New iPod, other things
October 12, 2005 10:47 AM   Subscribe

New 30GB iPod capable of playing video on a 320x240 display. Get it at $299 before the hordes arrive at the Apple store. Sketchy on-the-scene reports (ThinkSecret, Gizmodo, iPodLounge Live). There's also a new iMac and some software updates that, to be honest, no one was watching for. Please let the new wider and thinner iPod design still fit comfortably in my front pocket.
posted by geoff. (175 comments total)
 
Personally I'd rather have the same form factor and better battery life and/or more harddrive space.
posted by geoff. at 10:52 AM on October 12, 2005


Someone at engadget was talking about new photo software as well, like a photoshop lite.

It seems weird that they would release a completely new ipod just after the nano, and then iTunes 6.0, and start charging $2 for music videos. All three seem like weird developments.
posted by mathowie at 10:55 AM on October 12, 2005


....and you can buy tv shows from the itunes music store, and watch them using an app called Front Row, and a new Apple remote.

DEVELOPING.....
posted by ulotrichous at 10:56 AM on October 12, 2005


MacRumors is kinda down, but full of the new information.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 10:57 AM on October 12, 2005


I don't actually give a damn for a video iPod, but if this drives down the price of the regular 'Pod, I am 110% in favour.
posted by S.C. at 10:57 AM on October 12, 2005


It looks like it will use the H.264 codec, the same used in the next generation HD videos (HD-DVD and Blu-Ray). With the tv-out does that mean I can download HD movies onto my iPod and view them on my HDTV? This is well worth the $399 if true. I'm tired of waiting for the next generation of drives to come out. The quality from a good film transfer to HD is amazing.
posted by geoff. at 10:59 AM on October 12, 2005


Holy shit, you can finally buy shows you missed on TV. That totally rocks.
posted by mathowie at 11:02 AM on October 12, 2005


I think the big thing is really going to be what FrontRow means. Jobs has been hinting about a remote for over a year, since Airtunes debuted at WSJ's All Things Digital conference in August of 2004.

FrontRow + MacMini + H.264 = potential MediaCenter killer.

I'm also excited by the integrated camera in the new iMacs. It's like all that "convergence" and "synergy" and "digital hub" BS is starting to come true...
posted by jbrjake at 11:02 AM on October 12, 2005


Maybe it's just me, but I don't give a damn about portable video.
posted by foot at 11:03 AM on October 12, 2005


S.C., I'm with you there. But I do like the idea of being able to take shows I missed with me to watch while sitting in traffic or wherever.

Once they get the Video iPod to sync up with Tivo, the world will indeed be a cooler place.
posted by fenriq at 11:14 AM on October 12, 2005


Maybe it's me, but I don't give a damn about $300 portable video.
posted by Chuckles at 11:15 AM on October 12, 2005


Goodness, a new Apple product.
posted by NinjaPirate at 11:15 AM on October 12, 2005


It's a Google-Pod?
posted by Eekacat at 11:16 AM on October 12, 2005


apple.com just updated, I'm downloading iTunes 6 right now (14Mb mac/32Mb download on windows!)
posted by mathowie at 11:18 AM on October 12, 2005


Yep, portable video = bleh. The thing I find most amusing about this whole announcement is that you can buy the music videos. The labels finally have come to the point where they've decided to try to monetize something that is effectively a marketing device. Good on them!
posted by fet at 11:19 AM on October 12, 2005


does it have video out, though?
posted by boo_radley at 11:19 AM on October 12, 2005


geoff., I got a replacement battery for my 1stGen iPod from these guys here, opting for the "super-high-capacity" model, and I'm getting about 22 hours runtime from it. Really great.

This video thing looks like a cool toy, but I dunno if that's enough to make me want it. I don't watch that much TV, I don't even have a DVR.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:21 AM on October 12, 2005


iTunes 6 is out? wow - I sent in a feature request for iTunes (last night) and the feedback page hadn't even been updated to reflect iTunes 5.

(wow, I used the word iTunes three times - no make that four - in a single post).
posted by devbrain at 11:22 AM on October 12, 2005


Metafilter: Google Apple
posted by tpl1212 at 11:23 AM on October 12, 2005


Still no FM or voice recording, right? I would buy an iPod in a second if it had those features integrated.
posted by LarryC at 11:23 AM on October 12, 2005


iTunes is the new "the"
posted by Eekacat at 11:23 AM on October 12, 2005


* H.264 video up to 768 kbps, 320 x 240, 30 frames per second; MPEG-4 video up to 2.5mbps, 480 x 480, 30 frames per second

Shucks it looks like you can't do what I wanted to do (put full length HD movies on there to supplant that low-resolution thing called DVD).
posted by geoff. at 11:24 AM on October 12, 2005


I guess my iPod photo is just so much dross now. I guess I'll have to install linux on the stupid thing if I want to watch videos.

And I don't believe for a second that Apple couldn't retrofit it for video playback with a stupid firmware update.
posted by illovich at 11:25 AM on October 12, 2005


Hey, if it'll inspire me to make more short movies that I can carry around and show off to people, I'm all for it.
posted by hopeless romantique at 11:26 AM on October 12, 2005


The thing I find most amusing about this whole announcement is that you can buy the music videos. The labels finally have come to the point where they've decided to try to monetize something that is effectively a marketing device. Good on them!

Um, some music videos are worth paying money for, at least in my opinion. Do I need to strap you to a chair and show you the collected works of Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry and Steve Barron?

But I'm with Matt here. Paying a small fee to download an episode of a current TV series is the killer app.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:27 AM on October 12, 2005


Two words on why this will fail: Video Walkman.
posted by ed at 11:27 AM on October 12, 2005


Video out? Anyone?
posted by ColdChef at 11:30 AM on October 12, 2005


Shucks it looks like you can't do what I wanted to do (put full length HD movies on there to supplant that low-resolution thing called DVD

No way you'd be able to do HD off one of these things anyway. It takes a fast CPU to crunch HD streams, and my 3.2 gig Athlon with a gig of ram still chokes trying to render Lost in HD.

I doubt it would be able to render DVD quality video off that little CPU.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:33 AM on October 12, 2005


I'm not a giant fan of the concept of the video iPod (which is why I'm not disappointed I just ordered a Nano), but if you look at the new iPod line-up, it all makes sense (small, medium, large, so to speak).

I also agree the downloadable TV shows are going to be a killer app. I can't see myself paying two bucks for ABC programming, but get HBO on board and I'll be all over it.

One other thing the new iPod is going to spur is video podcasts, which, I suspect, are going to rock. Cultural walking tours, book-reading events, sports highlights -- there's a lot of potential.
posted by o2b at 11:33 AM on October 12, 2005


The new iMac is fucking awesome.
posted by ColdChef at 11:33 AM on October 12, 2005


I want the remote for my current iMac, but as far as I can tell, you can only get it for the iPod Universal Dock (finally a Universal Dock) and included with the new iMacs. I don't want to buy a new flipping computer for a remote control, damn it.
posted by benjh at 11:34 AM on October 12, 2005


"No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame." Image hosted by Photobucket.com
posted by keswick at 11:34 AM on October 12, 2005


why this will win: quicktime on macs/pcs and itunes. dvd and tv transcoding to the formats the ipod supports already work, meaning i can encode a dvd in faster than realtime on my g5 to work on my ipod now *and* I can download video content from usenet, bittorrent, etc, *now* and use it on my ipod.

as long as video integration works well in itunes this will hit big. or as big as portable video could hit. i don't think that portable video is a big deal, either, but people ask for it and to not make an offering would be a mistake.

