When are the new iPods coming out and what's better about them?
August 31, 2006 9:15 PM   Subscribe

I am about to buy my 13 year old daughter a new iPod. I don't want to buy a last-generation model if there's a new one around the corner before too long. My question, then, is when are the new iPods coming out and what's better about them?
posted by jeffbarr to Technology (27 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
It is likely there are new models coming out soon, maybe in a few weeks, but no one knows anything about them. It's the Apple way.
posted by smackfu at 9:21 PM on August 31, 2006


The only thing we're likely to see in the near future are increases in capacity in the nano (from 4 gigs to 8 gigs) and shuffle (1->2).

The redesigned video ipod could concievably drop at any moment, but there have been rumors of production problems.

If music's the most important feature you want (she wants), then a nano or current video ipod will do just fine. I imagine a 13-yr old would be happy to have any of them and wouldn't get sour grapes.
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:23 PM on August 31, 2006


No one in the general public really knows what's coming out, but it should be soon. The new ipods usually come out in September, in time for the Christmas buying season. So it should only be a few more weeks until there's something better in stock.

How much better? Who knows? Probably the same thing with more space, maybe bluetooth enabled. Nothing that exciting seems likely this year. I'm waiting for the new nanos with at least 8gb, or for another company to make a cool flash-based competitor.
posted by bluejayk at 9:25 PM on August 31, 2006


I agree that it's most likely that the nanos will double in size at the same price points. So waiting a bit will probably save you $50.

OTOH they could do something completely new. The iPod mini was a very successful product right up until the moment it was discontinued and replaced with the nano.
posted by smackfu at 9:36 PM on August 31, 2006


Apple has an event scheduled for September 12. Steve Jobs is presenting. About the only things which need updates are iPods and MacBook Pros (to Meroms)
posted by nathan_teske at 9:41 PM on August 31, 2006


Know when to buy a mac (also includes iPods) gives guesstimates based on timing since last revision.

If you buy an iPod for her out of the current models, it wouldn't be a bad idea to select one which is compatible with iPod software update 1.1.1. (5th gens, nanos, and shuffles [1.1.4]) It allows one to preset a maximum volume.
posted by jamaro at 9:43 PM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


I would second the recommendation of just getting a Nano. They are pretty good and the only real changes to them are likely to be in terms of size/ color/ cost. It's conceivable that they could add video, but the screen is small enough that it probably wouldn't be worth it. I suggest the Nano over the regular iPod because it uses flash and will handle getting banged around better.

That said, I don't actually totally recommend the Nano. I've had one for just over a month and despite the hard-case I bought with it, I've managed to get lots of scratches on every exposed part. Particularly the scroll wheel.

What I would wholeheartedly suggest is the Samsung YP-T8X. It comes in 512mb and 1Gb. I used mine for almost a year without any significant scratches or damage. Like the Nano, it uses flash memory so if she drops it, it should still work. Unlike the Nano (and the reason I loved it so...) It will play pretty much any file type. MP3, Ogg, etc. Also it sports really nice video (the screen is amazing). It comes with a radio as well as the ability to schedule TiVo like audio recordings. The most useful bit, however was the built in mic which is great for recording meetings and classes.

Also, there is no DRM nonsense. You can put and pull files from it with nothing more than a micro-usb cable.

Really, the only area that the Nano is better is the shuffle feature. The Samsung is pretty dumb here.

The only reason I switched was that the wife needed to record meetings. I keep hoping she will decide that she doesn't need to do this so I can give her the Nano and reclaim my Samsung.

When all is said and done though, if she is a normal 13 year old, she probably cares about the lable. And iPods are 'teh cool' So if you do get her an iPod, make sure you get a case that protects the wheel as well as the screen.
posted by quin at 9:55 PM on August 31, 2006


Wow, great answers, everyone, thanks!

As far as what cowbellemoo said:

I imagine a 13-yr old would be happy to have any of them and wouldn't get sour grapes.

Guess you don't have any teenagers of your own, huh? Today's teens (at least the three in my household and all of their friends) are extremely brand, label, and feature conscious.

