September 10, 2005 2:30 PM PDT

Apple store buzzes with Nano fever

SAN FRANCISCO--Sally Robert, of Tiburon, Calif., doesn't even own a television set. But she's got a couple of iPods and lots of accessories--and she was on a mission Saturday to update her collection with the just-released iPod Nano.

Robert, who found out about the Nano while looking online for an iPod-ready BMW, was just one of numerous shoppers at the Apple Computer store in downtown San Francisco, where the diminutive new addition to the iPod family created a palpable buzz. The iPod Nano, unveiled this week as Apple's replacement for the popular iPod Mini, is much smaller than its predecessor, has a color screen that can display photos and uses flash memory rather than a bulkier hard drive.

Actually, to call Robert a "shopper" is a bit of a misnomer. Unlike others, who took their time around a crowded Nano display table at the front of the store, she asked an employee at the door where to get the wee device he was casually holding in his hand. He replied "at the register," and Robert got right in line. She knows her verve for everything iPod is a bit "ridiculous. But it's a life choice," she said.

In contrast, Brian Chance of Santa Cruz, Calif., who was attending a trade show at a downtown hotel, spent some time making sure he could see the iPod Nano screen clearly enough with his bad eyes. After years of hearing from a friend how great the iPod is, what put Chance in purchase mode, he said, was discovering the world of podcasting while on his computer at his hotel Friday night.

"I get bored with my own music after awhile and I like to hear the spoken word," he said, adding that he also likes the iPod's stopwatch, alarm clock and other functions.

Chance, at one point, was one of 10 customers testing out 10 Nanos at the display table. Meanwhile, the adjacent iPod Mini display table sat lonely, with no one testing out the 10 display Minis and iPod Shuffles. The Nano is replacing the Mini, which Apple is phasing out.

Also in San Francisco on business was Jon Benediktsson, of Iceland, who bought three Nanos--one for each of two his teenage children, and one for one of their friends.

"I saw something in the news (about the Nano) and liked it immediately," he said. The Nanos will replace his kids' Mini, so Benediktisson, who has no iPod of his own, said he thinks he might get a used Mini out of the deal.

Shoppers Jin and Don Jiang of San Francisco had just come from a nearby Cingular store, where they expected to fall in love with Apple's also newly released iTunes phone. The Rokr phone, made with Motorola and carried exclusive by Cingular, holds up to 100 songs.

But the Jiangs were disappointed at the Rokr's design, which Jin said was bulky and Don said "looks just like a regular phone." They fell for the Nano, however, even though it wasn't what they were initially looking for. "If we get it today, it will be an impulse buy."

Minutes later, they bought it.

Nicholas Blum, a San Francisco resident who was at the store to drop off his iPod Photo for repair, was in awe of the Nano's size. The device weighs 1.5 ounces and is 0.27 inches thick, thinner than a standard No. 2 pencil, Apple says.

Like the Jiangs, Blum had been watching for the iPod phone. "I was so unimpressed with the phone and so over-impressed with this," he said of the Nano.

The iPod Nano comes in black or white and in two sizes: the 4GB iPod Nano holds about 1,000 songs and the 2GB iPod Nano holds 500 songs. They cost $249 and $199, respectively. The Mini line, while available, comes in four colors and in capacities of 4GB for $199 and 6GB for $249.

The Rokr phone sells for $249.99 with a two-year service agreement. It has a color display and features built-in stereo speakers, as well as stereo headphones that also serve as a mobile headset with a microphone.

23 comments

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You think the "Nano" is small? - Latest Ipod Beta from Apple
I had a chance to stumble apon this video which is about the newest IPOD coming out before Christmas:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.nytimes.com/video/html/2005/06/29/technology/highbandwidth/windowsmedia/20050629_GUEST_VIDEO.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.nytimes.com/video/html/2005/06/29/technology/highbandwidth/windowsmedia/20050629_GUEST_VIDEO.html</a>

LOL!
Notice the URL at the end of the clip:
www.apple.com/itsnotreal

Cool Idea Though, for a dog!

Seriously, I don't get what the big IPod deal is. So it can play music. (And not my music which is DRM encoded WMA, so you either have to pirate, burn and then rip your DRM collection to remove DRM or buy from Apple.) Maybe I would warm up to the IPod if it could play DRM encryped WMA. (Not likely however) It can play WMA if you convert the files but it can't play purchased WMA, which keeps me way from IPod. Also, a big downside for me is my experience with Apple's software, Quicktime. That thing ate up so many of my system's resources on my PC, I don't want to take a chance with their ITunes software because it may be a big bloat.

I'll stick with a player that can play DRM WMA.

Also, I think that the IPod may be oversaturating the market. People think they are cool because they have an IPod, but sooner or later everyone will have one except for a few. I am a nonconformist, I prefer to do my own thing. I just don't get why people love them. It has to be personal image, though, since the Mini costs less and can hold more songs than the Nano, and yet now if you own a Mini you are suddenly Uncool.

