WSJ.com - Apple Challenges Sony's Claims Over New Digital Music Player "Yesterday, Apple struck back and said Sony isn't fairly comparing the products' capacity. Apple said Sony based its calculations for the capacity of its Network Walkman on compressing files at low encoding "bit rates," a technique that creates more-compact digital files but reduces the fidelity of recordings. Apple typically estimates the capacity of the iPod based on a bit rate of 128 kilobits per second. By contrast, Apple noted, Sony's 13,000-song estimate for the Network Walkman was based on a rate of 48 kilobits. Apple posited that Sony's device actually would hold only 4,800 songs with the sound quality found on the 20-gigabyte iPod.
"We're disappointed that Sony, which is new to this market, has decided to make their first impression by attempting to mislead the press and customers," Apple said.
Sony reacted angrily to Apple's statement. Todd Schrader, Sony Electronics' vice president of portable audio products, said the "Walkman has always been about choice." He said consumers can play songs on the Walkman in a variety of bit rates and that it is up to customers to decide the rate."
Meanwhile, high-volume device manufacturers worldwide are preparing to launch their Portable Media Center devices for the back-to-school season that will make both sides of this debate seem quaint.