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Apple’s Coke Classic moment

In opinion, tech on September 6, 2007 by karan

Apple released the new iPod family today – a revised iPod Shuffle lineup (colours, really), the iPod nano (3G), the iPod classic (5.5.5G?) and the all-new iPod touch, which takes the iPhone and strips out the phone functionality.

Is this Apple’s New Coke/Coke Classic moment? And where was Jon Ive when they were designing the new nano?

They’ve tacitly acknowledged the desire for oodles of space with the 80GB and 160GB (!) iPod “classic” line, but it does look increasingly isolated as the rest of the iPod line profilerating with flash-based storage. While my own experiences with a hard-drive based iPod suggests this is probably a smart move, and higher capacities are still impractical with flash, it does feel a bit like the classic monkier is a bit of a cop-out – I’m sure everyone would’ve been far happier with the top-of-the-range iPod touch being hard-drive based for a bit more dollars, but that would have gouged the sales of the iPhone even more.

Instead, you effectively have Apple pointing towards the flash players as the future, and keeping the classic there to assuage concerns about a lack of high capacity options.

The new iPod nano is, to be frank, a bit of an abomination to me (and many others, it would seem). While the “fatty” tag it has been getting is far from fair (or PC), its aim to be a video-nano seems a bit incoherent to me. A two-inch screen is pretty small, and I’m sure any video you’re really watching will be a little squint-inducing. The 2G version was elegant and purposeful; this one looks a bit like an effort to really stretch the nano brand. Could we get a nano-classic here?

I really think either Jon Ive was away when this design was dreamed up, or someone else has usurped his primary role in the design process.

Finally, the iPod touch is also the first flavour most outside of the US will get of the iPhone’s new interface, which should be interesting (in the sense that I will get to play with it). And to show just how far we have come – at the end of 2004, I paid AU$550 dollars for a 40GB iPod (which incidentally you can get refurbished today for $179); today, the new iPod touch 16GB is available for the same price point.

Two steps forward, one step back?

Ed: Also of note! The iPod touch doesn’t have games. Something pending in an upcoming update for both the touch and the phone, perhaps?

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2 Responses to “Apple’s Coke Classic moment”

  1. weird… but isn’t there some advantage to having flash drive over hard drive? I don’t know much about tech stuff, but someone once told me that running with a hard drive will mess it up, whereas flash will be A.okay.

    New technology is always overpriced sadly… but I, like most other human beings apparently, am attracted to flashy things that sparkle and shine. Luckily, I think make the most out of them, coming from a family that buys new cars every 20 years. (My Canon Powershot SD550 also has served me often and well)

    On another note, my video feature on my ipod doesn’t even work and I’m too lazy to get it sent in. I can’t imagine myself watching much anyway though…

  2. There is an advantage to the flash-based iPods in terms of reliability and lower power consumption, but the corresponding disadvantage is more limited capacity – I personally would trade some of that off more capacity, but that’s more because of the size of my music collection than anything else.

    I have to say I’m far more fickle – if something new and shiner comes along (and I can afford it) the old one is usually inherited to my sister ^_^

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