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Holiday Competition For iPod Dollars 300

Posted by timothy
from the ho-ho-ho dept.
An anonymous reader writes "MP3newswire.net is running a two part article on 15 new digital music portables or "iPod Killers" as the digerati have dubbed them. iPod Killers for Christmas Part I includes what I think is the coolest new player, the Olympus MR 500i with touch-screen technology and and sharp black-on-white color scheme. iPod Killers for Christmas Part II's most interesting portables are the new Epson MPEG-4/MP3 media jukebox and the SoniqCast Aireo 2 Wi Fi. Lots of photos and size specs. Also, Ogg Vorbis is picking up steam as more new players are adding it."
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Holiday Competition For iPod Dollars

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  • iPod Killer? (Score:2, Insightful)

    None of these device's interfaces impresses me as much as the iPod.

    If there's anything that's going to kill the iPod it'll be its lack of Ogg Vorbis support...
    • Re:iPod Killer? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Vicsun (812730) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:24AM (#10550208)
      If ogg gathers support, Apple can create a firmware update for the iPod and it will be back to square one.
    • Re:iPod Killer? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mr_gerbik (122036) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:34AM (#10550263)
      Ogg isn't going to kill the iPod, it isn't even a factor. Why? Because no one cares/knows what Ogg is except the nerd elite.. and I hate to break it to you, but the nerd elite are not the vast majority of consumers. You think my mom gives two shits whether or not her mp3 player supports Ogg?
    • Re:iPod Killer? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IANAAC (692242) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:34AM (#10550264)
      While I like Ogg Vorbis, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find and average iPod owner that cares about it, much less knows what it is.

      Really. The majority just want to use iTunes together with their iPod seamlessly - something already being doen, and quite nicely.

    • Re:iPod Killer? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wankledot (712148) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:35AM (#10550268)
      "If there's anything that's going to kill the iPod it'll be its lack of Ogg Vorbis support..." Awww, you're so cute. *pat on the head*

      No one cares about Ogg Vorbis. If I asked 90% of my friends "Hey, do you want Ogg Vorbis support on your iPod?", they would think it was some industrial band.

      The idea that Ogg support matters at all in the general market is laughable. No. One. Cares. It seems to have done pretty well without Ogg, and that won't change.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        If I asked 90% of my friends "Hey, do you want Ogg Vorbis support on your iPod?", they would think it was some industrial band.

        How could they be so stupid? ...everybody knows Ogg Vorbis are a black metal band.
      • Re:iPod Killer? (Score:2, Informative)

        by DWIM (547700)

        No one cares about Ogg Vorbis.

        Which leaves me wondering about this, from the article:

        Of note, Ogg Vorbis is making some significant progress in the market as a number of manufacturers are turning to the open source codec to draw Ogg fans.

        Hmm, maybe some folks DO care about Ogg Vorbis support in their DAPs? Enough, apparently, that manufacturers are starting to notice.

        Teenie-boppers looking for portable music player aren't going to be asking for Ogg Vorbis, sure. Just like teenie-boppers aren't g

        • Re:iPod Killer? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by droleary (47999) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @05:17PM (#10552120) Homepage

          Hmm, maybe some folks DO care about Ogg Vorbis support in their DAPs? Enough, apparently, that manufacturers are starting to notice.

          No, you got it backwards. It's clueless manufactures that don't have the skills to produce an actual iPod killer who scramble for any little thing that they can use as a checkbox item in their favor or otherwise attempt to gain geek creds. It's just a plain bad business decision; right up there with Sony not supporting MP3 on their new Walkman. The reality is that once you do anything other than MP3, you have to do it in a way that is so slick that people don't have to think about it. Contrast that with the way people who support Ogg Vorbis are continually trying to shove the format itself down everyone's throats. If they just shut up and pulled an Apple they might actually get some real world traction on the format.

      • Re:iPod Killer? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by killjoe (766577) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @02:42PM (#10551239)
        IF the nerds who care about ogg only shared files in ogg format then you can bet your ass 90% of your friends would care.

