Understanding the iPod family: new iPod minis and photos

Understanding the iPod family: new iPod minis and photos 1

In response to news articles that have appeared since Apple announced the “new” iPod mini and iPod photo hardware yesterday, iLounge has produced a summary of new iPod facts that may be of use to our readers and journalists alike.

Broadly, How Did the iPod Family Change Yesterday?

picNew iPods: Apple introduced the largest capacity iPod mini ever made – 6-Gigabytes (1,500 songs) instead of 4-Gigabytes (1,000 songs) – and unveiled the smallest capacity iPod photo ever made – 30-Gigabytes (7,500 songs), down from 40-Gigabytes (10,000 songs).

Lower Prices: The company also made bold pricing moves with both its mid-range iPod mini and high-end iPod photo lines, slashing the price of the 4-GB iPod mini to $199 from $249, and even more aggressively cutting the prices of its premium, color-screened iPod photos, which used to sell for $499-599. The new models sell for $349-449, a $150 price difference. Apple’s drop of the 4GB iPod mini’s price to $199 expands its availabilty to an even larger audience, and consequently, there are now iPods at every $50 price point from $99 to $349, increasing steadily in capacity and features.

Discontinued iPods: Apple simultaneously discontinued two 40-Gigabyte iPods, a black-and-white model ($399) and a color iPod photo ($499), as well as an unpopular gold-colored iPod mini, leaving only four color options for that device.

picWhat Do the Changes Really Mean? The black-and-white full-sized iPod is fading away, as are options in the upper middle range. More powerful iPod photo hardware is now priced to entice a much larger audience, and for the first time in years, the most expensive iPod now sells for under $499. That iPod, the 60GB iPod photo ($449), has twice the storage capacity of the 30GB model that sells for $100 less.

But black-and-white iPods are still selling well, most likely because of their lower prices. Consequently, Apple did not discontinue its black-and-white screened 20GB iPod, or its 4GB iPod mini, the company’s most popular iPod-badged products in 2004. The price of the 20GB iPod ($299) remained the same, and still represents a sizeable capacity jump from the 6GB iPod mini priced at $249.

What About Smaller, Fine Print Changes?

The Positives and Neutrals: As a clear benefit, Apple increased the iPod mini’s estimated battery life from 8 to 18 hours. Neutrally, it modestly strengthened the blue, green, and pink shades used in iPod mini casings, and changed the color of the iPod mini’s Click Wheel print to match its respective casing. At this link, Apple describes the new iPod mini as a “second-generation” iPod mini, and discusses the few cosmetic and other differences we have noted and photographed.

The Consequences: Unfortunately, the company stopped including FireWire cables and FireWire wall chargers with both the iPod mini and the iPod photo; the iPod mini now is charged primarily with an included USB 2.0 cable through a computer’s powered USB 2.0 port, and you can buy a wall charger ($29) separately. The iPod photo includes both a USB wall charger and cable, but no longer includes TV photo playback cables, a Dock, a carrying case, or a FireWire cable.

picWas Anything Else Introduced?

Accessories: Responding to consumer demands, Apple also announced the late March release of a digital Camera Connector ($29), which allows iPod photo users to transfer digital photos directly to the color-screened iPod from a camera, and then view the pictures on the screen without using a computer. The Camera Connector is believed to be a substantial improvement on Belkin’s Digital Camera Link accessory, released last year, which can slowly transfer photographs to any iPod but not display them on the iPod photo’s screen. Additionally, Apple introduced a plastic and fabric Pod mini lanyard ($19) that attaches to the mini’s bottom and suspends it upside down as a necklace, and five new colors of its iPod mini armband ($29).

Software: Apple introduced a broad-ranging software updater for older iPods that added Shuffle Songs and Music options to their main menus, bringing them into near-parity with modern black-and-white screened fourth-generation iPods. An increased number of iPods can also create and store multiple on-the-go playlists, as well. The updater also gives iPod shuffles the ability to use Apple’s optional add-on Battery Pack accessory, which as of press time has not appeared in stores.

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  1. The price drops are really the best of both worlds when you stop an consider.

    First, this makes them more attractive to potential new iPodders. Sure, they have a few less accessories, but they really have everything they absolutely need in order to work right out of the box. And the cost for the missing accessories, just brings you right back to the original price, so if you relly want them, get them and your no worse off than you would have been.

    Second, and this is the part most people seem to miss, this makes it MUCH Easier and CHEAPER for current iPod owners to upgrade or just buy additional iPods. I already have the extra cables that I need, now I can just buy a new, bigger iPod and not have to buy extra cables that I don’t need, or a case that really isn’t very good anyway.

    Some people seem to feel that Apple is forgetting all the long term costumers that have helped them to solidify the Harddrive MP3 market, but I would argue that these latest moves actually benefit these people the most.

    Thank You Apple!