BMR
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.rusnakweb.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.rusnakweb.com</a>
Posted by BMR777 (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Uncool
Who said anyone with a Mini is uncool?

It could be that people want some of the new features of the
Nano. Things like a color screen, photo capability, smaller size,
more durability because there are fewer moving parts, etc.

Also, the only music the iPod can't play is the DRM Windows
Media crap and most of that comes from the other stores. You
can import non DRM Windows Media files, CDs, etc. Most
people can import their entire music collection and never have a
problem.

Finally, there are still a lot of people that haven't even thought
about purchasing an MP3 player yet. The market has plenty of
room for growth (look at how many portable CD players are still
sold and used). There's a good reason Apple is able to sell more
iPods every quarter (they even beat the Christmas season's
sales).
Posted by thawk9455 (4 comments )
Link Flag
Comments on Comments
First of all iTunes is highly regarded as the best music player on any platform. there is no bloat, you get a free cd burner program and it's a breeze to use. Your experience with QuickTime likely has to do with the Nag Screen asking you to upgrade. Apple should remove it, I agree, but as long as you have Apple Level Hardware on a PC, QuickTime runs fine.

As for the iPod, it's more than just a "Device"... it's the ability to play any song, anywhere for anyone... It's the ultimate "non-conformist" tool. NO iPOD is the same! iPod stands for "internet, piece of data", it's fully up to YOU how you transform it into "your world". It's like a pencil or paint brush.

It also does far more than just Music, it has a Calendar, Addressbook, Games, StopWatch (nano), Alarm Clock, Syncs Data with your Mac, Mountable Hard Drive on the Mac, Flashlight, etc.

Most of your problem is you have a PC. That's the ultimate in conforming to low expectations. Get a Mac, then, get an iPod... your world will vastly change.
Posted by OS11 (844 comments )
Link Flag
Irony
//Maybe I would warm up to the IPod if it could play DRM
encryped WMA. (Not likely however)

So you only like proprietary DRM when it's combined with a
proprietary media format.

//I don't want to take a chance with their ITunes software
because it may be a big bloat.

Yet you prefer Windows and Microsoft products. Some would
say they're bloated.

//I am a nonconformist, I prefer to do my own thing.

Yet you use Windows, like almost everyone else.

// I just don't get why people love them.

You don't like iPod/iTunes, yet you've never used/owned them.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
The rush to consume..
This story about a bunch of people rushing to fulfill their "life choice" (quoted verbatim) by buying more iPods should be labeled as an advertisement.

On the subject of MP3 players...

Congratulations to Apple for moving away from miniature hard drives and toward flash memory. Low power consumption and lack of moving parts are big advantages.

On the other hand, what good is a durable storage medium if it's packaged with a battery that expires after 400 charge cycles can't be replaced easily? The iPod nano is another throw-away, bad for the environment and bad for your wallet. Apple charges $66 to replace an iPod battery, and evidence points to replacement of the entire iPod, not the battery ( <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.apple.com/support/ipod/service/battery/" target="_newWindow">http://www.apple.com/support/ipod/service/battery/</a> ). An adventurous person can buy a battery online (about $35, shipped) and, at the risk of doing permanent damage, pry her iPod apart.

One wonders why Apple didn't produce a more power-efficient design (or use a bigger battery) for the iPod nano. Battery life of 14 hours ties the device to a computer or a charger. Travelers, in particular, will have to buy and lug around a plug-in charger. Many flash memory-based MP3 players get better battery life, and some use standard batteries that can be replaced on the road (rechargeable versions of these batteries are of course available).

Finally, with the iPod accounting for an ever larger share of Apple's revenue and income, one wonders about the company's long-term prospects. MP3 players are becoming commodity products. Prices -- and margins -- are falling. Apple's market share started high (although not as high as some people claim, because most of the figures floating around cover the US market and neglect the rest of the world) and can only drop as competitors refine their own MP3 offerings. Big, diversified competitors like Sony have other lines to fall back on when MP3 players go the way of digital watches and pocket calculators -- expensive, high-tech wonders when introduced, but cheap and common today.

Paul Marcelin-Sampson
Santa Cruz, California, USA
Posted by rpms (96 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Momentum and Entrenchment
Although I agree it would be nice if the iPod battery was
cheaper/easier to replace, your FUD pitch regarding Apple is a
little absurd.

Apple is more successful in this market because they are the
only company to offer all three pieces: the music store, the
music software, and the music player. These three pieces work
together better than any other solution. More importantly, they
create a music distribution "platform" that, once entrenched, will
be difficult to derail.

This is similar to the dominance of the Windows platform.
Despite its cost, complexity, lack of features, and malware
problems, Windows still remains dominant. Hopefully, Apple
won't abuse that dominance like Microsoft has often done.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
Long Term Prospects
"with the iPod accounting for an ever larger share of Apple's revenue and income, one wonders about the company's long-term prospects."

