Asian MP3 player makers can’t beat Apple on price, to try competing on design

“Asian MP3 player makers are targeting higher-margin devices with sleek designs to wow fashion-savvy users as they struggle to survive the increasing dominance of industry leader Apple’s popular iPod,” Rafael Nam and Jennifer Tan report for Reuters. “The cut-throat pricing battle in the portable music segment has been decisively won by Apple Computer Inc., which has sold 22 million of its iconic players since their launch in 2001 and has about a 70 percent share of the global market.”

“Intensifying competition in the global digital music player market, especially after Apple cut prices, has forced Creative, known for its Nomad and Zen players, into a wider-than-expected loss for the April-June quarter,” Nam and Tan report. “Other rivals such as Reigncom, maker of nifty iRiver players that have won good reviews, and fellow South Korean firm MPIO Ltd., also suffered plummeting sales and squeezed margins.”

“But these firms are betting their future on higher-priced, well-designed devices packed with new features such as video and photo capabilities that will attract fashion-conscious users,” Nam and Tan report. “‘This is a fashion business — why would everybody want to wear the same shirt?’ MPIO President J.K. Woo told Reuters. ‘If one person has an iPod, another might want something else.’ Woo said he expected the iPod to lose some of its lustre eventually. ‘The Apple phenomenon is a short-term trend.'”

Full article here.
So, the iPod also-rans that are still in business have realized that they can’t compete on price, so they’re going to compete with Apple on design? Hang on, that didn’t work, we need to try that again: they’re going to compete with Apple on design?

Oh well, let’s try it as a statement: They’re going to compete with Apple on design.

Aw, forget it, it doesn’t matter how we write it, it just doesn’t make any sense.

Who finances these jokers?

Related articles:
Apple’s design commitment makes wildly imaginative products few companies rival – September 06, 2005


  1. Compete on design….


    werent these the same monkeys trying to libel Apple as being only offering a slick design and nothing else? “We have more features: look, our MP3 can even roast coffee”

    And now they are going to compete ON DESIGN?


    Apparently they have still million $ to throw away.

    MDN “nuclear” – an is “It’s not nuclear physics, idiots!”

  2. Video – photo capabilities? Didn’t Apple already demonstrate that photo-abilities didn’t do anything for them? Now these other companies want to show Apple how to do it. Well, this should provide plenty more humor, anyways, while we wait for Apple to figure out the perfect video solution.

    MW: shot, as in they’ll give it another shot.

  3. Please compete with Apple on design. The world needs more focus on well-designed products instead of loads of crap. Apple needs competitors to stay healthy.

    Don’t laugh. This is a good thing! There will be a hundred failures, but one may succeed. Apple will be forced to innovate again. The iPod has evolved slower than all us cheerleaders have hoped. So don’t laugh.

  4. Then you’d better be able to compete with the mass iPod accessory & case market which has EVERY style and price.

    Can’t do that? Then forget it. maybe better try to compete on having better software than itunes instead. Oh right, they have no software at all.

    Besides, iPods come in multiple styles and colors to choose from already. White, black, silver, pink, blue, and green–plus orange with your shuffle sport pack. 3 shapes.

    and new ones soon?

  5. ‘The Apple phenomenon is a short-term trend.’

    The iPod has been kicking butt and taking names for almost four years now. That is some short-term trend. I bet these guys wear the same underwear all-week long.

  6. It’s generally accepted that a good design principle is ‘less is more’.

    Apple pare down a design to it’s absolute essence, strip out everything that isn’t needed and then hone and refine everything that’s left so that it’s as good as they can possibly make it.

    So how are these rivals going to out-design Apple ?

    Rather than offering an elegant product as Apple does, my hunch is that they will equate extra features with ‘better’ design.

    It’s failed before and it will fail again. Any fool can add extra features. It takes a genius with vision to eliminate unnecessary features and still end up with a winner.

    …… and they’ll presumably make it work with a better designed music store than iTMS and a better designed iTunes, but most importantly of all, something better designed than WMA.

  7. Yep I remember Rover (a UK car company) saying it will compete with BMW on design. Whats more it was later actually owned by BMW. What happened? The people just didn’t buy into it no matter how good the BMW designed Rover with supposed BMW quality was. Result BMW boss gets sacked (sorry resigned) BMW sells company for £1 to escape its liabilities and a few years later it goes bust and the assets are bought by the Chinese who have no serious intention, if they build anything called Rover at all to try to match BMW quality. Now there is a certain South Korean boss who I can’t wait to suffer a similar fate. You can’t just buy image.

  8. I’ve heard a rumor that Creative have kidnapped Jonathan Ive and are forcing him to design their new products.

    BWAHHHHHHHHH! Only kidding, those guys don’t hold a torch to Mr. Ive and his crack team of Designers.

    Move along, nothing to see.

    MW: near, “so near, yet so far”

  9. it isn’t a case of just adding features, or copying design. without ubiqitous content, there is nothing. itunes gives ipod that content. the network gives cellphones their content (delivery), hdtv (finally) has hd content, digital portable video has… oh, there isn’t any!!! darn. so the video features are pretty much marketing hype with no real functionality. guess creative can add features like “eyelash removal device from sushi” to stay ahead of apple’s design.

    as for being a passing fad, our local walmart starting carrying ipods in quantity about a month ago. they are locked up in a case, with the creative and rca products. they have sold thru a couple of dozen shuffles and mini’s. i do not notice a single one of the others missing from their pegs. probably will be found in the clearance aisle for stocking stuffers soon.

  10. ‘This is a fashion business — why would everybody want to wear the same shirt?’ MPIO President J.K. Woo told Reuters.

    Obviously knows diddleysquat about fashion — it means conformity to what is hot. Right now, any such device other than an iPod is not in fashion; and that’s not even considering the functional aspects of choice.

  11. i think we should look at this is the first beginnings of a threat to ipod. this is the other guys saying “we get it now, apple´s strategy is the only one that works. We understand the importance of industrial design, we understand the importance of simplicitÿ” luckily for apple these guys will have a hard time simplifying their software. writing software of their own, which they have to do if they want anything nearly as simple as the ipod plus itunes, will require yet another media player in windows and people won´t want to switch and microsoft wont like losing the few customers they will lose from WMP.

    Microsoft has the ability to make its allies profitable, which has always been its only strength. It makes something that a company absolutely needs and then it ensures that that company is profitable so they stick around and use more microsoft products. if those companies anger microsoft they risk that protection, so it will be nearly impossible to introduce software nearly as good as itunes while maintaining a beneficial relationship with microsoft.

    i think this is why the market is the way it is, apple is the only one that doesn´t depend on microsoft for its music related products so it is the only one that can make them well.

    the thing that i think is interesting is that apple depends very much on microsoft. MS could put apple out of business very quickly if it chose to stop producing office for mac, so apple´s willingness to piss them off surprises me. maybe redmond just expects annoyances from cupertino and doesn´t see it as a betrayal. or maybe apple and MS have a secret deal that as long as apple doesn´t sue MS for copying their designs, past and future, they will make office to ensure the macs survival. yet another possibility is that MS fears that the greatest programmers at apple, the greatest visionaries who drive OS development would never go work for MS, even if apple went out of business, so MS lets apple constantly lead the OS war cuz they know that without them, it would stagnate. those are just my theories on why apple is the exception to the rule that it is not wise to do anything against MS.

    MDN deal as in “Do you think Steve and Bill have a super secret double pinky promise you-cant-sue-us deal?”

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