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Portables (Apple) Hardware

Steve Wozniak Predicts Death of the IPod 573

Slatterz writes "Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, better known in the industry as 'Woz,' believes that the iPod is on its way out and has revealed his discomfort with some aspects of the iPhone. Wozniak said that the iPod has had a long time as the world's most popular media player, and that it will fall from grace due to oversupply. Wozniak also commented on the iPhone's proprietary nature and locked service provider, and compared it to Google's open Android platform. 'Consumers are not getting all they want when companies are very proprietary and lock their products down,' he said. 'I would like to write some more powerful apps than what you're allowed.'"
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Steve Wozniak Predicts Death of the IPod

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  • iPod UI (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 09, 2008 @04:05AM (#25310623)
    I recently played around with an iPod (classic) and to be honest I really dont get why people tout its great UI ('clickwheel') - at least for me it was completely counter-intuitive and just plain stupid. I mean why no dedicated buttons for volume? The iPod UI in the iPhone works much better for me.
  • Re:He's a genius (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chrisje ( 471362 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @04:07AM (#25310633)

    I hate to say it, but I bought an iPod Classic 80 GB about a year ago. Before that I owned an iAudio 30GB XL player, but the screen broke on that one.

    This iPod of mine is in use every day. I use it in the car (hooked up to the car stereo via a built in Aux Jack) for my 2.5 hours of commuting, I use it on planes, I hook it up to my home system to randomly meander through the 850 albums I ripped on it (it's too small though, it won't fit my entire collection). I use it at the office with my Altec Lansing travel speakers to provide me with tunes.

    The battery still runs ~28 hours if I don't screw around with the screen too much, and the thing operates flawlessly. Plus, the fact that I got six ways of finding the same song (Search, Genre, Artist, Song, Album, Compilation browsing) and all the trimmings of cover information display and whatnot make it a pretty sweet device. Objectively speaking (and I didn't want to even like the iPod because I've never been a Mac fan with their closed platform bollocks), it is still the best player out there even if they're seeing competition from MicroSoft according to critics. But the market has voted with its wallet.

    When this one does, I'm hoping I can replace it with the same device, except a ~250 GB Solid State version. So as long as they keep up with the Joneses, I don't see how Wozniak will be right in the foreseeable future. Then again, on a long enough time scale, and product/individual/company/society has a survival rate of zero, right? Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that axiom out.

  • Re:He's a genius (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @04:48AM (#25310845)
    Well my iPod already died, so he was spot on with that one. The proprietary battery lasted about a year, and it would cost about as much as a new iPod to replace it.

    The battery in my old iPod Mini gave me several good years of hard use, but is now defunct. I have now relegated that machine to the car, where it remains permamently plugged into a RoadTrip FM transmitter. Figure if anyone steals it, it won't be worth a cent at any hock shop.

    This gave me the "excuse" to go and treat myself to a 160GB iPod Classic, which meets my storage needs better. Say what you will (and I think Woz is wrong about this) the iPod does offer pretty much the best bang for your buck in terms of capacity, at least here in Australia, and while there's a market for portable music players, I see no reason why the iPod should die any time soon.
  • Re:Out of touch (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Thursday October 09, 2008 @04:59AM (#25310911)

    Regarding iPhone vs Android, Android has some key advantages:

    1) Multiple service providers. Not everyone wants to be locked into the one provider that Apple supports.
    2) Multiple handsets. If I don't like the base iPhone, I have no other choices. Android is going to be on a wide variety of different devices.
    3) Cost. If another company is developing your phone's OS, you can put less of your own resources into it and sell it for cheaper.
    4) Application availability. Apple is known for rejecting apps on a whim. You can download whatever you want on an Android phone.

    Users do care about openness, not necessarily because it's openness, but rather for the things that it allows.

  • Re:First post (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xiroth ( 917768 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @05:04AM (#25310951)

    Well who knows ... the hype with apple products is the reason why so many people like it. Usually it's not the "best" technology who gets approval but the one who is used by most people see Windows, we all know that it's relatively crappy but so many people use it that finally it doesn't count that much.

    And it will continue to not count that much...right up until a killer app is released for the Android platform which can't be ported to the iPhone because of the restrictions.

