Understanding the iPod family: new
iPod minis and photos
February 24, 2005
By Jeremy Horwitz
In response to news articles that have appeared since
Apple announced the "new" iPod mini and iPod
photo hardware yesterday, iPodlounge has produced a summary
of new iPod facts that may be of use to our readers and
Broadly, How Did the iPod Family Change Yesterday?
New iPods: Apple introduced the largest capacity iPod
mini ever made - 6-Gigabytes (1,500 songs) instead of
4-Gigabytes (1,000 songs) - and unveiled the smallest
capacity iPod photo ever made - 30-Gigabytes (7,500 songs),
down from 40-Gigabytes (10,000 songs).
Lower Prices: The company also made bold pricing moves
with both its mid-range iPod mini and high-end iPod photo
lines, slashing the price of the 4-GB iPod mini to $199
from $249, and even more aggressively cutting the prices
of its premium, color-screened iPod photos, which used
to sell for $499-599. The new models sell for $349-449,
a $150 price difference. Apple's drop of the 4GB iPod
mini's price to $199 expands its availabilty to an even
larger audience, and consequently, there are now iPods
at every $50 price point from $99 to $349, increasing
steadily in capacity and features.
Discontinued iPods: Apple simultaneously discontinued
two 40-Gigabyte iPods, a black-and-white model ($399)
and a color iPod photo ($499), as well as an unpopular
gold-colored iPod mini, leaving only four color options
for that device.
What Do the Changes Really Mean? The black-and-white full-sized
iPod is fading away, as are options in the upper middle
range. More powerful iPod photo hardware is now priced
to entice a much larger audience, and for the first time
in years, the most expensive iPod now sells for under
$499. That iPod, the 60GB iPod photo ($449), has twice
the storage capacity of the 30GB model that sells for
But black-and-white iPods are still selling well, most
likely because of their lower prices. Consequently, Apple
did not discontinue its black-and-white screened 20GB
iPod, or its 4GB iPod mini, the company's most popular
iPod-badged products in 2004. The price of the 20GB iPod
($299) remained the same, and still represents a sizeable
capacity jump from the 6GB iPod mini priced at $249.
What About Smaller, Fine Print Changes?
The Positives and Neutrals: As a clear benefit, Apple
increased the iPod mini's estimated battery life from
8 to 18 hours. Neutrally, it modestly strengthened the
blue, green, and pink shades used in iPod mini casings,
and changed the color of the iPod mini's Click Wheel print
to match its respective casing. At this link, Apple describes
the new iPod mini as a "second-generation" iPod
mini, and discusses the few cosmetic and other differences
we have noted and photographed.
The Consequences: Unfortunately, the company stopped including
FireWire cables and FireWire wall chargers with both the
iPod mini and the iPod photo; the iPod mini now is charged
primarily with an included USB 2.0 cable through a computer's
powered USB 2.0 port, and you can buy a wall charger ($29)
separately. The iPod photo includes both a USB wall charger
and cable, but no longer includes TV photo playback cables,
a Dock, a carrying case, or a FireWire cable.
Was Anything Else Introduced?
Accessories: Responding to consumer demands, Apple also
announced the late March release of a digital Camera Connector
($29), which allows iPod photo users to transfer digital
photos directly to the color-screened iPod from a camera,
and then view the pictures on the screen without using
a computer. The Camera Connector is believed to be a substantial
improvement on Belkin's Digital Camera Link accessory,
released last year, which can slowly transfer photographs
to any iPod but not display them on the iPod photo's screen.
Additionally, Apple introduced a plastic and fabric Pod
mini lanyard ($19) that attaches to the mini's bottom
and suspends it upside down as a necklace, and five new
colors of its iPod mini armband ($29).
Software: Apple introduced a broad-ranging software updater
for older iPods that added Shuffle Songs and Music options
to their main menus, bringing them into near-parity with
modern black-and-white screened fourth-generation iPods.
An increased number of iPods can also create and store
multiple on-the-go playlists, as well. The updater also
gives iPod shuffles the ability to use Apple's optional
add-on Battery Pack accessory, which as of press time
has not appeared in stores.