Hello all, after reading Keaton’s post about his predictions for September 1st I have been inspired to write my own. I mean, it’s about time I wrote something here.
I absolutely adore music, it’s on a par with how much I enjoy discussing technology. This annual event normally, has been the perfect match between the two for me. While we can neither confirm nor deny, it’s quite probable that we will see at least one new iPod at this event, along with new AppleTV’s and such. So I believe it’s worth writing about my predictions for the iPod lines for 2010/2011.
I should start by talking about the ye olde iPod Classic – Based on the rumours/discussions and my own opinion, I do believe that this could be the year that we see the last of it..
This is where it all began nearly ten years ago for Apple’s dominance in the music-player category and online music retailing. “As big as a deck of cards, 5GB’s of storage, 20 minute skip protection. 1,000 songs in your pocket.” Man, how things have changed in ten years. It is a beautiful story in the business world, some consider that without the iPod’s success, Apple may not of still been around with it’s fancypants iMacs and iPads in 2010.
The problem is, that with the invention of iOS and glass touchscreens, Apple is making a helluva’ lot more with the iPod Touch and the App Store found upon it. While the idea of being able to carry your entire music library around with you wherever you go as, an iPod Classic can, is still an appealing concept to many. The rise in storage every year in the iPod Touch is finally sufficient enough for most users needs and with the features given to it by iOS, it is a lot more than just something that can play your music. It is sad that the world moves in these certain motions, but I think its time for the iPod Classic to be left remembered for what it did to the technology industry. Yes, it was brilliant. But it shouldn’t just be kept around for the sake of it.
The second iPod that might not survive the winter are those small, colourful, talking pieces of metal Apple sells as the iPod Shuffle. The rumours of this 3cm by 3cm square touchscreen that may be the new generation Shuffle don’t really fly with me. The idea of having a touchscreen that will be filled up with your fat finger most of the time, in my eyes, hinders any usability it could have.
The biggest problem I believe Apple faces with the iPod Shuffle was that they had it perfect when they introduced the second generation of the device: Perfect form-factor, aesthetically pleasing and simple button interface, built-in clip. It served it’s purpose of as Apple’s smallest media player perfectly and is the reason it hung around stores worldwide for almost three years. The third generation overstepped the mark in terms of what people wanted from the iPod Shuffle, it was too small and the loss of any sort of physical controls for it immediately made it lose custom to those who weren’t brave enough to talk to it. It looks to me that Apple have sadly failed to come up with any new ideas for the lil’ guy.
If the iPod Shuffle does survive I think that there three scenarios we might see on September 1st: First option (and most likely). The word ‘Shuffle’ will not even be muttered out of Steve Jobs’ lips – It will continue on as it is doing so now. Second option. We will see a mediocre revision, reverting to the same ideologies as the 2nd generation iPod Shuffle. Third option, a completely unexpected, revolutionary (something Apple’s got kind of good at recently) way of utilising iTunes autofill and syncing capabilities with new a new UI device. Perhaps based on iTunes Genius?
Now, after all that sadness and cynicism, lets get on to some stuff that we might see on September 1st shall we?
As Keaton said previously in his post: “The iPod Touch has traditionally been sold as the “lite version” of the iPhone, keeping up with the core of the iPhone hardware, but lagging far behind in features”, and with the huge changes the iPhone 4 brought to the line. The iPod Touch has a lot of catching up to do.
I think the addition of the rumoured front-facing camera is a safe bet as means Apple quickly multiplies the number of FaceTime users in an instance. But with that, I also think that its time that the iPod Touch finally got the rear-facing camera that many users crave for. Whether or not this camera will be the same as the iPhone 4 or something sub-standard now such as the iPhone 3GS is debatable. Recent rumours sure make it look like case manufacturers will have to make space for an LED flash on the back.
But for me, giving the Touch as good a camera as the iPhone 4 is a step too far for Apple as the iPod will be too similar in it’s feature set to what the phone has. Apple wouldn’t want to make the decision between the two devices based on the fact that “the iPod Touch is just an iPhone without the phone”, as I reckon many will choose the one time payment of the iPod over the monthly contract of iPhone if they can do without it. Likewise, I don’t believe the iPhone’s retina display will make an appearance on the iPod Touch for the same reason.
I think also that this might be the year we finally see the ‘iPod Touch Nano’. The ideology of the original iPod Nano (and it’s older brother the iPod Mini) was that it was just a straight shooting iPod Classic that played music, but was really small. Over the years this vision has been distorted by video playback, accelerometers and cameras. Hmm.. a camera and accelerometer? But those features seem awfully familiar to that we see in the iPhone today and therefore most probably the iPod Touch in September don’t they? So why don’t we instead of think the Nano as being a smaller iPod Classic, and start seeing it as a smaller iPod Touch? With a touchscreen and a well-worked mini iOS based UI, Apple could reinvent the Nano to work with the conventions of the original to be a smaller version of the main iPod line (which I very much believe Apple considers the iPod Touch now).
As always, these sort of prediction based posts are down to pure speculation. The iPod Classic may certainly be completely reinvented for its purpose. The iPod Nano may not be changed at all. The fact is we never know what to expect from these types of events anymore, and thats the excitement of it.