Christmas season is upon us and online mags are already musing, *AGAIN*, about an "iPod Killer".
Here's why I believe these "other guys" are looking at a sizable challenge:
iPod has struck the ultimate balance of features, portability and usability. The "other guys" are trying hard to match this balance, but they inevitably run into the next problem:
Brand. Apple was first to market with the best player, worked very hard on developing a killer brand. This brand nearly touts the iPod as fashion statement, for cool, hip people. All the kids want it:
Friday night my Girlfriend and I were eating at Taiko, a Japanese restaurant right by our favorite cineplex. A lady and her daughter sat by us. At some point in their conversation, the mom asked the daughter what she wanted for christmas. She almost right-away blurted "an iPod!". The ensuing dialog had quotes such as "all the other kids have it or want one".
The other interesting thing is that on one hand you have the iPod, and on the other hand you have "everything else that's trying to beat it". That pretty-much gives everything else an aura of "second-rate items". Kids know this. I don't see parents likely to risk going for "second-rate" on their one yearly attempt at spoiling their little brats rotten, just to save a measly buck on similarly spec'ed devices: "thanks for the BrickBox, Mommy".
Disclaimer: I don't own any Apple stock. I really should get with the program though.