Steve Jobs said that Apple decided to move into the consumer marketplace with its new iPod because “music has always been around, it will always be there, [and] this is not a speculative market,” according to an Interactive Week
Music is a $40 billion annual business with the U.S. recording industry accounting for one-third of that market, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, the story adds. But can Apple make money on the iPod and will it help move Macs?
Interactive Week columnist Connie Guglielmo talked about the iPod’s cool looks, ultra-portable size, display and ease of use. However, she noted that these attributes haven’t convinced all analysts that it will succeed. Some have criticized its US$400 price tag, though others think that Mac users will find the iPod compelling, especially after comparing its product specifications against those of other portable music offerings.
Although the iPod is priced higher than its nearest hard-drive based competitor — the $249.99, 6-gigabyle Nomad Jukebox from Creative Labs — IDC analyst Bryan Ma told Interactive Week that Apple’s player exceeds the capabilities of the Jukebox “by leaps and bounds.”
“Creative’s product is not instant on,” he said. “This one is. The battery life is three times as long; the size is one-third and it weighs significantly less. The interface is multiple times better. Out of personal experience, I used to carry around a Nomad Jukebox, and now I’m carrying the iPod around and I don’t even own a Mac. And I’m thinking of buying one just so I can add to my music library on this device.”
But Ma acknowledged to Interactive Week that Apple faces some “serious challenges.” Among them: so far the iPod doesn’t work with Windows systems and Apple will have to educate folks on why the iPod’s features justify its price tag.