Cheaper nano, shuffles are globally huge deals
Somewhat amazingly, one out of every three or four new iPod hardware announcements now takes place via an announcement on Apple’s web site and a press release rather than at a “Special Event,” “Apple Event,” “Music Event,” or trade show. This is only “somewhat amazing” for one reason: iPod launches can and have become spectacles. By comparison, on-paper iPod launches are reserved for the sorts of products that won’t elicit “oohs” and “aahs” from a crowd: the iterative second-generation iPod mini and fourth-generation black-and-white iPod both launched in this way, as did the subsequent capacity-bumped fourth-generation color iPod when it was being redubbed from iPod photo. Today saw yet another such press release unveiling: the introduction of a 1GB iPod nano at $149, and the dropping of iPod shuffle 512MB and 1GB models from $99 and $129 price points to $69 and $99.
Apple’s lack of a formal event for this news is not surprising; many people would have walked out of the room saying “so what?” But for much of the world - millions of people, really - this is much bigger news than the “so what?” crowd might appreciate. As noted in our recent reports from Singapore and Malaysia, even though the iPod has skyrocketed to over 42 million sold through 2005, there are still vast numbers of people who can’t afford iPods, particularly those in developing countries - places that haven’t yet been won over to iPod dominance. Sure, Apple could have released a new screened shuffle at a $99 price point and maintained its existing user base. Instead, making the current shuffle available at $69 has the strong potential to bring a brand new group of super-price-conscious consumers from all around the world into the iPod fold - if the pricing holds internationally, and is marketed correctly. We’ll have to see whether that price retreats back up again to $99 with whatever comes next, but certainly, Apple has the option now to replace the shuffle, or kill it entirely in favor of a $99 512MB nano, should that be necessary.
The shuffle’s price drop isn’t the big news, though. Apple’s profound success at promoting iPod nano as an object of desire has led to an unusual quandry: there’s plenty of demand for nano at its current pricing, but also a huge number of people who can’t afford the $199 entry point, and won’t become iPod owners unless they can get something nano-like. Again, Apple could have introduced a screened 1GB shuffle for $129 or $149. But instead, the company did the smart thing, creating a cheaper nano, capitalizing on the strong interest in that model to capture all of the price-conscious buyers who have held off until now. Of course, this has the side benefit of making life that much more difficult for low-end iPod competitors: nothing looks as good at the $149 price point as a 1GB nano.
So today, the iPod family ranges for the first time from $69 to $399 - the most affordable iPod line-up in history. Next up is the sale of a billion songs through iTunes. We have no doubt that this is going to be a great year for Apple.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Apple releases iOS 10.0.2 to fix headphone controls, iCloud Photo Library
- Report: Apple’s Siri home hub has reached the prototype stage
- Apple acquires machine learning company Tuplejump
- Apple releases iOS 10.1 public beta
- iOS 10.1 beta adds ‘Portrait’ Depth of Field effect
- Apple releases first iOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1, tvOS 10.0.1 developer betas
- Report: Apple considering acquisition of high-performance car maker McLaren (Update: and Lit Motors)
- Google brings Allo messaging app to iOS
- Apple working on fix for Lightning EarPods glitch
- DisplayMate says iPhone 7 has the ‘best performing mobile LCD display’
- Thought Out Simplex Tablet iPad Stand
- SmartX Galaxy ZEGA Starter Kit
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus Leather Case
- Apple Watch Series 2
- iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
- Twelve South HiRise 2 for iPhone + iPad
- Nomad Pod Pro for iPhone and Apple Watch
- Sevenhugs hugOne Sleep Monitoring System
- Kanex GoPower Watch Portable Battery for Apple Watch
- Nuvyyo Tablo Over-the-Air Television DVR
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps