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The Dirge of iPod

Posted in Gadgets, Music, MP3s and Internet Radio, Technology by engtech on September 19, 2006

There’s an interesting prediction that 2006 is the year that the iPod will die. I have a Nokia 6682 (2005 release, review starts here) with half a gig of memory. While I have used it for listening to music, it hasn’t come close to replacing my 4th generation 40 GB iPod.

Here are the reasons:

  • Cellphone music transfers use USB 1.1, so take an unbearably long time.
    • I don’t have an MMC card reader on my “MP3” computer.
  • The Nokia MP3 player chokes on a lot of MP3 files (SymbianOggPlay fixes this)
  • I may always have my phone on me, but I don’t always have my ear-buds with me, and old ladies throw loose change and lint-covered hard candies at me if I try to use the loudspeaker.

We’re still in an age where the best convergent device is a cellphone, a Nano, and a digital camera tied together with a piece of duct-tape.

After the break, why I think the iPod will die.

I use my phone for playing Su Doku, checking movie times and occasionally listening to music — but it’s still not even close to replacing my main gadgets. I don’t disagree that the iPod craze is coming to an end, I might consider diversifying more if I worked at a company whose sole business model is iPod accessories. What I strongly disagree with is the timeline. I think the year is more like 2008 when we’ll start to notice this.

Here are the reasons why I think the iPod will die (aka “finally lose a significant portion of market-share”):

  • If my cellphone can play music and I always have my cellphone with me, what else do I need?
    • Cellphone ear buds with a built-in headset (like the ones Nokia produces) are simply the best thing about having a cellphone MP3 player. Calls automatically interrupt your music, you press a button on the headset and talk, press again to end call and restart the music. Genius.
  • Only idiots would pay $10-$14 for 640×480 digital video downloads.
    • But, I didn’t think they’d be able to sell music videos online and apparently they have for $1-$2 a piece. Suddenly all the “music videos on YouTube” contraversy makes sense.
    • The iTunes Movie Store will be very popular, but anyone who downloads from it should have mandatory sterilization. Unfortunately, they’ve already procreated.
  • Wi-fi is a natural extension of how people want to use a music player.
    • This is the only reason why Microsoft’s Zune will gain market-share.
    • Much like blue-jacking, there will be an inordinate amount of people “pushing” their podcasts to random people on the bus.
  • Streaming radio will be the death of MP3.
    • I’ve been using last.fm exclusively for a few months and it’s so much more natural to how I want to listen to music. I want to quickly choose genres/artists I’m interested in at that moment and then have it auto-select what it thinks I want to hear next — continually improving as I love/hate songs.
    • No one tags their friggin’ MP3s properly, making managing a large MP3 collection more work than it’s worth.
    • Backing up your MP3 collection to CD/DVD sounds smart, but it takes on average 10 minutes a CD to recover the data to the computer. I had a hard drive crash in 2000 and I *still* haven’t restored my 200 GB of MP3 back-ups.

Of course, this is all pretty moot since the iPhone is around the corner.

>> 2006: the year the i-Pod died

>> Nails into the coffin of the iPod: revisiting blog “2006 the year iPod died”

>> Why the iPod will never die�

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6 Responses

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  1. freshfodder said, on September 20, 2006 at 8:49 am

    ipod die? fat chance! by constantly upping the specs and lowering the prices, apple puts the other guys out of business.

  2. Tomi T Ahonen said, on September 20, 2006 at 9:43 am

    Hi engtech

    “immediate backpedaling” ??? I’m that Tomi Ahonen of that blog, and am curious what to you in the blog is such revearsal of my position?

    In October of 2005 when that blog initially was made, and iPod was enjoying unprecedented sales and heading to its best Christmas sales ever, I took the position that during 2006 the iPod will lose its iconic status as the ubergadget, and be unceremoniously heaved to the side, as the musicphones would dominate the market.

    Even I was surprised how rapidly that happened. I expected a long and bitter fight through 2006, but by the second quarter it was all over. Apple iPod sales have now declined for two straight quarters, down a total of 46% from the peak at Christmas. Meanwhile musicphones are all having demand exceeding supply with record sales from Motorola to SonyEricsson to LG. Nokia most bullish of all, says they will more than double their sales this year – and during the year of 2005 Nokia already sold more musicphones than Apple had sold iPods from 2001 to 2005 cumulatively…

    So, anyway, I am happy you referred to the blog. And also you and I seem to share at least the main principle beliefs of this part of the industry. But I am honestly curious on what part you felt I backpedaled?


    Tomi Ahonen :-)

  3. engtech said, on September 20, 2006 at 10:11 am

    Hi Tomi,

    Thanks for stopping by to comment.

    Upon re-reading the article I linked to, I have absolutely no idea why I got the impression you were backpedaling.

    lack of reading comprehension: 1, engtech: 0

    The only excuse I can possibly come up with is reading the first paragraph and skimming (by skimming, I mean ignoring entirely) the rest of the post. Thanks for correcting me before I looked like too much of an idiot. I’ve updated my post to remove that entirely incorrect statement.

    Who’s backpedaling now? Me.

  4. Tomi T Ahonen said, on September 29, 2006 at 3:52 am

    Hi engtech

    (and you know, with that horribly long posting, I actually did go back, re-read it carefully, just to be sure myself that I hadn’t accidentially left such an impression, ha-ha)

    But hey, very decent of you, thank you! Absolutely no harm done obviously, and once again thanks for the mention. And that’s very honest, mentioning the egg on your blog itself.

    Cheers !

    Tomi Ahonen :-)

  5. choco said, on November 08, 2006 at 1:13 am

    For venturing off the good holy grail article (thanks!) your analysis here strikes me as slightly narrow-sighted. Have you considered usability issues of the average Nokia versus the average iPod (clickwheel, anyone)? Or the fact that streaming radio existed and was widely used before iPod even became fashionable? Or that paying 10 bucks for a crappy video is related to the marketing channel, not the device, and that the same will happen to your Nokia once it can actually play video by any decent measure? Or that if WiFi turns out to be that much of a killer and the copyright death trap is defused, Apple will probably hop on the wireless bus too?
    If for theory’s sake I add in all of these, your only remaining argument for the iPod imminent death becomes the fact that your music doesn’t pause when someone calls you… If I even try to approach that argument seriously, I’d say I wouldn’t particulary care about it since I can restart the song, scroll back (using the great user interface), or even find it long after, because I actually tag (gasp) my audio, IF the iTunes Store hasn’t already done that for me.
    I say, let Nokia (or someone else) first make something that can compete with iPod (please, please, because we need the competition, because Apple cripples features and overprices), then we’ll talk :-)

  6. engtech said, on November 18, 2006 at 8:44 pm


    Yes, it is narrow-sighted. But unfortunately to create debate you usually have to take only one side. :)

    Great arguments from the other side, and I agree with most of them.

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