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Apple's iPod

What makes ipod such a success?  I'm still scratching my head on this.  Just an MP3 player, these things are a dime a dozen. Anyone own one that can tell me what's so great about it?

hoser
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Marketing... have you seen an advertisement for any other portable jukeboxes?

Chris
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I own a 10 GB 2nd generation iPod - here are my thoughts.

- integrates really well (so simple to integrate with my computer)
- simple interface (but powerfull, I can quicky get whatever I want with very little effort and with little memorization)
- stylish (yes, this counts, a lot)
- solid (have you held one , it feels sturdy and expensive)
- it just works (and that's the kicker)

So, it's simple but elegant, sturdy and expensive feeling, slick looking and it just works. 

There are probably other portable music players on the market now that could compete on nearly all or all of these points, but Apple has the mindshare, and that's a big thing.  "White headphones, she must have an iPod"

Lou
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

why did levi's sell so many jeans (still do but not as much)?

why does nike sell more than competitors?

becuase their products are considered cool. in the example of the iPod this is the cool design that competitors do not have. ANother important factor is that (correct me if im wrong) is that Apple was first to release a hard-drive based mp3-player which enabled them to get the first-move advantage in the market. In addition, marketing plays a big role as well, apple's well known brand & distribution and the quality and user-friendly product.

http://sleepyhead81.blogspot.com

Espen Antonsen
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I do not think it is just Marketing.

The combination of iTunes, sleek design, relative affordibility for an Apple product, desire to take make one's music collection portable and listen to it whenever whereever and finally the sheep mentality of people to want to make a fashion statement.

Code Monkey
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I'm pretty sure the 4GB Creative Nomad came out before the first iPod.  I could be mistaken.

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Could it just happen to be that:

a) people love music
b) people love mp3's
c) people are going to want mp3 players...because they love music.
d) when looking for an mp3 player...it's hands down the best out there?
e) So now it gets popular because it's the best.  Inevitably people who weren't interested in mp3 players now get interested.  They go with an iPod because that's the one they've heard about (but in this case, that's ok .. b/c it's the best)
f) Now everyone is on the bandwagon, and once that happens, you get a certain segment that starts "hating" on the "leader of the pack".
g) The haters start posting on joelonsoftware.com with threads titled "Apple's iPod"  (I kid, I kid)

Natural progression of a top of the line product
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

***d) when looking for an mp3 player...it's hands down the best out there?***


this is incredibly subjective.

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

There are other products that have good software, more storage, good design, and are cheaper than an iPod.  But when it comes down to it, Apple has marketed the iPod as THE jukebox to get.  "Hey, it looks cool, it holds all your music, it's easy to use, it's hip, you gotta get one."  Sure, it's a good product, but good marketing as well.

Chris
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Seriously, which other MP3 player has a better UI than the iPod?

I've played with a few competitors, but not all of them. So far I haven't seen anything as easy and elegant as the iPod.

Fred
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

this is incredibly subjective.
----------------------------------

Do the research.  Compare what's out there.  It's hands down the best MP3 player out there.

Natural progression of a top of the line product
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

It depends on whether your criteria is solely the soundness of a product or whether you also take into account the ethics of a company.  I think Apple's pricing scheme is artificial and they do society a disservice by promoting an elitist, superior attitude amongst their customers.

While there will always be elitist snobs hanging about our little blue sphere, I can't really get on board with a company who caters to it.  Apple seems to do this.  There's just no reason for their hardware to cost 3 times what a comparable PC does.  They charge what they charge because they can.

Blah blah blah good business effective marketting blah blah.

It's irresponsible.

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

"Just an MP3 player, these things are a dime a dozen."

Flash-based MP3 players are a dime a dozen.  There are probably less than 10 brands of Harddrive MP3 players.  And out of those, only 3-4 are any good.

Almost Anonymous
Wednesday, June 23, 2004


Elitist snobs! Bwahahaahahhahahaha!