        You want to increase the popularity of ogg? Then stop sharing MP3s, it will happen overnight.
      • Right on. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by solios (53048)
        Out of a few thousand music tracks and a couple of hundred video files, I've come across approximately ONE ogg file. And it wasn't even straight audio- one of the video files I downloaded had an ogg audio track. It was fucking annoying, to put it mildly- I had to use mplayer. :P

        Ogg is a lot like PNG was four years ago- fine in concept, but good luck getting the Great Unwashed to give a shit.

        Difference is, it's 2004 and png is everwhere (albeit still shittily supported on everything, but support in some
    • by grungebox (578982) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:40AM (#10550296) Homepage
      If there's anything that's going to kill the iPod it'll be its lack of Ogg Vorbis support...

      That's true. I know that Apple's target demographic is definitely on the fence regarding Ogg support. Here's a sample polling question for someone in this key age group:

      Q: So, what file types would you like to see supported in a portable music player? WMA? MP3? Ogg?
      A: Like, I totally thought Billy was into Jane 'cuz they were all like making out last night, that's what Katie told me but she has like this like weird thing in her hair and ohmygod! was that justin timberlake on TV! ohmygodohmygod I mean OMGOMGOMG! G2g brb ttyl!!!!1111 Wait...what's like an "ogg", and like stuff, you know?

    • Re:iPod Killer? (Score:3, Interesting)

      If there's anything that's going to kill the iPod it'll be its lack of Ogg Vorbis support...

      Exactly. As an owner of an iPod, I find this extremely annoying. I have a powerbook to match my at-home linux box and the most annoying thing is having to re-rip my sizable cd collection into mp3 just so I can play it on my iPod.

      Maybe somebody can help answer a question here: It would be very easy (my assumption) to add ogg support to iTunes and the iPod. Why exactly hasn't apple done this? Is it because they
      • Because apple doesn't want it to happen .
        • by krel (588588) <krell AT mac DOT com> on Sunday October 17, 2004 @12:25PM (#10550504) Homepage
          It's very keen how you figured out that Apple secretly has a plan to stamp out consumer freedoms all over the globe.
          Steve Jobs is rarely caught on camera crushing puppies with his bare hands, and to the average joe his justification for running a music store with a near-zero profit simply because it will make consumers buy more iPods usually makes sense, but you've really caught on to the unimaginable depths of nazi-supporting, devil-worshiping corruption that has become nothing less than unstoppable in the hateful underbelly of Apple.
          Any sane person should realize that there is no reason conceivable by God or man for the iPod not to be compatible with Ogg Vorbis. Everyone uses it these days, and ultimately it wouldn't cost Apple a single cent (because everyone knows development and support are essentially free in a huge technology company with millions of customers) so the only possible reason for Apple to deny consumers their God-given right to play Ogg Vorbis files on their iPods is that Apple secretly wants to oppress music-enthusiasts all over the world with their murderous music store.
      • The people I know with Ipods could probably put all the songs from CDs they want to listen to without ANY compression. It's also pretty easy to delete and add songs at any time. I could understand the issue for those who want to keep video files, but mp3s? Just what percentage of those songs do you actaully listen to?
      • Re:iPod Killer? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CritterNYC (190163) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @12:05PM (#10550414) Homepage
        Maybe somebody can help answer a question here: It would be very easy (my assumption) to add ogg support to iTunes and the iPod. Why exactly hasn't apple done this? Is it because they want to get people behind their weird compression format, or is it some kind of licensing issue? Something else I haven't thought of?

        Well, one idea is that the iPod's processor isn't capable of handling ogg decoding.

        Another idea is that Apple doesn't want to add ANY formats to their player. They support MP3, which appeals to Joe Average who illegally downloads music. And they support their DRMed iTMS AAC format for legal purchases from iTMS. Either one is also supported for legal/illegal (depending on your country or current senate bill bought and paid for by the RIAA, etc) ripping of music from CDs. Apple doesn't want ANY other format on an iPod as it may threaten their existing base of iTMS customers.

        Which one you believe usually depends on whether you believe Apple is a benevolent company acting in its customers best interests or just another cash-happy ass-of-a-company that isn't more evil simply because it doesn't have the monopoly that Microsoft does.
        • Re:iPod Killer? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Gumber (17306) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @01:07PM (#10550696) Homepage
          Note,
          AAC isn't an apple proprietary compression format. iTMS wraps AAC in a DRM format that, at least to date, is apple proprietary.

