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Where will the iPod go in 5 years?


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Where will the iPod go in 5 years?
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Ghost2
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2006-03-04, 20:15

This year marks the 5th birthday of the iPod, and oh what a 5 years its been. In a short half-decade the iPod has transformed from a simple audio player to a sleek media player with audio still at its heart, but where do we go from here. Many people believe that a full-screen iPod is comming soon, but what features and specs to you think the iconic device will have 5 years from now. Will it function as a cellphone, or will it be a pure multimedia beast? I want to hear peoples speculations on the future of our beloved white iPod.
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atomicbartbeans
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2006-03-04, 20:18

Better battery life for video playback, hopefully.
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Wrao
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2006-03-04, 20:29

Assuming there is still a market for mp3 players by then and something new hasn't come along (advanced phones or mini tablet type things) I would wager the iPod line will eventually go entirely Flash based, there are new advances in flash memory all the time and it's not outside of the realm of possibility that there will be commercially viable 60+ GB solid state drives in the near future. I would also expect there to be a significant screen improvement, brighter crisper, maybe interactive in some way.

If the rumors are true about the video iPod being essentially a big touch screen, then that could become the future of iPod design, assuming people like it. As much as the iPod is defined by its interface and its click wheel, it's also about it's over-all ease of use and functionality.

I don't believe iPods will get TOO thin. I could see them conceivably getting about as thin as an iPod nano, but not much thinner than that.

I'd also be willing to bet that apple will revamp their headphones substantially in some way. I don't think they will go wireless or anything but they might redesign them to be far superior quality. They are already pretty decent now, but there is always room for improvement.

I can't really think of any whizbang features or innovations that might be brought to the table in subsequent releases, but if apple was using OLED or similar technology in the future it would be neat to see a faceless iPod where the screen(and/or buttons) kinda just appears on the surface, perhaps with some eye candy.

But all that is based more or less on a linear development of technology which, we all know is not always the case. there could be breakthroughs that enable radical changes in portable devices(high capacity rechargeable solar batteries or something like that)


That's also assuming that mp3 players even exist 5 years from now. It's not to say that people won't still be listening to music portably, but the consumer public might just as easily adopt a new toy as their portable media provider. I personally don't think the microsoft Origami is going to make a significant splash in any markets, but it's certainly possible. If that type of device becomes popular, then I'm sure the iPod will evolve into something similar.

and I'm sure that I'll sill be using a 3rd generation iPod in my car if I can help it.

But the other thing to consider, design wise. Apple really has a winner with the current 5g iPods, imo. Design wise, nothing *needs* to change. Apple doesn't usually like designs sticking around for too long, but they clearly have an exceptionally great design with the 5g iPod. So It might just come down to better battery life and more storage with new models.
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Kit Fisto
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2006-03-04, 20:35

Please Apple make an iPod that is also a PDA. If done well, this will be the killer appliance that no executive can be without and your sales will go beyond 100 million.
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World Leader Pretend
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2006-03-04, 20:40

You know, I have always thought that my 4G iPod 20GB was more an instrument or tool than an MP3 player. I love using it to ferry around my music to my stereos to test music I make in GarageBand or download to iTunes. I use it in my car or ar home, but I don't use it on-the-go all that often. The 4G was the last iPod to support FireWire, so I can copy files extremely fast and sync my computer's music and photos quickly and effortlessly.

Maybe in the future we will see an iPod Pro that is for people who need a really high-quality music storage device. It could come with an optical out for perfect sound and allow for really nice lossless playback in a studio or home theater. I could be in the market for it, and I know that a lot of pros wouldn't mind having it to playback and sample their creations on high-end speakers.

Maybe I'll make a mockup of one, as ugly as it might be
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Robo
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2006-03-04, 20:41

I've actually been struggling to think about that where the iPod will go - even this year. I honestly can't think of much to be changed for a sixth generation iPod.

I think we'll see the touch-screen iPod video, sure, but that's an all-new iPod - it's not the successor to the traditional iPod.

I can only really see one thing to change about the iPod: the price. The iPod has never broken that $299 barrier. We've seen iPod minis and iPod nanos, sure, but now the iPod nano is even breaking the $199 barrier.

I think that, by the end of 2006, the iPod could start at $199, the iPod nano could start at $99, and the iPod shuffle could be a lone $49 model. (Surprisingly, it's actually become my favorite iPod model, so I hope it never goes away.)

