Apple updates iPod Line – First Take

In addition to the software updates, Apple also did a nice refresh of the iPod line. Of course the obligatory stats. First, 50% customers are new to iPod. That’s pretty important as it shows that the market is still expanding and there are new customers to be engaged with. In terms of market share, Apple has a staggering 73.8% share. That’s something that just doesn’t happen in consumer electronics. Or in most markets for that matter.

The core strategy play is still the iPod Touch. As Apple discussed, it’s the hottest iPod on the market, with 20 million sold, over 30 million phones, that’s a 50 million device strong eco system. That’s not a number that’s going to go unnoticed by app developers.

Apple’s now added Genius Mixes directly to the device and of course, the iPod Touch has evolved to much more than a media player. With Wifi, Browser, Email, Contacts, Facebook, Twitter, etc, the iPod Touch is looking a lot at what the PDA market might have evolved into. Of course, Apple is wise to never to refer to the iPod as a PDA. Even more interesting is Apple’s onslaught into the handheld gaming market. We just finished a report on this topic so I’ll have more to share shortly but bottom line, Apple claims 21,178 games vs. 3,608 for Nintendo and 607 for Sony on the PSP. Apple is clearly going after the portable game market in a big way. Apple’s also revved the pricing for the line.
8 gb – $199
32 gb – $299
64 gb – $399

Of course, these are without contract and getting to the $199 price point was super important. I expect that to have a big impact come holiday.

While some speculated that the iPod Classic would be retired, I’ve been skeptical. There’s simply too many use cases for the largest devices. Apple revved the capacity to 160gb, while keeping last years form factor and price. 160gb goes for $249 (and hold 40,000 songs)
Even though it was introduced recently, the iPod Shuffle got an update. First, it’s now in colors with Pink, Green and Blue along with Silver and Black. Capacity is $59 2gb $79 for 4gb. And there’s a uber-cool Special edition iPod Shuffle. It’s done in stainless steel and has 4gb $for 99. No new features but it’s super cool and caressable. VERY caressable.

Finally, the Nano gets an update. It’s been a super popular device for them with more than 100 million sold and now it does video. Video is now integrated into the new iPod Nano. Camera, Microphone and Speaker. Capture with sound. Same size as last years but with a larger display of 2.2″. Camera resolution is VGA camera. Connect to Mac and PC. No still only video for now. Very cool. This is likely to put some real pressure on the flip folks for taking short, ubiquitous video clips. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see where Apple’s going with this.
In addition, there’s Genius mixes. And an FM Radio. Radio has a cool feature where it can pause for up to 15 minutes. In addition it can also do iTunes tagging. Finally, there’s Voice Recording software and an integrated pedometer.

The new units are polished anodized aluminum. These are colors that really pop and they really do have to be seen to believed. There’s nine colors to choose. Capacity is 8gb $149, 16gb for 179. Like everything else, it’s all available today.

Once again, Apple has taken a set of evolutionary steps with their device but built in some revolutionary features. At an economic time when consumers are looking for choice and different purchase drives, Apple has an excellent catalog of devices that should serve them well in Q4. Next week, we’ll see Microsoft unveil Zune HD an I’ll take a closer look at both device platforms stack up against each other. Some device or software questions? Ask away…

One response to “Apple updates iPod Line – First Take

  1. I work for Best Buy and reckoned that you may really want to get in on this March promo we are going to be offering on unique purchaser gift cards. Look it over…many people are getting loads of totally free electronics these days.

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