TheMacMind'Milano Cookie'无屏幕谣言

“iPod Flash” mania jumped several notches on Monday, when the teen Mac site TheMacMind发布了图片和说明of what they claimed is Apple’s upcoming flash-memory-based iPod: a small oval 2.5" long, 1.5" wide, with a circular gamepad-style controller and, radically,没有屏幕

TheMacMind模拟了所谓的iPod Flash。

但它只是描述that TheMacMind claims was leaked — the image itself is a photo-realistic graphic created by TheMacMind contributor Robert Padbury, based on the descriptionAny and all reports that TheMacMind had published a leaked photo of a flash-based iPod aren’t just false, but are misrepresentative of what TheMacMind claimed from the start.

How plausible is this? I say not veryFirst, regarding the most striking aspect of the design, the lack of any screen:

Got a cellphone with one of those flat joysticks? This is apparently how you’ll get around on the screenless iPodLeft and right move between songs, up and down change the volume, and pressing straight down will play/pause your music同任何other company, I’d be incredibly doubtful that their techs would be able to pull off anything useableScroll through 250 songs in one big list? We’re betting Apple has something better up their sleeve, and we’ll hopefully be able to tell you about the interface in the next few days.

作为一个可行的设计,我根本看不到任何屏幕Without a graphical interface, the only thing left would be an audio interface — some sort of text-to-speech output to read menu items, playlist titles, and so forth through the earphonesThis seems like a recipe for a frustrating experience, trying to locate a specific song that isn’t a few spots away from the one you’re currently listening to.

Part of the reason the original iPod was so successful at the outset is that its display was larger than most other competing playersI just don’t see how you could get an even vaguely decent experience without any display at allIf I’m wrong, it’d certainly be a bold decision on Apple’s part, and a hell of a scoop for TheMacMind.


Evenything [SIC通过一个全尺寸的FireWire端口进出。

Why in the world would Apple use a FireWire-only port for an iPod that’s supposedly intended for the lower end of the market? All current iPods use a proprietary Dock-connector port, which can be connected to either a FireWire要么计算机上的USB 2端口Going FireWire-only would exclude a large number of PCs that have USB 2 but lack FireWireThis makes no sense at all.


Left and right change songs; up and down change volume; pressing directly in works as play and pause

我发现这也非常值得怀疑Even if there is no screen, why not use the trademark clickwheel? Clicking buttons for volume control seems downright un-iPod-like; rotating a wheel is the natural way to change volume on an iPodGiven TheMacMind’s description, it seems like it’d be easy to inadvertently press left or right — changing the song — while trying to press the whole controller down to pause.

Plus, with this supposed control configuration, there’s no option whatsoever for a menu — the only actions are volume up/down, next/previous song, and play/pauseI mean, you could make a player like this, that simply cycles through songs one at a time linearly, with no support for selecting playlists or any sort of hierarchical navigation — but why would Apple make one?

在报告的早些时候,TheMacMind报告称,“有了任何other company, I’d be incredibly doubtful that their techs would be able to pull off anything useable”But so if TheMacMind is holding out hope that Apple has devised some sort of ingenious no-screen interface, how do they expect this interface to be invoked?


AppleInsider said “less than $200”, but we we’re told that the Flash iPod will be priced at$ 99Freaking sweet, we’re hoping that that’s right on the money! There have been reports of storage capacities from 256 MB - 1 GB, which would correlate with that priceThis release will make an iPod available to people in any price range.

Here we go again with rumors setting expectations for radically lower-priced iPods, echoing last year’s iPod Mini conjectureThen, if Apple unveils, say, a new 1 GB even-smaller-than-the-Mini flash-based iPod, at, say, $199 — then these wankers will immediately cry out that it was “supposed to” cost only $99.

If Apple really decides to sell an iPod with as little as 256 MB of storage, $99 is in fact a reasonable priceBut that’s only a third of the capacity of a CD-R; and16次less than the storage of the iPod MiniMy guess is that Apple is never going to sell an iPod with less than 4 GB of storage, but if they do go lower than that, 1 GB strikes me as the absolute minimumAnd a 1 GB flash-memory player is going to cost more than $99.

Moving-Parts-Phobic Slashdot读卡器

星期二,Slashdot与TheMacMind的报告有关, promptly knocking themacmind.com offline for the next dayIn the midst of the usual high-level commenting discourse,有人联系to my “Flash Gordon” column from last week to counter the “of course this rumor is true” spin, which in turn led to some delightful email to yours truly, much of it regarding my statement that:

Storage mechanisms are implementation details, not features. I’d wager that the vast majority of iPod owners have no idea whether there’s a hard drive in their iPod[...]

No one goes shopping for a music player and decides against an iPod because they want a “flash-memory player”.

所以,Slashdot花生画廊的一些注释Where I said “no one”, I meant “effectively no one”, or perhaps “so few people that they cumulatively round down to zero”.

Every piece of mail I received from a Slashdot reader who claimed to do exactly what I said no one did — that is, decide not to buy an iPod because they contain hard disks — used the phrase “no moving parts” as part of their justification for believing that flash memory is inherently superior to hard drives for portable devices that get jostled and occasionally dropped.

从理论上讲,他们有一个观点The moving parts of a hard disk — and the incredibly fine-grained precision with which they operate — makes them more susceptible to failure than solid-state technologyBut in reality, it doesn’t make much of a differenceOver the course of the last three years, hard-drive-based iPods have proven to be relatively rugged and highly reliable可能是固态技术更多reliable than hard drives, but hard drives — or at least the ones used by Apple — are more than reliable足够And, most importantly — they store a lot more data than flash memory, dollar-for-dollar.

