There’s been a storm of news about the new iPod lineup, and of course the iPhone price drop (and refund). Some interesting things have been said. I think Gizmodo has put it best. “iPod Overload Offers Up Hard Choices, No Clear Winning Device“. Between expense, poor provider (AT&T), lack of 3G, and being new, people are hesitant to move to the iPhone. Price and a mere 16GB is keeping people away from the iPod touch. The Classic and Nano feel pretty outdated for what they cost. The shuffle could put you to sleep.
Gizmodo’s title is pretty accurate, because it illustrates the problem with this lineup. There’s no easy choice, just a lot of concessions for most people. I’m guessing a few things will change in the first half of ’08
- iPhone will become 3G – This will most likely happen at some point in the first half of the year. With more storage as well. Little else in the realm of features.
- iPhone price will drop more – Yes that’s right. The mobile business drops prices constantly. If they don’t drop on a routine basis it will be cannibalized overnight. Remember the Motorola RAZR started around $500, but is now normally around $299 and after rebates hits $50. To help with this, they may move to a more traditional rebate based purchasing system like most other cell phone manufacturers.
- iPod touch 8GB discontinued, 20GB or 30GB likely – The demise of the 8GB iPod touch could happen by the end of 2007 by quietly stop production and just make it “out of stock”. I’m guessing there will be a lack of consumer interest in that model. Again I see a rush to get these to market. 30GB seems to be the magic number that most want to see them reach. The question is can they do it price wise and soon. My guess is they want to keep the price below that of the iPhone, meaning they need to cram the extra storage in at a negligible price. It’s possible but highly unlikely a storage boost could happen just before the holidays (read: November and max 24GB) but somewhat unlikely. I’m guessing either: January or Springtime product line refresh. Not to much in terms of features, but Bluetooth is possible for wireless accessories and make it more consistent as a platform with the iPhone.
- Line consolidation – There’s quite a few products out there. Don’t be too shocked if the shuffle and nano merge into one device to simplify choice. This might wait until the 2nd half of 08 though.
I’ll expand on one thing: iPod touch Bluetooth. I think it’s highly likely that it will be added in (if it’s not there already and waiting for a software update to be activated). There are a few Bluetooth profiles that would be of interest to Apple to implement on the iPod touch:
- Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) – It’s missing in Mac OS X 10.4, but is included in upcoming 10.5. Think wireless headphones. That’s right. What would be important here is for Apple to cram a decent power scheme into a small package, but Bluetooth headsets do a decent job at a lower cost than Apple would ever offer so it’s possible. Another major use is to use other devices for audio out without a physical link such as a stereo.
- Video Distribution Profile (VDP) – Stream video to a device. Why would you want to do that? Well there are several possibilities. For example to hookup to a TV and watch a video without actually using cabling each time. Another use is so Apple can mark a small “trailer” portion of the video you purchase on iTunes and make it available for sharing. So you can effectively “share” (*cough* advertise *cough*) videos for them.
- Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) – You can hook it up to a TV/Stereo, but can you remotely control your iPod/iPhone? With AVRCP you can.
- Human Interface Device Profile (HID) – Think wireless keyboard, remotes, etc. Accessory manufacturers will dig it.
- Object Push Profile (OPP) – Think of this as a tie in to social networking. Share calendar events, address cards, etc.
- Basic Imaging Profile (BIP) – This would basically give the device the ability to share and sync photos. The most likely way you’d see it implemented is if Apple could line up a few camera manufacturers to support it, so you could download photos from your camera directly to your iPod. Then sync up with your computer when you get back.
The iPhone’s Bluetooth support thus far is lacking at best. However there is one more obscure Bluetooth profile that nobody really talks about that would rock to support:
Cordless Telephony Profile (CTP)
CTP defines how a cordless phone can be implemented over a Bluetooth wireless link. This profile can be used for either a dedicated cordless phone or a mobile phone that acts as a cordless phone when in proximity to a base station implementing the CTP. It is anticipated that mobile phones could use a Bluetooth CTP gateway connected to a landline when within the home, and the mobile phone network when out of range. CTP is central to the Bluetooth technology ‘3-in-1 phone’ use case.
That’s right. Apple could come up with an phone adapter you put by your desk that would let you use your iPhone over your landline when your close to your desk, but when your away you’d use your wireless plan. Would be perfect for office use, or for people whose homes don’t have the greatest wireless reception.
Of course if they just had VoIP with someone like Skype, that wouldn’t be necessary since you could just use WiFi.
I’m still hoping they open up the device to developers. Especially since developers will get in regardless of their efforts to prevent it, might as well help make better software and a better experience for users.