The buyer's guide was a big help. We'll wait a little while and see what emerges.
posted by jeffbarr at 10:00 PM on August 31, 2006


What I would wholeheartedly suggest is the Samsung YP-T8X.

She's a 13 year old girl. Unless you want her to hate you I wholeheartedly suggest nothing but an iPod of some form.

She's not going to record meetings and she doesn't give a damn what Ogg means.

Come on people.
posted by justgary at 10:00 PM on August 31, 2006 [3 favorites]


I'd wait until after Sept. 12th, for sure. Every mac rumor site on the internet is predicting new changes to iTunes and iPods.
posted by mathowie at 10:15 PM on August 31, 2006


/derail: sorry

justgary said: She's a 13 year old girl. Unless you want her to hate you I wholeheartedly suggest nothing but an iPod of some form.

She's not going to record meetings and she doesn't give a damn what Ogg means.

Yeah, I tried to cover that aspect...

When all is said and done though, if she is a normal 13 year old, she probably cares about the lable. And pods are 'teh cool' So if you do get her an iPod, make sure you get a case that protects the wheel as well as the screen.


When my sis was 13, she did care about that kind of stuff. Which is why I mentioned it. Portable video is cool. Unbreakable flash is even cooler. A device that is hard to damage and can do all of this stuff is extremely cool. But sometimes, the name/ Label is what is coolest.

/derail over: resume your normal broadcast day...
posted by quin at 10:43 PM on August 31, 2006


Also, there is no DRM nonsense. You can put and pull files from it with nothing more than a micro-usb cable.

The only DRM'd files which iPods play are those purchased through the iTMS or through Audbile.com. It plays straight, no-DRM AACs and MP3s just fine.
posted by nathan_teske at 10:53 PM on August 31, 2006


All the teenagers I know are gaga about the new iriver.

It's sexier than a nano, does video, and has a rad thumb-touch interface (the corners of the screen click down a little).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:59 PM on August 31, 2006


I am not a father yet, but I would worry about the possibility of hearing damage from giving an ipod to my child.
posted by Slenny at 11:51 PM on August 31, 2006


re: scratches on the nano.

try invisibleshield or film-set. both have worked well for me, i prefer the film-set because it is easier to apply correctly.
posted by sophist at 1:22 AM on September 1, 2006


One add'l issue to consider... how much music does she have and how much more do you think she might get in the next 2 years? I love the Nano, but I can only fit a fraction of my music on it. When I drive to work, I use the Nano, loaded with whatever music I'm into this week. But when I go on a road trip, I use my larger ipod that holds most of my music library.

If you expect her to have many thousands of songs, she will want daily access to a computer so she can hook up the nano and load different music. Not a problem if she has her own computer or a family computer she can use freqently.

Just FYI
posted by kdern at 5:42 AM on September 1, 2006


Nobody knows. Here's a timeline (self link) of previous updates, and as you can see they're haven't been any discernible patterns.

They're almost certainly going to be updates before Christmas, and there's some kind of Apple event planned for September 12th, which might involve iPods, or it might not.
posted by cillit bang at 5:56 AM on September 1, 2006


I love the Nano, but I can only fit a fraction of my music on it.

The best way to get around this sort of thing and the planned obsolescence of the mp3 makers is to get one with a flash memory expansion card. This Sansa music/video player comes with a microSD slot. Expansion is the way to go. I have a 128MB Archos Ondio from 2002 that has been expanded with 512, then 1GB, then 2GB, and now 4GB cards. You can re-use old camera cards or whatnot, and having separate cards is a good way to keep music organised into genres. Anyway, Sansa seems to be good at this, it's come from nowehere to number 2 market share in the US for mp3 players literally out of nowhere.

