The iPod Phone Myth

“According to proponents of this myth, Apple’s success with the iPod is about to be crushed by an onslaught of music playing cell phones, so Apple needs to desperately come up with an iPod + cell phone combination of their own to remain relevant. They’re wrong, here’s why,” Daniel Eran writes for RoughlyDrafted.

“This myth is based in part on ‘Microsoft is Invincible FUD,’ which carefully warns consumers that whatever strategy Microsoft choses will be both flawless and undeniable, and that rather than examine options, it’s best just to wait around and see what Microsoft eventually delivers, and then make the best of it,” Eran writes.

“However, Microsoft has repeatedly failed in their ongoing attempts to leverage their Windows monopoly to dominate the digital music and media market. Instead, consumers have chosen to buy iPods, leaving Microsoft’s WMA strategy soundly defeated by Apple’s device and the QuickTime technologies that power it,” Eran writes.

“Apple sold 35 million iPods in the last year. The entire cell phone market is estimated to have 850 million units ship in 2006. Of course, most of those phones can’t play music, but the numbers suggest a way to prove that Apple’s iPod product isn’t actually destroying the competition by competing fairly as a better product, but is rather just a strange niche product that represents a temporary statistical anomaly. As soon as consumers figure out that their cell phone is just as good at playing music, analysts hope to see Apple’s share of the market fall into the 5% or less range,” Eran writes.

“Once Apple goes back to being inconsequential, and Microsoft returns as the invincible decider of industry trends, lazy analysts can return to comfortably prattling off the same pro-Microsoft FUD that, in fulfilling its own prophesies, has served their own interests by making them look knowledgeable and smart over the last two decades. Of course, until that happens they continue look stupid, so they’re motivated to talk about iPod Killers. Mobile phones are just the last best hope for challenging Apple’s music player,” Eran writes.

Full article, highly recommended, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Rainy Day” for the heads up.]

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  1. I’m sorry to say this but I’m afraid cell phones with capacities of 200 songs will soundly defeat the need to buy a iPod for most people.

    What a lot of cell phone companies are doing unfortunatly is charging a whopping amount for those songs which is making the iPod attractive. That can and will change here very shortly.

    Apple doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of being able to compete in the cell phone market, it’s all the carriers who chose what phones to support, to display in their stores etc.

    Apple’s iPhone will be neglected and expensive failure, only a small dedicated fan base may buy them, if they don’t already have a phone and contract for several years already.

    Apple wins by creating new markets, new products etc., not attempting to join a already crowded playing field.

  2. We will never see an Apple “iPhone”…what we will see is a convergent device with PDA, phone, media (music/video/image) and if we are lucky, OS X user profile management so you can boot into _your_ user profile by plugging in the USB cable into a Mac and going to fast user switching.

  3. I’m just waiting for a white iPhone — a bit like a mouse with more buttons. And yes, it would be ace if it plays video and music as well!

    Mind you, it needs to be in black as well; maybe chrome would be nice; and carbon, and, and, and…

  4. The consumer chose iPod and iTunes over Windoze and Napster,…etc.

    Remember, there was a time the government was about to lynch IBM in anti-monopoly law suits. Then came M$ scammed IBM and the rest of us and the government’s law suits lost pertinence.

    Lesson: Every dog has its day.

    Apple is doing well b/c they are hungry and smart. But just as before they are one Lisa away from being an also ran. Just like M$ is one Bob away from being the big clumsy standard that can be toppled…a la early 80’s IBM. So releasing products that are pertinent to your customer’s needs is important. If you don’t do it somebody will.

    So how does this relate to mobile phones having music? Simple….
    In planes…phones have to be powered down.
    In car….radio can play songs from iPod while I gab away on the phone.

    Apple is smart about this. Everybody else is missing the point. Hi-Fi quality music phones have the maarket staying power of pet rocks.

    Just my $0.02

  5. How about a phone I can boot my computer off of.

    What I really want is for Apple to do the phone interface software. I’ve not used a single cell phone or home phone where the interface made a damn bit of since. My motorola is close but compared to OS X phones are worse than using Windows. And the software crashes while I’m talking on the phone. WTF!

    Hello – I can’t hear you now.


  6. StaticMesh: Yeah, like how the addition of cameras to cell phones utterly crushed the digital camera market. Wait a minute, no it didn’t. People still buy tons of digital cameras for when they’re planning to take pictures. Camera phones are just for spur-of-the-moment snaps.

    Similarly, when people are planning on listening to music, they’re going to want a dedicated player designed around that activity. People will listen to music on cell phones only when the dedicated player isn’t available.

    Most people just want to use their cell phone to make calls. Simple PDA functions mesh nicely with the “make calls” idea (when should I call? who should I call?), but music playback is just an added feature. I really can’t see it killing a device designed around music.

  7. I’m waiting for an iPod Communicator – a mobile internet device with VoIP phone, using EVDO or other wireless broadband. The possibilities would be endless (mobile iChat, Mail, sync, with realtime data on the road). The technology exists, but needs an Apple interface.

  8. Methinks Apple is biding its time until wireless VoIP becomes mainstream, then it will launch its Mobile Me device in which you can access all your digital media anytime (from a .Mac account, maybe). It will redefine the phone/PDA the same way the iPod redefined the music player.

  9. “This myth is based in part on ‘Microsoft is Invincible FUD,’ which carefully warns consumers that whatever strategy Microsoft choses will be both flawless and undeniable, and that rather than examine options, it’s best just to wait around and see what Microsoft eventually delivers, and then make the best of it . . .”

    I thought that sounded phony.

  10. Phone that plays music, backwards thinking that is.

    See girl walking down street, listening to iPod. Earbuds duck the song she is listening to, giving the ringtone. She looks to see who, then takes the call, or not. Song continues to play quietly in the background, or not (option).

    That, my friends, will sell like…iPods…

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