Neil Young to Debut 'PonoPlayer' High-Definition iPod Competitor This Week

Musician and songwriter Neil Young, who also has experience directing, has been working on a competitor to Apple's iPod for several years now, which is now close to seeing a release date.

The PonoPlayer is a $399 digital music player that is designed to offer high quality sound, beating out Apple's iPod. The sound is described as "master-quality digital music at the highest audio fidelity possible," which allows listeners to feel the true emotion and detail of the music, "the way the artist recorded it."

ponoplayers
Young initially unveiled plans for the higher-quality digital music in 2012, after he revealed in an interview with AllThingsD that he had discussed high definition music formats with former Apple CEO Steve Jobs ahead of his death. Young has been in favor of higher definition music formats for several years, but such formats require larger files, which may have held Apple back from jumping on board.

When asked if Young had approached Apple about the idea, Young said that he had, in fact, met with Jobs and was "working on it," but that "not much" ended up happening to the pursuit.

Of note, Young made mention that Jobs was a vinyl fan, despite having helmed the company that would spearhead the way people listened to and purchased digital music.

Apple offers iTunes music in an AAC format at a quality of 256 kbps and while the company does support a lossless audio format, the files take up more space than AAC files and are not sold on the iTunes Store.

Young's PonoPlayer works in conjunction with the yet-to-be-released PonoMusic service, which pledges to "significantly improve the way you get to hear and feel your favorite music." The PonoPlayer itself will ship with 128GB of memory, storing from 100 to 500 high resolution albums.

As for Apple's line of iPods, several of the devices, including the nano, the shuffle, and the classic, have gone more than three years without an update. Apple did introduce a minor color change for some of the devices, but it appears the company may be planning to phase out several models. The exception may be the iPod Touch, which was updated with a new design in 2012.

During a recent conference call, Tim Cook called the iPod a declining category for the company, which has been overtaken by more popular offerings such as the iPhone and the iPad. "All of us have known for some time that the iPod is a declining business," he said.

The $399 PonoPlayer will be introduced to the public via a Kickstarter project that is set to go live later this week.

Top Rated Comments

Sky Blue Avatar
107 months ago
10 years too late
Score: 85 Votes (Like | Disagree)
carjakester Avatar
107 months ago
great now too bad i have this thing called an iPhone and doesn't look like a toblerone bar
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jonblatho Avatar
107 months ago
Is that a Pono in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

In all seriousness…whoever advised this business decision deserves a pink slip. Far, far, far too late to make a splash.
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jakebot Avatar
107 months ago
Are you sure this news story didn't get lost in a queue from 8 years ago and then accidentally get posted to the site today?
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Z400Racer37 Avatar
107 months ago
MP3 Players are dying... Even Apple says so... Epic. Fail.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johncarync Avatar
107 months ago
Fail

Too expensive, too big, too late.

Oh...and kids today don't care that much about quality. They're happy watching a crappy video with crappy sound quality on YouTube. And they're happy with using the cheap earbuds that come with whatever device they buy.

And I'll be the first to ask...Does it come in Zune brown?
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Purple Lineup Feature

Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?

Saturday May 21, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected...
apple ar headset concept 1

Apple's Headset Said to Feature 14 Cameras Enabling Lifelike Avatars, Jony Ive Has Remained Involved With Design

Friday May 20, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this week, The Information's Wayne Ma outlined struggles that Apple has faced during the development of its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Now, in a follow-up report, he has shared several additional details about the wearable device. Apple headset render created by Ian Zelbo based on The Information reporting For starters, one of the headset's marquee features is said to be lifelike...
sony headphones 1

Sony's New WH-1000XM5 Headphones vs. Apple's AirPods Max

Friday May 20, 2022 12:18 pm PDT by
Sony this week came out with an updated version of its popular over-ear noise canceling headphones, so we picked up a pair to compare them to the AirPods Max to see which headphones are better and whether it's worth buying the $400 WH-1000XM5 from Sony over Apple's $549 AirPods Max. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. First of all, the AirPods Max win out when it comes ...
apple music

Apple Increases Apple Music Subscription Price for Students in Several Countries

Sunday May 22, 2022 1:57 am PDT by
Apple has silently increased the price of its Apple Music subscription for college students in several countries, with the company emailing students informing them their subscription would be slightly increasing in price moving forward. The price change is not widespread and, based on MacRumors' findings, will impact Apple Music student subscribers in but not limited to Australia, the...
iPhone 13 Face ID

'High-End' iPhone 14 Front-Facing Camera to Cost Apple Three Times More

Monday May 23, 2022 7:05 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 will feature a more expensive "high-end" front-facing camera with autofocus, partly made in South Korea for the first time, ET News reports. Apple reportedly ousted a Chinese candidate to choose LG Innotek, a South Korean company, to supply the iPhone 14's front-facing camera alongside Japan's Sharp. The company is said to have originally planned to switch to LG for the iPhone...