NY Times: Apple iPod also-rans run race for second place [UPDATED]

“Iman Hayward is an 18-year-old college student and self-confessed contrarian. She likes to mix Cyberdog T-shirts with platform boots. She prefers vintage horror movies to modern remakes. And she does not like the Apple iPod,” Roy Furchgott reports for The New York Times.

“‘I was kind of anti-iPod because everybody had it,’ said Ms. Hayward, who lives in the Bronx,” Furchgott reports. “That is not to say she dislikes portable music players. In fact, on Nov. 14 she will wait in line, if needed, to be among the first to own Microsoft’s iPod alternative, the Zune — in the fudge-brown case, no less. ‘I’m going to be waving it in front of my friends’ faces,’ she said. ‘They all have iPods.'”

Furchgott reports, “The people at Microsoft are hoping that people like Ms. Hayward will give them reason to gloat this holiday season, too. They are not the only ones. Other makers of portable media players have also introduced new products, hoping to grab a big piece of the market that the iPod dominates. ‘It’s no secret that a lot of people are trying to come up with products to drag people’s attention away from iPod,’ said Rick Souder, executive vice president for merchandising for Crutchfield, the electronics catalog and retail company. “I’m not sure they are going to do it, at least not this season. ‘The race is for second place.'”

Full article here.
It’s fine to be a contrarian unless you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Note the similarities to this October 5, 2006 article — which prompted a very similar “MacDailyNews Take” to today’s — also from The New York Times, by Wilson Rothman:

“When Max Roosevelt wanted to rebel, he got a Dell laptop and a SanDisk Sansa MP3 player. It was not a rebellion against his parents, who had been buying Dells for years. It was a rebellion against his peers, Mac-toting iPod addicts one and all…

“’I just didn’t want to have the same MP3 player as everybody else, and felt that there had to be equivalent or better players out there,’ Mr. Roosevelt, an 18-year-old native of Chappaqua, N.Y., said recently from his freshman dorm room at the University of Maryland. ‘It’s not that I don’t like it; I just don’t like the whole cult mentality towards Apple. I don’t like how everyone gravitates toward it immediately.’

“Determined to steer clear of Apple, he bought his six-gigabyte Sansa last June. ‘It may look a great deal like an iPod Nano, but it isn’t one,’ he said, ‘which is all that I really cared about.'”

[UPDATED 2:10pm EST: Added to “Take” regarding similarities to previous NY Times piece.”

Related articles:
New York Times’ Apple iPod articles reveal very similar formula – November 01, 2006

JupiterResearch: Apple’s iPod will dominate for foreseeable future; Microsoft’s Zune insignificant – October 25, 2006
Ellen DeGeneres Show gives away Microsoft Zunes, studio audience goes berserk – October 23, 2006
More Microsoft Zune myths explored – October 20, 2006
Five more Microsoft Zune myths – October 18, 2006
Microsoft Zune intensifies chaos in Apple iPod+iTunes also-ran market – October 16, 2006
Newsweek Q&A: Apple CEO Steve Jobs discusses iPod’s impact, Microsoft’s Zune, and more – October 15, 2006
Microsoft’s Ballmer: Zune device not money loser, wishes Apple’s 30GB iPod was $299 instead of $249 – October 11, 2006
Microsoft’s consumer electronics track record: long string of failures – October 11, 2006
MP3.com founder: ‘Zune will be an expensive failure for Microsoft because consumers aren’t stupid’ – October 06, 2006
Microsoft fails to secure key Zune domains – October 04, 2006
Microsoft rigs Zune with tricky pricing and proprietary money schemes – October 03, 2006
Why Microsoft’s Zune won’t kill Apple’s iPod – October 03, 2006
10 Apple iPod vs. Microsoft Zune myths – October 02, 2006
Analyst: Zune could lead to ‘civil war’ between Microsoft and Windows Media partners – September 29, 2006
Thurrott on Microsoft’s Zune: ‘The makings of a disaster, what the heck are these people thinking?’ – September 29, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft Zune’s as good as dead on arrival – September 28, 2006
Microsoft sets 30GB Zune price at $249.99 – September 28, 2006
How Microsoft’s Zune can kill Apple’s iPod – September 21, 2006
Microsoft’s Zune insanity – September 21, 2006
The Microsoft Zune 1.0 dud – September 20, 2006
Microsoft’s underwhelming Zune a ‘viral DRM’ device – September 18, 2006
SanDisk teams with RealNetworks against new common foe: Microsoft Zune – September 18, 2006
Creative does Apple’s dirty work by immediately attacking Microsoft’s Zune – September 17, 2006
Motley Fool’s Jayson: Microsoft’s ‘just plain ugly’ Zune a meager offering, not an iPod killer – September 15, 2006
What’s in a name? ‘Zune’ a French-Canadian euphemism for penis or vagina – September 15, 2006
Crave at CNET: ‘Microsoft Zune, all the excitement that brown can bring’ – September 15, 2006
Microsoft’s Zune underwhelms – September 15, 2006
Enderle: Microsoft Zune ‘a design mistake’ – September 15, 2006
Microsoft hypocrisy exposed with Zune: What ever happened to ‘choice?’ – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft Zune with fake scroll wheel ‘hardly an Apple iPod killer’ – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft Zune won’t spoil Apple’s biggest iPod Christmas ever – September 14, 2006
Microsoft unveils Zune 30GB player, Zune Marketplace; declines to disclose prices – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft’s Zune an ‘underwhelming’ repackaged Toshiba Gigabeat; no threat to Apple iPod – August 30, 2006
Microsoft confirms brick-like Zune to be made by Toshiba – August 25, 2006
Microsoft Zune is chunky brick made by Toshiba – August 25, 2006
Microsoft to spend hundreds of millions, several years on Zune trying to catch Apple iPod+iTunes – July 27, 2006
Zune: Apple cannot lose. Microsoft cannot win. – July 26, 2006

