February 28, 2005
../ Apple's New iPod Mini Models
Apple Computer Inc. (Apple)
unveiled two new iPod Mini digital music players slamming the door in the face of their competitors who keep knocking,
but just can't seem to get in. The new iPod Mini lineup retains the 4GB model, but drops the price to $199 and introduces a new
6GB model at $249. Both second-generation iPod Minis feature increased battery life of up to 18 hours (although your mileage will definitely vary), USB charging, and weigh in at
only 3.6 ounces. Three new shades of pink, blue and green were introduced to remain
Apple now completely owns the digital music player market vertically. Starting at $99 dollars for a 512 MB model
and rising to $449 for the 60GB iPod Photo, Apple now has a player to meet any price point. By introducing a 6GB model,
Apple adroitly leapfrogs recent attempts by competitors to attack the Mini market, at the same time undercutting their
offerings with the new $199 4GB pricepoint. Brilliant!
Apple has sold over 10 million iPods to date and claim to have almost 70% of the market for portable digital players.
They've been able to keep their lead by dominating the market in three ways: introducing new innovative designs well
ahead of their competitors, evolving their easy-to-use hardware with enhancements that their customers want, and providing a seamless, intuitive music store.
The Future: Even though Apple essentially controls the digital music player market, they will not rest. With
the product vertical now complete, Apple will continue to advance and improve each model according to market demands. However, iTunes could really use an update. The service works flawlessly
on both the Mac and PC platforms with their hardware, but is getting a little long in the tooth. Some areas, such as AudioBooks, feel downright clunky. Recommendations are weak and artist
information is rudimentary at best. We'd love to see a vastly improved iTunes 5.0 by the end of the summer.
>>> Digihear? February 2005
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