Over the past year or two, the iPod
from Apple has become a mainstay in American culture, particularly in the hands and pockets of high school and college students, with over 30 million total sales of the hand-held music player. Everyone has surely had an experience where they have seen a friend on campus, started talking to them, and then realized they couldn’t even hear you with their little iPod earphones in place.
Apple has decided to take the iPod phenomenon one step further with their release of the newest version of the iPod. While the new iPod will still include many of the features that have been passed through generations of the player, the latest model is the first iPod to be video compatible.
Steve Jobs unveiled the video-playing iPod on October 12, 2005 in Cupertino, California to an enthused crowd.
Jobs stated that the new iPod is “the best music player [Apple] has ever made.”
Apple Computer Inc. expects the new iPod to increase their sales and profits even more. In the final quarter of this past fiscal year, Apple reported a net profit of $430 million compared to a $106 million net profit in the final quarter of the previous fiscal year. The net profit increase is due to a 220% increase in iPod sales to 6.45 million sales last fiscal year.
The original 4.2-inch by 2.4-inch player has slimmed down a bit to a width of less than a half of an inch. The video portion of the new iPod will project out of a 2.5-inch screen on the front of the player.
Although a 2.5 inch screen may sound small, the viewer will have the same perspective as if he was sitting across the room from a medium-sized television. Early reviews state that the iPod’s video screen has a picture quality that is surprisingly vivid and ultra-sharp.
What kind of videos can actually be seen on the new iPods? Apple has inked a deal with Disney, making all episodes of “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost,” and “Night Stalker” of ABC, and “The Suite Life” and “That’s So Raven” of Disney Channel available for download through Apple’s website. Pixar has also made several of its short animated films available for downloads. However, music videos appear to be the frontrunner in video downloads, as more than 2,000 music videos are already available for download. Apple is eventually hoping to make full-length movies available for download, but none have been released as of yet.
Despite the vast array of differences in video lengths, all video downloads from Apple’s website are $1.99, whether it is a three-minute music video or a forty-three-minute episode of “Desperate Housewives.” Why forty-three minutes? The television episodes available for download are free of commercials and those annoying little channel markers at the bottom corners of the screen.
Despite the expected cost jump for these new video features, the price of the new iPod will remain similar to its predecessors. The cheaper version of the new iPod will retail for $299, a similar price to the 20-gigabyte iPod which only holds music. It will hold 30-gigabytes of music and video (approximately 75 hours of video). The 60-gigabyte version will retail for $399 and will hold twice as much video.
Although it appears Apple will have a few million sales of their new iPod with video capabilities, the new player has a few notable downsides.
While the 30-gigabyte version holds 75 hours of video and the 60-gigabyte version holds 150 hours of video, the 30-gigabyte version only has a battery life of two hours for video play, while the 60-gigabyte version manages three hours of battery life, which could prove to be a nuisance for people on the go.
Owners of the new iPod may be hoping to transfer DVDs onto the player the way they were able to transfer music from CDs they owned. The new iPod, however, is incapable of receiving video ripped from DVDs.
Other brands of similar video players allow users to transfer video directly from DVDs, TiVo, and even certain cable boxes. However, these players often lack the picture quality of the new iPod or retail at a much higher price.
The new iPod is also missing a connector, which makes certain accessories from older iPods non-functional. Apple is already marketing new accessories for the video iPod. Similar accessories by other brands are currently being produced as well in time for the holidays.
Although the new iPod appears to have its fair share of problems and possible difficulties for the user, it will likely be just as, if not more, popular than the older generations of iPod. Once Christmas has passed, look for students walking around with their iPods once again, but this time they will be watching them.