A recent look at the MP3 player market in USA Today penned by Jefferson Graham draws positive attention to Apple’s iPod. Entitled MP3 devices, prices all over the place offers info for prospective buyers of digital music storage devices.
Graham said that despite early market offerings, Sonicblue and Creative Labs are now both “trying to play catch up” with Apple following the company’s 2001 introduction of the iPod. IDC analyst Susan Kevorkian said that Apple “reinvigorated the market” with the iPod’s release and called it “the rising tide that lifted all boats” in the MP3 product category.
Apple’s Greg Joswiak told Graham that the sales of iPods have exceeded Apple’s expectations — reassuring news, perhaps, for nervous stockholders who just got word that Apple’s revenue estimates for its third financial quarter will fall about 10 percent short of where the company expected to be.
A market tracking firm analyst said that MP3 player sales are already up 74 percent for the year, “and a big chunk of that is coming from Apple.”
Creative Labs, one of Apple’s competitors in the market, said that the iPod had too many compromises his company wasn’t willing to take when creating its own Nomad digital jukebox, which also uses a hard disk drive to store data but is a behemoth by comparison.
In fact, Graham noted that iPod envy has stirred some Windows-centric software developers to create software to enable the device to work on their platform; something that Apple has been unwilling to do since the iPod “helps Apple sell computers,” according to Joswiak.
The tide may be turning once again with yesterday’s introduction of the Gigabeat from Toshiba. With an iPod-like industrial design, PC compatibility and removable hard disk storage, Toshiba’s new digital music player may give the iPod a run for its money with Windows users — especially since Toshiba makes the same hard drive mechanisms Apple currently favors for the iPod. Fortunately, though, the Gigabeat doesn’t have the same basic storage capacity as the high-end iPod. At least not yet.