Apple computer’s iPod nano “has been in stores for a little over two weeks, but so far, it looks like Apple has another hit on its hands — and another opportunity to crush competitors,” Jefferson Graham reports for USA Today. “Apple has 74% of the digital music device market, according to researcher The NPD Group. Closest rival SanDisk has just 6.4%.”
“Apple wasn’t the first to introduce a digital music player. Rio, Creative Technology and others were active players when Apple unveiled the first iPod in October 2001. But its breakthrough ease of use and sleek design changed the market dynamics,” Graham reports. “So how is it that after four years, no other company has been able to play serious catch-up? ‘Apple may not build the best device, have the best service or software, but they have the best overall solution,’ says Bernie Sepaniak, president of D&M Holdings’ Rio unit. ‘They have complete control over the experience. It’s not enough to have a great device. You have to have all the other pieces.’ Sepaniak should know. As head of Rio, he spent several years competing against Apple. In late August, he decided to throw in the towel. He closed down Rio — maker of the very first MP3 digital music player — saying the market was too capital-intensive for corporate owner D&M Holdings to want to participate anymore.”
“The complete solution Sepaniak talks about ties the iPod to Apple’s iTunes software, which lets users sync their songs to the unit and buy new tunes from the iTunes Music Store,” Graham reports. “Competing devices have different software and send users to music stores such as Napster and Rhapsody that don’t always sync songs with the ease of iTunes and the iPod. ‘The iPod just works,’ says Phil Leigh, an analyst for Inside Digital Media. ‘That’s the secret of its success. It sounds simple, but there’s nothing much more to it.'”
“Some 27 million iPods have been sold in the last four years. Munster predicts sales in the next two quarters will almost equal lifetime sales — 13 million iPods each in the third and fourth quarters — fueled by the Nano, says analyst Gene Munster of securities firm Piper Jaffray,” Graham reports.
Full article here.
Advertisement: Apple iPod nano. 1,000 songs. Impossibly small. From $199. Free shipping.
An excellent article and informative from USA Today’s Graham that also covers the Motorola ROKR, the lack of a treat from Microsoft-based WMA music subscription services such as Napster, Real, and Yahoo. Graham also reports that Apple Vice President Greg Joswiak told him that for iPod nano’s launch, there should be none of the ramp up problems Apple had with the iPod mini, “We shipped more of the Nanos than any product in memory,” Joswiak told Graham.
USA Today: Apple’s iPod nano ‘a beautiful piece of hardware’ – but ‘the competition has caught up’ – September 16, 2005
Music lovers make Apple’s iTunes Music Store AAC format the de facto standard for online music – August 28, 2005
Apple’s ‘pure genius’ will soon make iTunes’ portal the ‘number one destination on the Internet’ – July 26, 2005
Apple’s understanding of what really counts makes iPod+iTunes impossible to beat – June 22, 2005
BofA: Apple’s iTunes Music Store and iPods have symbiotic ‘stickiness, protective effect’ – May 12, 2005