Coursey blows it: ‘Apple’s video iPod isn’t the product customers want’

“I am very happy that PC Magazine likes, really likes, the new video iPod. I am not sure why people think watching video on a 2.5-inch color screen is such a big deal, but there you have it,” David Coursey writes for Gearlog.

Coursey gives several iPod-related predictions, but really screws up these:

1. The video iPod isn’t the product customers want. Not in huge numbers. This won’t be the first time Apple has released a loser high-end iPod. Remember, when the Photo iPod was all the rage? It turned out that neat as it sounds, most people don’t want to carry huge photo collections around in their pocket. I don’t think adding video to a souped-up Photo iPod changes this, especially when very little video will be available for downloading. The video iPod sounds really neat, but won’t be a huge seller.

2. The best customer for the video iPod will be someone who needs the large drive capacity, either because they want to carry around a big music collection or because they are using the iPod as a repository for images downloaded straight from a digital camera. If the alternative is carrying a laptop computer around, the iPod is a good choice.

3. The bulk of the market wants an iPod Nano. It’s sleek, it’s cool, it’s not too expensive. And it doesn’t overreach.

Full article here.

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We’re really surprised that Coursey missed a very obvious point, one that was made very clear in the PC Magazine review of the 5G iPod that he references: “Don’t call it the Video iPod, the vPod, or anything that indicates that this is a video player. It’s the new iPod, period.”

Coursey is either being a contrarian for the sake of being contrarian or he must have been tired or not thinking when he wrote his list.

The new Apple 5G iPod is the same iPod as before, only you get more storage space in a thinner case for a lower price and it happens to do video – and it does video quite well, as other reviewers have pointed out. It also outputs to larger screens, as Coursey fails to mention.

Regarding Coursey’s first point, the iPod is clearly what customers want, just look at the unit sales or at people walking around to the beat of their iPods. Coursey’s second point illustrates the shaky foundation that his ideas are based upon; he refers to the device as a “video iPod” when it’s actually a thinner, more capacious, lower-priced iPod that’s also video-capable. Coursey’s third point is also wrong, as the iPod 5G doesn’t overreach at all; it just gives users more for a better price than earlier iPod models.

Coursey really blew this one.

[UPDATE: 11:25am ET: Fixed “capacious.”]

Related articles:
PC Magazine review gives Apple’s new video-capable iPod 5 out of 5 stars – October 21, 2005
CBS News: New iPod shows ‘Apple will continue to dominate portable digital media player market’ – October 21, 2005
Apple’s video-capable iPod and iTunes are first vital link in new distribution paradigm – October 21, 2005
USA Today: Apple’s new iPod + video: world’s foremost portable music players have gotten only better – October 20, 2005
Comprehensive review of Apple’s iPod 5G with Video – October 20, 2005
The Motley Fool: ‘Apple’s new video-enabled iPod is about to save the televised content industry’ – October 20, 2005
Ars Technica reviews Apple’s new video-capable iPod – October 20, 2005
NY Times Pogue: ‘watching video on new iPod’s 2.5-inch screen is completely immersive’ – October 19, 2005
MSNBC columnist: after initial coolness wears off, Apple’s video iPod will wind up in dresser drawer
Apple’s $1.99 iTunes TV show downloads may be ‘the savior of good television’ – October 17, 2005
Apple opens Pandora’s box for the media business, could have profound long-term consequences – October 17, 2005
BofA analyst: Apple video play an ‘evolutionary opportunity,’ 9.3m iPods to be sold this quarter – October 17, 2005
Apple has the potential to change not just the audio industry, but the whole entertainment industry – October 17, 2005
Advertisers welcome Apple’s iTunes Store commerical-free content – October 17, 2005
New York Times writer can’t think different: ‘video iPod may not be ready for prime time’ – October 17, 2005
Podfather: iPod porn is going to be huge – October 14, 2005
Forrester Research: Apple transformed music distribution, now it is doing the same for video – October 14, 2005
Watching episode of ABC’s ‘Lost’ on 2.5-inch iPod screen surprisingly compelling – October 13, 2005
Get ready for the iPod video torrent search sites – October 13, 2005
Apple’s new iMac G5, iTunes 6, iPod video designed to bait Hollywood – October 13, 2005
Apple video iPod+iTunes could create mass audience for video on the go, despite studios’ misgivings – October 13, 2005
Using QuickTime Pro to create videos for playback in new Apple iPods – October 13, 2005
Analyst: Apple has just produced ‘the tipping point’ for entertainment content – October 13, 2005
Apple’s video play likely to unsettle movie, TV, advertising and retail markets for years to come – October 12, 2005
Apple unveils new 5th generation iPod, now plays music, photos, and video – October 12, 2005

25 Comments

  1. Shouldn’t call it a vPod anyway. It’s not mPod for music only, or pPod for photos, it’s just iPod. Apple made a very smart strategic move calling it iPod, since that is a function-agnostic name, they could always add more features without destroying the product’s identity.

