Monday, December 05, 2005

Buying into the buzz

The Chicago Tribune writes about how the Apple iPod has been able to out market the competition even though it wasn't the first MP3 player or packed the most features. Michael Gartenberg at JupiterResearch said, "Marketing cannot save a mediocre product from mediocrity," and and noted the three things that set the iPod apart: "long battery life; easy integration with iTunes downloads; and form factor-how the iPod looks, works and feels."

Gartenberg wonders why it took the rest of the industry so long to catch up to the iPod. He said, "Battery life, size, ease of use-other companies didn't get that right until recently. By then iPod had already become a cultural icon."

However even as the competitors catch up, Apple continues to change the playing field, such as discontinuing the mini line after the competition began offering different color models. Gartenberg remarked, "The mini was their most successful product, but their competitors started to copy them so they killed the market. It was a bold move, but it paid off. No one has a product like the Nano. As competitors came out with color devices, Apple went back to the basic black and white."