back to article Apple exits music player biz by killing iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle

Apple has exited the standalone music player business by discontinuing the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle. In an unusual move, an Apple representative responded to a Reg request to confirm multiple reports of the devices disappearing for good from its website. An Apple operative told us those reports are accurate. Those of you …

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News indeed

"In an unusual move, an Apple representative responded to a Reg request..."

Wow! How many years has it been since Apple did that?

As I recall, Apple got somewhat miffed by El Reg taking the mick out of Steve Jobs pronunciation of Jaguar as "Jagwire".

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(Written by Reg staff)

<keels over in amazement>

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Re: News indeed

> ... pronunciation of Jaguar as "Jagwire"

when we all know it's "Jagwah"?

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Re: News indeed

"...Steve Jobs pronunciation of Jaguar as "Jagwire"."

To be absolutely fair, your British pronunciation of "Jag-you-er" sounds equally silly to we across the Pond.

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Headmaster

Re: British pronunciation of "Jag-you-er" sounds equally silly to we across the Pond

Not as silly as the Americanian pronunciation of Arkansas when compared to Kansas. Or the pronunciation of buoy (in English sounds like boy) as boo-ee (sounding like Casper's camp friend trying to give you a fright).

Anyhow we pronounce it "Jag-you-are".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: News indeed

"To be absolutely fair, your British pronunciation of "Jag-you-er" sounds equally silly to we across the Pond."

Well it probably would do as you guys gave up speaking English in about 1793 or so...

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Re: News indeed

If you want a real laugh at US ignorance, ask them how to pronounce the French car manufacturer Peugeot.

It's PooGo to them!

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Re: News indeed

They are great for young kids that want to play games / use apps but that you don't want having a mobile phone just yet.

I am surprised that there is not still money to be made with at least a limited product range.

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Re: British pronunciation of "Jag-you-er" sounds equally silly to we across the Pond

The USAnian pronunciation of "router" as "rowter" is even more perplexing…

While I guess a firewall might conceivably rout packets, a router, well, routes them…

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Re: News indeed

It's not so long ago that Brits weren't so well versed either, mind you: pyoojoh, and nestle (rather than Nestlé)!

It is always somewhat ironic, however, that it was the USA, being one of the world's most multicultural countries, who gave the world the crushingly monolingual ASCII character set, although I suppose the stamping out of linguistic diversity had been started long before by the spelling abilities (or lack thereof) of the immigration officials at Ellis Island…

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Re: British pronunciation of "Jag-you-er" sounds equally silly to we across the Pond

"While I guess a firewall might conceivably rout packets, a router, well, routes them…"

Probably because over here, "route" -- either noun or verb -- can be pronounced "root" or "rout". I would have guessed that it was related to regional dialects, but that does not appear to be the case:

http://www4.uwm.edu/FLL/linguistics/dialect/staticmaps/q_26.html

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Kinda sad to see the segment disappearing. But time waits for no man.

As a possible correction, I thought the mini had a 4GB Hitachi spinning disk.

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You are correct, sir

The mini had spinning rust, it was replaced by the nano which used flash.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple's exit from the standalone music player market is therefore unremarkable: disconnected devices relying on desktop apps for music transfer have clearly had their day.

I am not sure about the had part - for example, I would love to get a portable music player with 300+GB storage capacity, a decent DAC, and a week or two battery lifetime. If it doesn't have wireless capability, that's a bonus - less power drain, less interference with the DAC, and no chance apple or google decide to wipe the music they think i should not have.

What killed the ipod classic wasn't th lack of demand per se - it was the lack of demand at the customary apple margins and the lack of the post-sale revenue stream from itunes.

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Have a gander at this one

http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2017/03/dap-smartphone-onkyo-granbeat-dp-cmx1/

I have one. Clunky in some respects but you can’t argue with the sound and capacity

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Check out offerings from FiiO - something in their range, starting at around $100, should ticket your boxes. Most will take 256GB micro SD cards. Their pricier X5 MKiii has two SD card slots. If you search for reviews, you will read of their competitors, such as Cowon. Your cup runneth over!

