By Richard Menta 10/25/02
The last time that Apple tried to step apart from apart from their core PC business they invented the PDA. On the surface to the uninitiated that would sound like a boon except that the PDA in question was the Newton, a unit that eventually failed when confronted later to the simpler competition created by the first Palm unit. As groundbreaking as the Newton was, it was expensive and a little too ahead of the curve to draw a large enough audience back in the early-mid nineties.
Needless to say, when Apple decided to enter the MP3 portable arena there were many naysayers reflecting back on Apple's Newton experience as a reason why they should have known better. It turns out Apple did know better.
This time instead of being the trailblazer, Apple jumped later into the MP3 market a couple of years later. Seeing the limitations of all the portable players at that point - the biggest issue being size and weight v. memory capacity - Apple set about making a better mousetrap. They succeeded and the rewards came.
Right now the iPod claims 15% of the total digital player market. That number is particularly impressive since the player sells for between $300 to $500. These prices are not only higher than most of its direct competition, but far greater than the flash memory players and CD/MP3 players that now sell for under $150.
Apple is now on target to sell 4 million units total since its release. If we take an average of $400 a unit, that means 1.6 billion dollars in revenue for the company. For a company that earns about that much revenue in a single quarter (1.4 billion in the quarter ending September 2nd), this is tremendous achievement.
And it looks like the iPod's sales pace will hold up for a while, if not increase. In August iPod units for Windows machines started to appear on store shelves. Furthermore, more stores are carrying the player. Best Buy started selling the iPod last month and CNET just reported Target now to carries the devices.
Call the iPod the little player that roared.
Other MP3 Stories:
Raising the Barriers to Entry
Creative Targets iPod with Nomad Jukebox Zen
Review: The Archos Jukebox Multimedia
Can I borrow your computer while you're asleep, please? - Altnet