最后,这是无关紧要的If everyone who understands the basic difference between a hard disk and solid-state memory stopped buying iPods, it’d barely register as a blip on the sales chart.

(Slashdot读者也对我的问题提出异议迂腐parenthetical describing my decision to capitalize the second words in “iPod Mini” and “iPod Photo”, contrary to Apple’s marketing guidelinesThe idea being that if I’m going to insist on capitalizing those中号P’s, to be consistent I’d also have to capitalize the initial一世在“iPod”中(And I suppose, although none of them mentioned it, those in iBook, iMac, iSight, iLife, etc.) For what it’s worth, the reason I don’t consider this inconsistent is that the一世’s Apple prefixes to consumer product names are the loose equivalent of the “Mc” or “O’” in a person’s surnameThey are exceptions requiring special capitalization treatment, whereas there is nothing at all exceptional about the words微型要么照片。)


Also on Tuesday, Japanese designer Isamu Sanada posted his own mock-ups of a flash-memory iPodSanada is a leading artist in the cottage industry of amateur Jonathan Ives; what fan fiction is to TV shows, these guys are to industrial designSanada’s design is a wheel with a screen in the middle:

Isamu Sanada的iPod概念。

That this is only a product of Sanada’s imagination (as opposed to the MacMind mock-up, which is purportedly based on a designed leaked from Apple) didn’t stop Wired News “Cult of Mac” columnist Leander Kahney from concluding that, imaginary or not, it’s clever enough to render moot my arguments against flash-iPod hysteria:

In three simple images, Sanada blows away all of Gruber’s objectionsSanada can see that tiny, solid-state memory allows the iPod to be reduced to just its essential elements. Namely, a scroll wheel, screen and earbuds而已。

Sanada的iPod Flash本身没有机身The memory and battery are part of the wheel, or hidden behind itThe iPod’s screen is inside the wheel, replacing the Select buttonThe wheel even doubles as wrap-around storage for the earbud wires, which in turn act as a lanyardSo small and light is Sanada’s iPod Flash, it hangs by its earbuds.

No offense to Sanada’s work or Kahney’s enthusiasm, but I feel obligated to point out various aspects of Sanada’s design that just don’t work.

首先,最明显的是规模Judging from the size of the accompanying earbuds, Sanada’s mock-up screen measures less than 1 inch diagonally, but for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s exactly 1 inch. Regular iPods have 2-inch diagonal screens, iPod Minis 1.67-inchUsing a little bit of math courtesy of毕达哥拉斯, we can determine that a 1-inch diagonal screen with a traditional 4:3 aspect ratio measures 0.6 by 0.8 inchesI was going to describe this as “postage-stamp-sized”, but in fact it’s明显更小比标准尺寸的邮票:



But if you make the screen bigger, growing Sanada’s entire proposed form factor accordingly, you end up with a device that’s更宽的than existing iPods, and even worse, you get a scrolling clickwheel with an uncomfortably large inner circumference(An iPod Mini display is 1.67 inches diagonally; draw circle with that diameter on a sheet of paper, then run your thumb around it as though it’s in the center of a clickwheel哎哟。)

If you’re still not convinced, consider that running your thumb around the clickwheel would obscure the display; an input device certainly shouldn’t block the screenThis screen-in-the-middle idea is cute, but it’s completely unpractical.


对于那里的任何模拟专家来说,这是一个自由的想法The one thing TheMacMind’s and Sanada’s proposed designs have in common is the idea that the iPod form factor could be reduced to the size of the wheel controlThe flaw with these designs is that both sacrifice the display — TheMacMind proposal gets rid of it entirely, Sanada’s makes it too small and/or too hard to scroll around.

So, why not an iPod roughly the size of a clickwheel, but with the display in a slide-out drawer? (Or, alternatively, in a hinged clamshell.) Keep the clickwheel accessible even in the collapsed state, and you can access essential controls with the display tucked away: play/pause, volume, next/previous song但是当你需要屏幕的时候,那就是它And, duh, this is how cellphones got smaller without getting rid of displays.

参看Jason Fried在Signal-vs.-Noise方面的类似预测更多。


Lastly, we come to Thursday’s report by Yoshifumi Takemoto and Desmond Hutton for Forbes.com, “Apple将在明年使用东芝芯片“:

Toshiba Corp, Japan’s second largest chipmaker, has agreed to start selling a type of semiconductor known as flash memory to Apple Computer Inc, maker of the best-selling iPod digital music player.

Toshiba, based in Tokyo, will start selling the memory chips to Cupertino, California-based Apple “early next year,” Yasuo Morimoto, senior executive vice-president at Toshiba said. His comments come amid speculation Apple will unveil a flash-based iPod in January.

Note that the report claims Apple is buying flash memory from Toshiba, and that Apple makes the iPod, but does not explicitly state that Apple will be using Toshiba’s flash memory in an iPodBut explicit or not, assuming this is true, an iPod would certainly seem the most likely Apple product where flash memory would appear.

Unlike every other rumor to date, this one is based on a named source, Toshiba’s Yasuo MorimotoThe last time this happened was in June, when a东芝高管宣布他们已经签约苹果as a customer for their then-upcoming 60 GB 1.8-inch hard drives, which, we know now, are used in the 60 GB iPod Photo.

It’s baffling that a Toshiba executive would do this again; you don’t need sources in Cupertino to figure out thatApple executives were none too pleased最后一次。

Regardless, my point hasn’t been that Apple would never use flash memoryMy point is that I don’t think they’d make a crummy iPod just to hit a significantly lower price pointDon’t let the rumormongers say “I told you so” if Apple unveils a new iPod that happens to use flash memory, but otherwise resembles none of the currently-rumored details.

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