Tuesday, January 18, 2005

How iPod will become MyPod - Response to Forbes magazine

How iPod will become MyPod: And, Why Forbes Is Wrong About The Future Sales Of iPods

By Imran Anwar

The media, and consumers, are excited beyond belief at the incredible performance of Apple Computer in the last few years. It's recent release of a Mac MINI and an iPod (mini) Shuffle has generated even more buzz. It sold close to 5 MILLION of the existing iPods in just the last quarter. Even previous naysayer journalists have begun to sing praises of the iPod and Apple.

Forbes generally has great analysis. Their Mr. Hesseldahl usually writes logically and sensibly on technology issues. His recent piece (When iPod Sales Run Out Of Steam - Forbes 1/14/05) on iPod sales sounds similarly logically written. But, unfortunately, the logic is so flawed I had to laugh. Except, I am a satisfied Apple iPod user, MacUser and currently also hold a few hundred shares in Apple - so I had to respond to it.

Using the logic of his article, Microsoft should have gone out of business a few years ago, as well as IBM. After all, PCs and clones reached a much higher penetration of the market than iPod enjoys at present. Yet, more personal computers are sold today than ever before. People's needs increase. They upgrade. CPUs become more powerful. Applications require more resources and new hardware is needed.

Eventually, as machines become more affordable, people buy more PCs.

Similarly, with Apple's new $499 Mac Minis I can bet millions more of these and Windows PCs will sell even where people already have PCs

In My Humble Opinion, Apple iPods can conceivably sell in much higher numbers than personal computers, for various reasons.

A personal computer has the word "personal" in its name but often a whole family can share a SINGLE personal computer, especially because MacOS, Windows, etc. also allow separate user accounts to run on the same machine.

The iPod on the other hand is a TRULY Personal device. You take it with you. You keep your music on it. Your spouse or brother has their own iPod even if you both share the same computer. So, conceivably, a family with 2 parents and four kids that shares one PC (which could be in the range of $500-$3000) can easily also own six iPods.

If this family has a Mercedes or BMW or one of the newer models coming out with iPod support built-in, I could also imagine there being an iPod just for the car.

Sounds far-fetched? Think about it. We have cassette and CD players at home and in the car. For more than 5 years I have had a car with an integrated Motorola cell phone.

Now I have more than one cell phone. And, I am not even including the cellular numberless cell phone that is built into the car for the security and tele-aid system.

Over time, I just got used to leaving the Motorola cell phone in the car. Calls to it are automatically forwarded to my "handheld" cell phone when I am not driving. So, having a "car-iPod" in addition to the family's various iPods is not unthinkable.

This past Christmas, I bought a 40GB iPod for a friend who had done me a favor. I had considered taking his wife and him to dinner and a Broadway show. Instead, I spent approximately the same money on getting him the iPod. Whether he uses it (on his boat, car, motorcycle, hotrod, or just tooling around his family business where he is first to arrive and last to leave) or gives it to his wife or son or grandchildren, the iPod was the perfect gift. And, it will last a lot longer than that dinner I would have taken him to.

In the meantime, we got two more iPods, for my siblings, and I am now in the market for a replacement. My 30GB iPod is close to full and I also want the iPod Photo version. The 80GB version of that should be here soon, and as soon as it does, I hope to get one.

With the launch of the $99 iPod Shuffle, I can actually get these for my sister and her husband, who both like music but are not listening to it all the time to justify getting them the high-end units. At $99, at their birthdays, I would have no problems getting one each for the kids in the family.

So, as far as I am concerned, even if Apple does not add video to iPod (I have no interest in that at present), I can see MUSIC-ONLY driven sales continuing to rise. Add the explosion of podcasting, and more audio-books, and one can see how even "serious" people can happily tote iPods on the subway or on the plane, on their walk to the beach or walking in the mall.

If, as I have been begging for years, Apple re-releases a PIM (personal information maanger) or PDA, built either into the cell phone they are launching with Motorola or into the iPod (I already carry my contacts, calendars, and some documents on the iPod) with or without Bluetooth - you can see the implications of the iPod becoming even more a MyPod.

What do YOU think?

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