iPod product lineup: too many options? - ehMac.ca
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 11:06 AM   #1
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iPod product lineup: too many options?

Most of us are familiar with one of Steve Jobs' first key decisions on re-taking the reigns at Apple in the late 90s: massively simplifying the Mac product lineup. The idea was that too many options wound up putting people off.

Now, a decade later and six years into the iPod's incredible run, we have no fewer than four iPod lines and a bunch of colour and capacity choices (17 iPods in all, if I'm not mistaken). What's more, there is a remarkably small price spread between some of them.

Consider:

8 GB nano: $219
80 GB classic: 279
8 GB touch: 329

What I'm wondering is: does the wealth of options (not to mention radical differences in form and function) make the purchasing decision easier or harder? My personal answer is "harder" but I'm curious to know what others think. (But too lazy to put together a poll, sorry.)

Maybe it's just me, but I'm torn between miniaturization (don't care about video on the nano, but tiny size = max portability), capacity (love my 60 gig model), and bells and whistles (Touch looks sweet, even with minimal storage, and I love the idea of having a handheld mobile web browser).

Am I supposed to buy all three? Wait a couple of years until there's a full-screen touch/nano with 64 gigs?

(Right now I'm seriously considering the touch, but I'm going to hold off on ordering one because my decision seems to change by the hour.)
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 11:22 AM   #2
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I don't see it that way. There are four iPods that range from basic to complex functionality, priced accordingly. The problem arises when your desires and needs come into play and conflict with your decision. Apple, unfortunately, can't help you with that.

Myself, I'll probably get an iPod touch, however I like the capacity of the iPod Classic. But, because I'm a whore for gadgets with crazy new features I may forgo the capacity and get a iPod touch.
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 11:28 AM   #3
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I have had an iPod for a few years now, so deciding is easier because I know how the device fits into my life.

There are actually 5 iPods if you include the iPhone.

No doubt there will be confusion to some, but Apple is fitting different niches and lifestyles, and also placing roadblocks in front of competitors. I think that for many consumers there will be no confusion at all - they will know exactly what they want. My teenage daughter would not consider anything but the Nano: it's the colours and size. The Touch is not a consideration for her, because of course she wants an iPhone......
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 11:38 AM   #4
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iPod Classic needs bluetooth or wifi, cords just suck.
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 11:42 AM   #5
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I think the touch and the classic overlap somewhat.

Eventually, when flash memory gets cheaper at larger capacity, I imagine the iPod touch will win out over the classic.
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 11:43 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by JumboJones View Post
iPod Classic needs bluetooth or wifi, cords just suck.
You might find that bluetooth or wifi transfers that huge (rather than incremental updates) are painfully slow.

Nonetheless, bluetooth transfer would be cool on such a device. But there are probably restrictions on Apple so it can't make things *that* easy (witness the deadly transfer delivery on the Zune).
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 11:47 AM   #7
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Perhaps bluetooth would be more useful for stereo headphones.. though there really aren't many on the market yet. I would love a set of in-ear bluetooth earphones, with no cables whatsoever.....
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 11:56 AM   #8
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I think the touch and the classic overlap somewhat.

Eventually, when flash memory gets cheaper at larger capacity, I imagine the iPod touch will win out over the classic.
You'd need the nano to also fill the classic's void. At the end of the day, there's a market for people who have large music collections and like to play, pause, skip and change volumes without having to pull it out of their pocket and actually look at it.
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 01:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MannyP Design View Post
I don't see it that way. There are four iPods that range from basic to complex functionality, priced accordingly. The problem arises when your desires and needs come into play and conflict with your decision. Apple, unfortunately, can't help you with that.

Myself, I'll probably get an iPod touch, however I like the capacity of the iPod Classic. But, because I'm a whore for gadgets with crazy new features I may forgo the capacity and get a iPod touch.
Well, yes, my problem does seem to be that I can see myself fitting into almost every niche covered by the iPod line depending on the time, day, and context. The only thing I'm sure about is that I don't especially want an iPhone, as the media player/phone combo is not one that meshes with my lifestyle.

The Touch is probably going to be the way to go for me, since the big screen (esp. for photos) and web browsing are hugely attractive, but I might sit out the first generation. With several weeks to go before they ship, supply problems likely after that, and a good possibility of rapidly increasing capacity, I can afford to wait. Unlike you gadget whores.
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 06:10 PM   #10
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Most of us are familiar with one of Steve Jobs' first key decisions on re-taking the reigns at Apple in the late 90s: massively simplifying the Mac product lineup. The idea was that too many options wound up putting people off.
The biggest part of this was that products were almost identical but targeted at different markets. You had the Performa, Quadra, Centris, LC, Power Mac lines. I've forgotten which was which exactly but I believe that the Performa machines were home, LC were education, Quadra/PowerMacs were business. Some had minor differences (i.e. math co-processor in the business version, not in the home version) but most were very similar. Some were bundled with monitors. Some were sold through a specific channel (I believe Performas were sold through places like Sears).

The problem is that most people were able to see that there wasn't much difference. So if you were a business user buying a machine for the receptionist's desk, why spend the money on a PowerMac when you could get a Performa bundled with a monitor for a lower price but it meant you went to Sears rather than your local Apple dealer who couldn't get certain brands.
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