Wednesday, February 02, 2005

How To Beat I-Pod: It's the Design, Stupid!

Ah, yet another fawning article praising Apple's genius: In iPod America, legions in tune. They do have some good points here, speaking about how industries are building around I-Pod, thus creating more secure ground for the product.

And of course, there's the sideline about how the competitors are grousing about this and trying to make a niche for themselves in the market. One way that they're trying to make a dent in the market is by offering song rentals that you can download to any device EXCEPT an I-Pod: New system to offer tunes by the month. For pure music nuts, it's a great idea and of course, Apple dismisses the idea, saying that consumers want to own and not rent music.

The fact of the matter is that Apple can act all high and mighty now because they know that this is all totally beside the point. The reason that they're winning the online music wars isn't because they have the best built system or the largest capacity for songs or the best software or the best service (quite the opposite). They were the ones to get this on the market early but it's more than that.

Sooner or later, the other companies making MP3 players are going to figure why they're losing the battle. People love I-Pod because... OF THE WAY IT LOOKS. That's it. It's stylish, chic, sexy. My girlfriend has an I-Pod with about one-fourth of the room for songs that my player (Creative Jukebox) has and I'm still jealous. Why? Because that damn I-Pod just looks so cool, that's why! And that's why all the software, online stores that Microsoft, I-River, Creative, Virgin and the rest all dream up aren't going to overtake Apple. They could make systems that are much better run and maintained but that won't matter: remember VHS and Beta? These other companies need to remember that we like in consumer society where Paris Hilton has more worth than Queen Latifah- style beats substance.

The only way these companies are ever really going to beat Apple is to get a better looking product on the market. You call up Lizzie Grubman and after she's done mowing down people in her SUV limo, she'll get the product in the hands of enough celebrities so that everyone will see it, think it's the hottest thing out there and start demanding it for a birthday or holiday present. That is how you take over the MP3 player market.

Sooner or later, someone is going to figure this out and do it. All I ask for is a reasonable consulting fee...


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