As for why this totally TOTALLY sucks: no firewire. you cannot get an ipod today that will work on a machine without USB2 unless you define work to mean 'takes 30-60 seconds to load a song.' Video over USB1 is a no-go. My powerbook is about 2 years old and doesn't have usb2, so I can't buy an iPod until after I buy a new computer, which isn't going to happen for quite a while. I think that Apple should make some $50 widget that bridges firewire and USB2 to help us out. :(
posted by n9 at 11:35 AM on October 12, 2005


Coldchef, the new iPod does do video out with an optional cable. Also of interest is that the new remote can control the iPod through the new universal dock.
posted by ulotrichous at 11:36 AM on October 12, 2005


ahem
posted by grateful at 11:36 AM on October 12, 2005


YES! TV shows!

I can't afford cable, and don't really get much public access reception where I live. I will happily pay $2 a pop to get caught up on Lost. I don't much care about the iPod or the iMac (my iBook is still pretty new and should last a few more years), but this really, really makes me happy.
posted by kalimac at 11:37 AM on October 12, 2005


thanks.
posted by ColdChef at 11:38 AM on October 12, 2005


This new iPod with video is going to be a real boon for the porn industry, methinks.
posted by mowglisambo at 11:38 AM on October 12, 2005


Finally, a definitive answer to the question of whether it's possible to lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circle jack off with your left hand while drawing the number "6" in the air with your right-hand rotating a thumbwheel with your right hand.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:39 AM on October 12, 2005


Three words on why this won't fail: Apple iPod marketing.
I'm not an apple zealot. It just seems that they have yet to fail on the iPod front. A slow down will eventually come, just not yet.
posted by horseblind at 11:40 AM on October 12, 2005


Think of the ramifications for the porn industry.
posted by shoepal at 11:41 AM on October 12, 2005


Maximum resolution is 480x480 (MPEG 4) at 30 FPS. So it can do TV resolution, but it can't do DVD or EDTV resolutions.

I'm wicked underwhelmed...
posted by SweetJesus at 11:41 AM on October 12, 2005


damn... beat by mowglisambo and Armitage. (shoulda hit preview, I guess.)
posted by shoepal at 11:42 AM on October 12, 2005


It just seems that they have yet to fail on the iPod front.

The iPod photo was a failure, and essentially abandoned as a special model after barely three months.
posted by cillit bang at 11:48 AM on October 12, 2005


What about FLAC compatibility? Instead I'm looking at iRiver with RockBox or Cowon iAudio X5L. Video in your pocket? Meh. Make it DVD or EDTV quality and then maybe. Just maybe.
posted by horseblind at 11:48 AM on October 12, 2005


Strange that iTunes is supposed to be a major upgrade (5 to 6). As far I can see, all that's new is support for buying videos from the Music Store, and a couple of very minor things. iTunes 5 had video playback ability, so nothing's new there.
posted by swift at 11:48 AM on October 12, 2005


"The iPod photo was a failure, and essentially abandoned...

Touché cillit. I forgot all about that dreadful little beast.
(maybe that says it all)
posted by horseblind at 11:52 AM on October 12, 2005


Video features of iTunes 6 requite Quicktime 7.0.3, and both installers require a restart of the computer in order to finish installation.

What's odd is that this is the first time in a long time that an installer has required this... and twice in one day? Weird.
posted by illovich at 11:52 AM on October 12, 2005


The only physical dimension that changes is its depth (it's thinner) - you'll still be able to slip it into your front pocket - it'll just bulge a little less.
posted by DandyRandy at 11:58 AM on October 12, 2005


$2 for TV shows? That's about 100% too high. This needs to be cheap enough to be an alternative to cable/satellite TV. Let's say you follow just 5 shows, that's 20 episodes a month or $40. You can get DirecTV with TiVo for that.
posted by kindall at 11:58 AM on October 12, 2005


$1 of that alone would be worth not having to sit through 20 minutes of commercials to see my episode of Lost...
posted by chasing at 12:00 PM on October 12, 2005


cillit bang writes "The iPod photo was a failure, and essentially abandoned as a special model after barely three months."

Is this strictly true? It stopped being a "special model", but the photo functionality was incorporated into the main iPod line, wasn't it?

Honest question; I can't rightly remember.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:02 PM on October 12, 2005


Still no Quicktime 7.0.3 available for download or update yet, though.
posted by mrbill at 12:03 PM on October 12, 2005


I would so love to pay a buck an episode to see commercial-free Arrested Development and other good television.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:03 PM on October 12, 2005


cillit and horseblind, the iPod photo didn't fail, it replaced the standard iPod.
posted by S.C. at 12:03 PM on October 12, 2005


Still no Quicktime 7.0.3 available for download or update yet, though.

The download on the Quicktime page is 7.0.3.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:04 PM on October 12, 2005


Honest question; I can't rightly remember.

All "Color" IPods are IPod Photos...

On preview: what SC says.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:04 PM on October 12, 2005


$2 is about what you pay if you purchase a DVD of a series, no? So that's about as low as the networks would be willing to go I imagine. This'll get intersting once more networks get on board. Right now it's just ABC/Disney.
posted by gwint at 12:04 PM on October 12, 2005


The only physical dimension that changes is its depth (it's thinner) - you'll still be able to slip it into your front pocket - it'll just bulge a little less.
posted by DandyRandy at 12:06 PM on October 12, 2005


You're right, mr_roboto, but I think that's what he meant.

I think they integrated it because it's better to add value to the normal iPod rather than trying to separately appeal to the small market who'd specifically want photo functionality.
posted by abcde at 12:07 PM on October 12, 2005


FrontRow looks pretty sweet... it'd be far moreso if it was running on a mac-mini, though.

I just purchased an episode of Lost and man... that's some low-res shit. Looks like it's about 320x250. Here's to hoping the nifty iTunes video stuff will work with ripped DVDs... if it doesn't, I declare it crap.
posted by I Love Tacos at 12:07 PM on October 12, 2005


Meanwhile, you can hop on your local BitTorrent network and get every episode of Lost in HD for free.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:09 PM on October 12, 2005


Curses Apple and your inscrutable release schedule. My brother in law just bought an iMac last week :(

On topic though, I was wondering when someone would finally set up on-demand TV. The market for it is ripe. I wonder what Steve Jobs promised to get the producers to stop worrying about protecting their old business model and open up shop.
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:10 PM on October 12, 2005


Golly. Another iProduct. I must have it.
posted by lodurr at 12:11 PM on October 12, 2005


Hrmm... I just tried to load an XviD/mp3 video into the library, and that failed. If somebody can make that work, I'll need more storage.
posted by I Love Tacos at 12:12 PM on October 12, 2005


So I just downloaded last week's Lost to test it out, and it looks fine and sounds fine -- no worse than watching on a mid-sized standard TV set like I have.

