Apple\'s 21st-Century Walkman CEO Steve Jobs thinks he has something pretty nifty. And if he\'s right, he might even spook Sony and Matsushita.
Fortune magazine)– widget (n. )1. Gadget 2.
Unnamed articles considered for the purpose of assuming the example.
\"We built the entire widget.
\"This is one of Jobs\'s favorite explanations. he thinks Apple\'s products are very cool.
He meant that Apple\'s own engineers designed most of the hardware and almost all the key software for Macintosh computers, instead of simply waving a screwdriver to assemble a prefabricated kit that was carefully crafted by Intel and Microsoft geeks.
As a result, the computer is more stylish, reliable and easy to use than its Wintel PC peers, although Apple has a market share of 5%, usually set aesthetic and technical standards for what a PC should be.
Apple\'s several Apple computers are even examples of outstanding design and engineering at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
But they are not \"widgets \".
Now, with the launch of the stylish little iPod, $399 in personal numbers-
Music player, Steve finally built a widget.
However, about the size of a pack of cigarettes, the iPod is more than just a portable audio machine.
This is a new gadget with the potential to change how we think about personal audio
Like the entertainment gadget in Sony\'s first pocket.
In 1958, Sony launched a transistor radio and a portable stereo tape player for Sony Walkman 20 years later.
A descendant of eight. month crash-
The IPod\'s development project also vividly shows how Apple\'s engineering and software skills have made it a force that cannot be ignored in the long-run consumer electronics business dominated by Leviathan such as Sony and Panasonic.
\"This is 21-
\"Century Walkman,\" he said proudly, as Jobs poked the iPod with deep affection.
If you take the ball
Peen hammer to sealed stainless steel
At least by the standards of the computer industry, the steel and polycarbonate housing you find in your iPod doesn\'t look so special.
There\'s a five-year-old.
Gb hard drive with enough capacity to store MP3 music files up to 100 hours--
Equivalent to about 100 CDs.
There\'s a lithium.
A polymer battery that can power the iPod for 10 hours between full power.
There are 32 megabytes of memory chips in the box. -
Not just a typical Palm Organizer. -
And other circuit arrays, including microprocessor like used in handheld devices.
Its height of motion
Crystal Display, the size of a match.
The most unusual part is the clever two. inch-diameter thumb-
Scroll through the layers menu on six menus on the panelline display. (
I got the scroll.
Wheel interface after a few minutes.
It is easiest to use one hand. )
In addition to the standard headphone jack, there is only one socket for connecting the iPod to the computer via a special FireWire cable, which not only allows high
Fast transfer of digital files while also charging the iPod battery. \"So what? \" you say.
From the handheld to the laptop, most of these components and functions appear in other digital devices, and in addition, the portable MP3 player that connects the computer has been in existence for several years.
However, the biggest difference is that
Quickly connect and make everything go smoothly with the software.
When you plug the FireWire cable into the Macintosh (a PC-
The compatible version will not come out until next summer at the earliest)
, The Mac immediately recognizes the iPod and starts iTunes Music-
All Apple computers contain management programs.
No problem if you don\'t have the latest version of iTunes.
The IPod is on its small disk and it will directly bring the software zap to your Mac.
ITunes tracks MP3 music files downloaded from the Internet or \"ripped\" from traditional audio CDs.
It also allows users to set up playlists of favorite songs and sort them by artist, album or title.
In a few seconds, the Mac automatically starts transferring all the music and playlists to the iPod.
It only takes 10 minutes to download 1,000 songs.
The next time you connect, iTunes will only transfer new music and playlists quickly, just like \"syncing\" a handheld or a handheld.
As Jobs said, \"insert it. Whirrrrrr. Done.
That\'s what Steve really means when it comes to \"building the whole widget.
\"Most MP3 players were just a propeller before the iPod came out --Head can love.
Their USB connection to download music from PC is much slower.
A cd-worthy mp3 will take three to five minutes to transfer via USB.
IPod takes 5 to 10 seconds.
