Honey, They’ve Shrunk the iPod

Jan 07, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Attendees of Steve Jobs’ keynote address at the Macworld convention in San Francisco could not be blamed for wondering where the Mac went in the speech by Apple Computer’s chief

Instead of getting news on operating system improvements or hardware upgrades, the audience, made up largely of Apple choir members, was given a history lesson on the inventiveness
of the manufacturer/retailer since it first introduced its computer in 1984.

Mr. Jobs promised 2004 was going to be a very good anniversary year with lots of exciting announcements coming from the company. He simply failed to mention that very few of
those announcements were going to be made at this show.

The biggest piece of news coming from Mr. Jobs was the introduction of the iPod Mini, a smaller and “lower price” version of the iPod portable music player.

Speculation leading up to Mr. Job’s keynote address was that Apple would introduce a new low price iPod to help the company fend off competition for consumers seeking an entry
level MP3/4 player. It was suggested by some, in advance of the conference, that Apple might take over the category with an iPod in the $100 neighborhood.

Instead, the iPod Mini is being sold for $249 and critics, including yours truly, are wondering if Mr. Jobs and company have been smoking that wacky tobaccy they enjoyed back
in their flower child days.

The new iPod Mini has a lot going for it (if you discount the price). It is smaller than the iPod and it comes in a variety of fashionable metallic covers. The Mini has a 4 gigabyte
hard drive allowing users to store up to 1,000 songs at any one time.

Apple’s previous entry level iPod, by comparison, has a 15 GB drive and can hold up to 3,700 tunes. It retails for $299.

To view a Webcast of Steve Job’s keynote address to Macworld 2004 go to http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/mwsf04/.
Apple’s QuickTime for Mac or PC is required for viewing (free download).

Moderator’s Comment: Will the iPod Mini have the same type of popular consumer appeal that the standard iPod has enjoyed since it was introduced in 2001?
Was Steve Jobs’ address at Macworld a psychological boon or bust for resellers of Apple Computer and related hardware and software products?

Apple Computer claims that it has sold more than 2 million iPod players in just over three years. The players, according to the company’s financials, represent
approximately six percent of all Apple’s business.

At a price point between $100 and $150, Apple’s iPod Mini would kick some serious butt in the category. At $249, we can’t help but think sales will be slow
and there are going to be an awful lot of Apple Store associates saying desperate things to shoppers like, “But, they look really neat and see how small they are.”
Anderson – Moderator

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