          Apple supports unDRMed AAC and in fact, has no way for users to created DRMed AAC. Contrast this to Microsoft. Their media player defaults to ripping stuff in DRMed WMA so that ignorant users can't share stuff from CDs they bought with their freinds.
          • Re:iPod Killer? (Score:3, Informative)

            by Naffer (720686)
            Have you even used WMP10? The first time you try to rip a CD, it has a popup box that informs you that DRM is enabled, lets you read a quick blurb about it, and then lets you disable it completely.
    • Most Ipod buyers aren't slashdot geeks, not even tech enthusiasts. They want a Name-brand product that does one thing, and not even have to change the default settings. (Itunes is set for encoding songs in Apple's AAC, not MP3, and technically the difference between the two formats is trivial) Its all about the marketplace, not the technology. I've even heard that a $400 Ipod costs about $12 to manufacture... can anyone confirm this?
      • There is no way that could be true. Perhaps if you left the drive and/or the battery out, it might cost that much. If you assume that the battery is marked up 100%, that is still $25-$40 depending on who you buy it from. The iPod Mini drives alone, are sold for storage for digital cameras. When iPod minis were first introduced, photographers were buying them and tearing them apart to get the drive out of it. Apple's large purchases drove the price down enough that the entire device was cheaper than the
      • I've even heard that a $400 Ipod costs about $12 to manufacture... can anyone confirm this?
        Hey, I hear gullible isn't in the dictionary....
        The iPod might cost $12 to ASSEMBLE, but Apple still has to go and buy all the pieces. I would seriously like to know where you propose I get a sub $10 20 gigabyte microdrive.....
        On a related note, wouldn't it be nice if we could find out where the various components of products are made, for example the ipod is assembled in Taiwan, I'm certain large parts of it are
      • 'I've even heard that a $400 Ipod costs about $12 to manufacture... can anyone confirm this?'

        Not a chance in hell. The drive alone is probably half if not more of the overall price, then you have to add in the electronics, LCD, etching the back metal plate, assembly...
    • Re:iPod Killer? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geeber (520231)
      None of these device's interfaces impresses me as much as the iPod.

      Have you actually tried all these devices, or are you just basing this statement on the photos? While Apple's interface may be good, I would think you would need a hands on test to come to such a conclusion. Judging how a device works by pictures of its buttons is like choosing an operating system based on screen shots.
      • Re:iPod Killer? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by droleary (47999)

        Judging how a device works by pictures of its buttons is like choosing an operating system based on screen shots.

        It's a reasonable method if you have sufficient experience in the domain. I mean, I may not be a car expert but if I see a picture of one with the stick shift behind the driver's seat, I'm going to call a "usability bullshit". If I've got enough experience with various interfaces for large (music) lists, I think I can make a pretty good initial judgment based on a photograph. It doesn't t

    • Re:iPod Killer? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jolyonr (560227) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @01:39PM (#10550852) Homepage
      If there's anything that's going to kill Ogg Vorbis, it's lack of iPod support.

      That's nearer the truth.
  • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:23AM (#10550205)
    ...is going to have to find something better than "an iPod killer" to label themselves.

    Originality people!
    • Why? Everyone likes an underdog. Bringing up the iPod is not a bad marketing idea. It makes the other music players look like Rocky to Apple's Apollo Creed (of course, Rocky does lose...). They could even preload "Eye of the Tiger" on all their players. I doubt Survivor cares - they're too busy with those Starbuck's commercials.
    • ...is going to play video, not on an on-board screen, but via RCA (or similar) output built into the player. Bringing movies with me ain't so good if the ten people I want to share it with all have to their heads in the same two cubic feet in order to see it.
    • I don't think the name "iPod Killer" should be used until one of them actually kills an iPod -- or even wounds it. Take the case of the HD players, no one should get this moniker until they get at least 15 to 20 percent of the market. Even then, they would be classified as an "iPod Attempted Murder".

      Currently, the "iPod Killer" is in the same class the Easter Bunny or the Tooth fairy .. they don't exist (and even if the did, there is a good chance that they would both own iPods).