The previous MP3 player also did not have the intelligence to accommodate multiple playlists you put on your computer, nor did it have a multi-functional user interface to quickly browse hundreds of titles.
But that\'s not a big deal because most players can only store dozens of songs.
Some of the other MP3 players on the market do have as many as the iPod, but are bigger, finding the songs you want to hear is just as annoying as setting up a digital clock on a VCR.
Why should Apple jump out of a frying pan in the almost unprofitable PC industry and enter a raging fire in the highly competitive consumer electronics industry?
After all, just a few days before Apple\'s eye-catching launch of the iPod, Intel announced it would shut down its disappointing consumer electronics division, which, among other things, made portable MP3 players, digital cameras, A video camera for children, as well as a digital microscope that has been hyped up.
First of all, the iPod fits jobs\'s so-
The digital center strategy known as the Macintosh.
Over the past 18 months, Apple has launched several free \"digital lifestyle\" software applications that connect Macintosh computers to various types of consumer electronics, this way the user is created.
There is iMovie for editing home videos made with cameras, and iDVD for burning edited movies to DVD.
Of course, there\'s iTunes, which, in addition to managing and playing back MP3 audio files on a Mac, can burn them to traditional audio discs.
In the coming months, Apple may release another app that manages digital photos.
Jobs wants these \"iApps\" to stimulate consumers to buy more Apple computers, but he recognizes that this strategy could also drive sales of digital devices, and he wants that momentum to work.
Cameras and digital cameras are out of Apple\'s reach, but digital cameras
The music player is very similar to computer peripherals. (
When you think about the iPod, it\'s basically a portable hard drive. )
Better yet, from the hundreds of millions of Walkmen --
Portable music devices have almost universal appeal in use.
In addition, electronics industry analysts believe that the profit per iPod may be higher than Apple\'s iBook laptop, which costs three times as much as the iBook laptop, mainly because
The Ipod was put on shelves in November. 10.
In addition to saying \"as much as possible,\" jobs would not say how much Apple wants to sell.
He acknowledged that Taiwanese contract makers have \"sold hundreds of billions of pounds a quarter\", which will translate into hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue in 2002.
For a company whose sales fell 2001 to $5 in fiscal 33%, these amounts are not chicken feed. 4 billion.
Just a week before the iPod was released, Apple released its fourth fortune.
Quarterly profits fell to $0. 17 billion from $66 million last year (
Most of them come from the investment income of $4 billion in cash reserves).
Now, thanks to the little guy\'s help, the company hopes to achieve substantial profit growth in the quarter of December ---
If it can sell as well as Steve thinks.
The project to develop the iPod is as close to instant gratification as the project in the computer industry.
It was not until last April that Jobs asked Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president of hardware development, to form a SWAT team to produce equipment in time during the Christmas shopping season.
Rubinstein said: \"From the end of last year, senior management has been talking about iPod-like things, but we started with a clean sheet of paper.
Even in the tense state of Apple
The standard of keeping a tight mouth is very intense.
Rubinstein quickly recruited a number of hardware and software engineers, including several engineers from outside the company, who did not tell any of them what they would do before they registered.
Due to the need for their expertise, other Apple engineers went in and out of the project and some were never told the purpose of their efforts.
At any time, about 50 people work on the iPod.
The engineering team is facing a number of tricky issues, the most important of which is to figure out how to reduce power consumption so that users don\'t have to worry about juice exhaustion all the time.
Essentially, the iPod loads songs onto its memory chip, so the power-
During the playback process, the occupied hard disk can be turned off;
The result is a ten.
About two other MP3 players.
When the team worked internally, Jonathan Ive, Apple\'s vice president of industrial design, took on the job of creating the look and feel of the device, including the reels --wheel feature.
\"Like everyone else in the project, I was dizzy, not because it was a challenge ---which it was--
But because I want one . \"
\"Until later, when it came together, the broader meaning of what we were working on became apparent.
\"It is true, although there are no priorities.