    People are complaining about not being able to fiddle around with the iPod and iPhone, but that's not what's going to be the main difference. Phones and mobile devices have just started to come into the area where third-party applications can really start taking off, and as always happens with this sort of situation they'll soon be more important than first-party developed applications. Google's framework is entirely geared towards that supporting that sort of innovation, whereas Apples products are decidedly not.

  • Re:He's a genius (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @05:10AM (#25310975)
    Yeah. But it's not an apple i-pod. And that is essentially what sells an i-pod.

    Actually, I'm not so sure about that. If anyone other than Apple had come up with such a sleek design and neat interface, it would quite probably have done just as well. I have no quarrel with the SanDisk device mentioned by the GP, but micro-SD cards tend to hold a maximum of only 8GB (last time I looked) and the interface is IMHO only OK if you've never had better.The iPod is just a really well-thought-out product in its own right. It does (pretty much) only one thing and does it well.

    Which is why, although I love my iPods, I am not considering buying an iPhone. The latter just doesn't have the storage capacity I (now) find I need, I don't need all those bells and whistles and shiny things, and I do not want any gadget that has to be charged every day, especially if the battery is non-removable.
  • Re:He's a genius (Score:4, Interesting)

    by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Thursday October 09, 2008 @05:13AM (#25310987) Homepage

    They're seeing competition from Microsoft according to MS's fans in the press. The market considers the Zune material for comedy. I was joking [] when I mentioned the possibility of a Zune phone [] ...

    Microsoft's problem is that Apple is clearly much better at evil these days than they are []. Microsoft used to have the best and most popular evil; these days they can't even successfully pay people [] to use their evil. And they've been trying for a while [].

    To keep on-topic, Android's main function will be to lift the iPhone's game. Existing and not sucking will be a win for Android and Google. Then, as others have noted, someone will come up with a killer Android app that leaves Apple playing catchup as they've pissed off too many developers. Interesting times and a win for credible competition. Which Microsoft just isn't in this space.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @06:03AM (#25311183)

    I ride on trains and a subway to work every day. About a quarter to a half of the passengers have headphones stuffed into their ears. Most of the times the headphones are connected to a cell phone, and not an MP3 player.

    Granted, where I live even kids in their early teens have cell phones.

    If you have a cell phone that offers good quality audio, why bother with an extra gadget?

  • Re:He's a genius (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SenseiLeNoir ( 699164 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @06:13AM (#25311233)

    Ok, I have mixed feelings of the merits of the iPod. As a caveat, I have to mention I do own an iPod touch 16GB. I also own a Nokia n95, a SonyEricsson k800i, an iPaq, and Motorola bluetooth headphones. I have also used an iPod Shuffle, an iPod Nano, and a creative Labs Muvo.

    I would be first to admit, the ipods are not all that hot in terms of features and sound quality. I have read a review earlier this year, where various music players (including phones) were tested for pure sound quality including dynamic range, etc (testing the analogue side of the hardware too). The Ipods generally came on the middle to the bottom of the range, witht he iPhone and iPod touch coming at the bottom of the ipods, and the ipod Shuffle performing best, and above average compared to other devices from other manufacturers.

    The best Player Only devices were from Sony, followed very closely by Samsung and Creative. Even the Phones came very highly rated, with the SonyEriccson K800i coming on top, and only "beaten" by some really good player only devices by Sony. My Nokia N95 is also "better" than the iPods. Add to the fact that many other devices also have FM radio.

    The N95 allows direct download of podcasts (something the iPhone does not allow, AND apple have banned an app that tried to allow that).

    Even the so called "simplicity" of iTunes has been called to task. I now know of many other music managers that do a pretty good job of managing sound libraries. In fact, many (including Windows Media Player) can even sync with ANY standard USB Mass Storage Device. Considering that itunes cannot "monitor" a set of folders to see changes, and update a library on its own (you need to download ITLu to do that), it is poorer in many aspects.

    The iPod touch does not support the Bluetooth headphones I have. The iPaq, the K800, and the N95 did. in fact, before I got the ipod touch, I used to connect my Ipaq and my k800 to the headphones simultaneously. the iPaq would feed music wirelessly, and when a phone call came through, the headset would automatically switch to the phone, and send a pause command to the iPaq, resuming automatically when the call was ended. All this happened seamlessly, and wirelessly, despite being made by different manufacturers... it "just worked".

