Mix: 20GB iPod, 800 lbs. gorilla, Podcasting, contests, Late Show | iLounge News

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Mix: 20GB iPod, 800 lbs. gorilla, Podcasting, contests, Late Show

Noting that the iPod is proving to be as synonymous with music players as Band-Aid with bandages or Kleenex for tissues, Peter Howe reports that the 20GB iPod is by far the most popular model this holiday season.
 
Rio, Creative, Virgin, iRiver and Archos are among those pushing their design teams to challenge Apple’s “800-pound white gorilla” on both function and fashion.

BusinessWeek’s Thane Peterson says that Podcasting is one of 2004’s major cultural trends. He says it will “democratize radio by making it possible for just about anyone to broadcast audio content—much as blogging did for written commentary.”

iPodContests.com is a new Web site that tracks contests from companies that offer iPods as prizes. For a more comprehensive listing of iPod giveaways check out Les Posen’s iPod Giveaway Site.

Apple’s iPod, iPod mini and a “new iPod” that holds “a billion songs” appeared this week on the Late Show with David Letterman. (Click on the Big Show Highlight in the DaveTV box.)

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Comments

1

Podcasting is like blogging….

You can blog all you want but who wants to read it?  You can podcast all you want but who cares to listen?

Posted by Taphil on December 17, 2004 at 2:13 PM (CST)

2

What a shame it is that the Letterman Site uses RealNetworks! :(

I would have loved to see what Dave’s iPod looked liked, but at what expence?!?!

No I’ll think I’ll take a pass on this offer, and chose not to install Real-Maleware on my PC…

Posted by Ichijoe in Deutschland on December 17, 2004 at 3:19 PM (CST)

3

Yes! The 20GB is more popular than the mini! I am so happy about that!

Posted by M3wThr33 in Redmond, WA on December 18, 2004 at 1:25 AM (CST)

4

who has a billion songs?

Posted by ssr1 on December 18, 2004 at 7:22 AM (CST)

5

<i.“democratize radio by making it possible for just about anyone to broadcast audio content</i>

ShoutCast anybody?

Posted by Demosthenes on December 18, 2004 at 9:12 AM (CST)

6

As Creative watched iPod sales soar, Ms. O’Malley came to realize something else. “We understood the whole thing with these players can’t be just functionality, that we always concentrated on,” she said. “People were using them as fashion statements.”

You know this is pretty rich. Right after the first Zen come out, Creative laid off almost the entire creative and engineering team in Scotts Valley, CA, and moved the design to Singapore.

Apple knows good people when it sees them. Pretty much all of the team were hired en masse to go work in Cupertino, only a short drive away. Literally dozens of Creative’s former Zen designers worked on the 3G and later iPod designs. They brought a distinctive edge to the projects, especially in their fondness for color highlight tinting.

Posted by Demosthenes on December 18, 2004 at 9:26 AM (CST)

7

The main part of Apple, and how their products are priced, depend on one thing that Apple spares no expense to, research. The cost of research is always what determines the price of Apple’s products, and that is why Apple has the best products out there, although most people are blind sided by the premium price. The saying that quality comes with a premium will always apply to Apples, either now or in the future.

Posted by M Bargo in Chicago, IL on December 18, 2004 at 10:03 AM (CST)

8

The cost of research is always what determines the price of Apple’s products ... Apple has the best products out there, although most people are blind sided by the premium price.

A high sticker price buys you a lot of margin to plough into design. When the first iPod came out it was several times as expensive as anything else on the market, and for less disk space (5GB). At the time all the manufacturers were concentrating on lowering unit costs as much as possib le and shoehorning in more disk space, with definite bad effects on aesthetics and quality.

Only Apple, it seems, was willing to do a Coco Chanel and bank that people would pay a significant premium for design. And it was right. This had two effects. One was that the average unit sales price for mp3 players actually rose over the two years after the iPod’s introduction. This is contrary to most retail electronics experience where there is generally a permanent downward pressure on price.

The second is that after a year or two many manufacturers now are prepared to compete with Apple in terms of design, not price. Instead of making $20 per unit margin they now feel they can make $80 unit margin. That extra $60 pays for a lot more design. Or can be absorbed to pay for color LCDs…

This is why we’re seeing more and more glitzy, well-made, and expensive, mp3 players in the stores. An increasing number of manufacturers are even paying up for the relatively expensive PortalPlayer chipset, similar to the iPod’s, so they can outsource all the research and concentrate solely on the design.

That was also a core strength for Apple, that rather than do the engineering research in-house for the iPod, instead it was outsourced to PortalPlayer (and also Synaptics, Toshiba, Wolfson, and Pixio).

Once upon a time Apple suffered from a terribly shortsighted Not-Invented-Here syndrome. Apple spent a huge amount on basic research with little to show for it. It seems to have eliminated that tendency over the last few years. Now Apple is free to concentrate more on product design and less on research and development that might lead nowhere fast.

Posted by Demosthenes on December 18, 2004 at 2:21 PM (CST)

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