But it's of worse quality than copies I was able to get through Bittorrent last week, which seems to be (once again) the problem with the whole project: I can get a better product for free. So what makes me pay (besides curiousity about iTunes)?

The only benefit that might keep me using the service is the reliability. Whereas I had to let Bittorrent download all night, this came through in a matter of minutes. Which is faboo. But. If Apple doesn't put up episodes right after they air, anyway, that's a moot issue...

So...

Monkeys!
posted by chasing at 12:12 PM on October 12, 2005


"And I don't believe for a second that Apple couldn't retrofit it for video playback with a stupid firmware update."

It's quite likely that they needed to add some rather robust data-crunching processor(s) to do realtime MPEG-4 decoding.
posted by joquarky at 12:14 PM on October 12, 2005


apple doesn't care if you get video content from them or from somewhere else. they want to sell you the player and then your next computer, etc.
posted by n9 at 12:16 PM on October 12, 2005



posted by muckster at 12:16 PM on October 12, 2005


But was the iPod Photo a success while it was marketed as iPod Photo? Before directly replacing the iPod; remember that for a while there was the iPod Photo and the iPod.

Then again, does it really matter? Over all this has been an extremely successful product line whether or not one permutation didn't do so well.

Pocket video means little to me but I do have to say that it's a better idea than a pocket photo viewer. Color screen fine. But to market it as a photo viewer: lame.
posted by horseblind at 12:17 PM on October 12, 2005


Faint of Butt:
Um, some music videos are worth paying money for, at least in my opinion. Do I need to strap you to a chair and show you the collected works of Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry and Steve Barron?


Yes, they're beautifully directed and shot marketing clips that you got (for free!) off of Fuse/MTV.

Now, you pay for them? I worked for a company that dealt with digital rights/digital media distribution, and was faced with the idiocy of the labels on a day-to-day basis. This is nothing new.

Please to be enjoying your (un)FairPlay DRM'd videos, folks. Your 5 devices/no burning/rights can be changed at anytime bits-o-content-you-don't-really-own are really worth the $2.
posted by fet at 12:25 PM on October 12, 2005


Pethics, if your brother-in-law bought it less than 7 days ago and bought it directly from Apple, he might be able to get a new one.
posted by alms at 12:25 PM on October 12, 2005


Are there really that many Lost people out there?
posted by foraneagle2 at 12:31 PM on October 12, 2005


Now that video is supported on the iPod, Apple has a basically unlimited upgrade path-- storage capacities were just about maxed out (in terms of usefulness) for music on the current generation of music players, but you could stick terabytes of video onto a your 12th gen iPod and still want more.
posted by gwint at 12:31 PM on October 12, 2005


On topic though, I was wondering when someone would finally set up on-demand TV.

InDemand has been doing this for a while... If you've got cable and live in a medium sized market, you can get HBO On-Demand.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:33 PM on October 12, 2005


I just ordered a 60gig one in black.

I don't care about videos, although there are some music video's I'd definitely keep around (Bjork leaps to mind), but it met my three desires and so I bought it.

(in case you're wondering, I wanted it to be thinner, have better battery life, and come in black. And it does all three.)
posted by heeeraldo at 12:36 PM on October 12, 2005


Yes, they're beautifully directed and shot marketing clips that you got (for free!) off of Fuse/MTV.

Now, you pay for them? I worked for a company that dealt with digital rights/digital media distribution, and was faced with the idiocy of the labels on a day-to-day basis. This is nothing new.


In all fairness, when I buy music videos, I buy them on DVD. I'm no fan of DRM either. I just wanted to make sure you weren't ragging on the art form itself. Carry on.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:45 PM on October 12, 2005


alms: if your brother-in-law bought it less than 7 days ago and bought it directly from Apple, he might be able to get a new one.

Thanks, but we strike out on both counts.
You have to hand it to Apple though. Whereas my work PC is years out of date, I couldn't really care about the < insert meaningless computer spec> I'm missing. But a tastefully integrated camera and remote - That's worth being bitter about.

k, done shillin.
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:47 PM on October 12, 2005


I'm a big Apple fan in general, but a friend gave me pause when he said, "Apple kind of seems like the man these days."
posted by spigoat at 12:47 PM on October 12, 2005


I can't suss it out, but does the black version come with those white headphones? Or have they finally updated them to black too (it really needs to be done)?
posted by horseblind at 12:48 PM on October 12, 2005


You know, I think I'll just stick to downloading HDTV television shows, then playing them on my 32 inch Samsung hooked up to my Radeon X800 DVI. :)
posted by AMWKE at 12:51 PM on October 12, 2005


Let's talk about Apples crashing stock price that has investors worried today, eh?

What I want is a Nokia cellphone with a 50GB hard drive that plays videos and mp3s.

Then the world would be perfect and the angels would sing.
posted by AMWKE at 12:56 PM on October 12, 2005


*yawn*

USB instead of firewire? Dumb.
posted by wakko at 12:57 PM on October 12, 2005


Are there really that many Lost people out there?
Yes. Lost is #4 in ratings. Desperate Housewives is #2.
posted by smackfu at 12:58 PM on October 12, 2005


USB instead of firewire? Dumb.

Really? What percentage of the IPod market uses a PC (sans-Firewire), do you think?

USB 2.0 is faster than Firewire anyway.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:02 PM on October 12, 2005


Let's talk about Apples crashing stock price that has investors worried today, eh?

Apple's stock has always tanked after every big announcement/earnings report/Macworld keynote, as people sell off to profit. Why today would be any different is beyond me.
posted by Remy at 1:04 PM on October 12, 2005


Why is USB "dumb"? From a marketing standpoint, it's smart: It means that they can more readily expand the iPod halo to PCs.

The differentiators between USB and Firewire are getting more rarified, anyway, especially w.r.t. firewire 400. USB is the smart choice.

I'm guessing, though, that this signals a shift away from Firewire on teh low-end. I won't be surprised if the lowest-end Intel-based Macs simply don't have firewire anymore.
posted by lodurr at 1:05 PM on October 12, 2005


Kindall writes:

$2 for TV shows? That's about 100% too high. This needs to be cheap enough to be an alternative to cable/satellite TV. Let's say you follow just 5 shows, that's 20 episodes a month or $40. You can get DirecTV with TiVo for that.

Yeah, but look what people pay for a ringtone from their favorite band.
posted by dougny at 1:14 PM on October 12, 2005


ulotrichous- That's the cable for the photo functionality. I mean it ought to do video as well, but does the iPod support it? Anyone?

Also, here's the big question- how do I get from my DVD to this iPod? Is it just a matter of, say, iMovie + QT Pro? If so, dude, my Netflix subscription just got so much better.

To the iProduct haters- I hear ya. But then again, Apple just keeps pumping out industry-changing stuff. If you're not looking at this and realizing that video-on-demand for the masses is finally just around the corner, you're blind.
posted by mkultra at 1:15 PM on October 12, 2005


Yeah, but look what people pay for a ringtone from their favorite band.