Alternatively, consider a phone such as the ESS Sabre DAC variant of the LG V20. ESS are spoken of by hi-fi heads in the way that Wolfson or Burr Brown used to be. It supports a 256GB SD card, which in addition to its 64GB of internal memory takes you over 300GB. It can be had for far less than sone dedicated exotic MP3 players from iRiver, Sony, Cowon or Neil Young (yeah...). If you run it in Airplane Mode then the battery will be fine. The interface will be fast, which isn't always the case for dedicated MP3 players - and for a large music library you will want slick scrolling.

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Oh, Android used to have an issue with the number of files it could index. (Archos made a 500GB Android player, and my mate filled it with tens of thousands of medium bitrate mono audio files he'd ripped from vinyl and recordings of 1960s pirate radio). This issue has probably been fixed now, and if you want the large capacity for fewer, high bit rate files you probably won't encounter it anyway.

The cheaper FiiO players use their own Linux variant, the pricier ones a custom Android. Reviews suggest that they play nice with Fat32 and exFAT SD cards.

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The Android based players (and phones) give the option to use a music player (UI) of your choice, and of course use their fine hardware for streaming too.

The advantage of a dedicated player (Android-based or otherwise) over a phone is that they have better physical controls.

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Thanks to some of the replies to this it looks like my options are wider than I thought when my iPod classic finally dies.

Now I just need to find one where I can import my podcasts and scrobble to last.fm and I'll be golden.

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To be fair, I was pleasantly surprised at the choice available when I looked into it. Options are much wider than they were a couple of years back. I guess we have high capacity microSD cards to thank for it!

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My iPod stays in my car, connected to my head unit's USB adapter. It really is quite convenient for that purpose. All my CD's are ripped using Apple Lossless and then I use my older version of iTunes to convert that to the highest quality lossy AAC format to fit on my iPod. I have to drive a lot, so it is a blessing when I can avoid the banal music of the local radio stations. (I hate pop music, it all sounds the same even if it is on a rock station, "alternative" rock station, or country station. Now the only difference between pop and country is a fiddle and a southern accent.)

But I've been seeing the writing on the wall for a little bit and started looking for alternatives. I know about Fiio. I also found out Pioneer has a program where you can transfer your music and playlists from iTunes to a program they have. And then that program can be used to put your music and playlist on a SD card or USB drive for Pioneer units. iTunes version 10 and earlier are great at organizing music; version 11 and later is garbage at everything. I found my alternative. I don't have to redo my playlists, I don't need to re-rip my music. And since I like Pioneer head units, I stopped looking.

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Exit from Music Market?

Apple hasn't exited from the Music Market: every iPhone is also an iPod, so Apple devices will continue to download and play music for decades to come.

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Coffee/keyboard

Rewriting history again, Like iPhone

"Pod launched in 2001 the state of the art for music lovers who wanted variety on the run was a portable CD player and a wallet "

Um NO! Apple was late to market, but the iTunes and selling track at a time from albums (hurting artists) was what made it a success.

There were various pre-existng MP3 players and the Minidisk.

Portable CD players were never that popular compared to cassettes.

The most mourned iPod player is the one with an HDD. Stupidly customised, so it you bought a small ZIF ribbon interface drive for something it might turn out to be for an iPod, and NEVER work. :(

Let's stop lauding Apple for entering tested markets.

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Re: Rewriting history again, Like iPhone

Mage, you've written this stuff before, and you've been corrected before. With links and evidence. Please pause.

At the time of the iPod's release, solid state MP3 players were prohibitively expensive per MB, especially compared to Minidiscs (£1 per 700MB disc from Richer Sounds). These MP3 players were a clear proof of concept, but they could not be called a 'tested market' as you call it. It was clear to everyone (even us then Product Design students) that solid state would one day rule, but that time was not then (Sony had refined concepts dating back several years, of the hardware and of UIs on the device and host computer). We were also aware that IBM, prior to merging with Hitachi, had a micro hard disk (1" not the 1.6")- it was being touted in the trade press. It was a given that a HDD MP3 player would arrive at some point.

At the time, most PCs did not yet have USB 2, so there was no easy way to transfer music quickly. Those of us with Minidiscs (we were students, a key market demographic for such gizmos) used TOSLink to copy CDs. The graphic design students had Macs with FireWire ( for high resolution scanners, soundcards and MiniDV camcorders) which was plenty fast enough for music.

