[opendtv] In This Corner, The iPod

  • From: Monty Solomon <monty@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 25 Jul 2004 00:24:13 -0400

JULY 26, 2004


In This Corner, The iPod

Sony's claims for its new Walkman have goaded Apple into a fight

In mid-August, Sony Corp. ( SNE ) will roll out its answer to the 
iPod music player. The Japanese giant's NW-HD1 Network Walkman weighs 
in at less than four ounces, making it slightly smaller than Apple 
Computer Inc.'s ( AAPL ) popular iPod. More to the point, Sony claims 
that its 20-gigabyte Walkman can store 13,000 songs, compared with 
the 5,000-song capacity of a similarly equipped iPod.

Faster than you can say download, Apple was all over Sony's boast, 
saying that its rival was misleading consumers. Sure, Sony can cram 
13,000 songs onto its player, said Apple, but only by reducing sound 
quality. Sony fired back, arguing that its superior technology allows 
it to give consumers more music at comparable quality to the iPod.

Welcome to the latest iteration of product one-upmanship. PC makers 
have been playing this game for years, marketing their boxes on the 
basis of gigahertz, or how quickly the microprocessor runs 
applications. Now that the computer industry is moving into consumer 
electronics -- making and selling everything from music players to 
digital cameras -- they are wooing (and confusing) consumers with a 
barrage of arcane statistics touting everything from battery life to 
music quality as measures of superior performance. In the coming 
months, as the music-player wars heat up, expect to hear a lot of 
marketing spin about compression and bit rates. "Everyone is trying 
to show their product is faster, bigger, better," says Omid Rahmat, 
U.S. general manager of independent reviewer Tom's Hardware.



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