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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BlueRabbit
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2006-03-04, 20:43

A holographic touch-screen display, projecting from a necklace-like pendant. Oh, and gapless playback, but the holographic display is more likely.
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Robo
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2006-03-04, 20:53

...that said, I see one change for the iPod this year:

Colors.

Pscates' head is about to explode, I know.

I'm not saying colors will become a standard part of the iPod line (although, if you think about that, the addition of a black model is more than halfway there).

I'm thinking that we might see Thirtieth Anniversary iPods.

The six bright colors of Apple's logo are perfect for it. Say there's only 30,000 made, 5,000 of each color. Apple could have a special image (maybe even their original original logo?) engraved onto the back, and individual numbering is possible, too. If you think about it, the iPod is the perfect collectible.

It could go for $330, like the U2 iPod (saying $329 destroys the effect).

Admit it, Pscates - you'd get the orange one.

And after all those iPods sell out in, oh, about a day, maybe Apple will add some different, non-collectible colors to the 6G iPod line.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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blakbyrd
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2006-03-04, 21:07

My humble predictions:

20gb and 30gb flash based iPod Shuffles with small screens. $25 and $50.
40gb and 50gb flashed-based Nanos with full screens. $100 and $150.
100gb and 200gb harddrive-based iPods with fulls screens. $200 and $300.
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Aesahaettr
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2006-03-04, 21:15

Roboman: Notice that the new apple logo is one solid color. Also, I don't see Apple doing loads of colors any time soon. Black and white are the classics.
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PB PM
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2006-03-04, 21:40

Quote:
Originally Posted by blakbyrd
My humble predictions:

20gb and 30gb flash based iPod Shuffles with small screens. $25 and $50.
40gb and 50gb flashed-based Nanos with full screens. $100 and $150.
100gb and 200gb harddrive-based iPods with fulls screens. $200 and $300.
Doing a little day dreaming are we? Thats a little much to ask for IMO.
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shell
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2006-03-04, 23:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM
Doing a little day dreaming are we? Thats a little much to ask for IMO.
In five years? No, those predictions are far from too much to ask. Considering that five years ago iPods had 5 GB of space and now they have 60. If the trend were to continue, in five years we would see ~700 GB iPods

Anyway, I think its a given that we will see bigger drives on all models, nothing revolutionary there. The shuffle will probably cease to exist before too long, perhaps replaced by an an even smaller model for people who only want < 1 GB of music. Perhaps this smaller model, whatever it's called, will just slip onto your ear. iPod femto anyone?

There will probably be two basic sizes for the "real" iPods, one with a larger screen for video playback and one with something like the nano form factor for just playing music. The biggest area of expansion that we haven't seen yet is in wireless technology, I see not only wireless earphones, but also wireless loading of songs from your computer, perhaps using wireless USB or 802.11n. The latter makes more sense as you could update in record time with that kind of bandwidth. I don't think the iPod will morph into a PDA, there may be an Apple PDA/Tablet thingy, but I think it will be a separate product.
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Aesahaettr
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2006-03-04, 23:35

Is it just me, or do you think that Apple is straying a little too far off the path with its product lines now? I mean, Apple is about simplicity and INTEGRATION, which will be much harder to do (at aleast I think so) if it keeps offering totally new products like the iPod Hi-fi and the ipod shuffle. I think apple would be better off offering just two main types of it's products, such as the 30/60 iPods, two types of nanos. I think that should be it for the ipods. Same with the iMacs, mac minis, power macs, etc.

This sort of view on it goes with with the duality of the Apple look. Two colors (black and white), two models (big and small). It's simplicity in black and white.
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Robo
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2006-03-05, 00:02

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWretched
Roboman: Notice that the new apple logo is one solid color.
WHAT? Really? My bad. I've been in a coma since 1998. I'm glad I can count on new forum users to point out the otherwise obvious to me!

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Robo
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2006-03-05, 00:09

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWretched
Is it just me, or do you think that Apple is straying a little too far off the path with its product lines now? I mean, Apple is about simplicity and INTEGRATION, which will be much harder to do (at aleast I think so) if it keeps offering totally new products like the iPod Hi-fi and the ipod shuffle. I think apple would be better off offering just two main types of it's products, such as the 30/60 iPods, two types of nanos. I think that should be it for the ipods. Same with the iMacs, mac minis, power macs, etc.

This sort of view on it goes with with the duality of the Apple look. Two colors (black and white), two models (big and small). It's simplicity in black and white.
I don't think that an iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod, and iPod video would be "straying a little too far off the path." Both the iPod shuffle and iPod video would be significantly different models in the iPod line, leaving you with a "big and small" version of the iPod proper. If anything it's the iPod nano that's redundant.

