Olympus plans Super Bowl ad pushing their ‘iPod photo killer’

“Apple’s iPod MP3 player was one of the hottest gifts during the past holiday season. Driven by a hip marketing campaign and bolstered by Apple’s Music Store, the word ‘iPod’ has become synonymous with MP3 players; and its smaller, limited and cheaper Shuffle model unveiled last week will likely serve to solidify Apple’s lead,” Don Lindich reports for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But as the recent 2005 Consumer Electronics Show demonstrated, it is a much more competitive marketplace.”

Lindich reports, “Leading the pack were two entries from Olympus’ new m:robe line. The m:robe 500 offers a large, high-resolution touch-screen display used for controlling the unit and viewing photographs, which are either downloaded from a PC or taken with the m:robe’s built-in 1.22 megapixel digital camera. Photographs can be automatically mixed with audio tracks to create music videos you can view as you listen.”

“At the same $499 price point of Apple’s iPod Photo, the m:robe 500 offers a much larger display and greater functionality, albeit with a smaller hard drive and larger physical dimensions that make it hard to carry in a pocket. The m:robe 500 offers 20 GB, vs. the iPod’s 30 GB, an advantage for Apple. Even with its smaller hard drive, serious digital photographers are likely to make the m:robe 500 their player of choice by virtue of its large, colorful display,” Lindich reports. “The $249, 5 GB m:robe 100 compares with Apple’s iPod Mini while offering 25 percent more hard drive capacity. The m:robe 100 is one of the most attractively styled MP3 players available with a smooth, black finish that makes it look like the monolith from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.'”

“After a hiatus of many years, Olympus will once again advertise during the Super Bowl — specifically to promote the new m:robe line, demonstrating the depth of its commitment to this new product category,” Lindich reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We require some actual proof before we’ll swallow Lindich’s statement that “serious digital photographers are likely to make the m:robe 500 their player of choice by virtue of its large, colorful display.” Lindich’s mistaken assertion that Apple’s iPod photo offers 30GB for $499 doesn’t inspire much confidence in his reporting skills. Apple’s iPod photo comes in two sizes: a 40GB model, available for $499, and a much larger 60GB model that sells for $599. And, the Olympus bath…, err, m:robe won’t directly play songs purchased from the world’s market-dominating online music store, Apple’s iTunes Music Store, either. Do you think Olympus’ m:robe Super Bowl ad will mention that fact?


  1. The “recent 2005 Consumer Electronics Show” may demonstrate “a much more competitive marketplace” but the public and market share doesn’t seem to know it.

  2. I’m right there with MDN’s take on this one – in addition to not being compatible with iTMS, I just don’t think “serious digital photographers” will opt for a smaller hard drive just so they can see their hi-resolution photos (which these days are usually 5-12 MB each and originals that are thousands of pixels tall and wide) at less than the size of a 3×5 print. Lindich believes “large” equals a 3.7-inch viewable screen area (which he didn’t mention, but I got it from the Olympus website). Here’s the link if you want to see what this latest “iPod killer” looks like:


    Furthermore, given the choice, I think such photographers will instead opt for the larger storage capacities that Apple offers for a marginally higher price at the top of the line and better portability (in the pocket vs. not small enough to comfortably fit). And a 1.3 mPixel built-in camera? What a joke! Cameras with that resolution are called “webcams” these days and cost $39. Those same “serious digital photographers” probably aren’t going to be as interested in the music mixing capabilities, either, which I can only imagine will be rudimentary at best.

    In two words – not impressed.

  3. Wow, Olympus marketing is blowing their whole ad budget for next year to sell a device that I can’t see anyone using with a name that NO ONE will ever remember once the game is over, hell I don’t even remember it and I just read the article, mrob?

  4. Professional digital photographers, like me, are primarily mac users. Even the window shooters I know are iPod fans. When there is a way to download photos directly to the iPod photo (when Apple comes up with a user friendly way to do it that satisfies their quality standards) then they will become even more popular.

  5. Good lord. What the hell is it with electronic device manufacturers and product names. First it’s Sony with “NDW-whatchamacallit” and now f%&^ing m:robe from Olympus. Pathetic.

  6. There is more to life than iPod.

    I’m much more a photographer than a music listener… and admit it or not, but Apple Ipod is overpriced, plain and simple. They are at “cool cult-status” pricing.

    Adding a good music player to a camera seems like a whole lot simpler than adding a camera or photo-viewer to your iPod…

    In fact, who needs the scroll wheel, when according to steve jobs, Shuffle has become the most popular way to listen to music. In fact, why is such a big deal made out of… shuffle. I mean… why on earth wasn’t this included in the original? Random, shuffle… call it what you will, but it’s not a new concept and it’s annoying that they make a big deal out of something like shuffle.

    I don’t need another electronic device. Apple will slowly update their product, because they want you to buy each version. They want to ride the ipod wave as long as they can. Who can blame them, really?

    Why else would they only now add photo capabilities and yet miss the obvious method of moving them from camera to ipod? They’ll add things like that (and basic things like a colour screen) and then people will buy more… and sell their old ones. All major electronics brands do the same.

  7. I’d like a set of fatty headphones with a built-in iPod flash. I think that would be cool. I used to have some headphones with a built-in FM radio, but a flash iPod shuffle would be even better.

    Go on, design one for me.

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