Backstage: Where are the Summer iPod promos?

An iLounge reader asked me a great question this morning: it’s Summer here, so with students ending classes and families starting or about to start their vacations, where are Apple’s “it’s time to buy an iPod” promotions?

I had an answer, but not a good one. “Did you see the Coconuts 20% off deal,” I asked. “That’s pretty aggressive these days for an iPod.” But his point was bigger than that. “It’s summertime, and all sorts of people are traveling and want to carry music around. Why isn’t Apple offering some sort of incentive to push them in that direction?”

The simplest response would be, “well, when you’re selling over four million iPods every three months, maybe you don’t (think you) need to offer incentives.” Yet obviously by the time a company reaches certain sales volumes, there are ways that it can increase those volumes even more – to five or six million, still with plenty of profit, and thereby create an installed base that’s just that much harder for any competitor to touch.

And yes, competitors are still trying to capture market share. A Dell newspaper advertisement today is promising free Pocket D.J. units with the purchase of certain Dell computers. Admittedly, it requires a $199 rebate that the shoddy company might never actually pay you (or might require you to call Bangalore, India five times to get processed), and it’s still a Dell Pocket D.J., but yeah, it’s theoretically free.

By comparison, the best iPod deals most stores are offering these days are freebie accessories with a purchase. CompUSA’s ad today offers a free Griffin AirClick with the purchase of any iPod photo, and a free belt clip with any iPod shuffle. Others are providing $20-30 discounts off of Altec speakers with the purchase of an iPod or iPod mini. These deals are better than nothing, and will likely maintain iPod sales at an enviable level, but they’re not the sort of promotions best tailored to capitalize on summer – a season when people are ready and willing to buy portable entertainment.

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