Or, put another way: There's a sucker an Apple customer born every minute....
posted by lodurr at 1:16 PM on October 12, 2005


Huh. Guess this means I can get the 30 gig iPod I had wanted in the first place. I didn't think the price differential between the 20 and the 60 was really justifiable, and I didn't want to settle for the 20 nor did I want to go for the 60, price-wise.

Now they'll just have to justify why anyone would want to buy a nano, when for $50 more they can get nearly 4 times the storage space and video to boot. Of course the similar situation didn't hurt the mini sales any, so...
posted by caution live frogs at 1:18 PM on October 12, 2005


To the iProduct haters- I hear ya. But then again, Apple just keeps pumping out industry-changing stuff

There's nothing industry changing about this, in the least. Everyone is building a portable video/music player, Apple just throws good parties...
posted by SweetJesus at 1:25 PM on October 12, 2005


No FM tuner?
No audio line in?
No CF card reader?
No video line-out?
No direct mp3 conversion?
No mic?
No support for RAW files?
posted by NewBornHippy at 1:27 PM on October 12, 2005


NewBornHippy - Yeah, you should get the Epson P-2000. The iPod apparently isn't the device for you.
posted by bshort at 1:31 PM on October 12, 2005


Love or hate the iProducts it is clear that Apple is positioning itself to be for media delivery what Microsoft is for office documents: the creator, viewer, and controller. The ultimate middleman. The medium of choice. The defacto standard.

While Microsoft has been rewriting Windows and inventing needlessly complex programming languages, Apple has focused on what the people want: slicky clicky gadgets. Overpriced gadgets? Sure. Overpriced content? You bet. DRM meant to trap customers? Yup. Are people buying it? By the millions.
posted by StarForce5 at 1:33 PM on October 12, 2005


Everyone is building a portable video/music player, Apple just throws good parties...

The big deal here is not the player, but the integration with iTunes (which will surely be renamed sometime soon). A portable video player isn't great if I don't have a brain-dead-easy way to put video on it.
posted by mkultra at 1:36 PM on October 12, 2005


Apple's stock has always tanked after every big announcement/earnings report/Macworld keynote, as people sell off to profit.

Well, they also missed analyst expectations this time around. For selling 6 million iPods instead of the expected 7 million. The shame of it.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:39 PM on October 12, 2005


Guys the price hasn't gone up. The video is a bonus. The ipod is about having fun. It's a glorified walkman & those were about fun too. If your idea of the best tool to sync your music is cvs you might not be the target audience (see "fun".)

And the whole idea of the photo being a failure is a mindboggling missing of the point. They don't want to have 15 different products lines (who knows what the "P-2000" is.) You can see that here. Instead of a video ipod they just increased the specs for the same price. It's smaller so there's no trade-off against the music core. It's exciting because everyone already wanted an ipod for christmas and now they get more.
posted by Wood at 1:39 PM on October 12, 2005


I messed around with itunes ages ago and _hated_ it. Has it changed greatly in the last year and half or so, or is it just not my thing?
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 1:41 PM on October 12, 2005


weretable and the undead chairs writes "I messed around with itunes ages ago and _hated_ it. Has it changed greatly in the last year and half or so, or is it just not my thing?"

Well, now it also quietly installs DRM on your system (or did it always do that?).
posted by clevershark at 1:43 PM on October 12, 2005


nah, you're just a moron.
posted by keswick at 1:44 PM on October 12, 2005


In my opinion, Winamp 5's media interface is 10 times better. Apple tends to make shiny interfaces for people who don't know how to operate a computer with out their hand being held.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:46 PM on October 12, 2005


I’m still waiting for my PowerPod.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:46 PM on October 12, 2005


Man, that new Music Store will never work. It sucks, and the iPod is a dumb thing for dummies.
posted by darukaru at 1:49 PM on October 12, 2005


Oh, I'm sorry, that last post escaped from the year 2003.
posted by darukaru at 1:50 PM on October 12, 2005


I dunno, this all kinda of get a big "meh" from me. Watching videos on that little screen? (admittedly larger than the screen on my chubby 40G, but still bitsy) Pass. Besides, can't you already do this on a psp?

The TV shows on itunes is a very welcome development though. Not having to wait until the Saturday rerun because I'm in class while Lost is on? Sweet. Not having to sit through commercials every five minutes*? Even sweeter.

And maybe once other networks get on board we'll get the opportunity to download other shows from past seasons too.

*(seriously, WTF ABC? I swear, it's worse than last season too)
posted by kosher_jenny at 1:52 PM on October 12, 2005


you know what i still love my mp3 cd player...guess it doesnt skip because of the 200 extra dollars padding my pocket.
posted by stilgar at 1:52 PM on October 12, 2005


Well, now it also quietly installs DRM on your system (or did it always do that?).

I noticed that the iTunes installs, recently (through 1.5 or whatever is the pre-latest one) have gotten ridiculous. Installing 1.5.X asked me to reboot several times...why? I have no idea. Installing 1.5.0 installed something called "Bonjour" on my machine which made Zone Alarm put up a tiny umbrella in fear...despite the post-install explanations as to what Bonjour was...I was displeased. Did I know iTunes was going to install this stuff? Nope.

In short, iTunes has only gotten bigger and more awful.
posted by tpl1212 at 1:57 PM on October 12, 2005


Bonjour is benign, it's just a networking API.
posted by SweetJesus at 2:07 PM on October 12, 2005


stilgar: Regardless of what Penny Arcade has to say about it, there's a big difference between mp3 cd players and iPods; capacity, size and interface being particularly notable.
posted by adrianhon at 2:07 PM on October 12, 2005


In short, iTunes has only gotten bigger and more awful.
It works much better on a Mac though.
posted by smackfu at 2:19 PM on October 12, 2005


tpl1212: Given that the most recent versions of iTunes are 6.0, 5.0.1 and 5.0, and none of them required a reboot, I'm going to assume that you recently smoked crack.

Is this a correct assumption?
posted by I Love Tacos at 2:19 PM on October 12, 2005


I had to reboot to install 6 (I'm running Windows 2000).

I downloaded a music video, and the video quality is pretty bad. It's probably good for the little screen on the player, but I'm not going to be downloading any videos or movies to watch on my computer with this kind of quality.
posted by selfnoise at 2:27 PM on October 12, 2005


Gapless playback?
posted by mr_roboto at 2:28 PM on October 12, 2005


"Gapless playback?"

Ahahahaha!

No.
posted by selfnoise at 2:32 PM on October 12, 2005


USB 2.0 is faster than Firewire anyway.
posted by SweetJesus at 4:02 PM EST on October 12


Firewire 400 is much faster on Macs, and often on PCs as well. You can blame Apple for the former, but USB is only theoretically faster and so if you had an external hard drive with USB and Firewire connectors you'd probably want to use the Firewire cable to connect it regardless of type of computer. Also, some Macs (like older Powerbooks) have firewire but only USB1.1. That would suck with 60GB of music.

Can you boot off of USB iPods? I don't know.

