Apple's iPod Looks Great at 5 Years Old
Oct. 23, 2006 — -- The big news on iPod's fifth birthday is, well, the iPod.
Buzz continues to surround Apple's slick line of hand-held media players as talk of the long-awaited iPhone -- an iPod that also doubles as a cell phone -- and a video iPod with a bigger screen and touch-screen controls persist.
With 70 percent of the market in Apple's hands and more than 65 million iPods in consumers' hands, there seems to be nothing even close to threatening the player's dominance -- even with major players like Microsoft trying desperately to pump up the hype on its forthcoming player and download store, Zune.
"They [Apple] simply have a tremendous ability to refresh their product line and continue to win the hearts and minds of consumers," said Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director for Jupiter Research.
"It's not going to be a simple thing for Microsoft to come in and challenge Apple in the short term," Gartenberg said.
Every time it seems as though Apple's great white hope might be unseated, the company reinvents it by adding new features like a color display, more storage space, or bright and expressive colors.
When the iPod was released in 2001, CEO Steve Jobs said that, "With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again."
Boy, he wasn't kidding.
"The reason the iPod is so successful is that the brilliance behind the technology is not in your face," said Adam Goins, a 25-year-old iPod owner living in New York. "The brilliance of the technology is that you don't think of it as technology."
Goins says the reason the iPod makes the competition appear invisible is that the company isn't selling a high-tech geek accessory, but an idea.
The TV and print commercials for the device barely show it in action.
Instead, they sell viewers an image: This product is fun, it's easy to use, and it's cool.
"When you see Microsoft coming out with a device, and they're taking it from a technological standpoint, to a certain extent that matters," he said. "But on the level of a consumer, you get the iPod because it's very stylish, because they've taken it to the level of being about fashion. The technology becomes almost irrelevant."