The iPod Hi-Fi is an accessory, not an all-new iPod.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Aesahaettr
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2006-03-05, 00:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboman
I don't think that an iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod, and iPod video would be "straying a little too far off the path." Both the iPod shuffle and iPod video would be significantly different models in the iPod line, leaving you with a "big and small" version of the iPod proper. If anything it's the iPod nano that's redundant.

The iPod Hi-Fi is an accessory, not an all-new iPod.
The iPod Hi-fi is listed as an ipod under the ipod section on apple's web site, and even it's name is the "iPod" Hi-fi. It is an accessory, but apple's treating it like an iPod, for some strange reason.

I'm not saying those categories of products are too far. I like iPods AND nanos, but I don't want them to offer more than 2 versions of each. The nano already has 3 versions.

I don't think that they should have the shuffle any more since the nano is just as small, but more chic and with a screen, so one can actually see the songs. I don't even know anyone who wants only a selection of 512 MB worth of songs. That's basically nothing.
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Robo
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2006-03-05, 01:06

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWretched
The iPod Hi-fi is listed as an ipod under the ipod section on apple's web site, and even it's name is the "iPod" Hi-fi. It is an accessory, but apple's treating it like an iPod, for some strange reason.
It's listed under the iPod section of Apple's website because it's the first "major" iPod accessory Apple has made. They want to sell it, you know.

The name doesn't say much, because Apple calls their iPod cases "iPod Socks," too. Does that mean Apple is saying that iPod Socks are iPods?

If anything, the name suggests it isn't an iPod, because "Hi-Fi" is capitalized, and all iPod suffixes (suffices?) are lowercase. But that's nit-picking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWretched
I'm not saying those categories of products are too far. I like iPods AND nanos, but I don't want them to offer more than 2 versions of each. The nano already has 3 versions.
I agree that 3 versions of the iPod nano is a bit much. It might be part of a transition to move each iPod line down a notch in price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWretched
I don't think that they should have the shuffle any more since the nano is just as small, but more chic and with a screen, so one can actually see the songs. I don't even know anyone who wants only a selection of 512 MB worth of songs. That's basically nothing.
There's a 1GB model, too.

I like the iPod shuffle. I love the ultra-minimalist design. At its current price, it's almost like an accessory to the other iPods - like, you'd buy a "real" iPod, and then you'd buy an iPod shuffle for jogging or snowboarding or whatever. One could argue that that was Apple's intention all along...

I hope the iPod shuffle stays around for a good while. Even if the iPod nano drops in price again, I could see Apple selling a lone $49 iPod shuffle. That would be the ultimate in simplicity - one model and one color, with no screen or dock or cables to worry about.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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intlplby
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Join Date: Dec 2004
 
2006-03-05, 01:19

the ipod is the perfect device to add pda features to

it's main use must be music always....because that's what people are more than happy to be carrying around with them all the time.....

pdas don't go to far into the mainstream because most people don't want to carry something extra for their data needs......but if it is in their mp3 player it will be easy to penetrate the market..... basically the ipod can be a trojan horse for cornering the pda market.....

they can give basic functionality by default and everyone who wants pro features can pay for a different firmware/os pro version to put on it..
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Wrao
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2006-03-05, 01:29

PDAs are being eaten by smart phones. It makes more sense for a phone to evolve into a PDA than an mp3 player. But if the phone is also evolving into a capable mp3 player, then the mp3 market could be hurt. That's assuming that the market actually shifts like that. If there remains a market for mp3 players, the iPod will remain an mp3 player first and foremost. That doesn't beget the possibility of an iPod-like mini tablet/PDA type device existing alongside the mp3 player line, but I don't think it would be the focus.
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billybobsky
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2006-03-05, 01:32

Product cycles are so fast that in 5 years we won't be able to recognize the ipod if it exists at all (which i suspect is very likely)...

The tape walkman didn't change that much in the two decades it existed, but because of the fact that technology is progressing exponentially faster, I don't think that the ipod's dominance will last that long -- shorter life, as profitable, but definitely a transient product in the world.

