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iPod cellphone to have 25 (haw!) song capacity?

Old 09-02-05, 06:06 AM
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iPod cellphone to have 25 (haw!) song capacity?

http://www.forbes.com/technology/200..._0830ipod.html

With 25-Song Cap, ITunes Phone May Underwhelm
David M. Ewalt and Peter Kafka, 08.30.05, 4:03 PM ET

For more than a year, Apple and Motorola's plans to release an iTunes-enabled phone have tantalized the music and mobile phone businesses. Now, with the two companies set to unveil the long-rumored handset Sept. 7, they might be underdelivering.

A person who has seen a version of the phone says it was designed to accommodate just 25 songs, which would be "sideloaded" from a user's computer using iTunes. The phone was equipped with a 128-megabyte Sandisk TransFlash memory card--just one-quarter the capacity of Apple's (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) smallest iPod, the 512-megabyte shuffle, which holds about 120 songs.

While it should be possible to swap out the memory card on the new iTunes phone for one with more capacity, the person who has seen the handset says the phone's software appears to artificially cap song storage at 25 songs, regardless of how much memory the phone has.

Both Apple and Motorola (nyse: MOT - news - people ) declined to comment. An earlier statement from Apple said the phones "are expected to become available later this summer."

On Monday, Apple distributed an an e-mail to the media hinting at a new product release on Sept. 7. Published reports say that Apple and Motorola will announce an agreement with wireless carrier Cingular, a joint venture between BellSouth (nyse: BLS - news - people ) and SBC Communications (nyse: SBC - news - people ), and will introduce the phone that day.

Some caveats: It is possible that the model the source previewed is different than the one Apple and Motorola will unveil next week. It is also possible that the two companies may be introducing multiple versions of an iTunes phone with different capacities.

But if the phone is reflective of Apple and Motorola's launch, it's likely to underwhelm analysts and Apple fans who have been waiting for an iTunes phone since July 2004, when Motorola Chief Executive Ed Zander first announced plans to roll one out.

Since then, the music and mobile-phone industry has been rife with rumors that the two companies have been unable to find a wireless carrier willing to work with them. The main problem: By loading music from a user's PC to a phone, the handset doesn't create any revenue-generating opportunity for the carriers.

By offering the iTunes phone, Cingular, the United States' largest carrier, is demonstrating a philosophical difference with Sprint Nextel (nyse: S - news - people ) and Verizon Wireless--a joint venture of Verizon Communications (nyse: VZ - news - people ) and Vodafone (nyse: VOD - news - people )--which are planning their own music services.

Unlike the iTunes/Cingular service, the rival carriers' plans call for customers to pay for songs they purchase over the air, rather than load songs they already own from their PCs. (Sprint and Verizon both note that they already sell phones that allow for sideloading, but argue that it will be more convenient for customers to purchase songs over the air). People familiar with the carriers' plans say prices will be upwards of $2 per song. Apple's iTunes store charges 99 cents per song.

"They would rather get you as a customer than potentially get download revenue," notes Avi Greengart, a mobile-device analyst at Current Analysis.

Both carriers and music labels are eager to support over-the-air purchases, buoyed by estimates like one from research firm IDC, which predicts the business will surge from zero today to $1.2 billion in sales and more than 50 million full-track customers and subscribers by 2009.

The carriers think that business can boost their average revenue per user (ARPU), which is now mostly generated by voice services. Just $4.15 of Cingular's $50.43 ARPU, for instance, comes from data services such as ringtones and text messaging. Sprint says non-voice revenue makes up 10% of its revenue, while Verizon reports non-voice revenue of 7%. All three carriers saw their revenue per user drop in the last year.

The music labels, for their part, have also been eager to start selling music over the air, in large part because they'll be able to make more per song. Apple currently pays the labels around 70 cents per iTunes song sold, while an over-the-air sale could net them $1 or more.
If this is true, it's pathetic.
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Old 09-02-05, 09:19 AM
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...the person who has seen the handset says the phone's software appears to artificially cap song storage at 25 songs, regardless of how much memory the phone has.
This makes absolutely no sense, and I don't buy it for a second. None of the existing iPod's have this restriction or anything similar to it, so I can't see why they'd specifically add such a measure.

I call shenanigans.
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Old 09-02-05, 10:18 AM
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Reagrdless, I'm guessing this will still sell. There are many people out there that will buy it just because of the Ipod name.
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Old 09-02-05, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by DRG
Reagrdless, I'm guessing this will still sell. There are many people out there that will buy it just because of the Ipod name.
Yeah, but they won't sell well.

The iPods sell well because they are very user-friendly, they're pretty, they hold a lot of songs, they sync with iTunes, etc. Limiting the iTunes phone to 25 songs renders it pretty much 'useless' as a primary mp3 device.

I own the Treo 650 and have a 1GB SD card. This phone/pda has a built-in mp3 player, but this too is almost 'useless' as a primary mp3 device since it'll drain the battery too quickly. As is, the talk time on the phone is too short anyway.

