Zune and iPod news: Apple is certainly looking nimble and responsive


the family of iPodsFirst as I grabbed a little late lunch between meetings, an catching up after the holiday weekend, I read on CNET that Zune gets price cut and that a day later Apple's Steve Jobs brought out a slew of new iPods and lowered the price of the iPhone.

Busy day.

Reviewing the news tonite, I thought about the points that Jobs made in his keynote today as covered here on engadget by Ryan Block...

  • 600 million copies of iTunes distributed
  • More than 3 billion songs bought on iTunes
  • 6 million songs on iTunes in 21 countries, making iTunes the number 3 music retailer in the US, behind Wal-Mart and Best Buy
  • Nearly 100 million TV shows sold
  • Over 110 million iPods sold to date

And the whole iPod in the line will be refreshed or replaced this holiday season.

First off, let me say that I'm a fan of the Zune (we have a couple at home). But I'm fickle: I also like Rhapsody on my 1GB Sandisk Sansa music player as I previously noted here. 

Back to Apple: that new iPod nano is just too cute.

I was exhausted, just in reviewing the Steve Jobs keynote slides: there's so much going on. And this evening as I put the kids to bed and my Zune in its dock, I thought, this area of portable digital entertainment is one that Apple really has established, developed, refined and continues to pound, over and over and over.  

Momentum.  Apple has momentum.

And it appears that the new iPod products are well positioned for this holiday, IMHO, and messaged at the right time: students are heading back to school, they're thinking of new technology and already thinking of holiday gift lists. 

As for Zune? Well, lots of speculation on next-gen Zune models and gearing for the holiday season.  Just have to wait and see.  There are now five nifty colours and the new Halo 3 edition model

I do like the business model in subscription music (as mentioned here) and the option to download as many songs as I like via Zune Marketplace.

Apple generally responds well to customer feedback and demands, given the breadth of new designs that appeal to a wide range of consumers and price bands.  The latest additions and enhancements to the iPod line continue that tradition.  And I've found that Apple provides elegant and easy-to-understand consumer customer support (slick site) and reliable products, save a few issues with the iPod batteries and to be seen with the iPhone battery as noted here:

What is the iPhone Battery Replacement Program?
If your iPhone requires service only because the battery’s ability to hold an electrical charge has diminished, Apple will repair your iPhone for a service fee of $79, plus $6.95 shipping. Be sure to follow these instructions for optimizing lifespan and battery life before submitting your iPhone for battery replacement.

Two months in and they already have a battery life problem?  Ouch.

I do feel for the people who purchased the iPhone this summer at a premium, given the price drops noted today. (The 8GB model is now $299, and 16GB comes in at $399.) Perhaps Apple will spiff those early, top-dollar customers the $86 to cover a new battery with diminishing electrical charge issues.

Speaking of batteries:


Comments (4)

  1. Rosyna says:

    Uhm, no one is actually having battery problems with the iPhone yet. They can’t be. Especially since it lasts 300 to 400 charge cycles before losing capacity (300 charge cycles is about 4-6 years on average usage).

    They put that site there because a lot of people were complaining needlessly they couldn’t replace the battery, and this was all before the iPhone was released.

  2. M3 Sweatt says:

    Thanks for the comment, Rosyna. I thought it odd that this would be the case, that problems were already identified. I have heard stories on other phones where people have had batteries die within weeks of the initial purchase.

    Also, a personal note: 300 to 400 charge cycles could occur over one year, rather than the 4-6 years you noted, particularly if customers are max’ing out the talk and media playback on a phone. And I guess that initial iPhone users will be in the "max it out" category, particularly if they are using it as their primarly music player.

    I have had an experience where a new battery was required after a year or so given that I use my phone to the limit each day with BlueTooth turned on.

  3. Rosyna says:

    In order to hit 300 charge cycles in a year, you’d have to completely discharge (to zero percent) the battery every day (including weekends) for a year. That’s rather hard to do. My 4-6 years is calculated based on the fact most people will only use up to 20% each weekday and not use it much on the weekends. So 20%*5=100%==one charge cycle a week.

    But even when you reach that, the capacity of the battery only goes down to 80%. It still works, but 80% as long as it used to.

    Historically, Apple has grossly underestimated their stated battery lifes. For example, I have an iPod rated for 10 hours audio playback. I never get less than 12 hours before the battery dies and usually over 14.

    But yes, if you are using a component of the system that drains the battery (like a really poor bluetooth implementation that keeps getting polled every 5 seconds), then yes, the battery will drain quickly. But this requires a buggy and poorly designed implementation.

  4. M3 Sweatt says:

    "But this requires a buggy and poorly designed implementation."

    Ouch. 😉

    I’ve personally had several phones over the last couple of years, including models from Nokia, Motorola, Panasonic, Ericsson and HTC, for a variety of networks. For just about each one, I’ve had to replace/purchase multiple (replaceable 😉 batteries due to wear. After they go below holding 50% of their original charge, it’s just too bothersome to carry multiple batteries.

    I’d love to hear what type of battery life people are getting from their iPhones. I heard last week from one friend who has the $599 (now $399) model that by the time they get home in the evening after a full day of phone, music, web surfing and general use, they get a low battery indicator. Apple has an informative page on battery life for their products here: http://www.apple.com/batteries/iphone.html

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