The iPod was released, and it was good. Not that we bought it - it was bloody expensive and only worked on Macs. However, it was a very well designed product. It charged and synced over a single cable, and whilst being comparable in size to a MiniDisc player it was far smaller than a sock full of two dozen Minidiscs. Whilst my Sharp MD722 had a big scroll wheel, it wasn't used for track selection (no need for a single album). It offered clear advantages to the user over what had gone before - capacity, size and user interface. That prior Creative Jukebox based on a laptop HDD and styled on a CD player was just horrible.

If course in time similar products emerged, usually using the same Toshiba HDD. I had the Creative Nomad Zen (poorly made, the 3.5mm jack soldered directly to the PCB), returned under warranty for an iRiver H320 (superb, more flexible than an iPod, could record line in and mic, could have used a scroll wheel for navigating big libraries though!). The Sony Music Vault - nice hardware but hampered by not being able to play MP3 players, only ATRAC ( this probably resulted from pressure from Sony's publishing wing, and indeed is probably why we aren't now discussing the Sony iPod - they had all the parts they needed from a technical perspective). Etc etc.

All the while, the cost of solid state memory was falling, as all people au fait with computers knew it would, and Apple could see their portable music lunch being eaten by mobile phones (the word 'convergence' had been bandied around Product Design circles since around the year 2000, probably best personified by the Palm-based Sony Clie PEG NX60, in contrast to Steve Jobs' 'Digital Hub' presentation), and Jobs was persuaded to explore an Apple Phone. Hehe, he didn't like having to present a 'Motorola ROKR with iTunes' on stage!

Oh, I repaired my iRiver by giving it a hard disk from a dead iPod, a straight swap - so what's this you're writing about ZIF connectors? A later generation, I assume?

The iPod was a very well thought out implementation of other people's technologies - but hey, a good implementation is important and a skill not to be underrated.

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Gimp

Re: Rewriting history again, Like iPhone

"The iPod was a very well thought out implementation of other people's technologies - but hey, a good implementation is important and a skill not to be underrated."

^^^ This is the important part.

There was nothing particularly original about the original iPod, but it was just a bit better in pretty much every way, than everything that had come before.

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Re: At the time, most PCs did not yet have USB 2

STILL rewriting history,

The early iPods used Firewire and USB2.0 didn't really exist on ANY PC.

Using iPod with Win98 was a nightmare install originally.

" I repaired my iRiver by giving it a hard disk from a dead iPod"

Certainly Apple implemented some sort of DRM, so an Apple HDD couldn't be used in say an Aspire One (both use the ZIF interface).

I've no idea which revision of HDD you used.

There was nothing innovative or clever or cheap at all about the iPod. It was the iTunes and marketing that made it a success. Anything else is Apple propaganda. It wasn't the only player to use an HDD to get round the high cost of flash (then).

DRM is what killed the Sony Net MD, and lack of any legitimate online source for content hampered all non-Apple players, not everyone was using illegal MP3 downloads, nor did many people know (at the start) how to rip Tape, Cassette, vinyl and CD to MP3.

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Re: At the time, most PCs did not yet have USB 2

STILL rewriting history,

not so.

The early iPods used Firewire and USB2.0 didn't really exist on ANY PC.

Err... no. Many PCs didn't ship with FireWire or USB 2, but some did, notably units from Sony and the more expensive Dells and HPs. In addition, there were PCI cards which had USB 2 and/or FireWire ports on them. I know this because I had such cards installed on my WinBoxen. I had, on older systems, USB 1, then USB 2, and/or FireWire 400 then FireWire 800 cards. By 2002 I had combo cards which had USB 2 and FireWire 400 ports. This would be around six months after the first iPods arrived. Before that, I had stand-alone FireWire 400 cards. I could have attached an iPod to a WinBox if I had so desired, which I didn't. I used FireWire on the WinBoxen for the same reasons I used FireWIre on Macs: high speed hard drives and high-end scanners.

Using iPod with Win98 was a nightmare install originally.

Not really, but YMMV.