Anyway, although I love the iPod devices (I'm an ex-owner of the iPod mini as well as the iPod shuffle), I'm now back to using the Rio Chiba. It's 1/2 the size of the iPod mini, its battery life seems to be 'forever', and it's got a nice little display. And I manually sync it with a playlist in iTunes.
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Old 09-02-05, 10:50 AM
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That would be utterly worthless. There's phones on the markets that can hold many more songs than that already, especially the ones with expandable memory.
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Old 09-02-05, 11:07 AM
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I'm not buying it (the story that is). Occationally Apple will underpower a product (iMac with 256MB of memory), but not often, especially in the iPod line, and not to this extent.
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Old 09-02-05, 11:38 AM
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Well, I'd argue the Shuffles were "underpowered" as an mp3 player is useless to me without a screen, fm tuner and recording functions.
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Old 09-02-05, 12:05 PM
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Josh: iPod's don't have FM tuner or Recording functions built in, and I find them very useful.
-Recording is not something I do often, and when I do I can use a seperate device, because I don't be recording to a lossy format to begin with.
-FM is worthless as have you actually listened to the radio lately?
-In the Shuffle's case, the screen is kind of worthless, as if the songs are good quality, you won't fit more than a couple hundred on there anyway, and the general idea is to have songs played at random. If I want to be able to pick my music, anything less than a couple gig isn't enough to hold all the music I'd select to have with me. Plus a screen severely impacts battery life in a device that small.
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Old 09-02-05, 07:05 PM
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I guess I won't believe it until I see it. Seems like a move that would rival some of the decisions Nintendo has made.
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Old 09-02-05, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Otto
Plus a screen severely impacts battery life in a device that small.
And yet the battery life is less than 12 hours. The Sony device with Li ion battery and a screen lasts 50 hours.
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Old 09-02-05, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Otto
Josh: iPod's don't have FM tuner or Recording functions built in, and I find them very useful.
That's why I said "useless to me" and one of the reasons I went with the Dell DJ instead. Though costing half as much was the main factor.

I didn't say the lack of those features makes them useless for everyone.
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Old 09-03-05, 12:03 AM
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This is Apple's big announcment? I thought for sure it would be the video iPod. Phones have played MP3s for years this is hardly big news.
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Old 09-03-05, 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by hahn
And yet the battery life is less than 12 hours. The Sony device with Li ion battery and a screen lasts 50 hours.
Huh? The battery life on iPod Shuffles is above 16 hours in actual real world use.

And what Sony device are you talking about? The only ones I know of is the NW series of players, which have several drawbacks, main one being that they don't actually play MP3 files. They only play ATRAC files. You have to use Sony's software to convert the MP3s to the ATRAC format, which sounds like utter shit to anybody with an ear. Yeah, they have an organic ED display, which is nearly impossible to actually read in something like, oh, sunlight. But hey, it doesn't use any real power to speak of, giving that 50 hour battery life. Too bad it's 50 hours of godawful sounding music. The thing also doesn't get loud enough to actually power any serious speakers, again, giving a great savings in battery life if you don't mind not being able to hear your shitty sounding music over the traffic outside the window.

Face it man, Sony sucks. I'm not saying the Shuffles are perfect (they ain't), but they're far better than any other flash player out there.
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Old 09-03-05, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by namja
Limiting the iTunes phone to 25 songs renders it pretty much 'useless' as a primary mp3 device.
Exactly. This is a phone. Want a thousand tunes? Go buy an iPod.

Plus if they had it hold many more, they lose iPod sales where they make all the profit. Instead they would be splitting the profit with another company that would in effect be competing against their own product. Limiting the songs makes sense to me.
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Old 09-04-05, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Otto
I'm not saying the Shuffles are perfect (they ain't), but they're far better than any other flash player out there.
No way. The Creative MuVo and the I-river flash players are MUCH better than the Shuffle IMO.

They do everything it does (even random loading if you get the 12mp3 shareware program), plus have a screen, fm tuning, fm recording/voice recording/line-in recording etc.

Sure, they're a little pricier so the Shuffle's are fine for someone who unlike me doesn't use those features extensively. But I dont' see how anyone can call a player that isn't top of the line in terms of features "far better" than any other.
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Old 09-04-05, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael Corvin
Exactly. This is a phone. Want a thousand tunes? Go buy an iPod.

