Ars Technica looks at iPod Mini pricing | iLounge News

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Ars Technica looks at iPod Mini pricing

“The hefty price tag for the multihued player has left many scratching their heads and wondering what insane devotion to high margins could produce such a price point for a device that Apple is hoping grabs them another 20% of the market. People have been quick to point out that another US$50 will buy you an additional 11GB of storage with the 15GB iPod model. They are right. Compared with the current iPod offering, the iPod Mini is a disappointment in terms of price. However, those who make such comparisons are missing the point of the business card sized player. It is not meant to be an alternative to the iPod, but to the high-end flash-based and other small hard drive-based players. Let’s look at some numbers.”

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Comments

1

finally an unbiased look at what i’ve been saying all along..WITH PROOF!!
I read that earlier..good read.

Posted by RegalBegal in New England on January 27, 2004 at 12:53 PM (PDT)

2

I still think more people are going to make the apple to apple comparison rather than the iPod mini in terms of lower end flash players, apple needed to make it more of an obvious price difference in my opinion.  But they will still fly off the shelves by a very ignorant market.

Posted by Ben on January 27, 2004 at 1:33 PM (PDT)

3

Apple is playing a dangerous game by strategically concentrating on getting people to compare MiniPod pricing with Flash players for around the same price. All well and good except for several things:

Capacity. You can buy 20GB Zens for around the same price as a 4GB MiniPod. Apple are trying to compare down the price scale… but many consumers will compare up.

Competitors. The MuVo 4GB is $200 in Best Buy and Amazon. At those levels, even a $50 difference is hyper sensititive for many people.

Features. Flash players usually have FM. And their batteries last 20+ hours. And they never, ever, ever, ever, ever skip. And they are half the weight and size of even the Mini iPod. For many people, flash players are a better fit than the Mini iPod.

Posted by PricingMadness on January 27, 2004 at 1:45 PM (PDT)

4

Some people will choose the mini vs. the flash competitors. It doesn’t matter if everyone makes that comparison. Some will—or there wouldn’t even BE 512 MB flash players at all.

And when other people compare the two iPods and spring for the higher-margin 15 GB iPod—as many should and will—that too is GOOD for Apple, not just the user.

It’s win-win. Compare the mini to Flash players and Apple wins. Compare it to the 15 GB iPod and Apple wins. And in either case, the user can choose what is best for THEM.

Posted by Nagromme on January 27, 2004 at 1:55 PM (PDT)

5

Right now the iPod Mini Silver is at sales rank 158 on Amazon.

Out of tens of thousands of products on sale at amazon, I’d say that ain’t bad.  Especially for a pre-orderable item that isn’t even shipping yet.

Posted by uncle spanky on January 27, 2004 at 2:59 PM (PDT)

6

My take is that Apple is PURPOSELY trying to keep down demand until they have enough volume to fill it. Setting the price as they did would cause this. There have been many reports that prices will be coming down in less than six months. I can’t verify that at all. It is just my impression of why they priced it as they did. Anyone have any numbers as for production vs demand?

Posted by olsonbw on January 27, 2004 at 3:07 PM (PDT)

7

If Apple hadn’t upped the 10gb to 15gb on the day they released the mini then everyone would be saying 4gig mini 50 bucks less then 10gig iPod. The 10gig would look redundant. There are people on this sight saying how good value their second hand 5gig is for the money - forgetting it was 399 new. It seems to me that if it had been 199 then people would be saying they could have cleaned up at 149, or 129. They could corner themarket tomorrow at 99 bucks - they would go bust in the process, however. In time they’ll be cheaper anyway.

Posted by Jackson in London on January 27, 2004 at 3:57 PM (PDT)

8

Oh yeah - if they released a 1gig flash player tomorrow for 199 some would say - that’s only 50 less than a mini. It will go on till judgement day.

Posted by Jackson in London on January 27, 2004 at 4:00 PM (PDT)

9

The one thing I think is missing from the whole argument is the idea of exclusivity. Sure, Apple could price the thing lower and get much better market share… but that would diminish one of the key aspects of the iPod: the fact that it’s somewhat of a status symbol and it’s not something the masses can’t just go out and buy. When people stop saying, “Oh, you have an iPod? Wow!” then it’s over.

