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Apple drops Portal from iPod plans

updated 02:50 am EDT, Thu April 20, 2006

PortalPlayer iPod setback

Apple is not expected to use chips from longtime supplier Portal Player for the upper end of its future iPod product line. PortalPlayer, whose chip sales are virtually driven by Apple, said that it has been dealt a major setback, as Apple has begun notifying its suppliers of orders for future iPod products. Apple is apparently switching media processor chip vendors in its iPod lines, according to the EE Times. "PortalPlayer generates over 90 percent of its sales from Apple's iPod; it makes the media processor for the MP3. But PortalPlayer said that it has recently been advised that the follow-on to its PP5021 media processor chip has not been selected by Apple for use in its new mid-range and high-end flash-based iPods.... The chip company believes that the PP5021 will continue to be used in other members of the iPod family." The next-generation chip, the PP5024, was due in the second half of 2006 and was rumored to be the company's entry into the MP3-based flash arena.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. badtz

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    GAP FIX

    maybe now they can fix the gap in between tracks :)

  1. GodsiPod

    Joined:

    0

    Amen!

    The track gap thing is just insane! VERY annoying on so many recordings, but especially live ones.

  1. MalEbenSo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    gap fix has other cause

    If the gap is due to the chip set, then why does iTunes running on a Mac show the same problem?

    Maybe the chip set is an extra problem. But since iTunes does not play-back without gaps, the issue is maybe not high enough on Apple's agenda.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    intel anyone...

    Looks like yet another change due to Apple's partnering with intel. Makes sense for them to move to an intel chip - but the real question is what will the next generation 'upper end' of the iPod line be, and what additional features is a newer, better chip (I assume) needed for?

  1. ibugv4

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    gotta ask zink?

    D'oh! It'll be the HandyCamPod.

  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Doh!

    Too late to sell my Portal Player stock?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: gap

    If the gap is due to the chip set, then why does iTunes running on a Mac show the same problem?

    iTunes, I believe, has some setting that controls this, such that you can basically say "no gap" if you want. iPods don't have this. Its forced upon you. And for some people, they find it really really really annoying, and, just so they aren't the only ones annoyed, they like recanting over and over again how really really really really annoying it is, espeically on live albums (like, is there proof the band and crowd didn't stop for a second to catch their breath???)

  1. st56k

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: gap

    iTunes does not have a good "no gap" implementation. It allows you to rip an entire CD as a single track which eliminates gaps but does not allow you to seek to specific tracks. Alternately, iTunes can be configured for an "n" second crossfade but this is also not an acceptable solution for albums that already have segues between songs. There are very few players that handle this correctly. One combination that works is using the LAME MP3 encoder (which stores tags indicating the amount of silence added to the start and end of the MP3 file during encoding) combined with the Foobar2000 player (Windows only) that reads these tags and correctly plays the files back without gaps. In theory, Apple could write similar tags to MP3 (and AAC) files encodes with iTunes and solve the gap problem within iTunes.

    For the iPod, the Portal Player DSP may not be powerful enough to handle the no-gap issue in this way. For a brief period of time it is necessary to decode two MP3 files simultaneously to eliminate the gap and this might go beyond the capabilities of the existing chips. (It may not be raw DSP speed but, for example, insufficient high speed SRAM on the chip to handle two audio streams.)

    I find this issue with the iPod particularly annoying considering I own a first generation hard drive based MP3 player (developed in 1999!) that got the no-gap correct. I also find it annoying that the iPod will sometimes hiccup during playback of aggressive VBR MP3 files.

    Maybe these issues will get resolved when the iPod moves to a faster DSP.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Whatever it is..

    I hope whatever the replacement chipset is that it is lower cost with added benefits.

  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    After some time...

    After having some time to think about this, I think Portal Player's share holders are getting screwed for no reason...

    I think this doesn't so much points to their product not being used by Apple, as much as a possible shift in Apple's focus for the iPod line..

    Apple won't be using the Portal Player chips in Flash based iPods...

    So, what if the Shuffle is going bye-bye, and the nano is going to be the new low-end, and price reduced by using a cheeper chip-set (Intel?) That would leave the current iPod as a mid range (using Portal Player) and a possible new high-end iPod.. Portal Player only looses if that new high-end player doesn't utilize their chips...

    Not saying this is 100% what's happening, but it makes more sense than the FUD/doom+gloom that's driven PPs shares down almost 50% today...

    just my $0.02

    jwd

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