Wendland: Bill Gates is right, iPod will be replaced by smartphones – by Apple

“You’ve got to hand it to the iPod competitors: They’re a determined lot. This week, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates weighed in on the still-growing popularity of Apple’s multiversioned line of personal music players, telling European media folks that the iPod is but a flash in the pan, soon to be replaced by mobile phones as the player of choice,” Mike Wendland writes for The Detroit Free Press. “To be sure, Gates is engaging in some wishful thinking. And his bravado was no doubt emboldened by this week’s unveiling of yet another Microsoft operating system, this one aimed at mobile phones and called Windows Mobile 5.0.”

“‘If you were to ask me which mobile device will take top place for listening to music, I’d bet on the mobile phone for sure,’ he said in the interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily. Across the globe, Mac loyalists and iPod addicts pretty much scoffed in unison,” Wendland writes. “But I happen to think that Gates is probably going to be proven right in the long run.”

“Putting music players in a smartphone is a given. They’re available now, of course, with limited storage capacity and audio quality that is way short of what the iPod offers. But with the ability to download songs via wireless broadband coming to most parts of the country by year’s end, why would anyone want to carry both a standalone music player and a wireless phone? Memory storage issues have to be worked out better before such a phone will become a reality. But mark my words: It will be here sooner rather than later,” Wendland writes. “Anyone want to bet which company will introduce it? My money is on Apple.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Wendland’s correct. Why carry two devices when a single unit will do?

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  1. Virtually every iPod owner, all 10 to 12 million, also owns a cell phone.

    Why buy a third device when the other 2 devices work very well now?

    TV’s have always sold very well. VCR’s and after them, DVD players have sold very well. Hands up all those of you that bought a combo TV/VCR or TV/DVD.

    Multi function units never do every function right. If someone comes out with the perfect phone/MP3 player/still-video camera someone will say it’s PDA capabilities are the shites. Some people will but these devices but they will never catch on the way the plain cell phone and the iPod did.

  2. You guys saying it won’t happen unless this or that are missing the point: those things WILL happen. At some point, battery life will improve enough to withstand the demands. Hard drives will get small enough to fit conveniently in cell phones and/or flash storage will beef up capacity enough to compete with what most people would need. Take a look back at the last few years and how far things have progressed technologically, and it becomes pretty clear that this will happen in the next few years if not sooner. Apple is smart enough to be working on something towards this already, but clearly the time isn’t right for it yet. But it will be. Remember, Apple didn’t do mp3 players first, they just did them best.

  3. I think a great deal of the success of the iPod it that it does one thing and does it very well. I reckon this is the reason why Apple hasn’t squeezed FM radio and other ‘features’ on the pod like most of the competitiors.

    The problem with mobile phones is that the manufacturers try and bung in everything but the kitchen sink, and generally do it very badly. Horribly designed and ill thought-out interface, tiny screen, useless camera, fiddly keys. The list is practically endless.

    If Apple do make an iPhone, it should look inordinately stylish (anyone noticed a strange similarity between trainer and mobile phone designs?), be laughably simple to use and very very good at making and receiving calls. And that’s all.

    MW: Always
    Always keep it simple, stupid

  4. nothing to add here because Ray and carl have nailed it: phones are essentially disposable or short term items because the technology is improving so rapidly. Investing $500 in a phone/mp3 player would be dumb given that they would be giving away said phone next year or the year after. But i highly doubt they will be giving away a 20GB phone with a colour screen that can play full quality audio anytime soon. Secondly, battery life. Less than an hour is standard on the thin phones. That will not cut it for most folks either for listening to tunes.

    What makes the most sense to me is an iPhone add-on to the iPod, looking something like the griffin FM transmitter. Apple could make iPods’ innards ‘phone-ready’ but then the only people who would have to use it as a phone would be people who also bought the add-on. This wouldn’t detract from the current functionality.