Ultimately, I feel that our culture will have to undergo a major change; people will have to get used to being satisfied that their products aren't the newest and the best simply because the new THz television with psy-optic control and its own frozen dessert stand is coming out next week. Either that or we will need a much more efficient route to transporting our waste consumer goods of the last hour to the third world...
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Wrao
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2006-03-05, 01:35

You're right that the iPod might completely change from what we know, I believe this to be a strong possibility since I think portable computing technology is still in a formative and transitional stage. Phones might develop into capable mp3 players, mini tablets might become the next big thing, ultra light and thin laptops might with anywhere internet and voip phone capabilities might become readily used. The simple portable music market *might* die out.

Or it might not. If it doesn't, I believe that 5 years from now iPods will still be basically iPods, nothing more.
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Ghost2
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2006-03-05, 10:08

I think that in the next 5 years the iPod will become a sort of digital convergence device. I think that it will evolve into a sleek package that will allow people to their cellphone, pda, web browser, digital camera, and of course media device with them at all times. Hey I can dream.
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Aesahaettr
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2006-03-05, 17:58

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboman
WHAT? Really? My bad. I've been in a coma since 1998. I'm glad I can count on new forum users to point out the otherwise obvious to me!
I don't see what being new to the forum has to do with knowing that Apple's new logo doesn't have multiple colors. If I'm not mistaken is was you who said "The six bright colors of Apple's logo are perfect for it."
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psmith2.0
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2006-03-05, 18:54

Strangely enough, it might go back to 5GB and music only.
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Robo
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2006-03-05, 23:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWretched
I don't see what being new to the forum has to do with knowing that Apple's new logo doesn't have multiple colors. If I'm not mistaken is was you who said "The six bright colors of Apple's logo are perfect for it."
Well, excuse me for not saying "former." I thought most people would have the sense to realize that I might be intentionally talking about the old logo, but apparently I overestimated you.

I mean, what did you think I meant? Did you honestly think I didn't know that Apple's current logo no longer features the colored stripes?

My post was about special edition iPods for Apple's thirtieth anniversary, for crying out loud. It shouldn't be hard to figure out that I might have intentionally referenced Apple's classic logo.








EDIT: Sorry if it seems I'm being cranky. You are right - being a new user has nothing to do with it. But I honestly have no idea what your motive would be to nit-pick a post for not saying "former logo" when it's fairly obvious he new it was the former logo.

I mean, really. What were the chances of me not noticing that Apple changed its logo over half a decade ago?

But I was wrong to bring your "new-user-ness" into it, and I apologize. It's not like it's a huge deal anyway - just, kinda...irritating.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong

Last edited by Robo : 2006-03-06 at 00:02.
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Aesahaettr
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2006-03-06, 00:40

lol. i apologize for my nit-pickyness. college exam week drives me fucking crazy.
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Dutch Pear
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2006-03-06, 05:49

For one thing I expect iPods to have full high definition video output and at least a tenfold-increase in storage capability.
Hey, what about FrontRow running from an iPod on your HDTV? think about it: FR is actually almost a replica of the iPod UI on a Mac.
Oh yeah, and increased battery-life!
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Wrao
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2006-03-06, 15:50

Sure it's 5 years from now, but I highly doubt a device as small as the iPod will be able to cram the necessary processor brunt to handle full HD video. AND increase in storage size AND improve battery life. Barring some revolutionary improvements in miniaturization technology, I do not think that is very realistic at all. Now, in 5 years we might see improved video codecs that produce startlingly good video on big screens with small file sizes(we're already almost there) but I don't think we'll ever see real uncompressed HD video on iPods or any device that is iPod sized.
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zippy
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2006-03-06, 16:13

In 5 years, the iPod will take over as the new Mac mini - but people will bitch about it because it has integrated grahics.
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ddrueckhammer
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2006-03-08, 01:09

Quote:
Originally Posted by shell
The biggest area of expansion that we haven't seen yet is in wireless technology, I see not only wireless earphones, but also wireless loading of songs from your computer, perhaps using wireless USB or 802.11n. The latter makes more sense as you could update in record time with that kind of bandwidth. I don't think the iPod will morph into a PDA, there may be an Apple PDA/Tablet thingy, but I think it will be a separate product.
I think you are right on the mark here. I think that the touch screen form factor will be the new standard across iPods and flash memory will be the standard on all but the largest iPods but most of all I think wireless technology will be implemented across the line. I think that wireless earphones are next to useless unless someone figures out a way to implant them in your ear so that you don't lose them but I think that wireless synching and even more important wireless streaming will change how we use our iPods. Imagine if all new automobiles came with 802.11n equipped stereos and iPods could stream to them. I already have a Denison Icelink installed in my car and use it a lot but there could be a cleaner solution. Your iPod could play to any networked speakers!
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