" I repaired my iRiver by giving it a hard disk from a dead iPod"

Certainly Apple implemented some sort of DRM, so an Apple HDD couldn't be used in say an Aspire One (both use the ZIF interface).

And Apple's DRM was designed from the start to screw with the record industry. You could set up tracks as 'playlists' and then burn the playlists to CD; the system allowed you to burn them up to seven times. However, one thing that the record company execs didn't notice was that Steve Jobs hated, hated, HATED DRM, and there was a back door: if you ripped the playlist off the CD which you had just created, then you now had it on the computer or on the iPod without any DRM whatsoever. It was perfectly possible to have your entire music collection be DRM-free, you just had to have got the original tracks in high res and re-ripped them in max res. It took time, but you could just set iTunes to do it and go about your business. It was almost as if iTunes had been deliberately designed to circumvent DRM, but Steve would never do that to his 'partners', now would he?

I've no idea which revision of HDD you used.

Doesn't matter.

There was nothing innovative or clever or cheap at all about the iPod.

You keep saying this. You keep not being able to support it.

It was the iTunes and marketing that made it a success.

that certainly helped. Hmm. Perhaps iTunes might have been considered to be, oh, innovative?

Anything else is Apple propaganda. It wasn't the only player to use an HDD to get round the high cost of flash (then).

You hate Apple. We know.

DRM is what killed the Sony Net MD, and lack of any legitimate online source for content hampered all non-Apple players,

Ah, so iTunes was an important innovation...

not everyone was using illegal MP3 downloads,

didn't have any of those for a long time. I used iTunes well before I got an iPod. Hell, I never actually got an iPod, I just dumped stuff to my iPhone. I'd been using iTunes for years before that.

nor did many people know (at the start) how to rip Tape, Cassette, vinyl and CD to MP3.

iTunes made it trivial. Hmm. I guess that there was some innovation after all...

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Re: At the time, most PCs did not yet have USB 2

> It was the iTunes and marketing that made it a success. Anything else is Apple propaganda. It wasn't the only player to use an HDD to get round the high cost of flash (then).

For the love of God Mage, are you actually suggesting that the iPod offered nothing over that large, clunky piece of shit that Creative made (the one the size of a CD Walkman)? Seriously? The one with the ghastly UI. Really? Or have you got your dates confused?

Look, some of your past posts suggest that you've got your timeline of events out of order, but also that you are not a complete fool (even though you haven't gone back and checked your facts despite links being provided for you). So, your memory is a bit muddled, that's alright. Easy to fix: read up on stuff. Not now though, it's nearly pub time. Have a good weekend.

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Re: At the time, most PCs did not yet have USB 2

Oh, Apple was way behind the curve with the iPod - at the exact same time they were launching their stand-alone music player, Nokia was offering a music player on a phone. Not necessarily a smartphone mind you - yes, I'm talking about the Nokia 5510, and you'd be well advised to sit down before you follow that link, but hey - it was mp3 playback integrated into a phone! For moderate amounts of integrated, that is: the USB through which you managed songs had absolutely no connection to anything else inside the phone - not entirely surprising considering the 5510 had (you better still be sitting) half a 3310 inside it, as-is. Still, when you think of it, for its time, the 5510 was revolutionary - I'd still kill today to be able to use that keyboard instead of the utter, utter shite that are on-screen Android keyboards all over the board...

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Re: At the time, most PCs did not yet have USB 2

FireWire would have been ubiquitous had Steve Jobs not upped the licensing fee per port. This gave Intel cold feet, who were in a position to bring it to most PCs. A meeting between Intel and Jobs didn't go well (shocking,I know)

Sony computers had FireWire because:

- Sony made DV and miniDV camcorders with FireWire connections (i.LINK as they called it, because Sony execs didn't want to use a 'cooler sounding' name than Sony.)

- Vaio stood for Visual Audio Input Output

- The Vaio range was created by the Japanese Sony designer who created the PlayStation. He was a huge fan of Esslinger's work for Apple - note the grooves on the PlayStation. His team also used Macs, after he'd been exposed to them in the US.

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Re: At the time, most PCs did not yet have USB 2

Hey DropBear!

64MB hey? That's... nearly an entire album's worth of music, enjoyed through whatever headset Nokia supplied you with! You groovy ursine cat, you!

