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  1. #1
    symphonix is offline Scratch & Sniff Committee
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    Eating our words: a look back to Oct 2001

    With the upcoming release of Apple's "iTV" product expected to be at Macworld in January, a lot of talk is going around about the usefulness of it, whether there is a market for it, and whether it is just a glorified iPod. I've said, based on past experience, that I feel it is a good move for Apple - it is a product that people are going to want. And if there is one thing I've learned in the past five years, its that as long as people want a product, it will sell.

    Thinking more about it, though, I couldn't help but remember a time, not so long ago, when Apple launched another odd, obscure little device that left the critics csratchinng their heads. And, thanks to the magic of the Internets, I've been able to dig up what we said in regards to the launch of the iPod, in October 2001.

    I know I wasn't expecting it to do well. The price was too high, the capabilities too small. At the time we were on iTunes 1, and Mac OS X 10.0, and while the underlying technology was starting to take shape there were few offerings to get people excited about Apple at all, unless they were Unix fans.

    And so, what did we say when the iPod was launched?

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottW
    Apple introduces iPod, a digital audio player (MP3, MP2) with a 5GB hard drive (1000 songs). 20 minute skip protection. FireWire-equipped, first such music player.

    10 hour battery, lithium-polymar ("most advanced battery; more advanced than laptop batteries"), takes 1 hour to charge.

    Size of a deck of cards: 2.4" wide, 4" tall, 3/4" thick.

    Backlit LCD display, playlist support, ID3 tag support, very fast and easy to go through list of songs and playlist. Interfaces with iTunes.

    Backlit LCD display, playlist support, ID3 tag support, very fast and easy to go through list of songs and playlist. Interfaces with iTunes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Uoba
    Godammit...
    And my girlfriend has just bought me an mp3 player which is bound to be cheaper!

    Classic woman move there, should've seen it coming
    Don't be so hard on yourself, Uoba, nobody really saw it coming.

    Quote Originally Posted by Faruvius
    How on earth is this a <b>"breakthrough digital device?"</b>

    I certainly hope there is more to it than this.
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottW
    I think its a neat idea... not sure why Apple had to be the first with this... I think we can say that our expectations was not meant. Of course... I'm sure we will all want one needless to say.

    Now... if it had a broadcaster in it that I can turn it to a certain channel on my stereo (home or car) and it broadcasted through that, now that would be awesome.
    Prophetic, ScottW. There are now hundreds of FM-transmitters and wireless accessories for the iPod. And the Airport Express. And in car integration from most car and car audio manufacturers.

    Quote Originally Posted by RhinoG3
    iTunes 2 announced. MP3 CD burning (doesn't convert to AIFF audio CD format), cross fading, equalizer are the three main new features. Free download, available in early November
    I had forgotten how far iTunes had come.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fryke
    I guess you all have to rethink. 400$ might seem too much. But this is really the high end thing. It's all I ever wanted in a MP3 player. Handling the lists in iTunes is great. The display is great. The size of the device is *much* better than any of the harddrive based players Creative Labs has put out. The design is perfect. I love it. I'll buy one. Period.
    Fryke saw the potential in it...
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  2. #2
    symphonix is offline Scratch &amp; Sniff Committee
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allan Goodman
    I’m not impressed at all, I was hoping for something breakthrough but we get an MP3 player that costs more money and less space then the Creative Nomad (closest equivalent I could find).

    Has Apple lost its touch?

    ...

    And second they want products that will be breakthrough and will get consumers interested, I will agree that MP3 players were groundbreaking, but that was 3 years ago . . . I don’t see an overpriced MP3 player is going to attract any consumer to look more closely at the Macintosh platform . . .
    Quote Originally Posted by AdmiralAK
    I leave for a couple of hours to go to german class and this piece of shite comes out ?? :P

    This is a disgrace to apple... Boooooooo

    Admiral
    At that point the poll kicked off: would you buy an iPod?

    The results: 29 for "Yes it has the right features." against 49 for "No, it is too expensive". Admittedly, at $399 it was pretty steep, but the price dropped with time and it eventually became a hit. I predict the same sort of reaction to Apple's iTV.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristjan
    I can't imagine why anyone would wanna have their complete record collection with them, all the time. What I was hoping for was something like a regular mp3-player, 64 Mb of memory, some cool iTunes/Mac integration, lightweight, about the same design as the iPod and a nice price tag, under $200.