A lot of you are forgetting that before the iPod, Apple had the Mac. Apple STILL has the Mac. Apple Mac sales and revenue IS increasing, and is expected to go up even more once they switch over to Intel. And I'm not even going to touch on the whole host of Video and Audio production software Apple sells.

So just because the company has major success with a product whose sustainability is questionable, doesn't mean it's core products autumnally disappear. Or that it's the end of the road in innovation for the company.
Posted by nmcphers (261 comments )
Link Flag
on ipod batteries
it's an urban myth that it's hard to replace ipod batteries. after 4 years my ipod battery finally gave up and it was $20 to replace it! not $66 or $35. the nano battery in 4 year will be less than $5. PLUS I saved the landfill PILES of expensive "throw away" batteries in the process. People that complain about iPod batteries don't understand the situation. ALSO, a battery charger as this person mentioned? what? you simply use any Mac or PC with a USB port to charge a ipod. No "battery charger required". Lastly, the iPod only accounts for 1/3rd of Apple revenues. The Intel Macs that wll come out in a year will make the iPod a very, very small part of Apple's business. Plus, who said the iPod is the only device Apple will ever have? They could produce a vPod, and the whole game begins again. Remember, Apple owns the Movie Trailer Download market, it's not a strech to think it could bring portalbe movies into the world, like it has with music.

Bottomline, the iPod is a very eco friendly way to have a powered, portable device. It gets the best battery life of most any MP3 player, doesn't waste batteries and is easy to replace when the time comes.
Posted by OS11 (844 comments )
Link Flag
Tell that to Dell
So, being the clear market leader in a product line that is
becoming commoditized is a losing business? Tell that to Dell.

When margins are thin, the losers are the ones that try to
compete on price even though they have small market share. It
turns out that the only two major computer companies that have
been making money steadily over the last five years are Dell and
Apple. Dell has the best supply chain, while Apple distinguishes
itself with a different OS and thus does not face the same
pressures on margins that Windows clone manufacturers do.

In the digital music player market, Apple commands pricing
power over components that its rivals cannot match. Unlike Dell
in the computer market, however, Apple is still on the cutting
edge of design, as the iPod nano shows. This is a combination
that other companies cannot easily match. They have to move
into smaller niches of the market or face losing their shorts.
Creative found this out last quarter when it tried to go for
market share by cutting prices and got stuck with unsold
inventory and millions in losses.
Posted by Thrudheim (306 comments )
Link Flag
I caught the fever
After 4 years of holding out--and I consider myself a big Apple fan--I went out an got an iPod nano. My first iPod.
I didn't sit around and gripe that the iPod was too expensive, or that I have no interest to carry around my entire CD collection with me, or that I wanted a color screen, or that I wanted something I could run with. I sat and waited till the right product for me came around.
So if the iPod doesn't do it for you, don't get it. *******' about it isn't going to get you anywhere.
Posted by nmcphers (261 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What did you think of your new nano?
So, what do you think of the nano, now that you've bought it? You said you waited for the right product... did you wait long enough? Does it meet expectations?

Curious.
Posted by pencoyd (82 comments )
Link Flag
These shoppers need to get a life!
There are other things more worthwhile, than hanging out waiting for a music player.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Please
Maybe for you, or perhaps your stating this out of spite and jealousy?
Some people get excited about new gadgets. So what? What's it to you? Keep your mouth shut unless you have something intelligent to say.
Posted by (461 comments )
Link Flag
c|net Posters need to get a life
There are other things more worthwhile, than hanging out at
news discussion boards. ...uhhm wait... oops, bye.
Posted by jwmoreland (48 comments )
Link Flag
Nano
I saw the Nano yesterday for the first time and I feel that it's too 'frail' - even the Shuffle has a feeling of more 'substance' than the Nano - the Mini's are still cool and should be considered in the now 'collector' category. The Nano is just another shrunken iPod where the Mini had it's own but 'familial' character
Posted by Toasted1 (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nano
I saw the Nano yesterday for the first time and I feel that it's too 'frail' - even the Shuffle has a feeling of more 'substance' than the Nano - the Mini's are still cool and should be considered in the now 'collector' category. The Nano is just another shrunken iPod where the Mini had it's own but 'familial' character. Just because you can do 'small' doesn't mean it's better.
Posted by Toasted1 (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes, the Nano is cool. Creative did it right!
Les'see, FM, FM recording, built in mike, line input, never needs to be tethered to a charger, no software to load, MP3, WMA. Yes, I think it's a keeper. Good enough for Apple to copy the name.
Posted by eee4me (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Almost forgot...
I almost forgot... The display is as hard as glass.
Posted by eee4me (12 comments )
Link Flag
 

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