    But..... despite all this, I still use the iPod Touch.. why?

    a) the iPod's screen is VERY nice, yet portable. I watch a lot of podcasts, and sometimes movies on the train to work. the N95 is not as good as the iPod.

    b) ability to sync "Played" statuses between iPods and iTunes, which allows me to manage the podcasts effectively (deleting played ones in itunes). I understand this is not a very strong reason, because if I used the N95, to download (via wireless/3g) I dont even need to involve a computer in the first place.

    c) On a day to day basis, I don't like my phone running out of battery. the N95 does not charge from USB, and Although it may be a better music player, I would rather have the battery for other reasons, such as making calls.

    d) Maybe because I paid so much for a iPod Touch, I feel more compelled to use it. (maybe despite my better judgment, I am subconsciously attracted to "pretty things", as well as the Jobs Reality Distortion field.)

    e) I am just a lazy procrastinator.

    But as You can see, a lot of these reasons are flimsy at best, and I will be doing a test where I will replace my ipod with my n95 for one day, and see how that goes on the morning commute.

    I am also scoping Android.....

    So maybe Woz has a point.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 09, 2008 @06:24AM (#25311291)

    But should Android or even a WinCE system get a few cool toys that apple explicitly forbids, that green light of envy will start to burn bright.

    I'm not saying they don't exist, or that they are trivial; but please specify the types of "cool toys" that Apple explicitly forbid that aren't replacements for existing apps?

    Seriously; I'm considering an iPhone, that info might change my decision.

    when they are deliberately excluding software that people want.

    Even more interested: what apps are people asking for that aren't developable under the current restrictions? (again that aren't "a third party version of XYZ"?

  • Re:He's a genius (Score:3, Interesting)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @06:35AM (#25311347) Homepage Journal

    A few years ago soon after the iPods came out, they weren't good value for money on hard drive models either. Maybe the casing was a couple of mm thicker, but my iRiver had an FM radio and microphone in addition to a 2GB HD, and was still cheaper than the 20GB iPod of the time..

    The only thing to "get" about the market is that the iPod is already the best known, best marketed device, with the greatest number of accessories (you even get cars that have built in docks just for iPods for crying out loud..) so the average consumer wanting a digital media player will just get it without even researching alternatives. Excellent marketing on Apple's part, but I've always found it a little sad that it took an MP3 player to make them popular again. I still like Mac OS, but I've never owned an iPod yet. I admit I've been tempted occasionally like when the first Nanos came out, but I currently have 30GB of music (mostly MP3s ripped at ~192kbps), so I'd need something bigger like the 32GB Touch if I wanted a solid state storage player that held all my music.

  • Re:He's a genius (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @06:53AM (#25311437)

    I just traded up from a Sansa e270 6gb to an iPod Nano 8gb. It is -so- much better.

    Granted, I haven't put thirdparty firmware (Rockbox) on my Sansa, but I absolutely hated my Sansa. You -have- to use their proprietary software to put video on it. Guess what happens if you lose your CD? You have to BUY a new one! They won't let you download it. Apple's software (iTunes), while still proprietary, is extremely easy to get another free copy of.

    I never DID get playlists to work correctly on my Sansa. Podcasts worked okay when used with iTunes, but not at all otherwise. If you put it in USB stick mode, it reports every time you unplug it.

    I've never tried games on my Sansa, but games on iPod Nano 4th gen are great. They are very clear, sound great, and the accelerometer lets me play games like 'Maze' (aka Labyrinth) where you guide the ball around the maze by tilting.

    I'm far from a Mac fanboy. I say 'It just works!' in a nasty tone about 3 times a day at work, where we're all on Macs and have as much problems with the Mac Pros and xServe as any Windows machine I ever used. My personal preference there is Linux, too.

    But the iPod is done right. It's going to be very hard to improve on it.

  • Re:First post (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @07:06AM (#25311501) Homepage Journal

    Actually it usually is the "best" technology that wins -- for a certain value of "best". What technology advocates often miss is the role of things like economics and consumer behavior in "best".