      Now, while the "iPod

  • by powerline22 (515356) <thecapitalizt@gm ... m minus caffeine> on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:24AM (#10550209) Homepage
    Look, the problem with these companies is that they are concentrating too much on physical design and low cost. They don't realize the fact that the reason why many people buy iPods, even if they cost more, is that they are much easier to install and use than their products. An iPod (on macs at least), there is only one step: Plug into firewire port. Thats it. No need to mess with drivers or install difficult mp3 players on your PC.
    • by nuclear305 (674185) * on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:30AM (#10550239)
      "Look, the problem with these companies is that they are concentrating too much on physical design and low cost. They don't realize the fact that the reason why many people buy iPods, even if they cost more, is that they are much easier to install and use than their products. An iPod (on macs at least), there is only one step: Plug into firewire port. Thats it. No need to mess with drivers or install difficult mp3 players on your PC."

      Which is why I'm surprised there is no mention of the Rio Carbon.

      Sure, it doesn't have Wifi, it doens't have some sophisticated LCD touchscreen and whatnot...but what it does have is a footprint smaller than the ipod mini, and twice the battery life.

      I can't compare the other features as I haven't had my hands on an ipod long enough to make an educated comparison.

      But, the most important feature is just what you said...there's nothing special you have to do to use it...just plug it into a USB port and it's recognized as a USB drive.
      • But, the most important feature is just what you said...there's nothing special you have to do to use it...just plug it into a USB port and it's recognized as a USB drive.

        that's not enough!

        it needs to be able to sync to your itunes library automatically when you plug it in.
        • "that's not enough!

          it needs to be able to sync to your itunes library automatically when you plug it in."


          You can interface with iTunes if you have a Mac...

          http://www.digitalnetworksna.com/itunes/Web_Instal ler_OSX/install_OSX.asp [digitalnetworksna.com]
        • that's not enough!

          it needs to be able to sync to your itunes library automatically when you plug it in.


          Which, of course, assumes that you use iTunes for your music library. And, while iTunes is great on a Mac, it is a steaming pile of crap on PC and can't even manage to install itself without 2 helper services (1 for iTunes, 1 for iPods) that take up memory whenever your PC is on... regardless of whether you are using iTunes or if you even own an iPod.

          It's also assuming that your music collection is sm
    • by NeoSkandranon (515696) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:42AM (#10550310)
      Don't ever underestimate the selling power of being "trendy" (iPod mini is case and point)
  • Olympus MR 500i (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Writer (746272) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:28AM (#10550233)

    iPod Killers for Christmas Part I includes what I think is the coolest new player, the Olympus MR 500i with touch-screen technology and and sharp black-on-white color scheme.

    ...And cute little white "please mug me" earphones just like the iPod.

    • You know, I see people on the L every day wearing the iPod earphones, and not one of those people has been mugged! I've seen one story where someone has gotten mugged, and that was ONE time in London. That's it.
  • Why are you posting this right after I ordered my iRiver H320 ????

    Bastards!
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:31AM (#10550250)

    From the recent Apple conference call:

    "In the US, Apple's iPod retains 65% market share of digital music players and over 90% market share of players based on a hard drive."

    Shucks. 90% of the hard drive player market, and more than half of the market overall.

    The Apple Product Cycle (I wish I came up with it, I didn't), which I've linked to in my sig for a month or two because it's hysterical- talks about this "stage" of the game.

    Isn't it funny how people have been proclaiming the death of the iPod for...uh...years? iPod is on its FOURTH generation.

    • >Isn't it funny how people have been proclaiming the death of the iPod for...uh...years? iPod is on its FOURTH generation.

      i also wonder how much apple helped themselves by sticking to one "name" for the iPod. they haven't introduced weird model numbering schemes. it hasn't been "apple mp3-4-40" or something like that for 4th gen. 40 GB iPod. people just say, "i want an iPod." even if they want other mp3 players. *that* is brand recognition.

      it's always been "iPod" (albeit, if you go into details, ther

  • by Zocalo (252965) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:33AM (#10550255) Homepage
    According to the press release [dpreview.com], the Epson has a "3.8-inch Photo Fine LCD" at a resolution of 212 ppi. Assuming that's the diagonal, and extrapolating from the photo that gives a size of about 6"x3.5", which is not too bad really. I'm not too sure about "killing" the iPod, but it might just steal some sales from Vosonic's XS drive [vosonic.co.uk] range. I'm certainly leaning more towards the Epson for a bulk storage device to accompany my DSLR on field trips right now...
  • by Alcimedes (398213) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:34AM (#10550259)
    Why does everyone think that the iPod killer is going to be a new player?

