New iPods

Apple today released two new iPods: the iPod Photo and the iPod Special Edition: U2. Both have been rumored for a while.

This interests me because I’ve recently decided to get an iPod. I’ve wanted one for quite a while, but hadn’t really been able to justify the expense. I considered asking Sherri to get me one for Christmas last year, but requested the Firewire HD and DVD Burner instead. With the growing size of my music collection and my new interest in Podcasting (I’m tired of burining CDs every day for my commute), I’ve made up my mind to get the iPod. I’ve been trying to decide if I should put it on my Christmas list, or wait until my birthday (in February) since Apple usually anounces new iPod models at Macworld in January. Looks like it’s safe to shoot for Christmas… now, which one?

The field before today had three choices: the 20gig model ($299), the 40gig model ($399), and the Mini ($249). The mini is out- I want storage. Of the standard models, the 40gig makes a much better choice for me. Besides double the capacity for only $100 more, the 20gig model doesn’t come with a dock or remote. I want the dock, and it’s $39 separately. Might as well get the 40gig.

Now we come to the new choices. First, the $349 U2 iPod. It’s a 20gig iPod for $50 more than a standard 20gig iPod. For your $50, you get a black iPod with a red scrollwheel, signatures from the band laser-etched on the back, and a $50 credit towards a 400+ song “digital boxed set” of all of U2’s music from the iTunes Music Store. I find it interesting that there’s no indication of the price of this “digital boxed set”, which won’t be available until the end of November. I’m not a huge U2 fan, so the boxed set is irrelevant to me. The black iPod would be sharp without the red scroll wheel, but with it, it’s quite atrocious (at least in photos… I’ll report again once I see it at the Apple store). This one’s out of the running.

This brings us to the product everyone will be talking about, the iPod Photo. Available in 40gig and 60 gig flavors, it looks like a standard iPod but with a color screen. It can store photos which you can view on the 2″ screen, and it comes with an A/V cable you can use to show your pictures on a TV. The battery life appears to be a bit longer than the b&w iPod according to the spec sheet. The 40gig model is $499 and the 60gig model is $599.

The new device is intriguing. We have taken all of our pictures with a digital camera for a couple of years now. Having a Series 2 TiVo on my home network lets me view photos on my TV, and it turns out to be great. These days, we just dock the camera, push the dock’s sync button, and head to the family room to see our pictures on the big screen. The only downside to the TiVo setup is portability; an iPodPhoto would make an excellent way to show photos to everyone when we visit family. Aside from pictures, the extra capacity of the 60gig model sounds nice.

Being already prepared to spend $399 for a 40gig (standard) iPod, is it worth $100 more for the photo feature? If so, is it worth another $100 for the extra storage? If the photo option isn’t worth $100, is the storage worth $200? I’m sure for some, the answers will be yes. For me, I don’t think the benefit of the photo feature is worth the cost. I would use it some, but not enough. And $200 is too much for the extra 20gigs storage. If they offered a 60gig standard iPod for $499, I might consider it. Then again, Macworld is only a couple of months away….

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2 Responses to “New iPods”

  1. Danny V Says:

    when does Apple announce in January?<br/>

    my birthday is January 15th, and I had the same descision to make regarding the iPod. Thanks for the blog, very well explained. Will Apple announce something, and what day on january?

  2. Jason Says:

    Happy (early) Birthday<br/>

    Danny,

    Macworld Expo is held in January in San Francisco and in July in Boston (at least in 2005, I think the summer location may move each year?). Traditionally, Steve Jobs gives the keynote at the January Macworld, and in his keynote he usually announces new Apple products. Last year he announced Garageband, as well as the iPod Mini and a bunch of other stuff.

    The Macworld Expo website says the following about next January’s keynote (scheduled for Jan 11, 2005, 9:00am – 10:30am PST):

    Come join us for the Macworld Conference & Expo Keynote, which has a long-standing tradition of delivering a high-powered message that sets the pace for the future of the Mac OS platform.

    To get a feel for the event, have a look at the 2004 Keynote. I watched it live via webcast, it was very cool.

    Will they announce new products? I’d bet on it. Will they anounce new models of the iPod? I’m not sure, given the new iPod Photo and U2 iPod they just launched. Some people expect a flash-memory based iPod. I just don’t know.

    Also, when they do anounce a new product at these shows, they often have the new merchandise in the Apple Store the same day. Not every product, every time, but for things like iPods, I think they try to do so. Nice.