After years of cranking out hit iPod models, has Apple Computer hit a wall?

Apple “hasn’t had a significant update to its [iPod] product line this year, with the only change being the addition of a smaller-capacity 1GB iPod Nano in February. ‘It’s possible that we’re at a point where the path to taking the next step is less clear and less straightforward, even for a company with the technology expertise and creativity of Apple,’ said IDC analyst Susan Kevorkian,” Ina Fried reports for CNET News.

Fried reports, “But few expect Apple is resting on its laurels. ‘I’m convinced they aren’t just sitting there,’ said Gartner analyst Michael McGuire. Apple declined to comment on where it is headed, as is its custom. Such silence, McGuire said, makes it hard to know where Apple is headed.”

Digital HD Radio and cell phone capabilities are a couple of features bandied about for next-gen iPods in the full article.

“In any case, Kevorkian said that Apple may have missed an opportunity to follow up on its successes of last year, which included the Nano and video iPod. ‘Apple had so much momentum coming out of 2005,’ she said. ‘That was momentum they could have banked on by introducing new products in the first half of 2006.’ (It should be noted, of course, that Apple could conceivably introduce a new model before the holiday shopping season,)” Fried reports.

“Even without new models, the iPod has continued to reign supreme. Apple still boasts a 75 percent share of the U.S. retail market and is the world’s best-selling MP3 player,” Fried reports. “Even Microsoft has indicated that it expects its Zune to take some time to put much of a dent in the iPod. At its financial analysts’ meeting last month, Microsoft said that it expects to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years to make Zune into a serious iPod challenger.”

Full article here.
Patience, young padawans. Patience.

Related articles:
RUMOR: Intel and Apple working on ‘intelligent device’ – August 22, 2006
NPD: Apple retains huge lead with 75.6% share of U.S. music player market – August 17, 2006
Apple CEO Steve Jobs talks up much-rumored ‘iPhone’ iPod mobile phone – August 11, 2006
Zune: Apple cannot lose. Microsoft cannot win. – July 26, 2006
Apple still In ‘early stages’ of iPod expansion – May 24, 2006
Apple Euro boss talks iPod: ‘We are only at the very beginning of something really big’ – October 16, 2004

54 Comments

  1. People were complaining that Apple was going to create burnout among its customers for coming out with so many new models. NOw that we have had a bit of a breather, people are complaining about that too.

    It also is called product cycle maturation. The earlier in a product’s life cycle it is, the more advancement and development there is.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

  2. Is this cnet writer an idiot? I guess so..

    The current iPods are only 10 MONTHS OLD! New iPods will be
    here before the holidays, but remember, last holiday season Apple
    sold 14 million iPods… They now have an obligation to meet and
    exceed those numbers this year… The only way to do this is to
    release the new models in the holiday quarter..

    A little common sense is all it takes to understand this..

  3. Seeing as how Apple still controls 75% of the mp3 player market, consumers don’t seem to be too alarmed over the fact that there hasn’t been an update in a while. What some tech anal-yst thinks is completely irrelevant in the real world as we’ve seen several times now…

  4. I do find it interesting that if Apple continues to put out new and updated models, they are mocked and ridiculed, even by SNL’s skit of Steve Jobs introducing new iPods. But if they wait 6-9 months to release something new, they are ridiculed as being no longer able to come up with something new.

  5. While no doubt improvements can be made, the iPod is close to the perfect music player given current technology. They could bloat it with features and screw up the ease of use, but that could be considered a backwards step. Really it’s simply capacity of the battery and capacity of the memory/hard drive that is going to change. There may be refinements to the wheel and it may be incorporated into a touch-screen (though personally I’m not convinced by this route given the potential for scratching).

    I can’t imagine anyone wants a SMALLER nano.

    So the reason for not releasing new versions is simply that the current versions still rock. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    The 8GB Nano that they’ll release for Christmas will still be the same product. It’ll still be called the iPod Nano. It won’t be the XYZ-327-8G. UNtil there’s a hot new tech to incorporate, I’m just expecting revisions rather than revolutions.

  6. MP3 market is mature and saturated.
    We have 4 iPods in the family and cannot think of what new feature would make us buy another. More memory? No, don´t use all that we have in our iPods. Bigger screen – movies? Nah, don´t think so.
    The only reason we will buy a new iPod is to replace one if it is lost, stolen or damaged beyond repair.

  7. This is just more supercilius speculation. iPod share has remained steady, if not gone up, during the period cited. So what’s the beef?

    It isn’t like the competition suddenly got better software to drive their players and music services.

    It isn’t like the competition suddenly integrated players and music services better.

    It isn’t like the competition suddenly improved music services, making them easier to navigate and purchase from.

    If Apple hasn’t “improved” the iPod, neither has the competition.

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