    That's not what an iPod is.

    An iPod is actually a combination of things. First, it's a small, lightweight player. That's right where most people stop. They think "Hey, we can make a light weight player, and we can make it cheaper."

    Second, it's an easy to use player. Too many competitors don't take this into consideration. There are far too many players on the market that gloss over this step. It's hard to demonstrate UI through press photos. Word of mouth is the key for this step, and it tends to destroy most other players. Lets face it, most people are idiots, and end up confused by the average mp3 player UI, and then they bitch about it. The iPod is so simple anyone can use it.

    Now here's the sneaky part that everyone seems to forget about. The iPod is also married to the iTunes Music Store. It's an easy, legal way to get songs on your player. Both built from the ground up to work together with ease. Throw in 1-Click purchasing, and you've got yourself a nice little system.

    To see a real iPod killer, someone will have to come up with an easier way to get music onto their player. Until that happens, everyone's going to keep selling their ideas in the boardroom, only to watch them fall apart in the market.
    • by ThousandStars (556222) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @02:48PM (#10551278) Homepage
      The iPod is also married to the iTunes Music Store. It's an easy, legal way to get songs on your player. Both built from the ground up to work together with ease. Throw in 1-Click purchasing, and you've got yourself a nice little system.

      I think the one-click idea is important. To rip CDs in iTunes, one inserts the CD and hits "import". The songs are ripped and encoded in a friendly format and instantly available in iTunes, which is the best song management system I have seen with the possible exception of Music Match Jukebox.

      I think the iPod's real secret is a combination of things, as the parent post indicates. Those who believe the iPod can be solely surpassed through superior hardware design are missing why the iPod remains king.

      Keep in mind that this is written by someone without an iPod -- but by someone who writes on a 1.5 Ghz PowerBook, and who knows many iPod owners. I don't have one because I consider them too expensive for my limited needs; but I admire Apple for its success.

    • by jcr (53032)
      Now here's the sneaky part that everyone seems to forget about. The iPod is also married to the iTunes Music Store. It's an easy, legal way to get songs on your player. Both built from the ground up to work together with ease. Throw in 1-Click purchasing, and you've got yourself a nice little system.

      And yet, the iPod was a runaway hit before the Music Store debuted, and it still sells out in stores that are in countries where the iTMS isn't available. iPod + iTunes, even without the store, was a pretty c
  • Eck. (Score:4, Funny)

    by boredMDer (640516) <pmohr+slashdot@boredmder.com> on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:34AM (#10550260)
    From the story [mp3newswire.net]

    'Virgin Player
    Another newcomer to the digital player arena is Virgin. Their first portable is the 3.1oz Virgin player, half an inch lighter than the iPod Mini's 3.6oz. The player also offers an extra GB of space coming in at 5GB for the same $250 price tag.
    '

    Emphasis mine.

    Anyone care to explain how 'half an inch' converts to ounces?

    Oh god...the dirty jokes.
    • Simple, silly. Think in terms of "volkswagons" and I think you'll have it.
    • Anyone care to explain how 'half an inch' converts to ounces?

      Simple. Jump into lightspeed, divide by your unit of time (i.e. parsecs), and boom, there you go!
  • Most of these players are plain ugly and hardly have the same elegance of the great idol.

    Most of all, most of their bundled software sucks very much. iTunes (+ Shop) makes the iPod rock - and it's a very cool application!

    So unless someone releases a convincing competitor to iTunes all those iPod-Killers will hardly make any impact.
  • by pesc (147035) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:37AM (#10550279)
    So which ones have user replacable batteries?

    With so many manufacturers, I'm sure that more than 50% of them will be bought or out of business in 2-3 years. Many of them use proprietary Li-polymer batteries (they are wonderfully small) that can only be replaced by the factory. Since the lifespan of these batteries are maybe two years, you better hope that someone still manufactures those proprietary batteries and is willing to change them for you. At what price? Did you choose the right model?

    When I put my tinfoil hat on I can see it clearly; built-in batteries is a godsend for manufacturers since it allows them to create product that don't last for more than 3-4 years which will create more future buyers. You don't own your MP3 player. You just rent it on a 2-3 year basis.
    • Oddly enough (Score:3, Informative)

      by 2nd Post! (213333)
      The Apple iPod has user replaceable batteries!

      Google it, if you don't believe me :)
    • Everything with batteries has user replaceable batteries. Just the level of technical sophistication required of the user varies.
    • That's a point in favour of the iPod. You replace the battery yourself by buying from third parties, or get Apple to replace it for you. The batteries will still be available in 2-3 or even 10-15 years time. Buy some other player and who knows? If they've failed in the market as virtually all of them do, there's little chance of getting the right replacement battery in future.
    • Actually Apple charges $30 and it takes less than a week. But after a few years why would you want a 4gig when you can get a much larger size(GB) at a much smaller size and lighter weight, with more features, etc... This is tech we're talking about, it doesn't linger on for years like this.
  • STOP IT (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:38AM (#10550283)
    The only reason, the ONLY reason I will buy a product is on it's own merits. I'm NOT going to go out and buy products that are marketed as iPod killers! Do something innovative that I want, and I will consider it. Though honestly I really can't see what more there is to do in the realm of audio players.

    Oh, and it's got to look really cool and sexy. I was gonna get a rio karma, but I heard the siren call of the sexy iPod and soon had one.

    Though considering I recently bought an iPod, it will be a while before I have the money to buy another cool device. And my experience with the iPod makes it unlikely that I will buy any device which is not an iPod or made by Apple. So maybe this isn't being marketed to people like me.

    Regardless, I don't want a video player. I don't want fancy graphics. I want an audio player, and that's what I've got. I think there are many like me.

    I also want it to look cool, and my iPod definitely is that. I want an experience which is easy, and it is easy. And I'm running linux too!

    I've got iTunes through cxitunespreview, and I've got management of the iPod through gtkpod (not as nice as direct management through iTunes, but still, it does what I want). Oh, and I can transfer the files off of iTunes with gtkpod, all I had to do was recompile it with this mpeg4 lib.

    I also love the attachment by Griffin Technologies that allows me to record lectures. That has been a real benefit, and was one of the major reasons I chose the iPod over the karma.

    • Agreed, when I was buying a music player back in August I took a look at the competition and then went to an ipod. The reason? the others were either too small (I like a nice big screen), too large (I want it to fit in my pocket without pulling my pants down), or the gui blew. I can operate my ipod one handed, the click wheel is great as I can navigate without taking my thumb off of it (most of the others had tiny buttons, or stupidly designed touch sensitive things).

      These ipod killers are among the wors

  • by MatthewB79 (47875) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:39AM (#10550289)
    Actually I found the link at the bottom of the article, iRiver Turns Focus on In-Dash MP3 Players [mp3newswire.net] to be even more interesting. It looks like we'll finally start seeing some decent car audio MP3 offerings. I'm awfully tired of burning files to CD to play in the car. If iRiver is going to offer a model with wireless to sync up while parked in the garage, I would buy it immediately.
    • This player [akamai.net] was around when in-dash mp3 was first becoming mainstream, and was linux based, and hard drive based, but had a pretty heafty price tag. I opted for the mp3 cd player because it was cheaper, and because I go 4x4ing, I want something that'll survive the shock. When they make a player that's got better shock resistance, then I'll be impressed.
  • iPod color (Score:2, Funny)

    by ilyagordon (822695)
    I see more and more people on the city bus with iPods. And these aren't your standard everyday geeks. These are the hardcore ghetto types. It is the most striking image to see one of those guys with that wussy little white iPod case.

    When I see those people, all I can think of is ripping those little white earphones out of their ears and shaking them down for lunch money. Then I realize that they're still the hardcore ghetto types and I'm still the geek, and I return to day dreaming about being able to aff

  • A lot of the iPod competition seems to think that the killer app is more features, more formats, and more choices in general. Do these companies have any clue what it's like for the average consumer to walk into a Best Buy and make this decision? Not only does brand, which Apple has in spades, make this decision a lot easier, but choosing one from two (iPod or iPod Mini, or, in other words, big or small), is a heck of a lot easier than choosing one from Archos GMini XS200, Olympus MR500i and MR100 and a Cre

    • The average consumer (you words, not mine) doesn't buy the ipod as it costs too much. Please stop pretending that the typical buyer spends 250+ on a music player because they do not.
      • policitical suicide. Seems to me that in order to change things, you gotta play the game for a while before you can bring in your vision. If Sen. Kerry voted against war in Iraq, which was a pretty popular notion in congress, it would have been political suicide, and now it would be Bush vs. Edwards. Unfortunately you gotta play the game first and not try to rock the boat until you have the power to do so.
        • He is free to introduce bills to being the process of starting up his Medical plan, his college service plans, his tort reform plans or anything else he has said he will do as President.

          But, he has not. Actions speak louder than words and his show that he doesn't really plan on changing a damn thing.
  • by Twid (67847) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:58AM (#10550385) Homepage
    For the average consumer, I think the iTunes music store is more important than the iPod itself. I've tried most of the competition (Musicmatch, WMP10, etc.) and their technology is just awful, terrible, nasty. Have you looked at Microsoft Windows Media Player 10? I counted like 6 nested menu systems in it, all different kinds. Some look like browser menus, some look like windows menus, some weird tabs for the linked music stores. Grandma is supposed to use it as her jukebox software? HA!

    iTunes is incredibly easy for the average consumer. Plug in your iPod, it copies the music to it. Put in an audio CD, the button on the top right says "import". Buy music off the iTunes music store, it downloads. All within the same app.

    Is anyone else even close on the ease of use of iTunes? I haven't seen anything, and I think you need that kind of ease-of-use to be the consumer success that the iPod has been.

  • by compactable (714182) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @12:03PM (#10550407) Homepage
    ... solely due to the "click wheel" thing - no other player has this, no other player is as easy to use.

    Paint them whatever colur you want, make them as small as you like - the competing boxes have lousy interfaces ...
  • by ihatewinXP (638000) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @12:11PM (#10550439)
    If Apple really does have a new 60gb iPod waiting with photo support (http://thinksecret.com/news/0410photoipod.html) and the like then the ipod killer for christmas will be the iPod itself. With a high end (photo enabled 60gb), mid-range (20/40gb ipods) and 'economy' offering (the mini - which could use a price slash) Apple against all odds and logic can continue to own the mp3 market for at least the holiday season and well into next year. But, as we have seen repeatedly the real trouble Apple tends to have is actually making enough of them.

    It will be hard and likely take years to break the stranglehold Apple has on the industry. A great music store built in to a free best-in-class music player/ripper/burner/organizer and coupled with the ipod family of players. The fad hasnt turned on Apple in the slightest and most likely it hasnt even _peaked_.
  • by microcars (708223) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @12:21PM (#10550488) Homepage
    This [japantoday.com] is what shows up on the first page of a Google Image Search for iPod Killer

    I have not yet seen it announced.

    Watch out Apple!

    (linked image is Safe for Work...)

  • the only ipod killer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zogger (617870)
    Will be a decent cellphone that is as easy to use most likely. Media players and cell phones and PDAs are all merging eventually, you can see it coming. I will predict that.

    And frankly, hundreds of dollars for just a portable tiny media player is a stretch for a lot of people. I guess some folks can afford them but really, it's too expensive, and I am just too old to get sucked into consumer "fad" hype anymore. If you can get a right decent desktop for 400$, there's no rational reason some small media thin
  • Majority of the people that buy ipods aren't technically inclined. They see it as a status symbol. So, until the fad moves to a new and 'cute' product, the ipod's to stay. Besides, the ipod is so shiny :)
  • I picked up a DCP-400 [ign.com] off of ebay a while ago. Got it for 75, it looks great, and I'm having a great time with it. The American equivalent is the SlimX by Iriver [amazon.com], which I personally think isn't quite as nice, but if you want a cheaper alternative, check one of these out.
  • AM/FM For Ipod (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @12:40PM (#10550572) Homepage Journal
    How about one of these to make the Ipod complete?

    Dont need some fancy new 'killer' with feature bloat beyond what an Ipod really is.. a music device that works, and is easy to operate....
  • by bluGill (862) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @12:41PM (#10550580)

    $250 for a music machine? I can get a cd "WalkMan" for $50, less if I go for an off brand, more if I go for a major brand. Thats a nice price, I can afford to buy one if I want one. At $250 it is no longer a buy if I want it budget item, but something most people have to think twice about.

