Wednesday, January 10, 2007

iLoad: From vaporware to somethingelse-ware

* From the iLoad website

As press released:

Wingspan announces iLoad for iPod

Wingspan today announced it has started shipping iLoad, a portable device that copies your CDs to an iPod without using a computer or requiring an internet connection. iLoad is fast, easy to use, and all music and track information is transferred to the iPod. The entire CD can be copied or individual tracks can be selected to copy. You can listen to the tracks while deciding which to copy. iLoad owners get a free 2-week trial of the iLoad BackUp Service. iLoad is priced at US$299.

A couple notes about the picture above (click for larger view).

1) What the heck is all that on the back of the unit?

2) This thing is massive vs the first prototype (seen below)

3) Why would they still have renderings of the product on their website if they were actually shipping? Why not actual photos?

4) Size wise, this thing is bigger than a Mac Mini ... so why wouldn't you just use a computer? Is a computer so complicated or expensive or time consuming? A computer would also be able to access album artwork, track titles etc without having to subscribe to some service (required by the iLoad for track titling)

5) iLoad/Wingspan are NOT Apple authorized/certified developers - at least there is no mention of such on their website.

6) If it ends up having to be THIS BIG, why not just cut down on cost and include a tray loading drive. Tray loading drives are almost half of slot load drives at quantity levels. Tray loading drives are also prone to less damage and can accept a greater variety of discs.

You may want to read the stories below to find out why Wingspan may not be a sanctioned Apple developer.

The iLoad No Longer Eye Pleasing?

An iLoad Of Drama

Story indicating initial support for this project:

Goodbye LoadPod, Hello iLoad!

Extra notes:

It is my understanding that one cannot access the iPod legally through the dock unless you are an Apple authorized developer/manufacturer/design partner. Although only USB is on the iLoad, it STILL UTILIZES the dock on the iPod for this transfer. The iLoad does NOT come with an iPod cable - an important distinction from ALL iPOD certified accessories. (Example: ALL DLO and Griffin products that do not contain a dock connector COME WITH an iPod Cable)

You must subscribe to a service that contains track information. It would be interesting to know WHERE WINGSPAN'S track info is coming from.

Wingspan has lots of music on their site used in promo videos ... I wonder if this music was licensed and if so why there is no standard (read as required) disclaimer that Warner Music is not affiliated with iLoad.


Anonymous said...

I think it's made with this: That odd plastic tongue covers the parallel port, and above the vga port is where they've screwed in a DC port.

Based on street prices, I'm pretty sure I could build this device for about $200 (without the custom plastic).

FYT said...

Yeah ... I'm pretty sure it's a full blown computer as well. I believe it was their only choice. I still would like to know in which way they circumvent Apple ... I realize that you can just place data onto the iPod hard drive. Does anyone know if this creates a separate unprotected folder on the iPod hard drive or whether it actually places songs into the iTunes Music folder (which is protected and only accessible with iTunes or 3rd party hacks)

Anonymous said...

No subscription is required for track info. Where'd you get that? Tray load drives are cheaper but much more vulnerable to damage. This is an iPod it's slot vs tray. These units were displayed and demo'd by their Media people at Consumer Electronics Show and MacWorld. It lives. Check out the remote backup service they offer too....awsome.

Anonymous said...

"Circumvent Apple?" What should Apple get a "piece of this (NOT-Apple) Pie ?

FYT said...

Is iLoad an "authorized/certified/sanctioned devloper" ... if so why doesn't Wingspan say so on their website?

In fact this is present on instead:

Not affiliated with Apple Computer. iTunes and iPod are Registered Trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc

iLoad products do not carry the "Made for iPod" logo.

If you read my previous story ... you will see that Wingspan tried shopping this product around to several 'iPod Accessory Makers" - their claims circumvented Apple standards.

The unit can only hold so much track information. A CD released today, next week, or next month requires you to hook the unit up to the internet or subscribe to a track downloading service. Which is questionable in and of itself - there is no mention as to what this database is, where it is coming from, or whether it is being licensed.

FYT said...

And as for tray loading drives ... THEY ARE MUCH MUCH less expensive and MUCH MUCH more stable than slot loads, Plus slot loads can't take all types of CDs. So much for CD Singles I guess.