“Is $249 a mass-market price tag for a portable music player? That’s the debate raging in consumer electronics circles after Apple Computer debuted its latest version of the iPod, which hit stores Feb. 20… some observers are concerned that Apple’s asking price for the Mini — which weighs 3.6 ounces and holds 1,000 songs — freezes out many casual music fans who otherwise would be interested in buying the device. ‘I’m disappointed with the price point,’ says a major-label technology executive who had hoped that pre-announcement rumors of a $100 retail price would prove to be true,” Brian Garrity reports for Billboard.
“Certainly, the price point is not stopping curious consumers from lining up to buy the latest iPod. Early demand for the Mini appears to be high, according to the company. Apple reports that it has already received more than 100,000 pre-orders for the product. ‘The response to the Mini iPod has been off the charts,’ Apple senior VP of worldwide product marketing Philip Schiller said in a statement,” Garrity reports.
“Apple is not just comparing the Mini with the standard iPod in its marketing efforts. It is also positioning it as a better alternative to high-end, flash media-based products offered by companies like Digital Networks North America, maker of the Rio line of portable music players. Flash media is a removable storage media used in digital cameras and some MP3 players. Apple iPods, by contrast, are essentially portable computer hard drives. Flash players typically carry only a couple of hours of music, but they also are less expensive, costing $200 or less. Apple’s argument is that for consumers considering pricier flash-based devices, the Mini, which is of rival size and holds much more music, is only about $50 more,” Garrity reports.
Garrity reports, “‘They’ve priced themselves out of the market,’ Richard Bullwinkle, a senior product manager at Rio Audio, told Billboard in an interview earlier this year.”
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