Thursday, July 08, 2004

iPod vs Sony's new Walkman

Remember how I (in Chinese) "trashed" Sony's new Walkmans one or two days ago? Well, here is what Apple has to say about Sony:

"We thought it was time to help set the record straight," Greg Joswiak, vice president of Hardware Product Marketing at Apple, told MacCentral. "We're disappointed that Sony has chosen to mislead folks with a marketing gimmick -- we just want to make sure customer have the information so they can make an apples to apples comparison, if you will."

Sony's 13,000 song measurement is based on its ATRAC3 (Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding for MiniDisc 3) compression system at the relatively low rate of 48Kbps (kilobits per second) while Apple's measurement is based on the AAC compression system at 128Kbps. At the same bit rate, the Walkman can store around half as many songs as the iPod, which is consistent with it having half the storage capacity.

"ATRAC3 at 48Kbps is nowhere near CD quality," said Joswiak. "It's especially interesting that Sony really acknowledges that with the fact that their jukebox software (default setting) and their online store both deliver music at 132Kbps. It's certainly an acknowledgement that it's the minimum bitrate you need with ATRAC3 and yet they chose to play a little marketing game and take their bitrate way down to make people believe their player is a higher capacity than what it is. We just find that to be misleading."