Editorial: 50 Million iPods and Growing? | iLounge Article

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Editorial: 50 Million iPods and Growing?

This Wednesday, Apple Computer will announce its financial results for the last three months, and as always, the company will disclose the number of iPods sold to date. Last quarter, over 42 million iPods had been sold, and analysts now conservatively anticipate actual sales in the 8.5 to 8.8 million range. From there, the math is simple: on Wednesday, we should expect to hear that over 50 million iPods have been sold since late 2001.

If this happens - and we think that it will - there are two reasons Apple will have pulled off an unbelievably impressive feat. First, the 50 million mark is generally reserved for truly famous products; household names that people still remember 20 years after they were introduced. As just one example, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, said to be the best-selling album of all time, is the only one estimated to have sold over 50 million copies worldwide over its lifetime; his other albums haven’t come close. Back when iLounge started, we thought the iPod was amazing, but could anyone have guessed back then that it would be in this league?

And so quickly? Even if Apple barely missed the 50 million mark, the speed of the iPod’s growth would still be staggering. Sony took over 10 years to sell its 50 millionth Walkman, noting that it had shipped 50 million by the device’s 10th anniversary. Similarly, according to Mobile Ecosystem, it took around 12 years for multiple brands of wireless phones to collectively reach the 50 million mark, and more than 15 for computers or TVs to do so. By contrast, the iPod would have done it in only 5 years even if it took Apple until this November; 4.5 years if earlier.

Going forward, our biggest concern is how further iPod growth will be achieved: will Apple try and sell multiple iPods to the same old customers, or expand the iPod’s userbase and appeal to reach even more people? We’re obviously hoping for the latter; in our view, expanded international sales will be one key to making this happen. But even if not, this week’s sales milestone will be something no one can ever take away from the iPod - leadership by a factor of miles and hours, not inches and seconds, won through innovation and continued improvement. We look forward to leading the cheer once the official announcement is made.

What do you think? Your comments and insights are appreciated.

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Comments

1

we get it, ipods are popular. they must be, i own two of them, but please can we stop stroking ourselves and continue to innovate? and i’m not talking 100 dollar leather cases and filing cabinet-sized “portable” speakers.

Posted by decodergrizzly on April 17, 2006 at 4:47 PM (PDT)

2

The next phase of innovation is feature films. The iPod form factor must somehow evolve to fit this phase. The 5th gen iPod felt like a stop gap to fit in videos.

Posted by khanh on April 18, 2006 at 12:32 AM (PDT)

3

I think, that this is a technology legacy that was written by the great philosophers of all time…it could not yet be retrieved because its long lost…
What is written is “By the dawn of the 21st century, a popular media player, so popular that in few years, it will beat any records there is…

Posted by tomahawker on April 18, 2006 at 3:15 AM (PDT)

4

that is a TON of iPods! way to go Apple!

Posted by LawnBoy on April 18, 2006 at 11:27 AM (PDT)

5

i still remember how cool it was when i got my beatutiful 3g iPod when first released for windows. I remember being able to bragg to my friends because not everyone had one. Well i guess apple needs a new outrageous toy that i can brag about because everyone has a iPod now and i can’t brag except that i can play doom on mine. But thats not much of a brag since i now have a 4th gen Photo with a small 2in screen. Everyones like well i can watch videos, and i say so can i just with a littl more effort, then their like my screens bigger and my iPod is black. That when i say shut the **** up and leave.

Well congrats Apple and please please come out with a new toy for me to be able to brag about at my High School.

Posted by Dbster in Georgia on April 18, 2006 at 3:20 PM (PDT)

6

There’s nothing wrong with the 4g ipod photo.  I bought one in september of ‘05, weeks before the Video came out.  I wasn’t kickinbg myself.  the video was too big for my tastes - i adore the ipod photo so much i won’t leave the house without it! 

and it’s got me sold on switching to a Mac.  Apple knows how to get their foot in the door - give people a nice looking, well-functioning branded product that they will carry everywhere and soon they will have Apple-on-the-brain. 

I do not believe this is a bad thing.

Posted by Chibithulhu on April 18, 2006 at 6:53 PM (PDT)

7

Chibithulhu: Like you, I’m a 4th gen “photo” owner. I thought also that the 5th gen screen is a bit over stretch at 2.5 inch.

I am hopeful that the “true” video iPod is upon us soon. Perhaps this summer. Until then, my 30GB 4th gen iPod photo is the crown jewel.

Posted by khanh on April 19, 2006 at 4:29 PM (PDT)

8

Nice article, Jeremy- here’s what I think:

How do we learn how many VIDEO iPods are
out there in happy homes? Who’s reaching
this growing network and who keeps track of
the “most-subscribed” video podcasts?
Thanks!

Posted by iMatty on May 13, 2006 at 4:03 AM (PDT)

9

i love my black nano and im happy raspberry smile

Posted by shader on May 20, 2006 at 1:26 PM (PDT)

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