Question of the day: What's your estimate

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 11, 2004

Question of the day: What's your estimate on the amount of mobile storage available on the iPods of NYC's citizenry?. "Are we talking many, many terabytes? Or are we talking even petabytes of music storage?"

Reader comments

MattOct 11, 2004 at 2:13PM

After thinking about it, it seems like it'd be easy enough to calculate.

Let's assume 1 in 10 have an ipod, and let's just average the sizes to 15Gb each. Then you'd need an estimate of the amount of sidewalk space 10 people take up, then get an estimate of the total square area of all sidewalk space in manhattan. Figure out how much total area would be covered by people and assume that 10% of that is ipod owners. Divide by how much space a single person takes up, and multiply by 15Gb to get a total number. Sound right?

You could actually do this scientifically, by taking a spatial survey, and take actual counts of how many ipods show up in say, 500 sq feet of NYC sidewalk at a certain time (and also count how many people total to get a true ratio). If you had an accurate number for total sidewalk area in square meters, you'd have a pretty realistic number of total music diskspace load in NYC.

Can anyone track down estimates of walkable area of NYC? With that number, it's just basic algerbra (with a healthy dose of caveats on the estimated figures we'd use for other unknowns in the equation).

Carl CaputoOct 11, 2004 at 8:39PM

Mmm, estimation. Seems to me it'd be easier to use the original "hundreds of thousands," knock off a zero for 1 in 10, say it's 50,000 people, then say their iPods average 15GB each, and presto, you're dealing with 750,000GB, or 750 terabytes. Quick check on the estimate: How many iPods sold so far? http://www.macworld.com/news/2004/07/14/numbers/index.php and http://www.macdailynews.com/comments.php?id=P3053_0_1_0 show several million units, say 4.3 million? How many of those in the NYC metro area? Ten percent? If so, our estimate jumps about tenfold into the petabyte range.

In any case, the metric assload of Journey stands mightily right, and nobody needs that much Journey. NOBODY.

robOct 11, 2004 at 8:41PM

my cassette player can hold at least 150KB of games for my Commodore, at one time!

jakeOct 11, 2004 at 10:38PM

i think carl caputo is on the right track. let's say 400,000 units in the greater tri-state area (10% of the 4 million odd shipped- not so unreasonable given the adoption patterns for technology). i think 10gb is a more conservative estimate of the storage size (b/c of the first generation players). so:

400,000x10gb = 4 million gigs of storage.

i predict that on june 27, 2005, the nyc ipodnet will gain sentience and takeover our city. or at least refuse to play anymore maroon 5.

Andrew SternOct 12, 2004 at 2:51AM

10% of iPods in metro NYC???

Holy sh*t, I knew New Yorkers were full of themselves, but c'mon!!!!

10%? No. No. No no no no no.

Obviously NYC'ers have never been to San Francisco (esp.), Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, London, Paris, or
the multitude of other metro areas. Sorry, but there are more iPods in the world than you think. (Don't forget
the rest of the world)

If Jake wants to talk about adoption patterns, looking at SF and the greater Bay Area is probably a smarter
plan since Apple is based there. You know, Silicon Valley and all. Yeah.

GeorgeOct 12, 2004 at 4:49AM

Judging by this recent article the amount of space should be going up quite quickly.

Michael S.Oct 12, 2004 at 5:27AM

Might be interesting to know how many CDs are sold in NY too, to figure out how wild (or not) Ballmer's "most music on iPods is stolen" comment is. A 20Gb iPod will store 400 CDs, but most people don't own 400 CDs. (About a billion CDs are sold in the US a year, which is what, less than 4 per person?) iPod owners are much more likely to buy CDs than others, and iPods store more than just music, but still, it doesn't look as if the numbers will add up... I'd guess that all the iPods/portable players sold so far can probably store about a billion CDs. (5 million players * average 10Gb.)

gwintOct 14, 2004 at 2:51PM

Looks like the total number of iPods out there is up to 5.7 million.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.