September 9 2008

The 2008 iPods Leave A Lot To Be Desired

Normally I go all crazy for the new iPods, but this year… this year they have left me totally cold. I’m not tempted to buy a one of them.

I already wrote New iPods For 2008 over at StarterTech, but I figured I can always talk more bluntly about them here.

iPod Shuffle

While nothing new was done to them, they did drop from $79 to $49. I finally can see a point to them and they would make a great stocking stuffer for a kid.

iPod Nano

This got the biggest changes this year with a whole new look, new colors and better pricing.  They doubled the capacity and kept the price points the same as last year.  You can now get an 8GB for $149 and a 16GB for $199 with the added ability to turn them on their side for landscape video and image viewing.  Again, I can see these being great for kids, but heavy iTunes users and music collectors will scoff at the capacity.

iPod Classic

This one worried me. Last year the iPod classic came in a “thin” 60GB and a “thick” 160GB. As loyal readers know, I went for the 160GB, and documented How long does it take to load 119.41GB of music on an iPod?, meaning the 160 was my only choice.

So, this year we are seeing the “thick” eliminated and the “thin” bumped up to 120GB. While 120GB is great for most people, this tells me that the Classic is on its last legs.  I still haven’t filled my 160, all I can hope is by the time I hit that barrier that they have come up with something of a higher value.

iPod Touch

This was probably thebiggest letdown.  The made it thinner, they lowered the price, but the upgrades consisted of an external speaker for casual listening and they added external volume controls.


Sure I’ve wanted an external speaker, but it isn’t worth me buying another one this year just for that.  They did drop the prices, but it still doesn’t change it enough for me to want to run out and buy another.

In Conclusion

For once I am going to say Steve Jobs blew it, and he blew it badly.  The reason they have sold tens of millions of iPods is people such as myself that have constantly upgraded.  With the exception of the Nano, which is at best a casual user’s device, they essentially did nothing this year.  There may be some chance of new users hoping on board with the new lower price points, but they sure aren’t going to get their normal upgrade business this year.

While I don’t think this spells utter doom for the product line, it makes you wonder if they are possibly finding the limits of what such devices can do.  Why didn’t the Touch get GPS?  There are numerous apps that use this function, they could have sold more of those apps and still not cut into their iPhone sales.  Why didn’t the Nano go to 32GB?  16GB is still laughable by most people.  Why didn’t the Classic get landscaping?  There are more questions than answers this year, and that is highly unusual when it comes to this product line.

share tweet share

Science & Technology | | | | | | |