  5. I’d never want an iPhone. Too expensive. You lose or break and you’re out some real coin (and both a phone and iPod). Give me a dedicated and inexpensive cell phone that has good reception and an iPod. I can take one or both with me wherever I go and I’m not a slave to the phone company (at least not any more than I currently am).

    And I agree with Henry in not being required to be always available for everyone.

  6. The iPod is gonna be here for awhile. I just heard Rush Limbaugh said he is gonna Podcast his shows and maybe have a link with iTunes..This was said on his show today in response to a question from a caller about podcasting..

  7. I wrote: “It may turn out that Motorola brings them out just after they perfect the 3 GHz G5.”

    Note to self: IBM makes the G5, not Motorola.

  8. Since when was the last time Bill was right???? About Micros*%t BOB? About the internet? The command he made was just wishful thinking out of jealousy. It is sad that with all the money he got, he still can’t keep up with Steve. All his life, he’s bee playing catch up with Apple’s ideas and foresights. He though he won over the OS war with “Swindle XP” but now all of a sudden, he needs to catch up again with Tiger, iPod, and future Apple products. There are many things money can’t buy; they are creativity, forthright, vision, charisma, good taste. So what if he came late but dominated the market? Others, especially Apple, already moved on to newer and better things!!! What a frustrating life he must have trying to catch up all the time.

  9. I sometimes wonder if some MDN editors even read the comments. At least one guy there has a real thing for this cellphone/iPod combo, but I don’t see any real enthusiasm for it. The inevitable comments are “all-in-one devices suck”, and “iPod succeeded by doing one thing well”.

    I don’t need an iPod cellphone. I don’t want an iPod cellphone. I wouldn’t use an iPod cellphone. And my hunch is that there are more like me than like MDN Editor Guy.

    (HA! MDNMW is “audience”! How appropriate!)

  10. I hate cell phones as it is, why the hell would i want one which plays my music?? I play music way more than I’m ever on the phone. I’m not going to say I won’t buy a product if it does comes out, but it has TO BE pretty freaking GREAT! for me to buy it. I mean phone interfaces right now are disastrous, there are only a couple of companies which interfaces I really like, HELLOMOTO, but their phones are terrible and nokia makes great phones but I’m beginning to hate their interfaces as they add billions and billions of ridiculous features that the average person doesn’t use. I JUST WANT TO MAKE A PHONE CALL!

  11. With regard to the carrieirs not supporting the roumored iphone, i believe that Apple/Motorola only need to get one carrier to take the phone. as i feel that the iPod/iPhone brand would have the potential to make people switch network simply to get the phone. at this point other carriers would realise their mistake and backtrack


  12. another idea to integrate the two, without actually having to merge them would be through bluetooth. If you have a bluetooth iPod and a bluetooth phone then perhaps if you had both on you, you could access the dialing and receiving functions though the iPod interface somehow. Not a perfect solution. Still two devices, and the phone would be basically a dumb terminal but not all that complex to configure. This is just a thought.

    I personally hate cell phones and do not have a need for an iPhone but as coverage in N. america increases i accept that the cell phone will soon be the de facto standard form of voice communication.

  13. Bill Gates is right. And MDN, nice to see you thinking it through today vs. the blind argument yesterday.

    The thing ol’ Bill G is missing is Apple will create the killer appliance as long as Moto truly works with them to do it.

    I hope the iTunes phone that has been leaked is a decoy, or the “real” one is coming in Paris.

    Bill must hate the fact that he has driven the industry to commodity and his OEM partners only know how to do cheap.

    They had it coming.

  14. Cell phone service providers will ruin any chance of a successful iPod combo device. They will nickel and dime to death anyone who buys one and you’ll end up with some super gadgety thing that is too complex and expensive to use.

    Right now I can get internet access on my cell phone (for an additional fee). I can get new ring tones downloaded to it (for an additional fee). I can take pictures with it and email them to friends and family (for an additional fee). I can have new video games added to my cell phone (for an additional fee). See a pattern here?

    An iPod/Cell phone bill will be an absolute nightmare. I’ll avoid it by keeping my iPod nice and separate, thank you. Without the additional fee.

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