  2. i bought my 4gb ipod mini about two weeks for $250 prior to the unveiling of the new 6 gb mini. This really sucks. There needs to be a way to upgrade for free in situations like this. Anyone have any info. Just thought i’d take a stab at it and tell my story.

  3. Apple is right on to sell the unit divorced from the accessories for less. I happen to use the dock and the remote, but I know people who never do.

    I think the best way for all of us to get over the buyer’s remorse that comes when we get an iPod a month before the better one comes out for less is to set up a schedule for iPod buying like we do with computers. I am planning on getting my next iPod May of 2006, and then another May of 2008. The highest capacity one at that time is what I’m getting, and whatever comes out after that, so be it.

  4. I just recently jumped on the iPod waggon and since Jan 05, I’ve purchased a 60-color and 512-shuffle for my own use. I can’t wait to see what the next generation will be.

  5. Bought a GOLD mini last week. Like the color covered it with a Kimono rust colored case from Kyoto. The basic color doesn’t matter!

  6. “It’s not even a case of older hardware being unsupported. ALL of Apple’s iPods are still being supported. Owners of older models need not worry.” By NERDBRAIN

    Yep, you’re spot on with that one. Not only Apple hasn’t stopped supporting older hardware, they actually *improved* that hardware’s performance and features. Look at the latest iPod software update!! I was pissed at Apple when they released the 4G because they wouldn’t let 3G owners save on-the-go playlists, or use the “Shuffle Songs” menu item.

    We had to wait a while, it’s true, but now, all iPod owners can use those features, originally found only on the 4G and the iPod mini. Many people seem to be forgetting that Apple is playing very nice with this initiative! They aren’t “forgetting” loyal 1G/2G/3G iPod owners, many of which are Mac users, on the contrary!

  7. wwwwaaaahhhhhh!!!! i just bought the 1st gen iPod Mini last month! i could’ve waited if it’s just a few weeks away. Dang!

  8. I am stil amazed that ANYONE would buy a mini? 5GB? When for 50$ more you can get 30GB?!?!? I am sorry, but “Fashion” does not mean that much to me, I’d rather have 5X the capacity for music! Whenever I see someon hovering over the mini’s, I point this out to them, and they usually say “Oh, I didn’t think of that.” and walk over to the bigger ones. Didn’t think of it?? Amazing….

  9. At first I was miffed that Apple isn’t including FireWire with the new minis, but….really. It’s not worth all this bellyaching. And since I already have a FireWire cable, I won’t need another one if I decide to upgrade. And if new users want FireWire, they can buy FireWire. It’s not a big deal.

    And this so-called “cheapening” of the “luxury” iPod line is ridiculous. Stop being so precious.

  10. There is a lot of talk of Apple coming out with all these new products and some consumers question their marketing decisions, fact is folks 2005 will be the year of the MP3 players by all kinds of OEM’s giving Apple a run for their money, keep you eyes open and your blinders off.

  11. iPod’s have been around long enough for people to be buying their second/third model. When I buy a replacement I’m not going to need all the accessories again. I’d rather pay less just for the iPod and choose what accessories I need.

  12. No matter what you buy, a new, better and cheaper model will come out soon after.

    Why should Apple be any different?

    I applaud Apple’s move to not include accesseries that may not be used by some people. Keep in mind Apple never gave you anything for free. If your iPod came with a ‘free’ dock or fire wire cable you paid for them wheather you know it or not.

  13. So I spend 2 grand on an iMac a while back and I won’t be able to use my new iPod because it doesn’t come with a measly firewire cable? I only bought a new one cos the hard drive on my old one broke and I couldn’t prove the waranty was still valid (even though it was a 40gig click-wheel which didn’t even come out a year ago). I remember when Apple didn’t used to be like Microsoft. (OUCH)

  14. Well, I’m a PC person who hates macs, but I’ve just ordered my iPod mini. The thing is about macintosh is that they excel in making stylish, well designed, easy-to-use but difficult to customise technology. Exactly what I want from a music player, but not from a computer. I love mac computer style (I have my PC desktop set up to look like a mac) but can’t live with its big-brotheresque inflexibility. Why get a 6GB mini instead of a bigger capacity iPod? Why would I want to carry more than 6Gb of music with me at any one time, at the expense of more weight, bulk and expense? (especially if I loose it)

  15. Well I agree with some things and I disagree with others. I apreciate apples movement to cheaper as I am a 14 year old middle schooler. I CANT afford a 500 dollar iPod photo and a 250 mini was even a stretch. As far as the cord problem goes I disagree with taking away the power adapter with the Ipod Mini bc I use it a lot when I travel and stuff I would hate the hassel of finding a computer to use to charge my iPod (that is too geeky). And I like the USB bc that is what I use (yes I am a PC user but if i could I would switch to mac but i dont have enough money) but I enjoy the two cords bc I like having the firewire for the adapter and the USB for the computer and I dont wanna buy a nother USB cord for 20 dollars it is enough to buy the stand for 30.

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