    And while we’re on it, it’s not going to be MacTel, just like it’s not currently MacBM or MacOrola

  2. Coursey babbled:
    “I am not sure why people think watching video on a 2.5-inch color screen is such a big deal”

    It’s like saying digital photos suck because you have to view them through your camera’s tiny built-in screen. Coursey just doesn’t get it.

    Although it would be nice to have a video-equivalent of the iPod ear buds. Does something like http://www.i-glassesstore.com/iscape2.html have any potential?

  3. My post to Mr. Coursey…

    It’s an iPod, just an iPod. Smaller than before. Larger capacity. Bigger screen. Costs the same. Oh, and by the way has video capabilities. What’s to bitch about?

    The site censored the word bitch.

  4. In terms of video, the product people want is a sub $300 device which outputs 1080 HD video via a HDMI connection with a built in screen which is 14″ or so but built into a device which can be carried into your pocket. It should also have 100 hours or more of battery life whilst playing video and outputting sound through its built in dolby digital/dts surround sound speakers. In addition video files for full length movies should be small enough to transfer in under 10 seconds.

    Of course the video solution is not the ultimate quality – it’s not meant to be, irrespective of the technical aspects apple are also not convinced there is an ongoing market for content in this form. This is a first step. More important is the availability of legal video content. It amazes me that people constantly refer to other video products that “do” video better and then say that the iPod doesn’t meet people’s needs – erm exactly who was talking about or even buying these other devices before? No-one.

    The new iPod is an improvement on the already amazingly popular and high quality iPod – even if you never use the video aspect, it doesn’t matter, you’ve got something smaller, lighter, of higher capacity and you’ve got a bigger screen for the existing features – what the hell is the problem?

  5. It’s a silly-nothing piece with nothing new or interesting to say other than recognizing that Apple is walking away with the mp3 market because they serve a whole enchilada. But then he adds that Microballs and unReal will provide some real competition when the hardware gets better visual appeal and functionality, which somewhat contradicts his best point.

    As for market saturation, well … the iPod is today’s product. When it becomes yesterday’s product, I hope Microballs and unReal will provide some real competition there while Apple will have moved on to tomorrow’s product, whatever it is. For today, though, I doubt if anyone can steal Apple’s cachet of cool. How do you compete with that, Coursey? What’s cool about Microballs and unReal?

    Mw: They… have aboslutely no taste and what that means is that … and I don’t mean that in a small way; I mean that in a big way … in the sense that … they don’t think of original ideas and they don’t bring much culture into their products [Steve Jobs].

  6. His number 3 is right. In time, the iPod nano will outsell the iPod. Just like the iPod mini was far outselling the iPod. Most people just want about 1000 songs in as small a package as possible, and don’t want to pay extra for more capacity in a larger package.

    But the upsell from 4GB to 30GB is only $50 (instead of $100 for 4GB to 20GB). And you get video thrown in. The iPod is a better value now than it’s ever been.

    If iTunes adds the capability to easily convert many video formats into the iPod format, I think the market will really take off. Of course, the content people don’t want that.

  7. I had hoped that analysts and reviewers would only make this mistake (of failing to recognize that it is still the same old iPod… w/ improved capabilities) in the first few days after it came out. Apparently not.

  8. My, my, my. Where to begin?

    On second thought, why bother. His home town is obviously missing there Village Idiot. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”shut eye” style=”border:0;” />

    If even PCRagazine can see the painting on wall, what’s with this bonehead?

    Rock on SJ!

  9. well, we’ll see it will be long runner for higher demand. it’s only one week old. we don’t know yet. I am kind of sick why people here praise whatever Apple does. there is any report which will predict new ipod will be increased the whole ipod market. even it is, I need to take a look more period of time. it’s too early. it doesn’t matter when you see apple online store where ipod is rank one. it doesn’t show the rest of resellers list.

  10. People have settle on two iPods, a small one and a large one.

    Small one for carrying around the best of one’s present playlist and a few photo’s. Shock proof and easy to carry.

    Big one for entire music collections, big photo libraries, some video (see my kids) and data storage and transport.

    The iPod Shuffle sucks, the Nano is good.

    The regular iPod sucked, the Photo iPod was better, the vPod is best

    (although a flash based vPod would be awesome!)

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