    MSDOS won in the 1980s, because the most people started out the decade working with typewriters and ended up working with computers. Computers were typically ordered by the truckload and in that environment the fact that MS-DOS systems were cheap was the difference between equipping 100% of the people in the department this year and 80%.

    In the VHS-Betamax war, Betamax lost its early lead because Sony would not compromise picture to get longer recording time. For technology advocates, picture quality was paramount. Unfortunately, consumers just didn't care about the better picture as much as having tapes that could record enough program material.

    The Android/iPod comparison is interesting... Very interesting.

    The truth is, the hardware does not define the device so much any longer. The difference between an iPod touch and a PDA is completely a matter of software. But because of software (and ultimately because of marketing) a PDA is a platform, an iPod is an appliance.

    Technical people look at a platform as hands down winner over any comparable appliance. That's why they do things like jail break their iPhones, or install Rockbox on their iPods. A platform can do anything an appliance can, plus anything else you might dream up. But consumers don't dream up new things to do with their tech; they buy into dreams others have had for them. If there is no killer app, they have no inclination to go hunting for one. iPod/iTunes is the killer app for Apple, packaging it as an appliance is a surer path to competitive success, provided that killer apps don't emerge on competing devices.. Apple is selling an appliance that is (a) expensive considering the technology that goes into it and (b) cheap considering the utility people get out of it.

    By creating an app store, they're muddying the waters somewhat, but the app store is a marginal activity for them. It may be bet hedging; by creating a developer community, a killer app on a competing device can be ported or reproduced on the iPod. Or it may be the thin edge of a very long wedge that will shoehorn Apple back into the platform market. Or a bit of both.

    As it stands, Apple is in the drivers seat. If Android takes off, they can loosen the reins a bit and stay in the game. If Android struggles, they can keep it that way, while still enjoying the fruits of their closed iTunes/iPod appliance utopia.

  • by SenseiLeNoir ( 699164 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @07:26AM (#25311617)

    Although the parent is somewhat trollish, he is nevertheless right.

    In USA, the main "experience" of smart phones prior to the iPhone are the Blackberries, which admittedly did a single job, and did it WELL.

    Here in Europe, we have had smart phones for a significantly longer time. Starting with the Nokia Communicator Series, and the Ericsson PXXX series, and people buying smartphones as a "cheaper replacement" to PDAs (mobile phoen subsidies made these devices cheaper than PDAs, hence the PDA market tanking here).

    The fact is, even before the iPhone was released, you already see "normal" people carryign smart phones. In fact the Nokia N95 is still a highly popular phone over here in the UK, released before the iPhone, it simply won a lot of sales, thanks to its built in GPS, Radio, decent call qaulity, 5mp camera and VGA 30fps recording. Specs that sold the device, and is still selling the device.

    Many have bought the iPhone as a new device, and it has found some users for its innovations. But it is not as popular in this country, because as a smart phone, users DO find it inferior. Secondly, its call quality is NOT as good as the Nokia's and Sony Ericssons around.

    It also fails in the ring tones, and MMS stuff, which ARE used a lot here. (sending email is NOT popular for impulse messages, SMS still rules, and MMS is still popular).

    Anyway, we shall see.

  • iPods won't die... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by argent ( 18001 ) <peter@slashdot.2 ... m ['6.t' in gap]> on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:37AM (#25312075) Homepage Journal

    iPods won't die as long as Apple keeps pumping out incremental improvements, and as long as the competition doesn't catch on to the accessory effect.

    Like, say... iPod Touch with a hard disk, or with >40G of flash.

    Or iPod Bluetooth, to get rid of the tether.

    Or an iPod Shuffle headset.

    Or ...

    They've got plenty of room on the upgrade treadmill.

  • Re:Killer App (Score:3, Interesting)

    by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:39AM (#25312089)

    And if they can't improve other people's work, they just patent it:/

  • Normal vs. Geek (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @09:15AM (#25312479)
    Normal people don't care about things like vendor-lock in and DRM. Geeks do. Based on the huge market share held by iPods, it appears that there are far more normal people in the world than geeks (not a good or bad thing, just is). And why do we keep posting opinion pieces from a guy who hasn't had any impact in the industry in the past 20 years? Maybe silly conclusions like this is the reason Woz hasn't been involved with Apple since the 1980s?
  • Re:First post (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PietjeJantje ( 917584 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @09:53AM (#25312979)
    Sure, but things have changed with Vista, which was a breakthrough in geek influence. The mouth-to-mouth trickle-down effect defined that OS as crapware.
  • Re:First post (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Inda ( 580031 ) <> on Thursday October 09, 2008 @09:53AM (#25312983) Journal
    You're lucky. Mine wants a PS3 but can't tell me why she'd like it over the massively cheaper 360.

