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Scoring Apple’s iPod Announcements

Apple made a number of big announcements today, including lowerng the price of the iPhone and releasing a new iPod. How’d they do?

Scores on a scale from 1-10:

Ringtones: Apple announced that it will cost you 99 cents extra to get music ringtones on your iPhone, on top of what you paid for the song (only songs from iTunes, not your own music, will work). Besides the $2 total, and the limited inventory, users can just hack their iPhone with little effort to do the same thing. Underwhelming, not effortless (you have to edit the ringtone yourself, and pay for each edit), and buyers will avoid this one like the plague.

Grade: 2

iPod Shuffle: New colors, looks nice, same low price. It’s a good product for what you get, though other companies have stronger cheapo players these days. Nothing terrible here.

Grade: 6

iPod Nano: New Nano is short, fat, plays video and games, has CoverFlow (with poor performance). The pricing is great, but the player is too damn small. The screen, while improved, is too tiny for video, making the video feature a waste. The old iPod screen was tough for video; this is going to be impossible. The price is great, though, and the shape is kind of stupid. Gets good points for being cheap, lots of storage, and colorful, but if you want video, the grade is a 4.

Grade: 8

iPod Classic: The old iPod is now “Classic”. It’s also thinner and with a lot more storage. The 80-gig is a mere $250 and the new 160-gig is $350. The Zune can’t compete with those numbers and these features, not with Microsoft’s failure to deliver on wifi promises. Barring an 80-gig Zune at $250 with better wifi features, Microsoft could be toast.

Apple does not have a huge hole in its lineup. As you’ll see there are no iPods between 16 gigs and 80 gigs, and certainly no 30-gig cheaper than $250. Apple should have kept making the 30-gig for $200. That’s a mistake. The Classic is clearly unpopular (Nano is the top seller), and Apple is overloading it with space. Don’t be surprised if they find a way to retire the model entirely in a year. Nothing really new, but holy crap the storage space!

Grade: 9

iPod Touch: New iPod, basically a thinner iPhone with no call phone features. It has wifi, internet, YouTube, giant touch screen. For $300 (8 gigs) and $400 (16 gigs), this is the new top iPod (forget the Classic, k?), It’s a wonderful thing, though not cheap enough to not just pay a little extra for an iPhone. As usual, the iPod is full of great features, but the price begs questions. Still, if you wanted an iPhone, here’s a cheaper way to do it.

Compared to a real PDA, it’s not perfect. Still, it is the slickest touchscreen device on the market, full of fun stuff, and it works better as an iPod than an iPhone. It’s a great product, not perfect, but really, really good. So tempting, I might buy it (and I’ve never bought an iPod).

Grade: 8

iPhone: Apple dropped the price by $200 and killed off the 4-gigger. An 8-gig iPhone is now $400, $100 more than a similar iPod Touch, but (for the most part ) still stuck with an awful AT&T contract. It’s cheap enough to not be absurd, and while the price drop should annoy the biggest Apple fans, it makes the hottest phone of the year more available.

Grade: 9

Wireless iTunes Store: This is useful, and would be nothing special, but Microsoft has been dragging their feet on this for a year. Microsoft’s failure to ship this makes Apple look amazing, so this gets a high grade.

Grade: 7

Starbucks: Seriously, they didn’t know that a ten-minute commercial for Starbucks would bore the hell out of everyone? And now the iPhone will annoy you and say, “Hey, a Starbucks!” every time you pass one? If you can’t turn this “feature” off, it’s a reason not to buy.

Grade: 3

Overall? Apple did great, not spectacular. Sales should be flat, which is great, considering the high expectations from previous years, but it takes really good products to merely stay flat at this point. The main thing is that Apple proved today that it exists in a seperate universe from its competitors, and that their products really don’t measure up.

Zune 2 better be better than we’re hearing, or it shouldn’t be released at all.

September 5th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Zune, Windows Media, Apple | 7 comments


  1. Great write up, I agree with your grading system. Overall it was a pretty exciting day for Apple. Once again great write up, keep up the good work!

    Comment by The Geek | September 5, 2007

  2. […] Take a gander at the new lineup of the iPods! […]

    Pingback by The Geekery » Blog Archive » Steve Jobs hates profit! | September 5, 2007

  3. Definitely time to upgrade my 2 year old ‘classic’, the touch ipod looks too good not to have. Again tho, English prices are way out whack with US ones, £269 for a touch = $544USD!

    Comment by Aaron | September 6, 2007

  4. what would have been smart on apples part they would have put in a camera so u don’t have to take pictures then put them on the pc then transfer them, and to have an external speaker.

    Comment by Haxzor | September 6, 2007

  5. I personally think the new colors are disgusting for the nanos and shuffles, the nano is’nt nano anymore and its short and fat (its like a squished down version of an iPod video) the iPod classic isn’t classic because there is no white and the iPod touch is like a cheap version of the iPhone.

    If you look at the back of the iPod touch, there is a blakc rectangle in the corner for no reason. It’s to replace the camera that they never put in it (that should be there, it looks cheap)

    The one bonus about the iPod touch is the wi-fi. There is wi-fi hotspots everywhere where I live and I can get free internet on the go. Why would I pay At&T to use the exact same type of internet when I can use on a device that looks the same and is free?

    Apple really messed up there. They should have made the new nano iPod Nano with video and kept the old size and shape, I’m pretty sure EVERYONE liked the old nanos. And the white (actually classic iPod) not silver. ew.

    Comment by Christian | September 6, 2007

  6. Haxzor: I totally forgot about the camera! On the one hand, its annoying that they cut it (since those sort of cameras cost almost nothing), but Apple’s iPhone camera software shows how they don’t care about camera usage, so maybe we’re all better off.

    Christian: I still can’t believe there is no white iPod anymore. That was classic, this is now. Metal cases just look stupid, and prove Apple has lost its touch with innovative designs. They’ll need to junk the whole metal thing before they lose their reputation.

    The black rectangle on the iPod Touch is the wifi antenna. Why isn’t it aligned in the middle, or wider, in order to look better? Because Apple has completely stopped caring about good design this year. Is Jon Ive asleep or something? The new iMacs, metal iPods, recessed headphone jacks, and an off-center square antenna? What the hell!?

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | September 7, 2007

  7. The Ipod Touch is an interesting device. For the first time, I’m actually somehwhat interested. By including the web browser, it’s almost an Internet Tablet, ah-la, N800.

    Will be interested to see if they increase features after it’s release.

    Comment by David | September 9, 2007

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