Let’s face it, the regular iPods cost a fortune. Many of us have sunk well over $500 into them with all the accessories. When’s the last time you spent that much on a walkman or a discman? It’s unheard of. The iPod needs to be priced slightly above what it’s worth on technical merit alone. Sure, the iPod is a better machine than the Nomad Zen or the Dell DJ, but on a technical level it’s not better enough to justify the price difference. We paid it because we had to have iPods.

It’s the same with the mini. You need people to say, “Yeah, I could get a MuVo2 for $200… but for just a little more I can get an iPod!”

If Apple dropped the price, Creative and Rio would be forced to drop their prices in the short term, as well… since the “iPod image” would still be worth a premium. But eventually, if everyone gets iPods, that image will diminish and that would be a bad thing. So I think there’s no reason for Apple to price this thing much lower… especially given the other prices in that article.

Posted by kauffee on January 27, 2004 at 4:24 PM (PDT)

10

I am just happy to get a player that will work with iTunes!! grin

Posted by kiwi on January 27, 2004 at 4:30 PM (PDT)

11

You’re right kauffee. If the government gave out free iPods sites like this would cease to exist. An iPod is a luxury - as such it commands a luxury price. The surprise is that it isn’t dearer than the Creative equivalent.

Posted by Jackson in London on January 27, 2004 at 4:32 PM (PDT)

12

You can use iTunes to manage Archos, Nomads, iRivers. Probably Rios as well, but I haven’t seen that yet.

It’s just a matter of installing an iTunes plugin. I don’t think the iPod-iTunes connection is as exclusive as Apple wants it to be.

Posted by Plugins on January 27, 2004 at 5:03 PM (PDT)

13

I think it’s more about the iTunes Music Store than managing the player with iTunes (which I find horrible on PC’s ... it’s bloaty and slow).

Posted by Bobo on January 27, 2004 at 5:12 PM (PDT)

14

Quality matters to me. 128K AAC just sounds muddy. I prefer APS Extreme MP3 - averages around 210 Kbps, sounds divine. That’s why I prefer to buy CDs and rip them myself. The iTunes store holds no attraction for me - plus I get my CDs second-hand for around $5. I am also wary of buying vaporous downloads over real CDs. What if God Forbid some time in the future I wanted to move my music to some other player? If it was all AAC I’m in trouble. CDs give me flexibility.

Posted by ganesha on January 27, 2004 at 5:16 PM (PDT)

15

If capacity was the only thing on people’s minds then they would be lining up to buy this $150 20GB mp3 player.

But they are not.

Posted by size isnt everything on January 27, 2004 at 6:02 PM (PDT)

16

Just for the record…not everyone that buys an ipod does so for the so called “coolness” factor.  Personally, I could give a rats ### if everyone in the world had one.  As long as mine is filled with music I will be happy.  And I promise you that I will abandon the ipod when it is not the best, no matter how “uncool” the better one is.

Posted by pherret on January 27, 2004 at 9:41 PM (PDT)

17

Even if Apple hadn’t upped the 10gig to 15, people would still complain that “for $50 more you can get 6 more gigs”.

- narco

Posted by narco in Burbank on January 27, 2004 at 10:10 PM (PDT)

18

I would have rather had Apple save a few r&d dollars and release a 5-6GB ipod in the 3g form factor for 199. Yes, the minis are cool, but they’re a tad expensive. As the current situation stands, I’d rather spend a few extra dollars for a slightly larger, full-sized, 15gb iPod.

An inexpensive full-sized iPod would have been just as effective as a mini iPod in making people think twice about flash based devices. The mini part in my mind is just a marketing gimmick (gotta admit though, the new control pad on the minis are neat). Big or small, iPods are great… and that’s coming from someone who owns and loves an mp3/hd device made by someone other than Apple!

Posted by slantyyz on January 27, 2004 at 10:12 PM (PDT)

19

Here’s what I think Apple is up to. While supplies of the ipod mini ramp up, Apple wants people to take a serious look at there higher end models. As time passes and sales of the ipod mini start to level off - Apple will probably lower the price to $200 and introduce a new design for the higher end models at the same price - thus creating demand for both the ipod mini for those who want small at $200 max and creating demand for those who want good price/memory ratio of the big boys in a new and improved ipod mini type design.

Posted by Rishio on January 27, 2004 at 10:15 PM (PDT)

20

lol i said this in the beginning. that price f@ucking .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Posted by mini ipod suck on January 28, 2004 at 1:35 AM (PDT)

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