The iPod is dead, Long Live the iPod

Apple surprised many people by totally revamping its iPod line on Tuesday.We take a closer look at the new iPods and the impact they are likely to have on future gadgets

It was not as if the world did not listen to music on the move or that people didnt know of digital media players prior to 2001,but Apple Inc still managed to be a game changer with the introduction of its first iPod;what with its radical controls and minimalistic design.

And through the years,the US multinational continued innovating;tweaking the original and also adding new features.But rarely has Apple ever given its iPod range the kind of flip it did on Tuesday.

In the words of Apple CEO Steve Jobs,it was the biggest change in the iPod lineup ever.

The big change

All the three iPod modelsthe Shuffle,the Nano and the Touchhave been given complete makeovers.
The Shuffle got its buttons back,although it still lacks a screen;the Nano lost some weight and its video camera,but gained a touch interface and a new compact look;while the iPod touch now boasts of two cameras and the retina display made famous by the iPhone 4.

For many,the recent makeovers represent yet another step by Apple towards making its iPods smarter.The new iPod Touch can do almost everything that the iPhone 4 can,except make calls and take hi-res pictures.But,it can make video calls via Wi-Fi.
The pint-sized Nano now has a multi-touch display,an FM radio (although it no longer can play video),and an iOS-type interface.

In my opinion,the most significant takeaway from Tuesdays announcement has been the proliferation of iOS Apples smartphone platformto the iPod Nano, says Rajat Agrawal,editor of Cellpassion,and one of the countrys leading technology bloggers.

The goal posts have been shifted, he declares.

Gagandeep Sapra,an industry observer better known as The Big Geek,is also impressed with the Nano.

Of the three new iPods,the Nano is my favourite, he says.I had never been a great fan of the iPhone because I felt I could do everything that was possible on it on an iPod touch.And the new Nano seems like a smaller iPod
touch, he adds.

Competition… er,what

But with all the changes being made in the iPods range,can the line still be classified as media players
Agrawal,for one,thinks that the new Nanowith apps specifically designed for its tiny displaymight just prove to be the breeding ground for future iPhone users.Also,Jobs surprised many by referring to the iPod Touch as the number one handheld gaming device in the world.And before you know it,the humble media player might just become another contender for the convergence device crown.

Industry watchers after seeing Apples new line-upare confident that the company might just pull it off.

Other manufacturers do not try to push the limits when it comes to portable media players, Agrawal says.They seem content to churn out devices that revolve around playing good music and videos,while the iPod has moved beyond that.We are already hearing of people who plan to wear the new Nano on their wrists like a wristwatch.Now,who is going to match that

Any takers

The above article is authored by Nimish Dubey in the Times of India, on Sunday 5th September 2010. The article is carried here as it carried a few comments by me.