Our World. Our Minutae.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Success of the iPod is NOT just because of Apple Marketing

The Success of the iPod is NOT because of Apple Marketing Anyone who thinks the success of the ipod is all marketing basis is clearly wrong - even if you count PR but PR is like good service at a resturant, it's nice but not the core reason you go back. When anything from Apple is a success, it's marketing - when it's not - what is it then? You're like the marketing department at a movie studio, When LORD OF THE RINGS is a hit, it's all us - the marketing that made you go see a movie about hobbits and wizards - nevermind that crap about quality ... and when the movie bombs, it's NOT the marketing, it's the directing, it's the bad acting or the favorite, it was released at the wrong time. So, for people who don't understand why the ipod is a success to a huge success, here it is: In the beginning, only huge music fans who had computers were interested in mp3 players but the crucial difference is that these devices were designed by engineers who were designing them by a checklist as handed to them by marketing. It fulfilled the minimal requirements of: plays MP3, WMA, hooks to a computer and has a screen. And of course, design it as CHEAPLY as possible - this is EXACTLY the design of every other Mp3 player except the ipod. Players truncated title names, required you to navigate to weird menu choices to put the controls on hold, it was hard to navigate, everything is viewable only ain "tree" view, you needed IE to load songs, the battery tended to fall out, you needed 3 hours to load the machine, etc ... And players with "extra" featurees were all clearly just thrown in like the Dell DJ that could record but there was no way to get the file out. The ipod was simple. It was designed by music lovers who ACTUALLY listened to a lot of music. The other players had interfaces that might work okay when you had a 64 MB memory card and could load 10 songs but they never changed anything when they moved to 256 MB or to 5 GB. Because these companies built their sales selling solely on specs - frame rate for graphic cards, platter speed on a replacement HDD, pixels for plasma, etc ... and in some cases - who cares if the interface for setting up your TV is bad - you're only to do it once and then you can enjoy the 1,900 x 1,024 pixels for years to come ... but the ipod is DIFFERENT. You have to fiddle with it EVERYDAY and EVERY TIME you want to launch something. It takes you 2 MINUTES to learn how to naviagate to EVERY feature on an ipod just like your walkman. True for every other mp3 player out there? No. Again, the ipod was designed by music lovers who actually listened to music. That's the main key. The rest of the ipod is built upon that basis. That's 90% of the ballgame. Every other player so far is still designed as a portable HDD that happens to play music files. That's not to say there aren't companies trying like Creative who might be able to match the ipod in the interface and as an actual music player (versus just a portable HDD) but they are not ready to compete with the ipod on more than 2 or 3 of the other 7 reasons for its success. The other 7 reasons? itunes Syncing itunes music store accessories design must-have factor marketing & PR Sure, it's nice to accept MS' money and design to their specs but honestly, how many even diehard PC users believes 'plays4sure" is an absolute guarantee? In every review I've read so far (even recommendations), they all point out some downloading problem. Most personal computer geeks (myself included) don't mind fiddling with settings and our machines but for a music player? No. That's like a cassette not always playing in our Walkman 20 years ago. We would've tossed it. So far, none of the competitors have really come close - they still talk about specs like the size of HDD or things like battery life (honestly, after 8 to 15 hours, how far away from electricity are you?) or even COST. So far - ZERO effect on the popularity of ipod. Why are they still harping on that? Because that's ALL they understand. They sold millions of sound cards not on looks or ease of use or ease of software - they sold them on specs ... they are essentially 2-dimensional trying to compete in the 3-dimensional world - pretty hard if NOT impossible. So until someone comes up with a better user interface than the ipod scroll wheel, they cannot really compete. PLAIN & SIMPLE as that. It's not a secret and it's not marketing. Certainly Apple gets more free PR than the next 50 companies put together but just free PR does not sell you anything (TiVo - perhaps even greater PR than the ipod - less than 2 million actually sold in a country with over 110 MILLION TV households). Marketing does NOT sell you a product that's not right for most people - like the CUBE from three years ago. The ipod is the first great consumer product of the 21st century - you can sneer at it because it's popular or because it's from Apple. You can dismiss it because you think anything remotely attractive can't be good or you only buy according to specs - it would be like choosing a motorcycle over a BMW because it can go zero-to-60 in 4 seconds while the BMW can't - you might want to focus on the big picture.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home