You had to reboot in OS X for the Quicktime update (to 7.0.3)
posted by maledictory at 2:33 PM on October 12, 2005


sweet after like 2 years apple has finally managed to turn out a product that is still shittier than my archos video player..... there's a shock..... nothing to see here other than dolts purchasing on poor design and marketing shock value.
posted by sourbrew at 2:34 PM on October 12, 2005


Finally! I NEVER, EVER, EVER have to be without some sort of media! What was "bored" mommy?
posted by mildred-pitt at 2:37 PM on October 12, 2005


I'm not going to get excited about a device whose "new feature" is the ability to play videos with the resolution of a Commodore 64. I'm with the first poster - I'd rather have more storage or battery life. This just seems like "hey, sales are starting to plateau - let's slap some LCD on that puppy!"
posted by FormlessOne at 2:45 PM on October 12, 2005


Will you be able to put your own mpegs on the thing? I don't see any mention of that.
posted by Peter H at 2:47 PM on October 12, 2005


...my archos video player..... .... nothing to see here other than dolts purchasing poor design

true that.
posted by keswick at 2:51 PM on October 12, 2005


Peter H: it would appear so.
posted by tweak at 2:52 PM on October 12, 2005


probably; apple promotes the pants off of the music they sell, but it's perfectly possible to play mp3s on the iPod.
posted by heeeraldo at 2:53 PM on October 12, 2005


Steve Jobs
posted by armoured-ant at 2:58 PM on October 12, 2005


tpl1212: "Installing 1.5.X asked me to reboot several times...why? I have no idea."

It's because you're using a Win PC. It doesn't do this at all on Macs. All my updates have been downloaded and installed seamlessly with Software Update.

It's a nice thing that Apple stuff does.

sourbrew: "sweet after like 2 years apple has finally managed to turn out a product that is still shittier than my archos video player" which accounts for how much of the market again, please? Cuz, y'know, I see those Archos things like, everywhere all the time man. /sarcasm (meant smilingly, not snarkily)

on preview: keswick beat me.

There's definitely a market segment that actually LIKES fiendishly complicated UIs and functionality that requires some rocket-science brainery, a few of whom have showed up here to comment, it seems. That market segment is pretty small, sorry.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:08 PM on October 12, 2005


To be fair, Creative players generally have more hardware functionality than Ipods and the interface generally is pretty good.

On the other hand, their build quality generally sucks, their software is mediocre, and some of the players look really stupid.
posted by selfnoise at 3:11 PM on October 12, 2005


It's the medium's compatibility with the device, and the so-called portability, that makes me skeptical. Whereas music is something that only concerns the ears and doesn't occlude one's senses too much, I'm not sure if a screen is compatible with the portable lifestyle that Apple hopes to market to.

Can you honestly walk and watch something with this thing? No, you can't. The average bipedal human has enough problems trying to keep himself honed while talking on a cell phone. A video screen in front of him will only complicate things. Further, the portability limits one's viewing options. Let's say you're sitting on a bus with a Video iPod and it gets crowded, with people nudging you with their elbows. Not exactly conducive to a positive viewing experience, is it? And what about that guy next to you who looks over at your screen and pays attention to what you're watching?

They tried small televisions affixed to token machines before back in the 1970s and 1980s in bus terminals. They didn't last. An iPod serves an ideal commuting purpose, if that's your thing. Something to listen to on the road. A Video iPod's options in that capacity are sorely limited.

Resolution issues aside, I don't see this thing taking off in quite the same way as the iPod for reasons pertaining to the medium in question.
posted by ed at 3:11 PM on October 12, 2005


I was at the London launch (which was synchronised to co-incide with the San Jose announcement.)

Mentions of Archos players are completely off-key. I happen to have one of the Archos 30 gig video / music players and the new iPod makes mincemeat of it. The screen may not be as big, but the quality of the screen is at least as good. The size of the new iPod is far slimmer than before. And the interface is about a dozen times as good as the Archos, which seems to require about fifteen key-presses before making any selection.

Plus, synchronisation of Windows "Plays For Sure" devices is still extremely iffy, whereas at least on an iPod you can be sure it will always sync with iTunes. (As it happens, synchronisation of the "To Go" portability services is better on the Archos than it is on players from Samsung or Creative, but it's still not without its flaws.)

Front Row, with the infra red remote control, is an interesting pointer as to where things are headed. It looks pretty certain now that Apple will bring out a video-compatible Airport Express and eventually a living room device that works with Front Row and the remote control. Certainly Front Row looks more simple and appealing than Sonos, Squeezebox and all the other living room media network gizmos. The only frustrating bit at the moment is that the remote is infra red, meaning that it will only function with the new iMac that was launched today, and only if they're in the same room. I assume that both Apple and peripherals manufacturers will bring out devices to allow the remote control to function with older Macs and from room to room.

Getting TV shows onto the iPod is a bigger deal than many of you realise. The Pixar shorts are obvious, but the fact that Disney is the first to sign up to provide shows is a landmark. Not only has Disney historically been reticent about distributing its content in brand new formats, but also there's the cold relationship between Jobs and Michael Eisner over the past few years. This deal could be a sign that Bob Iger and Steve Jobs are chummy enough for that Pixar-Disney distribution agreement to be renewed.

But also, with ABC's biggest hits available from the day after broadcast, the other TV networks will have to follow suit. And, within a year, I predict the major movie studios will do the same - releasing films at the same time as they hit DVD. It's just a question of whether this is done within iTunes or within some new store called something like iFlix. Another thing to watch out for will be the effect the arrival of TV shows has on the music business. Apple has today demonstrated that content is not king - those convergence dreams held by people like Time-Warner and Vivendi-Universal have failed and it is the technology firms like Apple which are winning out. Apple's position is even stronger now that it has TV shows on board... and the shows are at the same price as the music videos! I guarantee you that the music companies will hate that.
posted by skylar at 3:19 PM on October 12, 2005


these threads are scary. I mean really scary.
posted by mr.marx at 3:20 PM on October 12, 2005


$2 is about what you pay if you purchase a DVD of a series, no? So that's about as low as the networks would be willing to go I imagine.

If that's the case, fuck 'em. I'm not paying the same price for a low-res soft copy that I download on my own dime, as I would for a high-res hard copy.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:27 PM on October 12, 2005


I missed the first half of last week's episode of Lost, so I bought it. The .m4v file is 43 minutes long, about 200MB in size, and it's stored in your iTunes music folder, under "Lost", in a folder called "Lost, Season 2".

24fps, 320x240 pixels, AAC (protected) Stereo 44.1kHz soundtrack. Not sure if it includes surround sound. Looks like it might be only the soundtrack that is protected, not the video track. Haven't tried moving it to another Mac to test the DRM.

You can play it fullscreen within iTunes. If you have QuickTime Pro you can play it fullscreen with QuickTime Player, and if you wiggle the mouse you get play/pause/scrubbing controls. If you just have iTunes, you have to escape out of the movie and do your fast-forwarding/rewinding on the iTunes scrubber.

Video quality is not bad when viewed fullscreen, though you can see compression artifacts. Basically close to VHS quality, nowhere near DVD quality.

Since it's way better than the static-filled ghosty image I get from broadcast TV, I might just watch this season $1.99 per week....
posted by bigbigdog at 3:30 PM on October 12, 2005


"They tried small televisions affixed to token machines before back in the 1970s and 1980s in bus terminals. They didn't last."

