, Apple also noted that it shipped (not sold) 730,000 iPods in the fourth quarter of last year, traditionally the prime selling season for products of this type. The 100,000 presells on the iPod mini is unquestionably a great number, and we expect that actual units sold in the first month will be very high, but it's still premature to crown it the second best selling player on the market, especially given that its total lifespan is all of four or five days as of today. We'd like to wait for some actual numbers before making a judgment like that.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on February 23, 2004 at 10:16 PM (PDT) Comment 8

I agree entirely with matt. It's not about comparing the mini to the original ipod.

If i compare a lamborghini to a VW Beetle, would that be fair? No.

Posted by Martin on February 24, 2004 at 4:21 AM (PDT) Comment 9

The iPod mini is designed for people looking for a small, light, durable and stylish MP3 player that has a decent amount of storage. That statement immediately cuts the $50-$100 128MB Flash players out of iPod mini's target market, they are neither durable or stylish enough to compete with the mini nor do they have the appropriate storage capacity.
The 3G iPod and it's competitors are too bulky to compete in this class. That leaves the high end flash based players from iRiver the $199 iFP-390T at 256MB and $299 iFP-395T at 512MB, and the $199 Creative MuVo2 at 4GB. Looking at this competition the $250 mini is really appropriately priced, for $50 more than the Creative you get a much better screen, industry leading controls, and a more durable aluminum body rather than cheap plastic. At $50 more than the iFP-390T you get 16X more storage, a more pocket friendly shape (it's not as wide as the iRiver players) and a rechargable battery, Same thing with the iFP-395T except 8X storage and $50 less. As far as battery life in general goes i think 8 hours is plenty for a days use, And i don't even want to bother to add up the cost of AA's for the iRivers over a 2 year period. As you can see the iPod mini really is the price/performance leader in this class, as long as you realize what class you are looking at. I think Apples sales figures thus far back up my statements.

Posted by BeefMissle on February 24, 2004 at 8:32 AM (PDT) Comment 10

If the VW Beetle cost $50 less than a Lamborghini, a sensible person would probably compare them, and maybe even prefer the Lamborghini for the price.

Posted by Frank on February 25, 2004 at 4:59 PM (PDT) Comment 11

uh ... i didn't have to format my ipod from best buy ...

Posted by nihil8r on February 25, 2004 at 6:58 PM (PDT) Comment 12

I agree. the mini does have a very resonable price.

Posted by iPod13 on February 27, 2004 at 8:02 AM (PDT) Comment 13

Well, I was jsut edited for no reason, but anyway.

I think the key problem is the size is just to dangerous to me. Such a small object... fall off a table.. SMASH!

Posted by JaGWiRe on February 27, 2004 at 7:22 PM (PDT) Comment 14

I'm new here, interperated someones post as mine because I thought the top of the post = the bame, but it's the bottom.

Therefor I'm sorry, my post wasn't edited.

Sorry for double posting, Don't know if it's possible to edit/ delete here.

My bad, newbie to forum mistake :(.

Posted by JaGWiRe on February 27, 2004 at 7:26 PM (PDT) Comment 15

I just ordered mine (1-3 weeks!? Holy crap!), and for a good reason. The iPod Mini is CHEAP when compared to mainstream flash players. First point I'd like to make; it costs $70 for a mere 256MB on a flash drive. One eigth of what the iPod Mini can hold. Do your basic math here!
What we really have on our hands is a well-priced microdrive-based player (iPod Mini), and a freakishly cheap microdrive-based player (15GB iPod).
I'm gonna have a great time making fun of the 64MB flash drive my friend always has clipped on. My ipod will be around my neck!

Posted by Tabor Henderson on February 27, 2004 at 9:03 PM (PDT) Comment 16

"cost of AAs"? Who buys alkaline AAs? I buy 2000 mAh NIMH As for less than $1 each, and each battery lasts around 500 recharges.

I don't think I've spent money on AAs i a couple of years now.

Posted by AAs on February 28, 2004 at 8:51 AM (PDT) Comment 17

"it costs $70 for a mere 256MB on a flash drive. One eigth of what the iPod Mini can hold. Do your basic math here! "

You make good points, but 256MB is one sixteenth of 4GB. I just found it funny considering the "do your basic math" comment smile

Posted by Paul on February 29, 2004 at 1:01 PM (PDT) Comment 18

Hehe, I must've been thinking 1GB= 500 MB when I wrote that. Oops. But either way, my goof-up backs me up all the more! lol.

Posted by Tabor Henderson on February 29, 2004 at 1:31 PM (PDT) Comment 19

I think the iPod is well worth the price, 4GB or 15GB, just for the ease of use, firewire(charging capabilities/speed), syncronization, etc.

Posted by Chris on February 29, 2004 at 7:25 PM (PDT) Comment 20

hi! I don't have an ipod yet and I need to save up some money to get one. but I have a problem. I love the ipod minis stylish snappy look, but not the amount of songs it holds. and the price is outrageous. I can't decide whether to get the normal ipod, dell jutebok, or the ipod mini!

Posted by MISSPINK on March 1, 2004 at 2:02 PM (PDT) Comment 21

come on! I REALLY need some guidance!

Posted by misspink on March 1, 2004 at 4:43 PM (PDT) Comment 22

misspink: since you said you have to save to get, I would go with the normal one...10 or 15GB. I was thinking about the mini, cuz i JUST got my 15GB, and the space is well worth the money. Holler at me for more help.

Posted by Camilleon on March 3, 2004 at 8:20 AM (PDT) Comment 23

I have already purchased an ipod mini but i have not recieved it yet from apple. I was just wondering if anyone knows anything about what types of songs you can put on. It says above taht if youget your music from somewhere other then iTunes you will have to format them for the ipod. How is that done? Is it difficult to format the songs and am i just better off getting my music from itunes and Cds. Also if i were to take music from a Cd would i be able to take it from a CD that has been burned off a computer. If you know anything about this i would love to hear what you have to say. Thank you

Posted by Caylee2 on March 3, 2004 at 2:12 PM (PDT) Comment 24

Keep in mind that the original 3 ipod has 30% of the market - that leaves 70% to the other 500 options. You might want to do the math and figure out the sliver they each hold.

Posted by jbelkin on March 4, 2004 at 11:57 PM (PDT) Comment 25
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