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Dana Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist for over 25 years and has covered the online world professionally since 1985. He founded the "Interactive Age Daily" for CMP Media, and has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age, and dozens of other publications over the years.
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Moore’s Law defines the history of technology. It held that the number of circuits etched on a given piece of silicon could double every 18 months as far as its author, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, could see. Moore’s Law has spawned constant revolutions since then, not just in computing but in communications, in science, in a host of areas. Moore’s Law applies to radios, and to optical fiber, but there are some areas where it doesn’t apply. In this blog we’ll take a daily look at new implications of Moore’s Law in real time, as it rolls forward to create our future.
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October 13, 2005

What's Wrong with the new iPod?

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Posted by Dana Blankenhorn

ipod video.jpgNothing, per se.

Technically, it's fine. Strategically, it works in the Great Game against Microsoft.

But it's not something I want. It breaks the first law of the original design.

Quite simply it's an attention hog.

The older iPod, with its clickwheel design, required you to look at it only on occasion, when you wished to change the order of your songs, or find a new one.

The new one, with its insistent color screen, demands your full attention while the device is playing.

This is not a problem with Apple. It's in the nature of video. It requires full attention.

The problem is one the iPod shares with all these video phones, and the reason for the problem is, in a word, Hollywood. They want to sell video, video can fit into anything, thus they push to get video into devices like the iPod.

The move also makes sense on the basis of Moore's Law. Small color screens, with good resolution, are cheap enough to make this work at a consumer electronics price point. Storage is cheap enough (even 60 Gigabits Gigabytes of storage), and compression is good enough, so that a low-power chip isn't wasted in playback.

But what Steve Jobs has always understood, better than most, is just because something is good for the seller, and technically possible, doesn't mean you have to have it.

The best move, for either Apple or (when it comes out with its own device) Microsoft, is to open this up to developers, to podcasters and podvideographers, to see what they can come up with.

If everything is left to Hollywood, the new iPod will fail.

Comments (5) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business Strategy | Consumer Electronics | Copyright | Economics | Futurism | Moore's Lore | computer interfaces | marketing


1. Tenofzero on October 13, 2005 12:57 PM writes...

I belive you mean 60 Gigabytes, not giga Bits, 60Gagabits = 7.5Gigabytes (wich is even less then a dvd)

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2. Brad Hutchings on October 13, 2005 01:51 PM writes...

The video iPod is "open". Copy your mpegs to your "Movies" folder, start up iTunes, connect your video iPod. That does the trick for 99% of the people who will buy one of these things (self included). If you feel even more need for developer control. there are numerous sites that document the various files and their formats and various tools that can read and write them on the iPod. The music (m4p and mp3) are standard formats. The video (mpeg4) is also a standard format. I've been able to make it all work as a developer. Perhaps you'll see the result soon...

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3. ipod man on October 13, 2005 04:40 PM writes...

i think this was really badly done. Just when people go out to buy the nano, thinking video ipods would never ever happen get a shock when a month later, the ipod video (vidpod) is released. Apple, you have only yourselves to blame for not selling amidiatly :-(

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4. Séb on October 13, 2005 06:16 PM writes...

I think this is a very exciting time for the technology world. Also the fact that we can still use it as a music player, but incorporate film is great. I really hope this is going to be as good as it sounds.

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5. Dimitar Vesselinov on October 13, 2005 07:55 PM writes...

It's not a mobile phone.

30 million MP3 players (22 million iPods) vs. 2 billion mobile phones

Who will challenge the iPOD?

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