The iRiver U10 is amazingly cute. I think it's a template other mp3 manufacturers will be following over the next few years. It's based on the Archos GMini 220 design from a few years back but removes all front buttons that get in the way of a larger screen.
posted by meehawl at 5:57 AM on September 1, 2006


nathan_teske: The "DRM" quin refers to is not Fairplay, but the annoying way ipods hide/obfuscate music files (in case you were thinking of stealing them, you thief).
posted by O9scar at 6:08 AM on September 1, 2006


My kids have had all sorts of failures with the disk drive mp3 players. (Creative? NEVER again) Heartache and frustration. Solid state is the way to go. Just like their first car, you KNOW that they are going to be in some sort of collision with it.

My elders (18) IPod Nano has lasted longer than any other player he has ever had. Admittedly, he is finding the 4G limit to be a little small, but overall it has been the most reliable. He uses it daily for his car and for working.

My other son (14) is very proud of his IRiver 4 Gig. It takes double A's, and overall has been very reliable. However, he likes it because it runs counter to the present teen thinking.

However, I do like the U10 listed above.....
posted by fox_terrier_guy at 6:18 AM on September 1, 2006


I know it's not an OMGIPOD, but SanDisk already has an 8 gb flash player set up for competition with the nano.

I owned an old iRiver and loved it until the 512 size was too small and one of the buttons started to go after three years of use. I have now upgraded to a Creative Zen Vision: M and I am loving it. It has significant advantages over the video ipod along with a couple of disadvantages.

I would agree with everyone else who has said that you should probably avoid any hard disk based player for your daughter.
posted by utsutsu at 6:55 AM on September 1, 2006


I just read the specs and this new Sansa 8GB also comes with a miniSD slot. Cool - add a 2GB card and you have a 10GB player, which is probably the largest capacity flash player on the market for a while. $250 dollars though, plus $50 for the 2GB card.

It's nice to be able to buy the smaller 2 or 4 GB version for less and add cards later. Because the price of flash RAM has basically halved every six months for the past few years, you can easily estimate that you will be able to upgrade an expandable 2GB player into a 34GB flash player in two years for $50 or so. Sweet, and certainly cheaper than buying a whole new player. Assuming it lasts that long unbroken, of course.

It would be nice if competitive pressures forced other manufacturers such as Apple and Creative to add memory expansion slots to their players. But I don't think this will happen because, obviously, they make much more money by trapping people into small memory sizes and then selling them a whole new unit every few years. But SanDisk's business model profits from selling lots of flash RAM, so that's why it wants people buy as many cards as possible...
posted by meehawl at 7:31 AM on September 1, 2006


Joseph Gurl writes 'All the teenagers I know are gaga about the new iriver.'

Thanks for posting that link, Joseph. I worked with Piers a few years ago and was wondering what he was up to now. "Ideas, trends and inspiration", eh?
posted by blag at 8:06 AM on September 1, 2006


the annoying way ipods hide/obfuscate music files

Which is trivially obviated using any number of programs that can be stored on the iPod itself. Some of them are probably more convenient than digging through a folder hierarchy.
posted by kindall at 8:11 AM on September 1, 2006


Which is trivially obviated using any number of programs

When my wife syncs her iPod using Media Center, the files still get placed in those annoying hidden Apple directories, but they get reasonable, non-obfuscated names. I think it's Artist-Track.mp3 - although they do get truncated to some character limit.
posted by meehawl at 8:31 AM on September 1, 2006


Save yourself some cash and consider an iPod Nano from the Apple Store's refurbished department. The only difference is the packaging. My 2gb iPod Nano came from the refurb shop and works just fine. I got it the Agent 18 NanoShield. The iPod is 100% scratch free, and the case is quite durable and barely larger than the Nano itself.

Sure, you can get an iRiver or whatever, but then your daughter will be taunted by others for having that ghetto Wal-Mart looking thing. (I'm kidding!)
posted by drstein at 11:12 AM on September 1, 2006


Can't imagine this has escaped the blue, but...
Apple Computer is set to launch full-length movie downloads at the iTunes Music Store in mid-September, BusinessWeek is reporting today...Chances are, Apple will announce the service as well as a new piece of hardware that will enhance the movie-viewing experience -- possibly a new iPod with a wider screen.
(via some Wired Blog)


posted by idontlikewords at 12:22 PM on September 1, 2006


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