In recent months, Apple has been wildly successful with its product lines—the iPhone 5, iPad 2, and now iPad mini. What does this mean for the iPod?
According to Neil Hughes of appleinsider.com, “Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, an analyst with a strong track record in relation to Apple’s future plans, said… that the iPod touch ‘has entered the final stage of its product life cycle’”. Looking at the history of the iPod, it is evident how it has transitioned through the phases of the product life cycle.
According to the above graphic, originally found in iCreate magazine, iPod sales started off slowly, with low sales; this is natural in the introduction phase of the life cycle. We then see sales picking up with the unveiling of the third generation iPod, which would be considered in the growth stage. Sales further increase with the popularity of iPod Nano, and “sales peak in 2008 with the iPod touch,” where it entered the maturity phase (www.tutor2u.net). To date, there are five generations of the iPod touch, with only slight improvements to each generation. “The latest version, released this month for a starting price of $299, has a larger 4-inch display, but sales are still expected to be significantly affected by the iPhone, which can be had for free with a new two-year contract, and the new $329 iPad mini” (appleinsider.com).
Therefore, it is apparent that not only does the Apple iPod compete against other mp3 players, such as Zune, but it also competes against products in its own family, such as the iPad and iPhone, which both offer music-playing capabilities. Accordingly, “sales growth of the iPod touch is… expected to be limited…. As a result, Kuo believes that Apple will not invest significantly in developing future models” (appleinsider.com).
Due to their convenience, the iPhone and iPad have become more popular for consumers to use as mp3 players, since they do not need to carry an additional product with them—they can now surf the internet, play music, and (with the iPhone) make phone calls. In fact, “Apple announced at its iPad mini unveiling… that its new iPod touch and iPod nano collectively sold 3 million units in their first month of availability” (appleinsider.com).
Thus, it is apparent that the iPod is losing its appeal, as the same functionality is available on other devices offered by Apple, such as the iPhone. Based off this analysis, it can be said that the iPod is in the decline stage of the product life cycle, do you agree? I personally use my iPhone to play music, even though I have an iPod Nano. For me, it is more convenient, since my cell phone is something that I almost always have with me.
Do you think Kuo’s prediction for the iPod is correct? Do you think this is the general direction of mp3 players—decline—as we are able to rely on our phones to serve the same purpose?