Plus if they had it hold many more, they lose iPod sales where they make all the profit. Instead they would be splitting the profit with another company that would in effect be competing against their own product. Limiting the songs makes sense to me.
I agree, but not limiting it to 25. Maybe to 100-150like a 512MB flash player. 25 songs is just too few as you'd be reloading it too often. 100 or so would be enough for a week or two for most people and much more reasonable.
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Old 09-04-05, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Josh Hinkle
I agree, but not limiting it to 25. Maybe to 100-150like a 512MB flash player. 25 songs is just too few as you'd be reloading it too often. 100 or so would be enough for a week or two for most people and much more reasonable.
But even still if they made it comparable to a 512MB player, they would be in direct competition with themselves with the shuffle. Phones are heavily discounted and more often than not be had for free, at least cheaper than the shuffle. The phone has a screen which the shuffle doesn't. It would in effect make the shuffle obsolete.
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Old 09-04-05, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Josh Hinkle
No way. The Creative MuVo and the I-river flash players are MUCH better than the Shuffle IMO. They do everything it does...
Really? So when you play something on your MuVo and then connect it to the computer, does it update the last played time and the playcount in your music library? Do they have smart playlist capabilties? I use these extensively, and these are my "must have" features. Also, a docking station would be nice, as it could be mounted in my vehicle for charging and for playing music.

Originally Posted by Josh Hinkle
(even random loading if you get the 12mp3 shareware program), plus have a screen, fm tuning, fm recording/voice recording/line-in recording etc.
Screen = semi-useless. The biggest flash player is only going to hold maybe 300-400 songs.
FM = Like I said, have you actually listened to FM lately?
Recording = Don't need it. What am I going to record, notes? Bah.

Originally Posted by Josh Hinkle
Sure, they're a little pricier so the Shuffle's are fine for someone who unlike me doesn't use those features extensively. But I dont' see how anyone can call a player that isn't top of the line in terms of features "far better" than any other.
It's a matter of what featureset is important to you and the way you use your device. I like to have my library able to remember what I played and have it not play it again. I like to rate my songs so I can play different types of music. I like to be able to categorize them and listen to different types of music at different times. Admittedly, the shuffle lacks a good playlist capability to do that last one, but still.
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Old 09-04-05, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Corvin
Exactly. This is a phone. Want a thousand tunes? Go buy an iPod.

Plus if they had it hold many more, they lose iPod sales where they make all the profit. Instead they would be splitting the profit with another company that would in effect be competing against their own product. Limiting the songs makes sense to me.
Now this makes sense from a business prospective. Apple uses the phone as a sort of iPod teaser and Motorola gets to use the iPod name cachet. They could market it as a kind of iPod accessory with integration with iTunes and your existing iPod. That way it will offer some value for existing iPod owners and further encourage iPod purchases for those who don't.

But I still think they have something better up their sleeve.
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Old 09-04-05, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by wmansir
Now this makes sense from a business prospective. Apple uses the phone as a sort of iPod teaser and Motorola gets to use the iPod name cachet. They could market it as a kind of iPod accessory with integration with iTunes and your existing iPod. That way it will offer some value for existing iPod owners and further encourage iPod purchases for those who don't.

But I still think they have something better up their sleeve.
I've got no problem with the phone, but the way Apple was hyping this thing up I was expecting a major announcement. However, it is being rumored that they will drop the price of the current shuffles and introduce a 2GB one and announce that the iPod Minis will be available as flash players from now on.

Again this is totally rumor and may be untrue, but a 4GB flash iPod mini at $199 would be an excellent value since you could jog with it and it has a screen. A player without a screen is useless to me.
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Old 09-04-05, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Otto
Really? So when you play something on your MuVo and then connect it to the computer, does it update the last played time and the playcount in your music library? Do they have smart playlist capabilties? I use these extensively, and these are my "must have" features. Also, a docking station would be nice, as it could be mounted in my vehicle for charging and for playing music.
And those are useless features for me. Just say that the shuffles are the best players by far for your needs. Just saying they're the best by far without any qualification is a case of stating an opinion as fact as you have a nasty habit of doing.

Originally Posted by Otto
Screen = semi-useless. The biggest flash player is only going to hold maybe 300-400 songs.
With random fill from 3,300 songs, many of which from cds I haven't listened to for ages I like to be able to look down and see the name of a song I can't recall.

Originally Posted by Otto
FM = Like I said, have you actually listened to FM lately?
Yep, quite a bit. DC 101 is a decent station and I listed to college sports on it in football and basketball season.

Originally Posted by Otto
Recording = Don't need it. What am I going to record, notes? Bah.
More convenient than a tape recorder for recording grad school lectures or interviews for my research work.


Originally Posted by Otto
It's a matter of what featureset is important to you and the way you use your device.
Exactly. So again state things as opinions rather than just saying the shuffles are the best by far.

They're the best by far for you, but near useless for me given the feature set I need to do the things I want to do.
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Old 09-04-05, 09:47 PM
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I agree with you Josh. I have the sandisk 1GB. works great, it's tiny, i use the fm tuner quite often as well to listen to a local talk station for a few hours a day. i have all of my music/podcasts easily organzied in folders. i listen to podcasts mostly so my files constantly change and it's easy to do.
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Old 09-07-05, 01:27 PM
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According to Apple it's about 100 tracks for the ROKR
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