Don't stray too far from that dull, grey, median, eh? Maybe companies should run all their new products past you to see if it passes the "elitist snob" sniff test.

hahahahahahahaha

anon
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Who said I should have veto power over anybody?  I just personally don't like the slant of Apple's marketting/business strategy and therefore don't buy their products.  That's capitalism, slick.

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004


No shit, that's capitalism, junior.

You're criticizing it for doing exactly what it's supposed to do, sport.

anon
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I'm not criticizing a thing except Apple's practices.  I think Capitalism is fine and dandy.  What sort of bizarre connections are YOU projecting onto what I said?

I don't like Apple's marketting, hence I do not buy from them.

Where in that do you see criticism of capitalism?  Moron.

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Those out there who own HD based mp3 players: 

How do the major 2 or 3 (iPod, Dell, whatever) perform when running/phyical activity)?  Any patterns of HD failure?

thanks

Yo
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

"There's just no reason for their hardware to cost 3 times what a comparable PC does.  They charge what they charge because they can."

You just answered your own issue.

  --Josh

JWA
Wednesday, June 23, 2004


I guess the word "irresponsible" is not criticism? Moron.

haahahahahahahahahahaahah

anon
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

+Josh+

Certainly, that's the answer for "why" they do what they do.  I never questioned why.  I question whether they "should".  Since that's not my question to answer, I opt to simply not give them my custom.  Where's the issue?

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

"I can't really get on board with a company who caters to it"

So take your money elsewhere. Don't buy jewelry, go to cheap restaurants, drive a dinky car, go someplace crappy for vacation, feel good about yourself.

Tom H
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I love how this turned into a rant about Apple's ethics.

I bought my iPod because it was the best mp3 player out there.  Of course, I did get a 15% discount because I knew someone that worked at Apple.  All that other nonsense muppet is spewing, is just that.  Nonsense.

Natural progression of a top of the line product
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

*Tom*

essentially, that's exactly right.  Though extreme.  Again, what's the issue?

I simply stated that Apple's iPod is the best mp3 player on the market for folks that don't take issue with Apple as a company, for others, it's not.  Therefore, declaring it the best IS subjective.  What's the issue here?  Are you all frothing fanboys, incapable of rational discussion and accepting that others have different perspectives?

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

One point on which many players seem to beat iPod is battery life.  Also there is the issue of file types.  Several other players seem to support WMA, and a few support Ogg.

Apple has made it difficult for any other mp3 player to take over the iPod market by making sure that iTunes AACs can't be played on anything but iPods, or computers with iTunes installed.

Personally, I'm waiting for the ultimate pocket convergence, the smart phone with hard drive.  Though I'm not really keen on either MS or Palm OSes.

Keith Wright
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

++ folks that don't take issue with Apple as a company, for others, it's not++

Declaring iPod the superiour mp3 player based on it's techinical merits is not subjective.  (You did not state your reasoning in your first post, "isn't that subjective", now you are backpeddling).

Your comment about Apple as a company (quoted above) IS subjective.

You are the one being subjective!  Sadly, you don't understand that and instead choose to troll.

Natural progression of a top of the line product
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Muppet, just who or what is Apple "irresponsible" to?  You use the word "elitist" like that's a bad thing.  (Not an uncommon silliness.)  Should Apple be "responsible" to the egalitarian hogwash that everybody is as excellent as everyone else?  Ha!  Take a look around some time.

That out of the way, being able to buy something expensive doesn't say much about a person.  Paris Hilton can buy quite a lot, yet she's a Nothing.

On computer price... Apple is very price competitive on that side.  I dare you to take any Dell and bring it up to spec with a Mac from the pro lines and *then* compare the prices.  I did this with my last computer buy, and found the Mac $600 cheaper than the closest Dell (which was still missing a couple minor things), so I bought the Apple.  For what I do, I can switch operating systems as I please, and the Apple PowerBook had the best price for my needs.

