As I took out my pencil and paper to attempt to calculate exactly when the Tokyo keynote would be happening locally, I thought through my mind what might be introduced in the way of a new iPod. My hope as many others was the introduction of a new 10GB model at the $399 price, and a reduction in the 5GB model to $299. I was also hoping for a software update that would add more features to the iPod.
I almost got what I wanted. At MacWorld Tokyo, Apple introduced the much rumored 10GB model, but it was not at the anticipated $399 price point. At $499, this version of the iPod will be out of even more consumers price ranges. Apple also raised the prices of the new iMacs at MWTY because of increased component costs. Is the reason for not lowering the price of the iPods, partly due to compensate the lowered gross margins of the new iMacs? Who knows? I do hope Apple realizes that $399 can’t be their low end price point forever. People will want a lower priced option. For those who thought $399 was outrageous for an MP3 player, will be even more appalled when they see the $499 price tag on the new iPod. Is that price increase really justified by increased usability. You pay $100 more for 5GBs more worth of space. How much time will be saved by not having to copy over files from computer to iPod? How much enjoyment will you have, being able to listen to one of 2000 songs instead of one of 1000 songs? In economics you are taught that you value the first of what you get more than the second, and the second more than the third and so on. When you can carry around 1000 songs, how much will you enjoy those extra 1000 songs? Is it really worth the $100? My opinion is no.
I have a very well-organized library of 975 MP3s. They are divided into playlists and are all tagged, as is practically required if you want to easily, navigate songs on the iPod. Since I can fit my entire library on my iPod, I don’t really have an issue with this, but I can’t imagine it would be much work to pick and choose the 1000 or so songs that I might want to listen to for the next several days. I do know however that I don’t listen to a fraction of my 975 songs on my iPod. I listen to about 200-300 or so that I really like. Occasionally, I’ll venture out and listen to something new, but I still don’t listen to all 975. What I’m trying to say is, put on your pod what you want. When what you want changes, change what’s on your pod. Why shell out an extra $100 when only a little more effort is needed to put the songs you want on the 5GB model.
iPod Software Updater 1.1
Way to go Apple! From what I have seen, I’m very impressed. They will please many critics with the addition of a built in EQ, and an extensive list at that. However, from my initial testing, you cannot copy over your own personal presets. A minor issue, but one that may cause some complaints. Also included with this update is the addition of a “Contacts” menu. Using the vCard standard, you can add names, addresses and other “contact” information to the iPod. This is the first sign that Apple intended the iPod to be more than just an MP3 player. Now you can have 2000 songs and 1000 contacts in your pocket simultaneously. What a deal.
Other minor changes in this update include the ability to shuffle by album. Another feature that will please die hard iPod users. The “About” menu has been broken up into an Info and “Legal” menu. For all those trying to find breakout, don’t worry, it’s still there. Now you have to go under the info menu and hold down the center button just as before. The final minor cosmetic change appears during song play. Now time elapsed and time remaining, are displayed simultaneously. You used to have to press the center button to toggle those two modes. Now it just toggles between a grey bar and a grey diamond in the progress bar.
All in all, this seems like a good update to the iPod software. It would still be nice to turn the iPod off, then have it resume when it is turned back on. But that is a small complaint that shouldn’t be too hard to fix in a future update.
Finally, Apple is now offering the option to engrave a personal message in the iPod. I think this is a fantastic idea. It’s personal details like this that makes Apple a great computer company. For $49 one can engrave a maximum of 27 characters on 2 lines on the back of the iPod. This is perfect for names or small messages.It’s a personal touch that’s a very nice way to make your iPod even more yours.
Overall Apple is moving in the right direction. The software continues to progress quite well, while the hardware is at least being updated. I hope to see Apple lower the prices on the iPod for the next update. Te current pricing is at its limits for buying an MP3 player.