Well, I've been waiting to hear what all the hype was about today. It was somewhat of a let down since ThinkSecret accurately reported that a new flash based iPod along with the iPod phone would be announced today. Still, I enjoyed having some pretty pictures to look at today.
Here are my thoughts...
The iPod product line is a little confusing right now. The iPod Nano seems to be a replacement for the iPod mini since it supports up to 4GB and the largest iPod mini supported 6GB. I've always liked the white and silver style more than the pastels used with the mini. So this might push me to finally replace my trust G1 iPod.
This is a smart move for Apple, because my survey of personal friends and family reveals a number of people who are interested in the iPod as a companion for their workouts. If you do much running as part of your workout then the HardDrive based iPods will sometimes skips. That is what I've been told. I still believe this whole exercise thing is a fad and 50 years from now we will be told of studies that show exercise is bad for your health. That is my story and I'm sticking with it. Anyway, with a *real* (as opposed to the faux iPod shuffle) flash based iPod, I suspect a whole new segment of consumers will purchase iPods. Kudos to Apple on this. It seems to me that the full iPod is becoming less of the meat of the player market. The percentage of folks that really need 20GB all the time and want the bigger device is not that large.
I'm curious about the cost and margin impact to Apple of switching from a HardDrive based model to a smaller flashed based device. Certainly, a flash based device has fewer moving parts which may lead to fewer support costs for Apple. I'm wondering if there is some other cost advantage to Apple. Anyone have anything to add to this angle?
The Rokr looks interesting. However, I'm a bit disappointed that I can't seem to find enough information on the web. For example, the specs list the phone as providing 6.5 hours of talk time. Given the nature of this phone, I'd be really interested in learning what the play time is as well. I assume many people will be listening to music on this device. Amazingly, the Motorola web site seems to not even mention this phone. Most of the information has been gleaned from the Cingular site or the Apple site.
I love the fact that when the phone rings, the phone automatically pauses any playing music. Very cool. Very smart. This is the type of attention to detail and user focus that makes products great.
The big surprise for me is that the phone doesn't support any over the air purchasing of music. Since the mobile carriers depend on additional services (e.g. ring tones, SMS, etc.) to drive profitable revenue, the conventional wisdom was that carriers pushed back on this iTunes enabled phone and wouldn't carry it unless it allowed users to purchase songs over the air. This created a bit of a pricing challenge since Apple sells songs for $.99 and the carriers typically sell ring tones for about $2. Why would someone spend $2 for a ring tone when they can purchase the whole song for $.99. So I guess Cingular just figured having an exclusive on this phone would drive new subscribers to their service and they'd make the money some other way.
Even more surprising is that the Cingular web site lists "real music tones" as a feature. Does that mean I can select a song (or some snippet of a song) to use as my ring tone. In that case, Cingular won't even be able to sell ring tones to users of the Rokr. Kudos to Cingular for just focusing on the fact that this is something consumers want and giving it to them before figuring our how to extract maximum revenue. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and how other carriers respond.
Microsoft...Microsoft...is anyone home....Microsoft?