Hehe, my first MP3 player was a matchbook-sized LG with 32MB... I took it back to the shop because it was next to useless!

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Mea culpa

Oops! I stated the capacity of a MiniDisc above as being 700MB, when of course it was closer to 100MB. The playtime of 74 or 80 minutes was equivalent to a 700MB CD, but of course MiniDisc used ATRAC compression.

This means that the iPod held the equivalent of 50 Minidiscs. More than a sockful, that's a veritable shoebox.

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Re: Mea culpa

This debate is horrible. At the start, the ipod was known for its wheel, that's it, nothing else. If you don't know that you, you didn't experience this period in time due to age or interests. It's as indifferent as that, everyone knows this, even grandmothers!

What the article didn't mention is that the iPod literally saved Apple. It was a promise to the RIAA to defeat Napster clones. Once the RIAA bite into the Apple, Apple used all those newly opened doors to generate income to further develop 'portable' devices that furthered even more promises (AT&T). Thus saving Apple stock from the grave. Of course, how did those promises turn out for tbe RIAA or AT&T? Considering both are rotten, I can't blame Apple (not for that at least).

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Re: Rewriting history again, Like iPhone

Let's have a shout out for the Rio MP3 player which is what really kick started the industry

And the iPod - a key feature was the physical - rounded, weighty, a pleasure to hold, frankly. A real beaut. I upgraded the battery on mine. Still working and still excellent sound

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iPods started to sell like hot cakes, Apple spawned a lower-cost iPod Mini using solid state storage [...]

The Mini still used a HDD. The first iPod with a screen and solid state storage was the Nano.

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I just bought an iPod nano a couple of days ago - I dropped my old one while out walking and it broke.

I far prefer walking with a nano in my hand than my iPhone, it's more convenient to hold and less of a lure for the moped phone snatchers that have started spreading in London.

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Oh no, we need something other than iPhone to prop us up

Can't think of anything new, kill off something from our existing product line instead. To hell with the Apple ecosystem, let's count the beans for each individual product instead.

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Re: Oh no, we need something other than iPhone to prop us up

They probably can't be arsed to retool for Lightening-based iPods, to bring their vision to bear.

Side note: I was chatting to a landowner yesterday, who was thinking of getting into the taking money from rich people game by setting a 'glamping' site. He said that customers all demand wi-fi these days, even if they don't want power. Turns out that where once they would have filled up an iPod, these days they want Wi-fi to listen to music over Spotify.

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I love my shuffles, I velcro them to my motorcycle helmet, which gives me touch controls over my music, indexed by feel through gloves. I've been through record setting thunderstorms with it on and it still kept going fine. The only downside is a piddly 2Gb storage, but that's enough for a lot of riding.

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I like my Sansa Clip players. Only issue is that they are small and black, thus easy to lose or leave in trouser pocket in washing machine. When camping, it's nice to have a FM radio, too, whilst leaving phone turned off (Airplane Mode tends to disable FM radio reception on those phones that have it. )

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Yes, my wife has the Sansa Clip+ 8gb and she loves it to death.

I have loaded her Galaxy S7 edge with a 256gb SD card and my entire music collection but it gets ignored and the Sansa is taken everywhere.

There are many far cheaper (and better) alternatives to anything Apple.

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The Clips are good. The iRivers were great - more features than an iPod - but a scroll wheel would have made them even better. Where the iPods do well is working well with a whole range of wired headphones with remote controls (volume, pause and track skip) from every reputable headphone vendor, available from every high street. There was also a time when iPod docks were near ubiquitous in friend's houses, too, when 3.5mm aux cables always went missing.

Still, were getting to the point where the sound quality if the player is irrelevant - the DAC and amp will be in the headphones, tuned to the physical drivers. Let Samsung spec the DAC, or Sennheiser? I'll take the latter, ta. Sony have donated their high quality Bluetooth audio protocol to Android. The player itself had been relegated to storage (or streaming client) and UI. Keep your phone tethered to your amplifier by a cable, or sit back on your sofa and stream to your Chromecast? Again, the latter.

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podcasts

I guess I'm the only one that remembers the "podcast" name came from audio chats played on iPods.