Apple’s taken iPod+iTunes to an entirely different level; iPhone will be like supertrain – October 21, 2006
AP: Apple’s new iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle ‘clearly worth the wait’ – October 19, 2006
Apple announces iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition, iTunes (PRODUCT) RED gift card – October 13, 2006
Apple iPod games reviewed – October 06, 2006
Mossberg: Apple’s new iPod+iTunes are ‘better products at better prices’ – October 04, 2006
The Washington Post: ‘New competitors can’t measure up to Apple’s iPod’ – September 30, 2006
Computerworld review: ‘Apple’s new iPods are better than ever’ – September 27, 2006
Review: Pac-Man for iPod – September 27, 2006
PC Magazine’s 19th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards for MP3 players: Apple iPod line – September 25, 2006
Thurrott reviews Apple’s iTunes 7: ‘the best software-based media jukebox I’ve ever used’ – September 22, 2006
USA Today reviews new Apple iPod nanos, updated iPods, iTunes 7 (each earns 4 stars out of 4) – September 21, 2006
CNET Editor’s Choice: Apple fifth-gen updated iPod – ‘best, most attractive iPod to date’ – September 20, 2006
Disney sells 125,000 movie downloads via Apple’s iTunes Store in first week – September 19, 2006
PC Magazine review: iTunes 7 ‘Apple’s best effort yet’ (4 stars out of 5) – September 15, 2006
CNET Editor’s Pick: Apple’s new 2G iPod nano – ‘sure to be top choice among wide range of users’ – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV model ‘the gold standard for the digital home of the future’ – September 12, 2006
What’s new in Apple’s iTunes 7 – September 12, 2006
Analyst Gartenberg: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV ‘will be hard for other players to match’ – September 12, 2006
Apple debuts iTunes 7 – September 12, 2006
Apple debuts new iPod in 30GB and 80GB with Hollywood movies, games and new lower price – September 12, 2006
Apple intros new iPod nano with new aluminum design in five colors and 24-hour battery life – September 12, 2006
Apple unveils new iPod shuffle: world’s smallest digital music player – September 12, 2006


  1. I’d like to see Apple offer other kinds of special edition ipods: limited release runs featuring ipod nanos decorated with art from promising or established artists to be sold in art collectibe stores like the ones that sell ugly dolls, dunnys, etc. Not a sticker, something more durable and permanent.

  2. I think Ms. Hayward inhales gasoline fumes when everybody else inhales air…. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />
    What a dumb thought….it’s very hard to be persistent with that which makes it even dumber!

    MacB, netherlands

  3. Hmm,

    Given her thinking… her next computer will be a Mac, not a PC. Not to worry – Apple needs more help on the computer front sales than ipod sales. Ithink its fair to say the latters market is stitched up.

    Ther eis something odd about doing something just because other people are not. You are just as tied to other peoples actions as you would be if you followed the crowd!! Think about it!

  4. It is, I suppose, all about how much you are willing to put up with in the name of ‘style’. Since the iPod is the mainstream now; anything with 80% market share must be so, after all, the stylish ones are naturally looking around for alternatives to define the new chic. The problem is, none of them work nearly as well.

    A coworker’s wife just bought an iPod Nano to use while running. They are not particularly fashion conscious, but they do tend to like eclectic music and art. I asked her why they picked an iPod and if she liked it. She said she love it. They first bought some other company’s competitor for the Nano. She and her husband fought with it for three days. They have a PC at home, and couldn’t get the thing to sync up. They finally threw up their hands in disgust, took it back, and bought an iPod. She absolutely LOVES her iPod now.

    That’s a little too much even for the fans of the alternative to overcome. And if Microsoft hopes the Zune will become THE alternative to the iPod . . . I suspect they have quite a way to go before they have a real hope.

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