Analysts: Apple’s iPod Photo is living proof that a device can’t serve two masters

“The iPod Photo is living proof that a device can’t serve two masters. The color screen is great, but the iPod can’t really offer a great photo experience with its small screen, recycled music interface, lack of a camera and poor photo-management features. Our advice? Stay focused on music. Keep the color screen–and keep enhancing digital music with iTunes Music Store franchises, podcasts and music subscriptions,” Ted Schadler and Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research Analysts, write for CNET News.

We’ve been living with iPod Photo for three months now. At first, we loved the addition of photos to the music player–the wow factor alone was reason enough to upload photos. But the more we carried the device around, the more we realized two things:

1. The color screen does make the iPod music experience better. Let’s face it: Everything looks better in color. And so does the iPod. Text, navigation and album cover art look great and extremely familiar to those used to working on a PC or Mac. The color screen makes menus more readable, photos displayable and the music experience more delightful.

2. Alas, a color screen by itself does not a great photo experience make. Though the iPod Photo is a fine way to drag a bunch of pictures around to show friends, it’s clear Apple Computer kept the focus on music–not photos. There’s no camera, the screen is tiny, the iTunes synchronization is clunky, the lack of on-the-go photo album creation is annoying, and (for power users) the file structure is tedious. Of course, you can plug the iPod Photo into a television and click through a slide show, but you’re limited to the slide shows already on the device–and you can’t edit them without going back to your computer.

Schadler and Bernoff write, “Instead of adding myriad photo features to the iPod Photo to try to overcome its multifunction challenges, Apple should keep the color screen and basic photo functions; revamp the iPod Photo advertising to emphasize how photos enhance the music experience; and get on with the business of improving the digital music experience.”

Schadler and Bernoff present five ideas to kick-start things in Cupertino in their full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple updates iPod photo packaging, de-emphasizes ‘photo’ – February 24, 2005

35 Comments

  1. If they’re saying this about the iPod photo, I think we can only imagine what they’re saying about the portable media center devices.

    Ironically, my secret word was ‘music’. What are you hinting at MDN? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue wink” style=”border:0;” />

  2. Well Eric, someone has to start them. It could have been you. Then again, maybe you did…

    Magic word: likely. “It’s likely that Apple will continue to tweak the iPod line to maximize sales and profits.”

  3. although, priced at $350, it’s like you’re paying $50 for an additional 10Gb of memory and getting color and photo capabilities for free. Even if many don’t use the photo part of the iPod, I think sales are going to be pretty big, at least for the 30Gb version.

  4. “I don’t like the iPod photo because it’s not a camera.”

    “I don’t like the iPod photo because it doesn’t use iPhoto to load up images.”

    “I don’t like the iPod photo because iPhoto software isn’t available for windows.”

    “I don’t like the iPod photo because, like the iPod mini needs a computer to make new playlists, the iPod photo needs a computer to make new slide shows.”

    “Oh yah, and the iPod/iTunes/iTunes Music Store experience needs a lot of work too.”

    Exactly how much is Microsoft paying these guys to dis the iPod experience? Show us a better example boys.

  5. Right king_alvarez!

    And a (hobby) digital photographer, like myself, can now ’empty’ his camera onto his iPod – that’s a useful bonus; because it’s convenient and you can save money on memory cards for the camera.

    But it’s the music that’s still the thing, and Apple should drop the ‘photo’ name.

  6. “Alas, a color screen by itself does not a great photo experience make. Though the iPod Photo is a fine way to drag a bunch of pictures around to show friends, it’s clear Apple Computer kept the focus on music–not photos.”

    If you think this is all an iPod Photo was meant to do, are you in for a surprise later this year.

  7. Charko….

    I think the Belkin Media Reader is a better idea than the Apple camera connector. Unless you have the time to take a break from shooting everytime to download images off the camera instead of the card….UNLESS of course you have 2 camera’s. Do you? I have more memory cards (they are cheaper than camera’s)

    It is said that by using the camera as the media reader you are doing wear and tear on the camera’s life. There was a reason for those dedicated VHS rewinders…they extended the VCR’s life by putting the duty of rewinding to the rewinder rather than the VCR…the rewinder was a bonus if you needed the VCR right away.

    I think it will be even better if you can buy ANY card reader and connect it to the iPod it will immediately download the images off the cards.

    Just a thought.

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