The iPod has always had competition in the MP3 market. This comes from well-known names such as Cowon, Creative, Samsung, Sony, and Phillips; and yet Apple’s iPods continues to outsell every other brand worldwide.
The appeal of the iPod
One reason for this dominance is that Apple knows what its customers want. The four models in the iPod range – the shuffle, nano, iPod Classic, and touch – reflect different customer needs and offer distinct MP3 experiences.
The iPod shuffle, for instance, is a basic MP3 player of superb quality. It’s ideal for anyone who wants to carry a wide selection of their favourite music in a tiny, almost feather-light device.
The iPod nano is a remarkably compact media player. You can choose from up to 4,000 songs on the 16GB version, or up to 16 hours of video. You can also store thousands of photos, and play games.
The iPod classic is a remarkable storage device. With its 120GB hard drive, you can carry a substantial music library wherever you go – up to 30,000 songs, in fact. If you prefer watching films or TV programmes on the classic’s bright, LED backlit screen, you can load up to 150 hours of viewing. With the ability to listen to 36 hours of music between battery charges, or six hours of video, the iPod classic is a portable powerhouse for digital media.
The appeal of the iPod touch is its brilliant versatility. In addition to being an MP3 player, it has built-in Wi-Fi technology. The touch can therefore download music, video, podcasts, games, and applications without the need for a computer, as well as receive and send email. It also has some of Apple’s cutting-edge software, complemented by a three and a half inch Multi-Touch screen.
The consumer choice offered by these four iPod models is comprehensive; but in a market where a number of manufacturers are associated with superior products, customers want consistent high quality. If they don’t receive this, they lose faith in a company. Apple knows this, and hasn’t let its customers down.
Since introducing its first iPod in 2001, Apple has put quality at the front of its manufacturing policy. Every iPod is extremely well-engineered. The robust casings resist the knocks and scrapes that all MP3 players endure; and on the inside, the technology is what you’d expect from a maker renowned for the graphics and audio capabilities of its computers.
Along with quality, consumers like to see frequent innovation, particularly with technological products such as portable media players. Unlike some of its competitors, Apple has regularly introduced new and exciting developments to the iPod range. In fact, you can almost take for granted that a new generation iPod will have at least one ground-breaking additional feature.
Such an approach to innovation is part of the iPod heritage. It gives Apple an edge over the competition and provides you with the most advanced MP3 players available.
The look of an MP3 player is critical to its sales success. People like to have products that are elegant and clutter-free.
This is why Apple chooses its materials for the iPod range so carefully. Brushed aluminium, polished steel, and high quality glass form the casings of the iPods. Using such smooth and sleek exteriors is not enough, however. The shape of the iPods is also a vital part of the overall concepts.
Apple’s success in this area is thanks to curved designs, thin bodies, compact size, and lightness. The iPod shuffle, for example, weighs a mere 15.6 grams (0.55 ounce). The iPod nano is just 90.7 mm (3.6 inches) high by 38.7 mm (1.5 inches) wide. The iPod classic, despite its large hard drive capacity, covers less than half the surface area of a CD case. As for the iPod touch, it’s a mere 8.5 mm (0.33 inch) thick.
The distinctive wheel-shaped controls and the discrete positions of the ports and switches add to the overall sense of style on the iPod shuffle, nano, and classic. The iPod touch stands out thanks to its Multi-Touch screen that in itself is a statement of technological achievement and flair.
It’s hard to find any other MP3 players that can match an iPod’s sheer good looks. Colour
Yet another feature that distinguishes iPods from their competitors is the choice of colour Apple offers for the shuffle and the nano.
You can order a shuffle in one of five colours: blue, green, pink, red, and silver. The nano has an additional four: black, orange, purple, and yellow. All these colours are bright and wear-resistant, and help to personalise your iPod. They also add to the fun of using an MP3 player.
MP3 players are gadgets, and as with all such devices, people want useful, interesting extras. There can be little doubt that Apple meets this demand far more successfully than anyone else.
The shake-to-shuffle feature on the iPod nano; Wi-Fi connectivity on the iPod touch; and the Genius playlist feature on the iPod nano, classic, and touch are three examples of recent developments that have caught people’s imaginations. These extras are the latest in a history of additions that help make iPods such desirable gadgets to own.
iPods also maintain a significant advantage over other MP3 players because of iTunes. iTunes is the free software that lets you organise your digital media into a library and transfer it to your iPod. It also offers a store in which you can buy music, films, TV programmes and audiobooks from a vast selection. You can even rent certain films, and obtain podcasts without charge.
Apple started the portable media player revolution and has continued to develop the iPod ever since with spectacular results. Look through any sales catalogue of MP3 players, and it’s clear that where the iPod leads, others try to follow. iPods always set the pace, and the rest never really catch up.