    I'm a bit dissapointed. I think I'll go for the Nike psa[play now.
    Ouch! Can't imagine why anyone would want to have their complete record collection with them, all the time? Ouch!

    bleh. apple comes out with an mp3 player at the tail end of the mp3 codec life cycle - mp4's coming soon, my JVC DV-Cam already supports it - and they label it as revolutionary.

    sad.
    Ahem, can you say "Firmware update"?

    Uh oh, here comes my quote ... I can't remember what I said, lets see ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Symphonix
    Dammit, there goes this weeks salary. It is very cool, very clever. Only one cable (it recharges over firewire). There just aren't the products out there to compete with this, I don't care what anybody says! I have a Creative and it is a hunk of junk - there is more humm and hiss in the output than my cassette walkman! I will trade it in, for sure.
    Well, that's not so bad, even though it did take me about 2 years to finally get on board the iPod bandwagon and buy one.
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  3. #3
    symphonix is offline Scratch &amp; Sniff Committee
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dev.Lqd
    I personally am VERY excited about a) the use of firewire for the device- high bandwidth USB devices are DUMB. b) it can recharge itself from the firewire bus power. This is absolutely fantastic. One cord- the adapter is even just a firewire port with power pins connected. I've also not seen such concise and flexible playlist support in any other device. I dig it.
    Remember, of course, that at that time USB2.0 wasn't out yet, and in retrospect Firewire was the only logical way to make the iPod. Nonetheless, there were lots of people considered that this would freeze out the PC market. In a way it did, but not for long.

    Likewise, when iTV arrives, I'm sure there'll be people saying that it doesn't work with XBox Live or Windows 98 or Winamp or Gentoo Linux on an Alpha, and will be moaning and saying that its only for Mac users and will therefore be a failure. When they do, we'll know to take it with a grain of salt.

    Quote Originally Posted by LordOphidian
    With that price point and the lack of PC connectivity (as far as I have been able to tell, the only way to sync it is through iTunes2). I don't seen this thing going very far.
    Again, two issues that vanished within 12 months.
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  4. #4
    symphonix is offline Scratch &amp; Sniff Committee
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    Quote Originally Posted by esc
    I didn't think I really wanted one until I was able to play with a unit for 10 minutes.

    The user interface is stunningly better than any other mp3 player I've seen. I had a Nomad for awhile (it was awful - terrible battery life, glacial download speeds, poor construction and a not-very-sane way of dealing with anything beyond a few dozen tunes). Seeing something done so well - so intuitive, pushed me over.

    I don't believe it is too expensive given the quality of the unit and the fact that it is the first useful player I've played with. People complaining about price can wait as prices will fall - remember that the first Sony Walkman in 1979 went for $200 -- that is about $510 in today's money.
    esc seemed to hit the nail on the head. Every new product is going to be expensive at first. Its up to the individual, and their budget, on whether they leap in on launch day or hang back for a year or two, but eventually the need for the product rises and the price for the product falls, until it just seems like a sensible purchase.

    Quote Originally Posted by slef
    just preordered my RIOVOLT SP250... now that's the sh*t!!

    CDs don't cost crud. a smallish cd wallet in my backpack and i have my entire music collection with me. it plays normal audio CDs, 8 min skip protection ! FM tuner... things don't get any hotter. +++ less than half the price of an iPod.

    oh yeah..
    Oh dear, oh dear.

    This thread was amusing...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lazarus18
    What does the iDisappoint (iPod) do for Apple financially?
    I really hope these things cost Apple next to nothing to produce, and that they're just being stupid and marking them up for all they're worth. At $400 these things are going to do nothing but sit on store shelves. Maybe we'll see the price come down, but I sure hope that Apple doesn't have a huge investment in this product.

    Since there's nothing breakthrough about it, I can assume that the R&D didn't cost too much. It's production ramp up that concerns me. They should just call it the iCube2 and be done with it. Same basic flaws... doesn't fulfill a need not met by another product, doesn't do much of anything to pull in non Mac people, potentially a big economic drain that will be blammed for reduced earnings in a quarter or two.