Oh, and an actual answer to the original post...
The iPod has been drastically better suited than any other player available to people with a big music collection who listen often.  The sound quality is superb, the battery charging characteristics excellent, and nobody else was even in Apple's league for capacity-to-player-size at the high end of capacity.  Now the Hitachi drives are more widely available, so other vendors can copy the iPod, but in past years, and the Creatives and Rios of the world were farting around making low-end flash players, hoping to pull in a huge volume of price-sensitive customers.  Only Apple got the mix right for high-income people, so they won that market handily.

candymancan
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

On file types...

People, AAC is a standard.  Apple has no corner on it.  Any vendor out there is free to build a player that plays AAC, and could happily play any CD ripped with iTunes as AAC without so much as a may-I-please to Apple.

What the other players can't do is play copy-protected AAC files downloaded from the Apple service, because Apple's not sharing the locking scheme.  Likewise Apple's player won't play files locked up with Microsoft's proprietary WMA, because Apple already dominates the download market, so they don't really need to bother with Microsoft.  So if you plan to buy rights-removed, downloaded music, you're stuck with one cartel or the other.  But the point is moot if you rip your own disks, so who cares?

candymancan
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Indeed, some of the newer players seem to be beating Apple on battery life.  (Or so I gather from published specs.)

I have never come close to draining my iPod battery.  At work, I run it on a second charger.  If I had spent more than eight hours at the coffee shop, that dead battery would serve as a much needed wake-up call to get out and get some air, or turn off the music and be more social.

Again, Apple's success here is due to their incredible job of identifying a perfect feature mix.  Given a choice, I wouldn't be interested in taking on a single gram of weight for longer battery life.

candymancan
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

"Again, Apple's success here is due to their incredible job of identifying a perfect feature mix.  Given a choice, I wouldn't be interested in taking on a single gram of weight for longer battery life."

Bravo.  That's what many of the above criticisms miss.  Sure, other music players beat the iPod on one criterion or another, but no others have mastered the same balance and tradeoff of price and features as deftly as Apple has.

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

a world where people contribute to the financial well being of corporations with no regard for that corporations politics or practices is a scary world indeed.  I don't think there's anything the least bit subjective about a thoughtful analysis of a corp's impact on society.  No more than an analysis of the hardware capabilities of their product.

muppet from forums.madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

>Sure, other music players beat the iPod on one criterion or another, but no others have mastered the same balance and tradeoff of price and features as deftly as Apple has

That might be true now but once solid state media prices go down ( the compact flash based 4GB Muvo is $160 today)  we will see what happens.

Apple will find the same thing that it found with the Mac's that just wrapping pretty colored plastic around so-so technology is a recipe for the becoming a niche market player, patronized by only by losers who think that showing a white earphone somehow makes them cool.

Code Monkey
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

muppet with the too long name

I have no idea why you think "it's irresponsible to charge as much money as Apple does" is somehow a thoughtful criticism.
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

that's not what I said, but you can oversimplify any argument and make it sound silly.  Congratulations on your repetitive, ad hominem tactics.

muppet from forums.madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Actually there IS reason for Apple to charge more for their hardware than a similar PC -- economies of scale.  With a much smaller market than the PC to sell to, they can't take advantage of them like Dell, HP, etc can.

Mr. Fancypants
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Also.. the iPod mini is incredibly cool.

Mr. Fancypants
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Apple's market would grow to accomodate if they lowered their hardware prices.  I can just about guarantee it.

muppet from forums.madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Apple's prices are already pretty darn low.  They compare favorably with the prices of every major brand.  I would almost venture to say that they are the value leader.  Go look yourself.  Don't be fooled by the entry price.  After you customize an HP or Dell to be a respectable box, they're often no cheaper than the equivalent Apple.  Especially for notebook computers.  (Oh, and remember to multiply the PowerPC clock speed by 1.5x.)

But that aside, I'm always astounded to hear people advocate a strategy focused on selling to cheapskates.

Gus
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

At the risk of sounding like an Apple salesman or something (I just like mine a lot)... I know most people won't take the time to surf over, so let's just bust those delusions here.

For example, in a nice midrange pro desktop machine, these are quite similar in features.

