[By Nic Lindh on Friday, 09 January 2004]
John Gruber has yet another thoughtful article up, this time about the iPod mini. Only time will tell if it’s going to be a successful product, but my gut feeling is yes. The core problem a lot of people seem to be having with the product is price–it has less storage, so it should cost less; it is an entry-level iPod.
That’s just silly. It’s a mini. A tiny teensy little iPod. There’s nothing entry-level about it–it’s a different market segment.
Storage space is really secondary for the market it’s aimed at, as long as it’s over a gigabyte or so. Let’s face it, the original iPod doesn’t sell like gangbusters because of its storage capacity, feature set, or price. The Rio LeadBricks have them beat on all counts. They sell a ton because they have: a) A really nice GUI; b) Great integration with iTunes–it’s easy, easy, easy to put your music on an iPod; and most importantly c) They look fantastic. They are objects of lust.
Gruber raises the specter of the Cube–that most infamous of Apple product failures. The Cubes were also gorgeous, but suffered from a lack of expansion and a more than healthy sticker price. The thing is, though, that the Cube was a computer. Most people retain some sort of sanity when buying a computer and do some rudimentary form of needs-assessment, and the Cube tended to fail that needs-assessment. The difference is that the iPod mini is an mp3 player and costs $249. You can write off a $249 bad purchase. You’re not going to expect it to sit on your desk for three years and do useful work. Unless you’re a bit nuts, of course.
I think Apple has another winner with the iPod mini. Time will tell.