    Oh well, maybe I can pick one up on the cheap when they start doing whatever they can to reduce massive inventory. Of course by then something better will have been made by someone else.
    Open mouth, insert foot. Okay, so most of his comments made it clear that cost vs benefits was a no-win battle, at least for this one person. Hey, at the time it was a no-win battle for most of us - despite being big fans of Apple, we didn't buy iPods in that first 6 months. But saying that cost vs benefits would lead to this being an ultimate failure was unwise, because the *potential* was there for it to both come down in price, and move up in usefulness.

    Quote Originally Posted by ElDiabloConCaca
    In the sea of crappy MP3 players plagued by being oversized, underpowered (oh yeah -- iPod runs for 10 hours and recharges in 1-3 hours, BTW -- best THAT one, too!), bulky and have ridiculous interfaces, the iPod shines like a lighthouse over this murky and ill-conceived sea of MP3 players.
    ...
    C'mon. Really think about how this product shines. It's not just an MP3 player, it's an amazing device disguised as an MP3 player.
    It's interesting to note that ElDiablo now owns "iPod photo 60GB • iPod nano 1GB".
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  5. #5
    symphonix is offline Scratch &amp; Sniff Committee
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino23
    The iPod is actually not bad. It is priced the same as a portable FW HD of the same capacity. Look at it that way and the MP3 player is free!
    This is what I loved about the Airport Express that made me order one on launch day. It cost about the same as something I already required - a wireless router - and did much much more than any other router on the market. Today, I couldn't imagine not being able to pipe my music from my computer to any stereo in the house.

    This is something marketing people call "value-added" - that is to say you start with a requirement, maybe a hard-drive or a monitor, and then work out other ways it could be made more useful and interesting. And occassionally, you stumble on a completely new use for that product.

    Well, I think that wraps up this little trip down memory lane. Perhaps when January rocks around, and we get the release date and price for the iTV (and hopefully the final product name too) we'll be able to look at it objectively. And perhaps we will see it as nice, but overpriced. That doesn't mean we won't be looking at them again come Christmas 2007.

    Best of luck, little iTV.

    >
    ||
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  6. #6
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    Mikuro is offline Crotchety UI Nitpicker
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    Let's remember just a few things:

    At first, the iPod WAS Mac-only. The Windows version came quite a bit later. I don't even remember anyone caring. In fact, it seemed strange when Apple "moved to the Dark Side" and introduced the Windows version.

    The iPod really was the first mp3 player that Didn't Suck™. (Some would say it's still the only one.)

    The iPod was the birth of Apple's new image, which didn't really mature for a few years afterwards. You could say it was a disgrace to the old Apple, but in any case, Apple it and ran with it, and now it is Apple. (Which still makes me, a Mac fan, kind of sad...) A lot of current Apple/Mac fans got on board too late after the iPod revolution and don't really understand this huge shift and all that Apple lost in it.

    As for the iTV...I'm still not quite clear on exactly what it does, so I won't comment on it. *shrug* I'd certainly be in the market for such a device that really worked well, but...somehow I doubt I'll be impressed. Time will tell.
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  7. #7
    jpb5151 is offline Registered User
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    After reading the posts, it's all too clear: Fryke is really Steve Jobs.

    If iPods ever get down to about $50 - $70, I'll buy one. Guess that leaves me way way behind with iTV...

  8. #8
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    eric2006 is offline iMovie Professional
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpb5151 View Post
    After reading the posts, it's all too clear: Fryke is really Steve Jobs.

    If iPods ever get down to about $50 - $70, I'll buy one. Guess that leaves me way way behind with iTV...
    ahem..



    As for the iTV, if it's good enough, we could see a shift in where get our visual media, as we did with the iPod (CDs to iTunes, DVDs to iTunes).
    Power to Burn.
    At speeds of up to 733MHz,
    The most powerful Mac in history
    burns CDs, burns DVDs, and
    burns Pentiums

    - apple website, oct 4, 1999. advertisement for the powermac g4

 

 

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