Dual 2GHz PowerPC G5
1GB DDR400 SDRAM (PC3200) - 2x512
250GB Serial ATA - 7200rpm
ATI Radeon 9600 XT w/128MB DDR SDRAM
56k V.92 internal modem
8x SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
$2,799.00

Dell Precision Workstation 450
Dual Intel® Xeon™ Processor 2.80GHz, 512K Cache
Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional, SP1 with Media and NTFS
1GB,DDR266 SDRAM Memory,ECC (2 DIMMS)
FREE Upgrade to QuadroFX 500 128MB for the price of Quadro NVS 280, 64MB
8X DVD+RW/+R with Roxio® Easy CD Creator plus DVD decode
250GB SATA, 7200 RPM Hard Drive with DataBurst Cache™
Floppy Drive:
1.44MB FDD,Full-size,no-bezel,F3 bay-1ST SOURCE
SCSI/RAID:
SATA PCI Non-RAID adapter for 1 SATA HDD
$2,949

Gus
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

And near the low end... these were harder to match up.  Dell doesn't sell a P4 lower than the 2.8 Ghrtz, while Apple doesn't currently sell the consumer machines without a display.

iMac 1GHz PowerPC G4  (which is faster than it sounds)
512MB DDR333 - 2 DIMMs
80GB Ultra ATA drive
15-inch flat panel LCD
Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
NVIDIA GeForce4 MX w/ 32MB video memory
$1,399.00 - $25.00 (memory promotion)
= $1,374.00

Dell Dimension 4600 Series
Intel ® Pentium® 4 Processor 2.8GHz w/533MHz FSB
(faster than the iMac, I'd guess.)
Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional
512MB Dual Channel DDR SDRAM at 333MHz (2x256M)
80GB Ultra ATA/100 Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
No Floppy Drive Included
Single Drive: 48x CD-RW / DVD-ROM Combo Drive
15 in (15.0 in viewable) E152FPb Flat Panel Display
Integrated Intel® Extreme Graphics 2
Integrated 5.1 Channel Audio
No Speaker Option
New Dell Gigabit Ethernet (cool.  this is new for them.)
$1346

Gus
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I think comparing a 2.8GHz pentium 4 to a 1GHz apple is a bit of a stretch, even taking into account Apple's claims of equivalent performance at lower clock speeds.

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Yes, and I said so: "(faster than the iMac, I'd guess.)"

As I said, Dell didn't offer a slower Pentium.  But for low end users, the 1Ghrtz G4 is a really quick processor and the 2.8 P4 goes wasted.  Only gamers and people doing intense graphics work might notice the difference.  Graphics pros buy pro boxes, graphics students seem to buy notebooks.

Apple's prices are slightly better at the high end, a little worse at the bottom (except laptops where Apple is a better value), and don't currently go low enough for the sub-$1000 crowd.

Well, there is the eMac, but I don't know how that compares to ultra-cheap PCs.
1.25GHz PowerPC G4 // 256MB DDR333 SDRAM
// 40GB Ultra ATA drive // Combo CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive
$799.00

Gus
Thursday, June 24, 2004

A boxed P4 1.8 GHz is $167 at Amazon.
(All other things equal, that will perform like a 1Ghz G4.)
A boxed P4 2.8 GHz is $197 at eCost.

OK, call the low end Apple $30 overpriced.  :-)

Gus
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Comments:

The iPod is great because it's a hard-disk player (stores all your music), it's small (other hard-disk players tend to be huge), and it uses Firewire so it's fast (other hard-disk players tend to use USB).  True, other MP3 players have started using faster wire protocols and started slimming down, but Apple jumped ahead of competitors by quite a bit, when they first released it.  (Other things like nice interface and being nearly indestructable are just icing on the cake.)

As for 1GHz G4, I wouldn't at all be surprised if it's comparable to a 2.8GHz P4.  The Linux-PPC hackers have tended to agree with Apple's claims about the G4, IIRC.  You can't discount software, either: Apple's OpenGL is the best I've seen, and they use 3d acceleration throughout the interface, so you'd have to have a faster PC / video card to beat the Mac at graphics performance.

happy Mac
Saturday, June 26, 2004

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