I remember those - they didn't last because they wanted 50 cents for something like 10 minutes of viewing max. Very few people wanted to pay that much to watch black-and-white TV.

If they'd made it 50 cents for a half hour, or better a full hour, they probably would have done better.

I'm kinda with skylar, I think this is the first step into something really big. The iPod broke a lot of barriers when it first came out, and a video version is likely to do the same. Obviously we'll see how it shakes out, but it's certainly a logical progression. I mean geez, we have video being streamed to phones now, which has some potential, but it's still pretty clunky. Apple's version is pretty much guaranteed to be seamless as always.

Meanwhile I stick with my 1st gen 10GB iPod, which I haven't even filled up with music yet. Such a Luddite, huh? :)
posted by zoogleplex at 3:31 PM on October 12, 2005


which accounts for how much of the market again, please?

WindowsXP most awesome OS EVAR!!!
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 3:31 PM on October 12, 2005


Fortunately I just bought a 4th generation mono ipod for $250, 20gb.

Please talk me into not buying the new 30gb instead for $50 more. I hate the man in black.
posted by craniac at 3:32 PM on October 12, 2005


PST: LMAO OMG WTF BBQ!!!1!!11!111!!!
posted by zoogleplex at 3:43 PM on October 12, 2005


wood: If your idea of the best tool to sync your music is cvs you might not be the target audience (see "fun".)

Wow, you could fire off a strawman like that and keep a straight face?
posted by lodurr at 4:35 PM on October 12, 2005


I don't really understand the complaints about the video playback feature. It didn't make the ipod more expensive. I'm not really ever going to use it, unless I have a collection of funny videos to show friends, because videos take up too much space that could be better used on music. Either way, I'm ordering one in a couple of weeks. Finally, a black (non-bono tainted) ipod to replace my dying Rio Karma.
posted by angry modem at 4:46 PM on October 12, 2005


$1 of that alone would be worth not having to sit through 20 minutes of commercials to see my episode of Lost...

who says there won't be 20 minutes of commercials?
posted by radiosig at 4:48 PM on October 12, 2005


Skylar, my archos is treated like an external hard drive, i drag and drop files into folders with scary names like "audio" and "video." I'm not sure how that is some how worse than having to install itunes. Apple zealots frequently point to the archos for having a shoddy UI. Which i suppose might be plausible if you were unfamilliar with large color icons and directory trees.

It will be interesting to see what sort of drm this forces off on the consumer. Granted since every hipster and their mother buys these things there will be a large community of people producing hacks.

Beyond that, apple is a bastallion of evil, they have convinced the world that drm is cool and profitable, (see RIAA attempting to raise prices on itunes). I <3 free media, and their collusion with intels Trusted platform reaks like an attempt to rape me down the road. Most people site apples vapour arguments about problems with Power PC chip distribution.

I think its much more likely that they realized they could no longer compete with GFX on the pci side, and that Intel's trusted platform will become increasingly important in their attempts to sell hardware by offering up healthy servings of DRM laden media.
posted by sourbrew at 4:48 PM on October 12, 2005


Being a Dish Network subscriber, I'm rather more interested in this. Same basic capabilities, no extra cost for recorded shows from DISH. Works for me.
posted by jscalzi at 4:49 PM on October 12, 2005


Oh, and this:
The iPod broke a lot of barriers when it first came out, and a video version is likely to do the same.

is not true. It's an added feature; not a revolution. It won't matter. If anything, it's about time, since the market seems to demand video playback, even though nobody actually uses it all that much on portable devices. Please add your isolated anecdotes about how you watch video on the go all the time, and wait for me to care.
posted by angry modem at 4:50 PM on October 12, 2005


jscalzi - thats an archos gemini 400 with slightly different firmware..... it's only in the US that apple has such a god like grip on the portable market. In korea where all of these products are made the people have spoken.
posted by sourbrew at 5:01 PM on October 12, 2005


Fortunately I just bought a 4th generation mono ipod for $250, 20gb.
posted by craniac at 3:32 PM PST on October 12 [!]


Dude, you will so wish you'd gone with the model that plays in stereo.
posted by fenriq at 5:01 PM on October 12, 2005


>>tpl1212: Given that the most recent versions of iTunes are 6.0, 5.0.1 and 5.0, and none of them required a reboot, I'm going to assume that you recently smoked crack.

Man, yeah, that's what I meant...5.0 - 5.01....and yes, it's on a windows machine (so it's big and awful and rebooty on a windows machine...take that as you may)....

Man, that's an embarassing release number screw-up...though not half as embarassing as what I have to do to get my crack.
posted by tpl1212 at 5:02 PM on October 12, 2005


My friend wants to know if the new iPod has a built in vibrating penis port?
posted by jefbla at 5:04 PM on October 12, 2005


It should have, considering it is now porn-vid ready.

I wish I could find the perfect mp3 player for myself. The closest I have seen so far was an i-river model that was about $500 and still was not quite what I wanted.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 5:23 PM on October 12, 2005


I just downloaded a video. Got to tell you, at full screen size, the quality sucks. Little disappointed here.
posted by ColdChef at 5:49 PM on October 12, 2005


USB 2.0 is faster than Firewire anyway.

Oh please. Heeeeell no. Not to mention Firewire 800, which totally smokes all those things.

I'm happy that, thanks to Waxy, I went and downloaded (or is it stole) a lot of the free videos they used to have on iTunes. (He posted a link to a hack that gave you a direct download link to the video file.) The resolution wasn't too high, but it was better than most things I've downloaded before.

So, now you've got to pay for them. Oh well. But considering Fuse/MTV don't actually play music videos anymore (except really crappy ones late at night), maybe it's time they got more respect. And one way to do that is to charge for them.
posted by fungible at 6:24 PM on October 12, 2005


angrymodem: "Please add your isolated anecdotes about how you watch video on the go all the time, and wait for me to care."

I can't, because I don't have any. Note that in the post you pulled my quote from, I end with:
"Meanwhile I stick with my 1st gen 10GB iPod, which I haven't even filled up with music yet. Such a Luddite, huh? :)"
I am not going to be an early adopter of this device, because the iPod I have serves me well - and with the battery replacement, should easily do so for another 3 years or so.

I'll be replacing my cell phone with one of those VCast phones within a couple weeks, so maybe I'll have anecdotes then. However I really don't watch a lot of TV compared to most, so probably not.

However, there's a lot of people out there who are glued to a TV for every moment they don't need to have their eyes on something important (like the road, when they're driving), and they might like this, especially if it does some DVR-like functions.

In fact, imagine the DVR makers and cable co's with DVRs coming up with software to interface with iTunes (shouldn't they rename it "iMedia" now?) so that you can transfer recorded shows to the iPod, and to any video monitor in your house on demand. That would be pretty amazing.

I know some crazy sports fans who would totally love that, just like they love their TiVo (tm). They never miss a game, and this would make it so they didn't have to stay home to watch them!
posted by zoogleplex at 6:39 PM on October 12, 2005


I just downloaded a video. Got to tell you, at full screen size, the quality sucks. Little disappointed here.

