Apple’s announcement this week of the iPod Hi-Fi speaker system clearly indicates that the company is becoming more aggressive in getting a piece of the lucrative iPod accessory market. Add in the iPod Radio Remote, premium-priced leather iPod cases, and various other previously released add-ons and it’s quite clear where the company is heading. We spoke with several third-party iPod accessory makers to get their reaction to Apple’s deeper move into the iPod ecosystem.
Gary Bart, CEO of XtremeMac, said Apple making accessories is “a necessary part” of the iPod economy. “Certain categories of products represent significant revenue opportunity and, from a business standpoint, they would be remiss if they did not provide an Apple branded product into these segments,” he told iLounge. “It is my opinion that these products will do well and capture the essence of Apple design. There are many customers, with various tastes, budgets, and requirements. This creates tremendous opportunity for companies like XtremeMac that offer various alternatives.”
“Apple’s introduction of the iPod Hi-Fi and Leather Case is an interesting move,” Belkin’s Melody Chalaban said. “Belkin has always been in the business to complement existing hardware with cool and easy-to-use products, unlocking the potential of that particular hardware to do more—whether it’s giving it wireless capability or voice-recording capabilities. Apple’s announcements always drive our need to innovate and to offer even more options for iPod users.”
Pamela Roccabruna, Sr. Marketing Manager at Altec Lansing, a company that offers numerous iPod speaker systems, said that the iPod accessory business is very competitive, but that it has proven itself and will continue to deliver high-quality products. “This is a very competitive market space, which demands innovation—an area where we excel,” Roccabruna said. “That’s how the consumer wins, and that’s why they love and trust our brand. We created the digital audio speaker category and will continue to be a leader in innovation in this market space.”
Jason Litchford of Griffin Technology also said it’s a no-brainer move for Apple to go after a piece of the pie that it created, but added that his company is not too worried and sees it as an opportunity. “It makes financial sense for Apple to expand its product lineup,” Litchford commented to iLounge. “Griffin has always brought innovation to the Apple and iPod peripheral market, so we don’t see it adversely affecting Griffin. As a matter of fact, we see it as opportunity,” he said. “In other words, no one is jumping off tall buildings around here.”