I also remember James May pronouncing it "ippp-pod" instead of "eye-pod"

> There are many far cheaper (and better) alternatives to anything Apple.

One thing Apple (as much as I hate them) does right is developing an ecosystem around a product. As the article says, not only did they come out with the player hardware (as did many others) but they also provided a really easy way to buy music to put on it, which was the part that was lacking.

Before iTunes, buying digital music was a COMPLETE pain in the ass. Afterwards, hell, I could buy music that played on my Linux box without a special DRMed-to-hell-and-gone player.

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Re: podcasts

It's a bit of give and take. The easy to use and desirable nature of the iPod gave Apple a base to negotiate with record companies and get iTunes going. The presence of iTunes was then an unique selling point of the iPod. Initially iTunes had DRM on music, but once Apple's hand was strong enough, Steve Jobs removed it.

Still, the iRiver Hxxx series of player/recorders had a USB Host socket (microUSB OTG), so content could be copied from one device to another without a computer. I suspect Apple would have had a hard time negotiating with the record companies if the iPod had such a feature (indeed, even with a computer, it was not straightforward to get music *off* an iPod. Apple could plausibly tell the record companies that people couldn't just visit each others homes and swap their whole music libraries).

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Re: podcasts

Initially iTunes had DRM on music, but once Apple's hand was strong enough, Steve Jobs removed it.

Initially, iTunes had deliberately crippled DRM on music. Steve Jobs sneaked anti-DRM past the record company execs. You could burn playlists to CD, and the CDs wouldn't have DRM. If you then ripped the CDs to iTunes, you now had DRM-free music. In order to avoid quality issues you had to have the best possible quality on the original recording, but that's not a big deal.

Steve Jobs nuked DRM on music completely once Apple sold over 40% of the music in the US. He told the music industry that he was killing it, and they could like it or lump it; if they prevented music sales from Apple, they'd lose 40% of their revenue (and a lot more than 40% of their profit, given the way that it was a lot cheaper to sell digital copies than to press CDs and transport them to actual music stores). They caved.

Steve Jobs HATED DRM with the fury of 10,000 suns.

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Re: podcasts

Before iTunes, buying digital music was a COMPLETE pain in the ass. Afterwards, hell, I could buy music that played on my Linux box without a special DRMed-to-hell-and-gone player.

But if all you have is Linux and Android, no way you'll be buying music from whyTunes.

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Re: podcasts

I always thought that was "programming on demand" - ie one to many direct radio programmes.

well, well.

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Shame, really

I've had several iPods and I love my 16GB gen 6 (the little 1" square one with a touch screen). It's even survived being put through the washing machine. Hopefully it'll last a while longer, as it's tiny size means it's much more convenient than a phone for music for music listening.

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It took until now?

Seriously, they were still selling iPods for $300? You can get a cheap phone and an SD card for a fraction of the price and it will be better in pretty much every single way. Don't give it a SIM and leave it permanently in flight mode with everything disabled that can be, and it will even easily rival the battery life - a phone used for nothing but audio output can last weeks. And of course, you'll always have the option of actually using all the other features if you happen to want them later.

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Re: It took until now?

"u can get a cheap phone and an SD card for a fraction of the price and it will be better in pretty much every single way"

Not entirely true, at least from my perspective.

iTunes is bloated and slow, but it handles playlists very well, and the integration with the iPod hardware/software means that sync'ing is quick [*]. It also facilitates 2-way synchronisation (i.e. I can tag songs on the iPod, and iTunes will pick those tags up); handy for eliminating unwanted songs from a playlist over time [**].

Then too, the non-touch iPods have another advantage: physical buttons; you don't need to turn the screen on, nor do you even need to look at the device to perform basic tasks such as skipping tracks or increasing volume.

Plus, there's the form factor; even an iPod Classic is smaller than pretty much any modern phone. And it's certainly more robust!

[*] I have experimented with an iTunes->Android plugin, but sync times are ridiculously slow, presumably because the plugin has to physically review every file which is already on the device)

[**] I tend to dump albums/compilations into a playlist, and then filter the songs over time. Allegedly, MTP devices can also do 2-way syncs, but according to the Musicbee wiki, few if any Android devices actually support this feature

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