BusinessWeek: ‘Expect a flash memory-based Apple iPod sometime next year’

“Despite denials from Jobs & Co., the buzz is building that Apple is ready to launch a digital music player that uses a memory card,” Alex Salkever writes for BusinessWeek. “Apple CEO Steve Jobs has always approached his job with the zeal and showmanship of a populist politician. Jobs has another attribute common to the political classes, namely that even when he says ‘never,’ you can never really be sure.”

“Savvy Mac watchers immediately noted with irony that the new version of the iMac desktop computer is almost an exact description of what Jobs said he didn’t want the previous generation of iMacs to be, namely, a grounded, monolithic, and less flexible piece of hardware. And don’t forget his whopper about Apple never writing any software for Windows machines. That one went up in flames when Jobs unveiled a version of iTunes for the Microsoft hordes,” Salkever writes.

MacDailyNews Note: Actually, long before they released iTunes for Windows, Apple made and continues to make software for Windows, such as FileMaker, AppleWorks, QuickTime, Airport Software, iDisk Utility, and other applications. So, Hell didn’t really freeze over the day iTunes for Windows was announced.

“When Jobs introduced the iPod Mini in January, 2004, he explained it was designed to compete with high-end flash-based music players of comparable cost but that had far less capacity,” Salkever writes. “That’s still true, but the flash player market remains healthy and significantly larger than that of hard-drive music players on a global basis. And the strongest sales for flash players are in countries where Apple remains weak, namely in the Far East. At the same time, Apple is furiously working to build up a broader portfolio of consumer-electronics offerings to capitalize on its current dominance of digital music downloads. The upshot? Expect a flash iPod to hit shelves sometime next year.”

“If Apple could sell just 5 million flash IPods in the next year at prices between $120 and $199, that would likely generate revenues of between $600 million and $1 billion. It would certainly push Apple closer to its goal of rejoining the $10 billion revenue club in the next two years. Add it all up, and the flash iPod hardly looks like a flash in the pan,” Salkever writes.

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Merrill Lynch: Apple ‘likely to intro two new iPod offshoots in first half 2005’ – October 25, 2004
RUMOR: Apple Computer to launch new solid-state flash memory iPod this Christmas? – October 01, 2004

15 Comments

  1. The main advantage I can see to flash based music players is no moving parts so they are totally shock-proof and I believe maybe easier to make water proof/resistant. If they came up with a 1 GB model they would sell a boatload.

  2. “furiously working to build up a broader portfolio of consumer electronics. . .” ?? Huh? Besides 3 flavors of iPods (4 if you include the U2 iPod) what other “consumer electronics” is Apple working on? None that I have heard about.

  3. Why not make and set the quality standard for a flash iPod then license it to myriads of other manufacturers and watch Napster, Real, Sony and Microsoft melt away from digital music – completely.

  4. “Great 8 gig Flash Memory, but I can get 3 iPod Photos or 1 iBook and iPod for the same price.”

    Exactly right Buffy. Not a whole lot of people are going to go for a $2000 iPod that’s 8 gig. Yes, the price will drop with time, but not significantly enough (in time) to make it worth it. If Apple does it, it will have to be <$200 and probably 1 gig.

  5. I would certainly consider a cheap 1 gig flash ipod if it were shock proof.

    When running at any decent pace, my 3G ipod starts skipping songs with 15 mins. 1 gig would give enough songs to run a marathon with.

    Has anyone found the 4G ipods or minis to be any better than the 3Gs?

    $100 would be my price point for a flash based player – don’t know if Apple could make something that cheap though? $200 would be too steep for me.

  6. right now you can get 512M flash players for $150. If Apple can come out with a flash player early next year with 512M for about $120 and 1G for about $180 that would be about Apples typical market and would likely be well accepted. They are doubful to go after the $100 market.

  7. With the trend being to make the flash players smaller and smaller, how are they going to mount a scroll-wheel and a decent size screen? Will screen size be sacrificed? Will they come up with a new browsing mechanism? I think the Creative Zen thing has already grabbed the linear touch strip.

    Though, personally, much smaller than a credit card and you’re bound to have difficulty operating the thing.

  8. They could make a smaller one than the mini iPod with removable media and replaceable AAA batteries. Then with 2 or 3 loaded flash cards and a Costco sized pack of batteries you could have tunes all the way through a 2 week camping trip and never have to recharge or shower.

    Well, maybe you would have to shower.

  9. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Flash-based iPod someday, but i don’t think it’ll be any time soon. Flash is getting larger and cheaper, but not fast enough to be worthwhile in the near future. Actually, I’d be willing to bet the iPod line will eventually be all Flash-based some day.

    Size is something to consider. i really don’t think people want something much smaller than the mini. It’d be too hard to operate.

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