The iPOD end game?

by oneafrikan on February 15, 2005

If you have an iPOD, you’ve no doubt wondered what the next step is for Apple. Nothing lasts forever, or so they say.

This article by Mike is a very interesting read, with quite a few comments that make a lot of sense – and if you’re like me, you’re not sure whether to place your hard earned dosh with the giant from Redmond, or the (not so) upstart from Cupertino.

Personally, I think Apple could launch a phone, and if it was anything like they’ve built before, it would be super. But that would require another significant investment on their part, and it’s not really their core business, so I’m not sure I buy that.

Pretty soon we’re going to be seeing ubiquitous wireless bandwidth – why have a mobile phone when you have all-year-round-wherever-you-go-bandwidth? – and that’s going to bring on a big change in the way we do things. So therefore any device you have will have to be doing some integration with your different PIM apps, also playing music and allowing you to store / share data. You won’t want to be carrying around 3 devices when you know 1 will do. The game is open there – and Apple could get market share early by doing the things we know they could do. BUT….

There is a comment that talks about “normal” people, and technology people, or early adopters… Now, ask yourself who you are? I’m an early adopter for the most part (when the device / technology fills a need I have), but sometimes I’m not as I choose not to spend my cash on every new toy on the market. So what? Well, it means you want stuff to work as advertised, without much intervention – you want it to be simple, and easy. And this is traditionally what Apple are good at – so why would they want to enter the market with a “complicated” device?

This is an interesting article – very thought provoking, but I’m thinking the bottom line is that Apple doesn’t have the same kind of power that Microsoft has – whatever Microsoft does is going to be calculated for the end game, and while Apple may own the player and have the hip factor now, Microsoft owns the platform and has the distribution channels, and that IMHO is going to be the decider.

Can Apple unbalance the apple cart in their favour?

My 0.02 cents…

EDIT:
Found this link on MarkTaw.com which talks about Steve Jobs in a, er, nice way – lot’s of opinions on this matter and no clear winner.

What do you think?

6 comments

You are right is suspecting Apple won’t get into the mobile phone business. These are typically given away by the carriers; and Apple doesn’t believe they are large enough to compete in that market.
Apple is competing in the multimedia market with Quicktime. They will launch a video and TV broadcasting business with their experience with iTunes. Hardware will appear next year as the ultra wi-fi standard is set and available. Wireless home entertainment with the assorted hardware is likely. The Mpeg 4 standard now includes the multi-platform compression codec for HD video with AAC+ audio. Apple will ride that horse right past Microsoft’s efforts to partner their way to dominance.

by Robert Boylin on February 15, 2005 at 11:54 am. Reply #

Honestly I prefer carrying around 4 gadgets (Powerbook, iPod mini, RAZR V3, Canon Powershot SD 300) because right now and probably for some time in the future convergence devices simply do not measure up. If they could combine my iPod mini, V3, and SD 300 in one device WITH equivalent capabilities, ease of use, UI, etc… then I might consider it. But even that hypothetical device would probably be fairly bulky and I prefer multiple sleek devices vs. one bulky one.

I totally agree with the above poster too.

The iPod is cool, Apple is cool, iTunes and iPod are far far better then any combination of generic Windows store, generic mp3 player.
Controlling the whole widget is good in the music battle, people could care less about having choice – they just want it to work well.

You’re right about the phone though, there is no point in Apple entering the market. Lending their UI team to Motorola for future interfaces would be nice though.

Oh yeah, it’s iPod, not iPOD.

by Electric Monk on February 15, 2005 at 12:38 pm. Reply #

Any prediction of an “endgame” for iPod is seriously premature …

Distribution of content via wireless networks is going to end up being costly to consumers, and it will fail for the same reasons you will see Napster fail … consumers don’t want to “rent” music content — they want to own it.

Apple and its iPod make a visceral, emotional connection with consumers. Microsoft is increasingly alienating consumers with an operating system seemingly designed to be attacked. Castle Microsoft is under heavy and serious seige right now, and consumers are abandoning the burning fortress for higher, safer ground in growing numbers.

Nokia partnering with Microsoft is a desperate move, IMHO. Nokia is losing tons of market share to faster and more innovative rivals, and they are panicking now that Motorola has partnered with Apple. Those who partner with Microsoft are going to pay the price — Napster betting on a greedy subscription model for music, Creative Zen for betting on inferior MS music distribution infrastructure, etc. Sony has already seen the light, watch for them to abandon the entire MS franchise as they realize its a lose lose proposition for them — inferior operating system hardware, infuriating and consumer hostile digital rights management schemes, and inferior hardware performance.

The techtonic plates of technology are shifting, the ice has broken — the future belongs to alliances of creative, swiftly moving innovators delivering high value consumer experiences. The world of the monoliths like MS, AOL and DELL who rely on price rather than value, marketing rather than dialog, copying rather than innovation, fear, uncertaintly and doubt rather than truth — that world is collapsing at an accellerating pace.

by bruce m on February 15, 2005 at 3:03 pm. Reply #

Very well put bruce. We knew it would take many monumental events to disrupt the Microsoft machine. But it appears that this might just be beginning to happen. The decline of this beast couldn’t happen to a more deserving company, as they have stifled progress and innovation for far too long.

by Orylau on February 15, 2005 at 8:29 pm. Reply #

Bruce: All predictions, by definition, are premature. That’s why they are predictions. The iPod End Game doesn’t refer to the end of iPods… it refers to the changing landscape of the digital music sector. Either Apple changes with consumer tastes and continues to dominate, or they get cocky and lose their edge. I personally am hoping for the former… but I can’t help fear the latter.

by Mike D. on February 15, 2005 at 9:18 pm. Reply #

Hi guys

Yea, this post brings up a lot of questions which raise further questions.

For me, it’s all about market share – while MS may be under siege, it may end up that they have to re-focus, and stop diversifying, keeping market share in what they do best.

For Apple to stay on top, they have to keep bringing out products like the iPod – plain and simple.

As for many devices – I am the same. I’m afraid that the Sony Ericssen camera on my phone is not nearly as good as the Sony DSC-P93 I bought myself for Christmas. Similarly, the iPAQ I use to keep track of things does not replace my iPod mini. Bottom line is that convergence is inevitable IMHO (it has to be), but not right now, today.

As for Apple and Motorola, I hope they pull something nice off. I’ve been a sworn Nokia user for a long time, and this time round, when it came to upgrading my 6310i when I upgraded my contract with Vodafone, I just couldn’t find a Nokia that I liked; they were all gimmicky and crap – not one solid phone amongst the range in my high street stores – for me, they’ve dropped the ball (almost become like Nike has) and they should be scared, very scared.

My 2 cents…

One more thing:
I’m a zoologist, and this is just the opening gambit in what will be an electronic evolution – as far as I’m concerned, we’re only just starting the secondary succession.

by Gareth on February 24, 2005 at 7:15 am. Reply #

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