Newsday writer: Is Apple’s iPod Photo what America wants from an iPod?

“The new Apple iPod Photo made me think of a funny button I bought long ago and that I’m saving for the right moment. It says, ‘My boss has no idea what I do for a living,'” Stephen Williams writes for New York Newsday. “Surely, Apple chief Steve Jobs has people who can tell him what the iPod does for a living, sources who’ll explain what makes the chrome-and- white audio player an icon: You can set it and forget it. Ignore it. The iPod will entertain you, serenade you and requires no attention till the battery punks out.”

Williams writes, “That’s one reason the iPod has a share of the digital audio player market that exceeds 90 percent, and why iPods of various flavors – the classic model, the Mini, the soon-to-arrive U2 version – sell up to 1million units per month. What I need now is for Jobs to explain why he thinks a 40- or 60-gigabyte iPod Photo – a device with more power than a lot of personal computers – needs to do slide shows as well as play music. Is this what America wants from an iPod?”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: People who want the photo features of iPod Photo will buy the iPod Photo – and not just Americans, either. People who want a 60 GB capacity iPod and/or want a color screen will buy an Apple iPod Photo. This article, ironically, reminds us of a funny button Stephen Williams bought long ago that says, ‘My boss has no idea what I do for a living.’ And Williams’ comment, “a 40- or 60-gigabyte iPod Photo [is] a device with more power than a lot of personal computers,” should remind us all that just because someone can type on a keyboard doesn’t mean they should be writing about technology.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
The Gadgeteer Review: Apple’s iPod Photo ‘a fabulous device’ – November 13, 2004
Review: Apple iPod Photo ‘a joy to use, if you can afford it, you will never look back’ – November 08, 2004
Mossberg: Apple iPod Photo ‘a winner, if a little pricey’ – November 04, 2004
Apple’s new iPod Photo ‘a superbly entertaining device’ worth the price – November 02, 2004
Apple debuts iPod Photo with color screen, holds up to 25,000 digital photos – October 26, 2004


  1. Personally, I don’t want a photo iPod. But hey, that’s just me. I do think it’s a good transitional device until Apple caves and finally releases a full multimedia iPod.

  2. Blind driven nationalism and pathetic patriotism. US journalism is an insult to cultured nations.
    Journalists in this country have turned into corporate and government cheerleaders.

  3. I agree with the author. I love my iPod, but the photo feature is ill-conceived currently. Think about it. The delivery media provided for the music component of an iPod are perfect: headphones, line-out to stereo, which then goes to speakers. People look at photos in an album or, these days, on a high-res computer monitor. Nobody peruses their photo album on their 2″ camera monitor, or on a TV–since the resolution of standard televisions stink. Those are the only media by which to view photos from an iPod–a low-res TV or the iPod’s dinky screen. Until the presentation media is closer to how people normally view their photos, then the iPod Photo will be ill-conceived.

  4. This is the rebuttal I sent to his article:
    1. “You can set it and forget it. Ignore it. The iPod will entertain you, serenade you and requires no attention till the battery punks out.” Very good point. And yes, the iPod Photo will entertain you with both music (without looking at it) and photos (while looking at it). The concept hasn’t changed.

    2. “What I need now is for Jobs to explain why he thinks a 40 or 60 GB iPod Photo — a device with more power than a lot of personal computers — needs to do slide shows as well as play music.”
    Is this your better answer? “A better option, if video’s your thing, is the Windows Portable Media Center.” Until H.264 arrives in 2005, video quality is too poor, filesizes are too big, battery consumption is too high. If you increase the display and battery size, then the iPod is no longer a bring-anywhere-pocketable device. A larger 7″ screen device that can truly be watched would be okay, too, except it is no longer an iPod.

    3. “Many digital cameras perform similarly.” No, they don’t allow you take all (up to 25,000) your photos with you. They don’t allow for organization by albums either.

    4. “What’s troubling us about iPhoto (sic)? Cost.” a. At $499, it is the same cost as the 40GB iPod (not Photo) was in July. b. For $100 more today, you get a color screen, longer battery life, photo capability, and a dock. I don’t see that as considerably more for what you’re getting even if you don’t care about photos.

