Apple’s taken iPod+iTunes to an entirely different level; iPhone will be like supertrain

“In the longstanding tradition of the Mac, Apple has done an absolutely brilliant job demystifying what is otherwise a complex technical process [with iPod+iTunes]. It is only in recent years that some of the competing products have managed to catch up to the usability of the iTunes/iPod duo. But, by the time they did, it was basically too late. Apple controls 70 percent of the portable digital audio player market and, in the US, 88 percent of sales of downloadable music. Not only that, Apple has successfully bridged a usability story into a fashion story which has taken the attraction to the iPod to an entirely different level that no other technology vendor will be able to duplicate,” David Berlind blogs for ZDNet.

Berlind writes, “Recently, at Gartner Symposium, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talked about Microsoft’s stick-to-it-iveness with the message that once his company commits, it has the resources to keep at it until it wins. Only, in the portable digital audio space, the company didn’t stick to it. Instead, after it’s PlaysForSure ecosystem barely made a dent in Apple’s momentum, it went back to square one with a brand called Zune that, except for a few minor details, will pretty much mirror Apple’s strategy (where the content comes from the same source as the hardware does). When Microsoft about faces, this is a sign that Apple is in charge.”

Berlind writes, “And just when all of Apple’s competitors are turning to plan B, and just when a few cell phone vendors are getting hip to the idea of including iPod-like functionality in a mobile phone (something that no smartphone maker has quite figured out how to do very gracefully), Apple is about to swoop in and show them all how its done because you know that Steve Jobs would never let an iPhone see the light of day unless it’s absolutely perfect. Nokia, Ericcson, Sony, Samsung, Motorola and the rest of the lot of them (as well as Microsoft and the other portable audio manufacturers) will be left so stunned by Apple’s entry into the market that it will feel as though a supertrain with a wild party on it just left the train station while they were left standing on the platform say ‘But,…but…'”

Berlind writes, “Here’s a good question. With Apple Mac sales going up (on the coattails of iPod sales), what happens when Apple decides not to make a Windows version of iTunes?”

More in the full article, including Berlind’s prediction that eventually some government somewhere will force Apple’s hand under antitrust law and how Apple will profit immensely regardless here.
This is an excellent article — even if the concept of Apple pulling the Windows version of iTunes is way out there — that’s full of interesting points and ideas; highly recommended.

Related articles:
RUMOR: Apple iPhone features leaked – October 19, 2006
Zune: Apple cannot lose. Microsoft cannot win. – July 26, 2006

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45 Comments

  1. Guess I ought to address the article, huh.

    MS and others are going to be playing nothing but a game of catch-up. Mr. Ballmer thinks the Zune is gonna be the hippest thing in music since the guitar pick, and Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ives are already working on projects for five years down the road.

    Good luck, Mr. Monkey Boy!

  2. And so in about March of 2007 Apple publishes the following statement:

    “We regret to inform our Windows iTunes customers that despite concentrated efforts Vista is so unstable and problematic that we just can’t get iTunes and iPods to work with it reliably. Please be patient. We’re working on it. We might have something for you in a year or two.”

  3. Arnold Ziffel: It’s Jonathan IVE – note the lack of the “S” at the end!

    AS for iPods driving Mac sales, thats a big maybe. Like Micro$ofts mi$$teps, or Dell’s crappy product and service, etc. had nothing to do with it?

  4. Isn’t it funny that Apple’s now one of those third party developers Monkey Boy was going ape over in his infamous speech? What would happen if they withdrew support for iTunes? Frankly I think it’d be a disaster since a lot of Windows users would see it as another excuse to hate Apple.

  5. Talking about the halo effect is far too simplistic.

    Apple has an approach that is whole. The iPod selling more Macs is far too simplistic.

    – The iPod introduces millions to Apple’s engineering (mechanical and software) prowess, and design interface mastery. This results in an acceptance to Apple, and can move some to buy Mac’s. The “iPod Halo Effect” in full.

    – Apple launches it’s own stores, delivering top cabin service, and environment conducive to selling Macs in a low-pressure approach. Windows folks who stumble into the stores (for iPod or just being curious) start to become comfortable with Apple, learn more over time, and buy Macs.

    – Apple moves to Intel processors, and launches Boot Camp allowing Windows to run natively on Mac-Intel hardware. Virtual Windows OS options become available. The acceptance of Intel moves the Mac brand from creative to mainstream. Apple sells more Macs.

    – Apple delivers agressive PC vs. Mac ad campaigns, consumers check out the Macs. Apple sells more Macs.

    iTunes, iPod, retail locations, OS X, Intel, iTV, HDTV’s w/iTV built-in, iPhones, it all builds engergy around itself and in the end, increases Mac sales, which increases the Mac OS X install base.

  6. The idea of Apple pulling iTunes for Windows is totally ludicrous & bordering on complete insanity. The only reason iPod+iTunes is such a hug phenomenon is *BECAUSE* of the fact that they work with Windows. If Apple were to leave the Windows market, it would only open up the door for Zune or some other competitor to sweep the Windows market. This guy doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

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