Are the iPod's days numbered?
By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance
There’s a certain level of arrogance we’ve come to accept with Apple.
Their prices are insane, their ads are snarky and their products are often exasperating. (Seriously, why shouldn’t I be able to copy songs from an iPod to my computer?)
Remember David Chase, The Sopranos’ creator, who got so sure of himself he kept shoving those awful Tony dream sequences down our throats no matter how unwatchable they were? That’s Apple right now.
And sure, there may be a teensy bit of prejudice on the subject here judging by the banner at the top of this screen, but know this: all is not well with the mighty Macintosh.
Hidden in the midst of Apple’s back-patting over its latest impressive quarter is a good level of concern about the company’s once-major cash cow, the iPod.
The popular MP3 player – arguably responsible for Apple’s leap into a modern mega company – appears on the rocks as business dips with no end in sight.
IPod sales were down 11.1% in the fiscal-third quarter this year, 7% from the second and another 7% year over year. Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer even admits the trend will continue as features of the iPod are “cannibalized” by the iPhone, which has just about pulled a 2001 Tom Brady to the iPod’s Drew Bledsoe by now.
So what does this tell us about the iPod? Well, likely that its days are numbered, as the folks over at MSN Money think. But it also paints a bigger picture on the stake of Apple as a company.
Revenue from Mac’s desktop computers also plummeted 17.8% in the third quarter, compared to a 1.7% dip for laptops. Mix that up with the near-death of the iPod and MSN’s Charley Blaine believes “if Apple didn’t have the iPhone and its iTunes business, investors would be complaining about stagnant sales.”
Now, is this to suggest Apple is caving in on itself? No, not by a long shot. It’s still an overwhelming company responsible for about a quarter of the world’s cool, hip mass-produced technology.
But it is significant to note a changing of the guard is taking place here. The iPhone has not-so-slowly ripped market share away from the iPod and, with iPhone prices likely to keep falling, the thing’s retail tag will probably soon be cheaper than an iPod anyway.
Consider that, then, the answer to any Why would anyone still buy an iPod? questions floating around out there, and don’t be surprised if we’re writing the pop culture icon’s obituary within a few years.
Posted by: Captain Jack Sparrow | Jul 24, 2021 10:41:20 AM
Uhm ... ya ...
Desktop sales may have plummeted ... but compared against PC's ... Apple is still selling iMac's at a very healthy rate. Also, you'll see a majour spike in iMac & PowerBook sales once folks get back from summer vacation & a whole new crop of kids are going to be off to either collage or university for the first time. Living proof, my son is about to start a engineering program at Queens ... I offered to buy him a new Windowz laptop, he refused as did his other three friends, they all want PowerBooks. One friend is going to bring his delated desktop PC, which they agree they will be sharing, but, think about it, making class notes, writing papers, e-mailing, surfing the web etc, who the hell needs a rat bug infested PC these days ?
& how many times has the "media" been ready to write Apple off ? & only to have Apple come screaming back with either some incredible new piece of hardware or software that's allowed the company to rip into new places & has seen it's bottom line increased considerably as well ?
Apple, currently also have some insane amount of profit on their books, the last number I heard was something like 68 BILLION !!! ... that's a awful lot of cash to have on hold ... yet, Apple, do & are actually taking into consideration just what todo with those cash reserves.
I'm thinking ... make OS X for PC's & sink the strangle hold once & from Windowz.
Yesch, I can hear the sucking in the wind as well ... sure OS X isn't ready to take over Microsofts Active Directory just yet ... but guess what folks, Server OS X integrates perfectly with Active Directory, thus, you could still use Active Directory to manage users etc if you really wanted to, but, the rest of your infrastructure could use Apple Servers, Raid-X & Server OSX for the rest.
Now, if Apple could only do something with the other big monster that lurks in the IT world ... Exchange ...
Posted by: blai | Jul 24, 2021 10:42:44 AM
As the iphone becomes cheaper and more of the younger generation is able to afford it, then the ipod days will be numbered. The cheaper ipods such as the shuffle or the nano might still survive due to their small unit size and are great for athletes or people that use them at the gym. I don't touch my 30gb ipod video anymore since I got the 16gb iphone 3g.
Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jul 24, 2021 10:50:47 AM
What a revelation! New technology overtaking and replacing an older one. How can you think Apple hasn't foreseen this? So the iPod goes the way of the VCR. So what? The folks at Apple would have to be idiots not to see that they were cannibalizing their own product. They'll just shift resources from the manufacture of iPods to iPhones, which are selling like stink BECAUSE they're a phone AND an iPod. And so the price goes down. Guess what? The multitude of consumers who never would have considered an iPhone certainly would then. I know I would.
Posted by: jtan | Jul 24, 2021 11:01:22 AM
ya sure. No one is making virus etc for mac because for the share they have in the market who wants to waste the time. Let's take windows off and put in OS X on every PC and then let's see how long OS X will be able to hold off and whether Apple will be able to do anything about patching etc seeing how every few days we have to update the iphone and all the security flaws its having..
Posted by: Curtis | Jul 24, 2021 11:12:35 AM
Teensy prejudice? Please! Microsoft stocks dropped because they didn't make target profit margins, but meanwhile Apple posted profits. Sure Apple desktop sales are down... but isn't there a recession on? If it wasn't for Xbox, Microsoft would have lost even more money. If the Ipod is on it's way out what about the Zune? (Which was never even "in" to begin with!)Why would anyone buy an Ipod? Because not everyone needs a phone built into their media device nor do they want to pay monthly phone rates for service. I already have a phone, so I'm not planning to get an iPhone, but I love my ipod nano for watching video and for music because it is so small and portable. I know many people who have an Ipod Touch because it has almost all the iphone features, but doesn't cost them a monthly fee. Between the failure of the Zune and Windows Vista, and now with the Wii and Playstation 3 resurgence cutting Xbox profits, in comparison if there is trouble in Apple land, there must be PANIC in the ranks of Microsoft.
