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The Back Page - Error-Ridden Article On MP3 Player Market Is Just Wrong

by - October 22nd, 2004

Electronic News has published an error ridden article that attempts to look at the burgeoning music player market. A hodgepodge of facts, fallacies, strange interpretations, and other mistakes, the piece is not an attack on Apple, by any means, but just a pad piece of journalism.

Since it's out there, I felt a bit of correction was in order. Some excerpts from the article, which was penned by Suzanne Deffree:

Meanwhile, Apple's influence has not dissipated; in fact, Sony recently changed its ATRAC3 format to more closely resemble the iPod's MP3 drag-and-drop download format.

We don't what the heck that means. iPod does indeed play MP3 files, but the closest thing to an "iPod's MP3 drag-and-drop download format" is AAC, which is still not what Ms. Deffree describes. Perhaps she was referring to iTunes's drag-n-drop interface? If so, she is misusing the wrong terms in the wrong place to describe the wrong thing. That's just weird.

Another:

IPod [sic] also relied heavily on Napster for downloads, which at that time was under legal fire by the music industry.

Eh? Napster was toast when Apple introduced the iPod. It was ordered shut down by a judge on July 27th, more than a year before the first iPod was introduced. It took me 10 seconds of searching to get that date, but that's because I was also AIMing, eating a late lunch, and having a sip of my late morning coffee.

Seriously, that's one of the most ignorant things said about Apple that I have ever come across. It's whacky in its wrongness.

And the last one (I will list):

As always, Apple products are only available through Apple stores, authorized resellers or online. HP's joint iPod through its partnership with Apple has the same specs as the fourth generation iPod, but is available through retail outlets like Fry's and Best Buy.

Except that Fry's and Best Buy both sell iPods. Don't get me wrong, world-wide, HP will end up getting its player in FAR more outlets than Apple has access to because of its enormous distribution reach, but the way Ms. Deffree presented her information is just wrong.

There are other weird things in the full article if you wish to see for yourself.

Again, I am not suggesting for a second that this was a hatchet job intended to do Apple wrong. The errors don't make Apple look bad, they are just not accurate.

My personal guess is that Ms. Deffree simply didn't have all the background info she needed to tackle an assignment like this, and either relied on the wrong person, or didn't know enough to know she didn't know enough.


began using Apple computers in 1983 in a high school BASIC programming class. He started using Macs in 1990 when the Kinko's guy taught him how to use Aldus PageMaker, finally buying a Power Computing Power 100 in 1995. Today, Bryan is the Editor of The Mac Observer, and has contributed to the print versions of MacAddict and MacFormat (UK).

You can send your comments directly to him, or you can also post your comments below.

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