As I understand it, it is because these vids are optimized for TV playback and that's pretty low-res by computer monitor standards.

I'm guessing these models just don't have the horsepower (and drive space) to handle true H.264 playback (indeed, the specs states support for:
H.264 video up to 768 kbps, 320 x 240, 30 frames per second; MPEG-4 video up to 2.5mbps, 480 x 480, 30 frames per second
I wonder what the vid would look like using a regular TV as output?
posted by mazola at 7:40 PM on October 12, 2005


I just saw a picture and the screen on this new Apple thing is so small! Has that iconic wheel controller thing become a burden - obviously it would have been better to have used as much of one side of the device as possible for a screen (ala the PSP) but this teeny tiny Apple screen looks lame. Archos made this mistake 3 years ago with the first Jukebox Multimedia, where it just copied the Jukebox Studio frontside form factor (which inspired the iPod design). Keeping the controller mounted front below-centre on the device forced the screen to be squished. Thankfully, Archos realised its mistake and doubled the screen side on later devices. I wonder how long it will take Apple to make a "proper" video player.

Personally, I am looking forward to the Apple Herd Effect generating a critical mass of video-enabled personal media players. Apple is very late to the party but it brings with it a certain mass market leverage. I see video podcasts ("vidcasts"?) becoming commonplace.
posted by meehawl at 7:52 PM on October 12, 2005


imagine the DVR makers and cable co's with DVRs coming up with software to interface

That software exists already, it's called Media Center.

That hardware exists, and it's rebadged Archos players by Echostar (a 25% owner/investor in Archos). One nice touch with the new Echostar/Archos devices is that they will play back the programming in native format. So you can transfer an already downloaded show on the DVR to the Archos in just a few seconds (limited by speed of hard drive and USB2). No re-encoding required.
posted by meehawl at 7:56 PM on October 12, 2005


Well, there ya go. I haven't been on the front edge of this stuff, I don't even have a DVR. Obviously, it makes sense to make Media Center and anything similar to it now also work with iPods.
posted by zoogleplex at 8:20 PM on October 12, 2005


it makes sense to make Media Center and anything similar to it now also work with iPods.

My MC11 already syncs with iPods (and PSPs and ReplayTVs), and about a hundred other things, so I doubt a video ipod will present any real challenge. But the screen is still too damn small.
posted by meehawl at 8:23 PM on October 12, 2005


Hergh.
Can you turn the color screen off? Or dim it and increase the contrast enough so that it's basically like the old ones? Because then I can see battery life just shooting up.
I just want a regular 60 gig iPod, just for music. Please, Santa?
posted by 235w103 at 1:30 AM on October 13, 2005


Ok, major question about 'gifting' music from the iTunes Music store. Can I 'gift' music to anybody, regardless of their country of origin? If so, then this creates a pretty big loophole in how Apple prices their music.

In the U.S., tracks are 99cents each. In other countries, iTunes music is more expensive. For instance, single tracks in Japan sell for $1.74 (200 yen).

If I can gift music to anybody in the world, then everyone in the world can bypass their country-specific iTunes pricing, and buy tracks at the cheapest rates.
posted by jsonic at 1:36 AM on October 13, 2005


... the Apple Herd Effect generating a critical mass of video-enabled personal media players.

meehawl, dude, the herd's already here: Apple is behind the curve on this one. Archos has several models and several more in teh pipeline (their PMA4x0 series has WiFi and runs Linux), Sony has at least one and I think two, Creative's got a nice one, and that's just what I can remember off the top of my head. ... OK, I just hopped over to CNet, and they show 49 models in their current listings. Since I pay attention to this sector, I can scan through and tell you that only about 20 of those are current, but I'll add iRiver, Samsung, Apex, and Datex to the list of manufacturers.

As for UIs -- well, the iTunes+iPod framework is really designed for people who wouldn't know how to get a cup of coffee if there weren't a Starbucks on the streetcorner -- that is, don't ever want to know how to do things for themselves.
posted by lodurr at 5:01 AM on October 13, 2005


"They tried small televisions affixed to token machines before back in the 1970s and 1980s in bus terminals. They didn't last."

Ed, those TVs are still in some Greyhound stations. Still B&W. Still work too, as long as you feed them dollars.


As for porn, I'd much rather watch it on a screen big enough to actually SEE what's happening. Doesn't matter who makes the pocket video player. Apple certainly isn't the first one to do it.
posted by keptwench at 6:05 AM on October 13, 2005


As for UIs -- well, the iTunes+iPod framework is really designed for people who wouldn't know how to get a cup of coffee if there weren't a Starbucks on the streetcorner -- that is, don't ever want to know how to do things for themselves.

That's not necessarily true. I use iTunes, and have since my first Mac. I'm a PC and Mac user, and use iTunes on both. Why? Because it's easy to use.

Just because I don't want to hack through directory structure doesn't mean I am any less computer literate, since I am a database administrator.

When I go home after a long day of programming, I just want something that works. Going to the search box, typing in a name, and hitting play. That's how things should work. Ease of use, to me, is more important than being able to say I self-sorted my entire music collection into a directory structure. I'll let Apple manage my directory structure, my music, and I'll do what music was meant to be done with, listen to it.
posted by benjh at 6:15 AM on October 13, 2005


Apple is behind the curve on this one

I never said it wasn't. I know early adopters have been enjoying multimedia players for years. In fact, I predicted over a year ago that Apple's first video ipod would replicate the mistake of Archos's 1st multimedia player, the Jukebox Multimedia back in 2002, by retaining the audio device interface at the expense of a smaller screen. And indeed, that's what has happened: by retaining the wheel controller, Apple has constrained the size of the screen to something approaching an annoyance.

In its 2nd generation multimedia player, Archos learned from its mistake and managed to maximize the front panel screen at the expense of its distinctive gadget design. I'm confident Apple will eventually do the same, perhaps by using an on-screen software touch sensitive wheel simulation? Anyway, it surely can't persist for long, given that the new, expensive ipod has a screen smaller than that found on many devices one-quarter its price. It's smaller, even, than some mobile phones.

But don't know the herd effect. People were enjoying mp3s for years - the Compaq PJB comes to mind - but the ipod did make it mainstream. Apple is like the AOL of tech - it provides training wheels that encourage a great mass of people to jump in. In time, many of those people will want more. All the Archos and iRiver players inthe world were never going to get critical mass, but several million video ipods will create a healthy video RSS ecology.
posted by meehawl at 6:19 AM on October 13, 2005


Well, Apple does also have the advantage of making user interfaces that (while simple) basically Don't Suck. The digital media distribution company I worked for got pretty much every media device under the sun, and I have to tell you... ugh. iRiver, Samsung, Creative... they make devices that you can't just pick up and use. The Apple devices are idiot resistant, if not idiot proof.

The Samsung YH-999 YEPP has great battery life, a big screen, nice and light, and a user interface the equivalent of Chinese water torture. The screen on the vidPod may not be huge, but at least the interface Works (tm).
posted by fet at 7:31 AM on October 13, 2005


So are the actors going to get their cut of online sales or is this like another Gilligan's Island where the actors are cut out of extra revenue for lack of foresight and good contract lawyers?