Posted by: pbj555 | Jul 24, 2021 1:08:26 PM
first of all macs are not as bullet proof as the everyone wants to believe. And second keeping a PC in running condition is not really that hard, people are just too damn lazy. I even tough my dad to just put on that spyware/anti-virus scan once a week and go watch some friends or something.
Seriously just because you may own a mac doesnt mean you can just throw out everything you know about simple computer maintenance and put everything on auto pilot.
That said i do love macs
Posted by: Ann | Jul 24, 2021 1:16:00 PM
Why buy an iPod? Well, because I don't want to do business with Rogers and have anything to do with their ridiculous data plans.
I'm quite happy with my iPod Touch, which is my music player, video player, and ebook reader in one device.
Posted by: Ann | Jul 24, 2021 1:20:29 PM
Oh, and you did see the articles about how Apple has 91% of the premium computer market (over $1000), right? That means while their market share is down, their margins are impressive. Dell and the like probably need to sell 2-3 units to match the profit Apple makes from selling 1 unit.
Posted by: david W | Jul 24, 2021 1:38:53 PM
Sales are down, but that's all relative to the economy. The fact of the matter is that Apple builds the worlds most reliable, easy to use and operate computers and digital devices. The Mac OS is the best OS on the market and is constantly improving and setting new standards for the industry. Just look to Apple and it's new OS X Server, Snow Leopard, MS can't match it's power and price point. SO yeah Apple is making money and will for along time to come!
Posted by: Jennifer | Jul 24, 2021 2:09:59 PM
Ironically just this week my ipod broke again for no apparent reason and so I dug out my minidisc which has been sleeping for 3 years, it started right up. I am so over the ipod. Take a look on ebay at how many broken ipods there are for sale, crazy prices, and questionable reliability thats the ipod.
Posted by: Tim | Jul 24, 2021 2:22:02 PM
Sales of everything non-essential are likely at least 17% down....anyone recall the recession. In times of tighter scutiny over personal expenditures I'm sure as hell not going to go out and buy the worlds most expensive portable music device (already have one :-). Its still a brilliant device but it will have to change dramatically for me to replace my fully functioning Ipod Touch. Not interested in the Iphone..I have a phone and it works fine thanks.
BTW, nice rant Jack Sparrow. I'm sure your business case to rip out all the Windows Servers in businesses throughout the world would be well received by the businesses that all sufficiently served by their existing Windows Servers. Just what the recession was waiting for; another reason to p!ss money away. good plan. Try to think along the lines of business value rather than a idealistic position against Microsoft. They've done well up to now for a reason too!
Posted by: Ann | Jul 24, 2021 3:44:52 PM
@ Jennifer: Apple has sold over 206 million iPods. It's to be a expected a tiny percentage would be defective or malfunction over the course of time--and there are people who abuse their toys. As for reliability, I have a 6-year-old Shuffle I still use on a daily basis.
Posted by: Mike | Jul 24, 2021 4:11:48 PM
I wouldn't buy an IPOD..It would have to be given to me. There's a multitude of MP3 players that are way less expensive and a whole lot easier to use. Overrated and overpriced. Same with Apple notebooks, I'd love to try one, but not for the price they want for it.
Posted by: blai | Jul 24, 2021 4:27:09 PM
First of all, it is a well-known fact that Apple products have inflated prices. In fact their only laptop below $1000 is the cheapest MacBook at $999. Window desktops and laptops have prices well-below that $1000 mark and even around the $999 mark. I wonder what Apple's so called "91% of premium market" would be if this so-called "premium market" was $999...
Posted by: Ann | Jul 24, 2021 6:33:56 PM
@ blai - Uh, you do understand what a margin is, right? As for the rest of your comment, it makes no sense.
Posted by: cleebie | Jul 24, 2021 7:15:14 PM
Does it rally matter if you own a Mac or a PC? Since Mac switched to using intel chip making anny Mac that is intel based capable of using windows, you can run windows on a mac read here http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/windows-on-mac or you can run the OS x on a PC read here http://oreilly.com/windows/archive/PearPC.html . the links were posted to show it can be done.
Posted by: Greg | Jul 24, 2021 7:49:09 PM
Others have tried to make a comparable mp3 player but haven't come close to IPOD quality and ease of use.Using ITUNES has never been easier.I sure hope they stay around.
Posted by: Ann | Jul 24, 2021 8:47:20 PM
@ cleebie : I own both a Mac and Windows-based PC and I can tell you there is a difference. With the latter, you have one company designing the OS and a slew of other companies designing the hardware. With the former, one company does both...and I wish I started using Macs years earlier.
Posted by: cleebie | Jul 24, 2021 9:34:25 PM
@ Ann: Microsoft doesn't design hardware read here http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=529, and Mac user still pay more for the same parts inside the computer read here http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9128968/Analysts_Mac_buyers_still_pay_more_than_PC_buyers_for_same_hardware_guts_?intsrc=hm_list and Apple doesn't design the hardware in their Mac's either, but Microsoft designs the Window's OS and Apple desgin's ths OS X.
Posted by: cleebie | Jul 24, 2021 9:36:43 PM
forgot the post about Aple not designing their hardware for mac http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=536954