    Sure I can afford it. I'm a single geek with a good job. For the average person this is way too much. Even for me it becomes an item I think about before buying, so far other things have been more important.

    • For the average person [$250] is way too much.

      In just the last three months, over two million "average people" have apparently disagreed with you. [slashdot.org]

      ~Philly
      • Yes, I don't argue with that. However it is still too much for most people. There are 6 billion people in the world. Even if we only count rich countries. (people in poor countries couldn't afford $50) we are looking at over a billion people.

    • $250 for a music machine? I can get a cd "WalkMan" for $50, less if I go for an off brand, more if I go for a major brand. Thats a nice price, I can afford to buy one if I want one. At $250 it is no longer a buy if I want it budget item, but something most people have to think twice about.

      Okay, so let's assume you're right and $250 is too much for most people. So what? What bearing does that have on anything at all?

      This is an article about the iPod's competition, not the great mystery of why the ent

  • The one feature that has made the iPod what it is, is its original design. Apart from its looks and maybe the interface there is very little else that sets it apart from any similar products. Why is it only Apple that seem to be able to come up with anything original looking?

    Apart from maybe the Olympus devices, the competition either play iPod wannabe, or fall back on the standard boring generic small electronic device look. How difficult can it be to hire some of the must be thousands of talented desi
  • Blah the photo iPods (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drix (4602) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @02:01PM (#10550947) Homepage
    Is anyone else completely unenthused at the "opportunity" to watch MPEG4 video or view photos on a 3.something inch VGA screen? Everywhere I look, I see that this is the so-called natural evolution of the portable MP3 player. Really? I like (okay, love/worship) my iPod because it's like this soundtrack to my life. I take it everywhere, never have to worry about it, and I can do other things while listening to it. I would have to actually pay attention to a video player, and the video would be three sucky inches big. And with that fancy-dancy color screen killing my battery life? Count me out. Instead of video capability, how about engineer me up some WiFi with all that R&D $$? Beaming the contents of my iPod to those around me--mmm. Watching a postage stamp-sized feature film? Blech.
  • by valmont (3573) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @05:14PM (#10552105) Homepage Journal

    It's simple. iPod has struck the ultimate balance of features, portability and usability. All the other guys are trying hard to match this balance, but they infallibly run into the next problem:

    Brand. Apple was first to market with the best player, worked very hard on developing a killer brand. This brand nearly touts the iPod as fashion statement, for cool, hip people. All the kids want it:

    Friday night my Girlfriend and I were eating at Taiko, a Japanese restaurant right by our favorite cineplex. A lady and her daughter sat by us. At some point in their conversation, the mom asked the daughter what she wanted for christmas. She almost right-away blurted "an iPod!". The ensuing dialog had quotes such as "all the other kids have it or want one".

    The other interesting thing is that on one hand you have the iPod, and on the other hand you have "everything else that's trying to beat it". That pretty-much gives everything else an aura of "second-rate items". Kids KNOW THIS. For that one time of the year where parents seek to buy that special thing for their rotten little brats, you can bet your ass they ain't guna go for "second-rate".

    iPod dollars aren't going anywhere. Sorry to burst yet another sensationalist-headline-seeking online mag's bubble.

  • iPod Killer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hexydes (705837) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @10:55PM (#10553674)
    This is pretty simple really. The first player to support >1GB for under $99, and be comparable functionally with the iPod (which almost all music players are, at least to some degree or another), will dominate the market.

    Just look at how new entrants are dancing around the 1GB mark. There isn't one player (that I have seen) that supports over 1GB that costs less than $199. They keep offering larger players for one reason: it doesn't cost any more. The companies want the base price for any "real" players (not the cheapo 256MB players) to be $199, and it looks like for at least the foreseeable future, it will remain that way. The base price will stay at $199, and the storage space will simply increase.

    I'm not willing to spend $199 on a gadget that I will only get limited use out of. MP3 players are still a niche market, and until the cost goes down, rather than simply the space increasing, they will stay that way. Of course, with our wonderful capitalist system, someone will eventually understand this concept, and they will get a rather large jump on the market. ;)

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