    Playground currency - that's my theory.
  • Re:First post (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Thursday October 09, 2008 @10:21AM (#25313423) Journal

    Yes,but Apple not only has to complete with the clones,but due to the shear number of iPods they have cranked out they also have to compete with themselves. And folks are starting to realize they don't need the biggest MP3 player on the planet to enjoy it. So those that want the name can easily pick up a 2nd-5th generation really cheap,and those that just want an easy to use MP3 player can snatch up a Sandisk,Coby,etc.

    As for anecdotes,I personally wouldn't give up my m260 [] for a half a dozen iPod Nano players. The thing is built so well I got my sis and her boys each an M series and they have yet to be able to kill them(and they can tear up a Sherman tank with a toothbrush) it gets 23 hours on a battery,and the deal sealer for me is if I run the battery out while I'm out and about I can walk into any convenience store and be bopping to my music again in less than five minutes. Why Apple refuses to make any iPods that run on a regular AAAs I'll never know.

    But I have no doubt that given how tough my little Sandisk is I'll be bopping along with it in my pocket for many years to come. I have also talked several customers who came into the shop into getting a Sandisk over the iPod and not a single one of them has been unhappy. I recommend the m series for those that just want to play music,and the e series with rockbox for those that want video and extra goodies. Really great affordable and reliable players IMHO.

  • Re:First post (Score:3, Interesting)

    by electrictroy ( 912290 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @10:33AM (#25313633)

    I agree! That was a cute story.

    There are two possible solutions: (1) "Okay honey, if you can save $100, then you can buy an Ipod with your OWN money." This is how my own parents dissuaded me from buying a lot of un-necessary stuff. Saving $100 is hard! (when you're nine). It also taught me the value of things.

    (2) "May I see your music player?"

    "Here daddy."

    "I'm going to take a piece of tape and write Ipod on it..... There you go."

    "But that's not a real ipod!"

    "No but it works exactly the same." ;-)

  • Re:First post (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jeff Hornby ( 211519 ) <jthornby@sympati[ ]ca ['co.' in gap]> on Thursday October 09, 2008 @10:33AM (#25313637) Homepage

    Some of them will get what they want. But parents on the edge will rationalize and say "this other mp3 player does the same as the iPod; I'll buy little Janey this one instead". Not to mention that when little Janey loses her $300 iPod two weeks after getting it, there's no way she's getting another one.

    That's the way that iPod's market share will slowly erode. Don't get me wrong: I think that the iPod has a few more years of dominance left but the fact that you can get something else **much** cheaper is going to be a lot more important. And once there is widespread acceptance of other mp3 players then it becomes a commodity item and the race to the bottom is on. It becomes like cars, as an example. Nobody argues that the Toyota Corolla is better than a Mercedes or a Porsche, but it's still the best selling car in the world because it's cheap and it does what people need it to do.

  • Jailbreaking (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <voyager529 AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday October 09, 2008 @12:28PM (#25315859)
    I jailbroke mine and have never looked back. an unjailbroken iphone is a hindered iphone. If you use PwnageTool/Winpwn/Quickpwn, it's also 100% reversible if you don't like it. Joey
  • by Illbay ( 700081 ) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @03:42PM (#25319039) Journal

    damaged the Apple brand image,...

    Okay, let me get this straight: Apple Computer, which built its entire business marketing a COMPUTER that is a proprietary system, has "damaged its brand" because it's marketing a smartphone that is a proprietary system?

    (N.B. Have you ever read why Apple went exclusively with AT&T on the iPhone? It's because only AT&T would agree to allow Apple's hardware and software engineers to do whatever they wanted with no interference. No other company would agree to that, even with the promise of exclusivity.

    (Now who would you say was "damaging their brand" in that case?)

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.