2006 September 10 Sunday
Apple iPod Losing Popularity? Sales Down

The popularity of the iPod is creating a backlash of resentment as the iPod becomes too ubiquitous to be chic.

The Zandl Group, a New York-based trends forecaster which regularly interviews a panel of 3,000 consumers aged 25-35, recently picked up its first significant criticisms. 'The iPod is far and away the most popular tech gadget with our panellists - however, for the first time we are hearing negative feedback about the iPod from some panellists,' said the organisation's spokeswoman, Carla Avruch. 'Panellists cite that the batteries are not replaceable, so when they die the entire player must be replaced,' she said. 'We have heard from some conspiracy theorists that the batteries are made to die soon after the warranty ends.

Certainly other companies can develop devices that equal or surpass the iPod in functionality. The technological challenges are not very high.

Sales have peaked.

From its launch five years ago its sales graph showed a consistent upward curve, culminating in a period around last Christmas that saw a record 14 million sold. But sales fell to 8.5 million in the following quarter, and down to 8.1 million in the most recent three-month period.

Apple may have saturated its target market. However, the success of the iPod might have spawned so many competitors that the peak might be due to sales by the competition. Anyone know of a source for industry sales of MP3 players?

Mac Daily News thinks the original article paints far too pessimistic a picture.

This is a semi-annual article that's dusted from time to time for republication. The formula: Ignore cyclical holiday buying patterns to show "declines" in iPod sales, dig up some out-of-context focus group lines that iPod is "losing its cool," and insert this year's "threats" to iPod+iTunes (oh, David, basic iPod FUD 101: you forgot "iPod scratches," dummy).

But cell phones are beginning to get built-in MP3 players. Cell phones have already caused a peak in PDA (personal digital assistant) sales. Apple is responding by planning to bring out an iPod model can play downloadable movies. But when walking around people have less time to watch movies than to listen to music or converse on a phone. Though I can imagine people watching part of a movie or a favorite TV show when on a work lunch break or while stuck in a car waiting to pick up a kid from school or sports practice.

Are there better portable music players for MP3, WMA, and other formats? Anyone have suggestions on better value propositions or more richly featured portable music devices?

Apple will be far from first in the paid video download business. Amazon has begun a movie download service that can only work with Microsoft Windows XP PCs.

While Amazon's service carries thousands of TV shows and movies from more than 30 studios and networks here and abroad, it has many of the same prohibitive features that impede other movie-download services.

With a typical DSL/cable home Internet connection, it takes 55 minutes to download a hourlong TV episode and one hour and 50 minutes to download a two-hour movie, although Amazon has a feature that allows customers to watch a video during the process.

The Amazon Unbox video player works solely on Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows XP not on Macs or older versions of Windows. The system is not compatible with the iPod, the center of a technological ecosystem that Apple strictly controls.

You could download a video onto a laptop and then watch it on an air flight instead of the standard in-flight movie - at least until anti-terrorism measures lead to a ban on carry-on laptops.

Posted by Randall Parker at September 10, 2006 05:50 PM
Ted said at May 9, 2007 9:08 AM:

Don't make to much of the Amazon/M$ movie DL deal. Amazon unbox works with Tivo S3.

Alexis said at April 22, 2008 6:45 AM:

I dont think its that the ipod is losing popularity I think that its because practically EVERYONE has one. When the ipods first came out everyone went bananas to get one, now that everyone has one, its harder to sell them.

Mister Snitch said at September 22, 2008 10:53 AM:

Seems unfair that the Instapundit would link a 2 year old post that only shows up how wrong it was.

I think he owes you a link to something more current, where events at least haven't been proven you wrong yet.

Dobby said at September 22, 2008 1:37 PM:

I bought a Sandisk Sansa Clip mp3 player. It's just as good as Apple's player. It's significantly cheaper. And it has more features(fm radio, voice recording). How many mp3 players do people really need? I guess when the battery dies, you need to get a new one.

Rich Vail said at September 22, 2008 7:14 PM:

OR, it could be that because of the drawbacks....and the enormous expense, people are now buying alternatives to the Ipod...personally, I've bought 3 sansa mp3 players (one ea for myself, the wife, and my son)...they've all lasted far beyond the warranty period...while my daughter & step daughter's Ipods have BOTH been replaced twice each...battery and storage issues...

I won't buy and Ipod, nor any related products for this reason...batteries just don't last, nor does the storage system...

RobR said at September 22, 2008 10:51 PM:

QUOTE: "batteries just don't last"

Nonsense. I've had excellent luck with my iPod batteries. And after a couple years, when they do decline, I've replaced them myself cheaply. If you're reasonably handy with a small screwdriver (or have a friend who is), it's no big deal.

QUOTE: "the enormous expense"

Laughable. Compare equivalent players, and you'll see that iPods are competitively priced.

QUOTE: "people are now buying alternatives to the Ipod"

"Wishful thinking" for an iPod hata. iPod market share has been stable or rising.

capt.america said at March 4, 2011 6:35 PM:

that is not true for today because ipod is still popular although it has already many rivals.

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