Three Questions About the Inevitable iPod Refresh

  • Share
  • Read Later
Apple

A new iPhone and mini iPad aren’t the only Apple products rumored to launch this fall. According to a couple of unconfirmed reports, after two years of inactivity, Apple is also working on a refresh for some of its iPods.

The sometimes-accurate Macotakara writes that the fifth-generation iPod Touch will have the same 4-inch display as the rumored next iPhone, and the same processor as the existing iPhone 4S. The next iPod Touch may also have an aluminum back, with a hole on the lower side whose purpose is unknown, according to Macotakara’s unnamed source.

(MORE: 5 Benefits of a Thinner iPhone with In-Cell Display Technology)

Meanwhile, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks Apple will once again revise its iPod Nano, but offered no details, as MacRumors reports. Macotakara (again) reported that Apple will abandon the tiny square shape of the existing Nano, and instead go with a larger rectangular design that includes an iPhone-like home button.

Of course, neither of these rumors could turn out to be true, but I’ll eat an earbud if Apple does nothing to its iPod line this year. Here are a few things I’m wondering about how the inevitable iPod refresh will go down:

Where Does the iPod Touch Fit In?

Let’s assume for a moment that Apple is working on a smaller, cheaper iPad in the $200 to $300 range. That would occupy the same price territory as the iPod Touch, which ranges from $200 to $400. If both products have roughly the same cost, what’s the sales pitch for the iPod Touch? Sure, it fits more easily in the pocket than a tablet, but that’s no necessity for the increasing number of people who already own iPhones. One possibility: The starting price of the iPod Touch drops below $200 for the first time ever.

Is Apple Out of the Smart Watch Game?

It’s unclear if Apple expected the current iPod Nano to take off as a wrist watch replacement, but the company has rolled with the trend by expanding the number of available watch faces and selling third-party wrist bands through its own store. Now that products like Pebble have sparked more interest in smart watches, I’d expect Apple to keep building on the idea — yet rumors suggest otherwise. If Apple launches a larger iPod Nano, will a new wrist-sized device step in to replace the existing Nano, or is Apple ceding the market to scrappy startups?

Meta-Question: Will Techies Still Debate the Demise of the iPod Classic?

Every year around August or September, speculation about the death of the iPod Classic abounds. (I’m guilty of partaking in the tradition, and so is my colleague Harry McCracken.) Yet the iPod Classic continues to stick around for $249, proving that Apple doesn’t want to erase its only solution for huge music libraries. So maybe in 2012, a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” scenario will occur, in which people stop wondering if this old gadget is done for. (And in a shocking twist, maybe Apple will finally kill it after all.)

MORE: Would Apple Create a Smartwatch? If So, When?

9 comments
Patrick
Patrick

My biggest beef with the most recent versions of the various iPod's is that none of them are very good for either running or using them while at the gym.  

EddyCJ
EddyCJ

@Patrick  Shuffle?

Swanny246
Swanny246

What's the problem with the iPod nano? A lot of comments I've read suggest that it's lightweight enough to not be an issue when exercising.

Rahat Rashid
Rahat Rashid

It would be interesting to see if that if Apple will ever discontinue the iPod Classic. I really do wonder how the market sales have been over the past few years as new models continue to be released. 

That said, I'm looking forward to seeing what Apple has in store for their music devices. 

Sam Trutna
Sam Trutna

I can't see why they would kill the iPod classic, or why anyone would think they would anyway. I have 50GB of music and terabytes of movies. The iPod classic is really the only choice for me, and I know a lot of people in the same place. My only hope for the future is a dim one, that apple ends its crusade against alternate file types. Why, in this day and age, can I not play .avi and .mkv files on an iPod?

WolfamongWolves72
WolfamongWolves72

 I find it fascinating people need hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months worth of music and video to carry around all day....

What do you do with all this data every day??

timrobson
timrobson

I currently have 4350 albums in my iTunes library.  In Apple lossless format it consumes a little over 850 Gb of drive space.  Even if I compress it down to 128 kbps to sync to my iPod, I can't get it all on to a 160 Gb iPod Classic.  As a result, I can't just plug the iPod into my computer and hit "sync"; instead, I have to go through those 4350 albums covering whatever number of genres (principally classical music, in my case) using iTunes clunky user interface and pick and choose things to sync, which is extremely tedious and time consuming.  I've already spent a significant amount of time ripping my CD collection into iTunes.  Apple should do its part by offering a device with reasonable storage capacity.  Memory is dense and cheap nowadays; there's no reason to limit a device of this kind to 64 Gb or to 160 Gb, for that matter.  If Apple isn't going to allow the use of SD cards or other expandable memory formats, then it should pack the things to the gills with as much memory as the customer is willing to pay for.  I'd happily give them a grand or more for a 1Tb iPod, because of the time and space it would save me.  They wouldn't sell many, but the margins would be Applesque.

Sam Trutna
Sam Trutna

 And don't even get me started on movies. As I said, I've filled terabytes of data space with movies. It's not hard, and yes I do watch all of it.

Sam Trutna
Sam Trutna

Listen to it, what else would I do with it? I find it fascinating that people need to think of this in terms of time, since there's the tried and true "there are only 24 hours in a day, how could you possibly need more music than that?" argument. Holy variety Batman, I listen to more than a handful of musicians from a handful of genres, way more. I listen to dozens of rock artists, a handful of rappers, a country artist here and there, electronic in all its many many many varieties, I've got adult alternative, classical, world, podcasts, experimental, and much much more. That adds up pretty quickly. Now, there's size. I'm assuming you're one of those people who has NO idea what bitrate is. Some of us enjoy having out music at better quality than 192 kB/s. Your average CD is approximately 700MB for maybe *maybe* an hour of music. All of a sudden, 50GB really isn't a lot of music. At all... So kindly stow the derisive attitude until you at least kind of understand what you're talking about.