Does Sony’s new PlayStation Portable (PSP) threaten Apple’s iPod?

“Last week, when Sony announced that it was rolling out a line of flash-based portable digital music players, Apple Computer wasn’t exactly quivering in its market-stomping Cupertino boots. As Dave Marino-Nachison rightfully pointed out, ‘Investors have to wonder about the relevance of most things Sony does these days outside the video game business,'” Rick Aristotle Munarriz writes for The Motley Fool.

“But the iPod may now have some tougher competition on the sales floor, courtesy of Sony’s more relevant new offering — the PlayStation Portable,” Munarriz writes. “Why should the Apple digital-music behemoth worry about a gaming machine? Well, the PSP will be able to play back all forms of media, including music, through Memory Stick Duo storage devices. No, the capacity doesn’t match that of Apple’s iPod, and the PSP certainly doesn’t feel as stylish, but if Sony starts releasing some of its popular-music acts in the system’s UMD format to go along with the rewritable Memory Stick, things would start to get interesting.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Then give us a call, Rick, when “things get interesting.” PSP might be great for gamers, but the proprietary UMD format is typical Sony: introduce yet another format and complicate things unnecessarily. And, don’t forget, the PSP is about the size of a VHS video tape – it’s just physically too large to compete with iPod. These are different devices focused on different primary purposes; PSP plays games (and music secondarily) and iPod plays music (and games secondarily). Sony will probably sell a ton of these and Apple will also sell iPods to the many of the same people.


  1. if i could make discs to watch movies that i have on my computer on that thing – i would have bought one.

    just like if they had made MD discs so that i could have listened to music i had on my computer…

    just like if their memory stick-DUO-pro-uber-2-magic-extra-super fscking format wasn’t usually twice the cost of others…

    Sony – the company that WILL never learn. Apple learned that NIH wasn’t so bad, embraced it, and is now kicking everyone else in the teeth.

    wankers….. wankers.


  2. TOSJ,
    I wouldn’t start celebrating just yet. The iPod phenomenon won’t last forever and Apple needs to start thinking ahead.

    I love Apple, but they gotta start working on gaining more marketshare in the computer world.

    Your a perfect example of why Apple would be run into the ground if it starts taking the competition for granted.

  3. Chomper is spot on the issue.
    Sony is no wuss. They cut their head of for the benefit of the body just last week and they elected a non Asian to run the show. Why? because they know they have to think differently than they were when they realized their empire was rapidly eroding. It was not an easy decision for a Japanese icon company to do. That should tell us how serious Sony is about this game. Both Sony and Creative ( yes they might make ugly products BUT) Technology are staying up late these days thinking about their share of the pie. I hope Apple is too.

  4. “but if Sony starts releasing some of its popular-music acts in the system’s UMD format to go along with the rewritable Memory Stick, things would start to get interesting.”

    I’ll say. I’d be interested to see how many people could be suckered in to purchace (or repurchace) music and movies that can only be viewed on the PSP.

    I’m amazed at how excited some have become over the chance to buy the same content they already own so they can listen or watch on the go.

    I like the PSP. I’ll probaly get one, to play games on.

  5. hmmm let’s see.. magicgate is it??

    Apple’s selling about a million ipods a month. with the shuffle, that’s probably up.. god.. to 1.4M a month

    Sony can NOT do that.. Sorry.. they can’t do that with a video game machine.. Apple does it CONSISTENTLY

    Another problem with convergence.. Sony is taking on about 3 major powers at the same time, Nintendo, MS and Apple..

    Good luck w that..

  6. I’d have to disagree with the comment that the PSp isn’t as stylish as an iPod. I don’t play games, but having seen and held one, and seen how fabulous the display is, I sort of want one. It’s a classy device. It pisses over my son’s gameboy.

    But as a serious rival to the iPod for music ?

    Not a chance.

  7. This question was asked a couple of months ago on another Mac website. There are a lot of people who really believe that the PSP could dethrone the iPod, but it would only be temporary and only in terms of units sold. For one thing the PSP has a real rudimentary file system in handling MP3s and video files. Plus you have to buy the outrageously priced newly designed memory sticks to use in it. Battery life is worse than the iPod and portability is not easy with the size of it. I bought a couple of PSP’s back in December from Hong Kong, they’re nice, but they have a ways to go to be efficient in battery life.

    By the way, if you want one, you better get in line Sony issued a letter in late Feb to all retailers to stop preselling them since the presells have already surpassed the units available to ship. They also added that they probably wouldn’t be able to ship any more till close to the end of the year. Ipod killer? I think not.

  8. Howard Stringer (as an American I do not recognize titles of “nobility”) has said that Apple is a direct competitor This was since his appointment to be the next CEO.

  9. The PSP brings to mind the Sega Game Gear of yesteryear. It wasn’t a bad concept. Hell, it had a color screen when the Game Boy was still monochrome or 4 color. But its battery life left a bit to be desired and wasn’t nearly as indestructable as the Game Boy. Both important factors in keeping children entertained for long periods of time. Kind of a case of a good idea falling victim to flawed planning. Maybe the Sony will be repeating Sega’s mistakes. Only time will tell.

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