    5. “The lack of a media-reader card slot, so that iPod Photo could be used as an instant viewer.” But the digital camera can do that, you said so yourself!! Instead, a missing but useful feature would be to offload photos from the camera via USB2.0 so that you can reuse the camera’s memory card. But that’s a different concept from the carry&show;-all-your-organized-pictures-anywhere entertainment concept.

    6. “Assuming that it could record and/or play video, that might influence a purchase. But it can’t do either.” You implied Steve Jobs is confused. But this statement about recording makes it clear that you’re confused on the iPod concept: You can bring it anywhere in your pocket. “You can set it and forget it. Ignore it. The iPod will entertain you, serenade you and requires no attention till the battery punks out.” How would recording fit in? It doesn’t as today’s lack of a microphone indicates. But when digital video truly arrives via increased camcorder ownership, increased DVR ownership, legal Internet movie downloads, H.264 formats, then the Apple “digital hub” would provide video to be carried-anywhere by the iPod (or watchable-anywhere on a larger handheld device).

    Once you have the simple anywhere-entertainment iPod concept straight, photos make the most sense for today’s iPod extension. Got it?

  5. i think the iPod photo is a good idea.
    is like people today have phones with camera capability and show of photos of some events or girlfriends, pets, whatever on the very tine phone display. iPod Photo has an advantage here. and the low-res TV is not so bad to show pics to grandma when you are visiting. remeber it is still primarily a music player not a presentation device.

  6. Many people may not think much of the photo ipod and so dismiss it without much thought. However, when purchasing an ipod, the purchaser may a) more seriously consider the benefits of having the additional photo capabilities, color screen, and extra disk space and decide that it is worth the extra cost or b) make an impulse decision to get the latest and greatest. Either way, apple will likely sell a substantial number of photo ipods even if it lacks the broad appeal of the less expensive models. Time will tell.

  7. Well, apparently no one wants to do photos on the new iPod. Guess what, you can turn that feature off completely on the Main Menu settings screen, and do like me, just music.

  8. you don’t just have the 2-inch screen, either
    there’s the VIDEO OUT CABLE that is included so you can show the slideshows on your tv
    i’m waiting for the video ipod, though

  9. In response to hairbo:

    First, NTSC or PAL quality doesn’t capture the details of a 5MP and up quality image. But most people still only have 3MP cameras, from which the iPod Photo generates incredibly sharp photos on a standard TV, when compared to regular TV.

    Second, many people would prefer to show their pictures on a 27″+ TV (which most people have these days), where groups could gather around, instead of a smaller but sharper 20″ LCD display (which many people still do not have). BTW, I generally just display my photos on my 15″ Powerbook because I often forget to bring the right cables.

  10. In response to Kmark and the article:

    Apple has been quite consistent with regard to the iPod’s simple but rather narrow concept of “all-my-entertainment-everywhere” (adding the focus on my or I, as in personalized). So no microphone or radio despite what others offer. And the way Apple has added photo capability is very in-line with how they did music, and even contacts.

    As Apple expands to other entertainment media types, the question is whether the consumer continues to buy this simplicity or rather desires a broader-concept that would add more features. For music, simplicity rules.

  11. Hey Al.. doesn’t Apple have an easy distribution for games..

    Software Update..

    How does updating your iPod software work on WIndows.. when you plug in the iPod, does it automatically scan the web for updates?

  12. responding to K:

    Maybe the standard is different from an iPod, but Tivo has the ability to stream pictures from a photo library on a computer to a TV. I’ve seen this feature in action on a pretty good 32″ Sony TV. The picture quality was lousy. Okay, I’ll admit it’s a decent solution at the moment for showing pictures to Grandma, but unless the iPod Photo can hook up to a high-res monitor, like a computer or HDTV, then the current technology just doesn’t have legs. I mean, come on, the amount of information in even a 2.1 megapixel camera (what I have) far exceeds what a standard TV can output.

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