Oh, and I need some coffee. How do I get that?
posted by effwerd at 7:37 AM on October 13, 2005


As for UIs -- well, the iTunes+iPod framework is really designed for people who wouldn't know how to get a cup of coffee if there weren't a Starbucks on the streetcorner -- that is, don't ever want to know how to do things for themselves.

Yes, clearly doing things the hard way for no reason is the mark of a morally superior person.
posted by myeviltwin at 7:44 AM on October 13, 2005


Apple does also have the advantage of making user interfaces that (while simple) basically Don't Suck.

I've yet to find a DAP UI that comes close to the Rockbox replacement UI for Archos and iRiver devices. Their original interfaces were less than optimal, that's for sure, but after several years of open-source, user-centred design, Rockbox is pretty good.

By comparison, Apple's interface, while pretty, offers little in the way of customisation, personalisation, or niche development. It's a Model T, any-colour-as-long-as-it's-black approach. For example, I can't see Apple adding a Voice Prompt menu system for hands free and blind-user operation anytime soon, but Rockbox just went ahead and did it because one or two people really wanted it. The same goes for unlimited user-prompted bookmarking of mp3 files.

Maybe one day the ipod Linux people will get there and the ipod UI will become more interesting and more user-focussed. Not to mention, once you control the firmware, you can add specific things like XML-tagged positional information within podcasts. I want to be able to select a published word or phrase in the accompanying metainfo and skip immediately to that point within the audio/video file. Without controlling the firmware, you can't do that. You're stuck with whatever Apple gives you which, given its distinct lack of enthusiasm in improving older model UIs and functionality unless it's to add support for revenue items, is pretty limited.
posted by meehawl at 7:59 AM on October 13, 2005


For example, I can't see Apple adding a Voice Prompt menu system for hands free and blind-user operation anytime soon, but Rockbox just went ahead and did it because one or two people really wanted it.

Sorry but isn't that the definition of bloatware?

Best part of the (now monthly?) Apple Church meeting was where Jobs compared the Media Center remote (48 buttons) to the new iMac remote (6 buttons). I don't know how well they both work, but it did make an impression.
posted by fungible at 8:16 AM on October 13, 2005


Sorry but isn't that the definition of bloatware?

Hmm, what you call "bloat", I call "responding to the very specific needs of commercially unviable segments of the population". The Talking Menus were designed with the idea of hands-free operation, but they have proved so spectacularly useful among blind users that blind listserves and websites are now full of people offering advice on where and how to scrounge up dwindling supplies of 4-year-old mp3 players. It has even managed to drive up selling prices for the hardware on eBay.

They are optional enhancements that you don't need to activate unless you want them. If you don't use them, then you don't even know they are there. Just like the Gameboy Emulator. Just like the 60fps video player (a pretty damn impressive hack for a four-year-old 12MHz CPU). Just like the PDA, Calendar, Text Browser. Just like the plugin architecure that supports several dozen applications.

Considering that the entire Rockbox OS runs comfortably in less than 200Kb or RAM or ROM, (yes, .2 of a MB), I think the OS is *far* from bloated.
posted by meehawl at 8:31 AM on October 13, 2005


Jobs compared the Media Center remote (48 buttons) to the new iMac remote (6 buttons)

Okay, I went and looked at the Apple website. As I understand it, this remote lets you browse media stored on your PC... and that's about it. It's a media browser. How many buttons does that take? Six seems like about two too many. All of the "theatre" browser UIs manage with 4 or so.

HTPC remotes usually have a lot more buttons because they do a lot more - change channels, control the amp, pause and rewind TV, and so on. Plus, it helps to have a few macro buttons for optional sequences such as selecting a specific EQ and surround setting.

Let me see, I use an Onkyo remote with 57 buttons and jog dials. Of those buttons, I spend around 98% of the time using exactly, oh, around 5 or so. But there are occasions when I have had to use the others, and it's nice to have the option. Sure makes controlling the ReplayTVs, the TV, the HTPC, the VCR, and the TV a lot easier. Then again, the ReplayTV remote has 39 buttons, but I probably use, again, around 5 of them. But the extra buttons do make irregular tasks, such as programming specific shows, easier.

So in summary - Apple did not produce an equivalent product to a HTPC, it produced a media browser. A much simpler UI proposition.
posted by meehawl at 9:42 AM on October 13, 2005


Eh. Eh. Eh. Eh. Eh. Eh. Eh. Eh. Eh. Eh.

And a lot of those support XViD, DivX, FLAC, SHN, have bigger screens, more hard drive space, more input/output options, drag-and-drop file management ease...

Innovate away, Apple.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:44 AM on October 13, 2005


I owned a 5" DVD portable DVD. I sold it because the screen was too small. 2" doesn't do it for me.

Also, the iriver (regarding MP3 players) is pretty easy to use, drag and drop files, and they don't require an adaptor to play the radio.

Color me meh.
posted by drezdn at 12:40 PM on October 13, 2005


AAPL seems to have gained back the losses from yesterday.
posted by gwint at 1:46 PM on October 13, 2005


meehawl: "Hmm, what you call "bloat", I call "responding to the very specific needs of commercially unviable segments of the population"."

I take it you don't have a business where you actually try to sell stuff to a large market for a profit, then.

Those words "commercially unviable" have a great deal of meaning, don't you think?

Although, it would be nice if Apple created an expansion API so that indie coders could write iPod plug-ins to address small niche markets.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:05 PM on October 13, 2005


I take it you don't have a business where you actually try to sell stuff to a large market for a profit, then.

I take it you don't understand the allure of open-source, or the attraction of a neat hack. Or the satisfaction of customizing your personal media experience so it's *just* *right*. For example, imagine being able to create a "Now Playing" screen with a design you choose, and displaying tag information and other details or graphics based on your desires... With Rockbox, you can. Or several, if you wish, one for each mood, or different genre of music. And all in 200K of "bloatware".

Those words "commercially unviable" have a great deal of meaning, don't you think?

Why do you hate blind people?
posted by meehawl at 8:37 PM on October 13, 2005


Mark Cuban has a great blog piece today (Friday), which reinforces my earlier point that the big deal is VOD in iTunes, not the hardware.

Imagine how happy all those fans of "cancelled before their time" shows like Firefly and Wonderfalls would be if they could download unaired episodes for a buck or two a pop.
posted by mkultra at 12:45 PM on October 14, 2005


the big deal is VOD in iTunes

I'm not sure that this has "saved Network TV". Without a broadcast network, it's a whole different network.

And people seem to like the subscription model for shows, rather than the pay-per-item. If video downloads become a reality, I'd expect the large content providers to prefer to move to a subscription-based service, ala Napster, rather than an Apple single-fee licence. I expect the only thing holding Apple back from offering this is software limitations - it did take MS a long time to get Janus up and working reasonably well.
posted by meehawl at 4:20 PM on October 14, 2005


I take it you don't understand the allure of open-source

Open source is many things, but "alluring" is the last adjective I'd ever apply to it.
posted by kindall at 1:10 PM on October 19, 2005


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