Make iPod the ultimate personal digital product
Music players, the team also know that they are designing a computer platform that can be improved through software upgrades and adaptation to other uses.
This is because, like a PC, the iPod has its own operating system, microprocessor and a lot of memory.
In fact, the initial model can be used twice as much as a portable hard disk to save any type of computer file-
Digital photos, documents, or data arrays.
So you don\'t have to be a rocket scientist to imagine how Apple will one day make iPod with other configurations like the larger full-
Color screen or ability to work with other iApps that manage videos and individual calendars.
While Apple has never discussed the ongoing work, the iPod platform may also support a range of Apple\'s consumer electronics, such as home content servers and even enhanced phones, each one will link to the Mac in some way.
At first glance, the idea of equating the iPod with pioneering products such as Sony\'s transistor radio and Walkman seems typical of Jobs\'s exaggeration.
At least, the iPod will be tough to match the popular appeal of the Walkman.
Apple will have to develop a non-iTunes version
Macintosh computers may be \"synced\" with at least one of the makers of record machine software that is already popular on these machines \".
Most Wintel owners also need to add FireWire connections for $100 to $150-
This is the trouble and the cost of hindering the technological revolution.
While the $399 iPod is much higher than the $249 Rio MP3 player (
Music for only two hours)
It still costs ten times as much as a Walkman or many knockoffs.
Even so, Jobs may still have a little when calling the Walkman.
This product, because it uses cassette tape as a medium for recording music, marks the beginning of simulating the marginalisation of LP records and brings a huge change to the record industry.
If music lovers don\'t buy pre-recorded tapes to play on their portable players, they just name their lp as a tape and put the fragile bulky vinyl disk back on the shelf to collect dust.
In other words, to a large extent, lp became a file and was quickly eliminated by the arrival of the 1980-second CD digital format.
At the end of 1990, the emergence of MP3 digital audio compression technology really disrupted the record industry and made musicians stroke the possibility of rampant illegal copying and sharing of digital music through the Internet.
So the famous Napster legal donnybrook record company has persuaded the court to crack down on websites that promote the exchange of digital songs.
But MP3 technology, because it allows so much music to be stored electronically in such a relatively compact space, has triggered other changes in people\'s use of the recorded music they legally own ---
These changes may encourage record labels to change the way they package and distribute music again.
The IPod may accelerate this change.
This is because Apple is a firm defender of its own intellectual property and it is very careful to make it difficult for anyone to share recorded music using an iPod.
While the device can automatically download digital music from your own Mac, Apple has come up with tricky suggestions for transferring music from iPod to different computers;
You can\'t easily collect music from someone else\'s computer with your iPod.
Steve explains how it works: \"If you try to sync your iPod with someone else\'s Mac, it will stop you and give you a choice: you can cancel the request to sync to this \"foreign\" Mac, unplug the iPod, or you can agree to download the music library from the new sync partner, let it blow away all the music you have on your iPod right now.
But the same thing happens when you get back to your own Mac.
\"In addition, Jobs said that the whole point of the iPod is not to help you share music with your friends;
Wherever you go, it will let you carry your entire collection of personal music with you.
So, like the previous Walkman, if the iPod really gets popular, it could change the format in which music lovers \"consume\" most of their music.
Most people will still buy their music, which will keep the record companies and record artists happy.
But after tearing the disc up to mp3 and loading it onto the iPod, they put the disc in the box for months at a time.
It\'s even true for those who just want to listen at home.
The IPod can be plugged into standard audio devices, bringing convenience to the living room for playlists;
Enthusiasts who are not satisfied with MP3 sound quality can set the iPod to allocate more digital bits per second.
Because Apple has made it so difficult to pirate music with an iPod, maybe, just maybe, the record company will be brave enough to start selling MP3
Format music online bigtime.
So, even though it seems strange, if Steve\'s iPod really becomes a 21 st century Walkman, millions of people put it in their pockets and wallets, the record company may eventually become one of the biggest fans of the widget. Feedback?
Technology @ fortunemail.