Magazine article Marketing

Apple iPod

Magazine article Marketing

Apple iPod

Article excerpt

Does the double threat of the iPad and iPhone 4 signal the death of the iPod, asks Nicola Clark.

If cannibalising sales of your own products is the cardinal sin of marketing, Apple is a prime offender. There is little doubt that the design-led technology company could be a victim of its own success.

The phenomenal success of the iPhone has been at the expense of its iPod portable media players. As smartphones, including Apple's iPhone, offer communications and entertainment in a single device, sales of standalone players will, inevitably, have suffered. Yet, it could have been worse: compared with other parts of the technology market, there has been relatively little development in the standalone iPod space over the past six months.

However, recent media frenzy surrounding the iPad has put the focus on the cannibalisation issue once again. Nevertheless, many analysts believe the vast difference in size of the iPod and iPad provide a distinct value proposition, so the iPad will have less impact on the iPod than the iPhone.

The iPad has also created a halo effect that Apple could potentially use to reinvent the iPod. Apple's iPod army is not defecting en masse to rival products, so Apple can be credited with keeping pace with the demands of its consumers.

Is innovation enough, or is it time Apple refocused on its core product? We asked Hugo Feiler, managing director of Grey London, which works with Samsung, and a former Sony marketer, and Chris Quigley, managing partner of Rubber Republic, which has worked with Polaroid and Sony PlayStation, how Apple might solve its cannibalisation conundrum.


- Two experts offer advice on how iPod can reconnect with consumers


Does cannibalisation actually matter? Apple's success has not been the result of sticking dogmatically to one product, but rather in remaining innovative and customer-focused.

There is no doubt that iPod has been phenomenally successful over the past 10 years. For a product to maintain such a dominant lead over the competition for such a long time is an achievement in any industry, but to do so in consumer electronics is truly awe-inspiring.

In truth, iPod is only half the story. It was not iPod that created true revolutionary change (MP3 players had been around for some time); it was the iTunes proprietary operating system, which drives the machine, provides the brilliant consumer experience and now has evolved to power both iPhone and iPad.

To Apple, a decline in iPod sales is neither a critical issue nor unexpected; its ambitions and internal measurement of success lie well beyond its ability to create a state-of-the-art portable listening device. …

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