There were a lot of misunderstandings and plenty of doom and gloom whining when Apple announced the iPod minis. They were too expensive; they had too little storage space; they couldn’t compete with flash-based mp3 players in the same price range. The Core Dump predicted the little things would sell well.
And lo and behold, they’re flying off the shelves. There’s a very simple message here, and one that most computer companies elect to ignore when they attempt to break into “pure” consumer markets: Design Is Important. Features matter, but they matter less than design. Price also isn’t that important. If it were, Dell would be selling a ton of the Dell DJ. Do you know anybody who’s bought one?
Especially when you’re selling what is a pure luxury product into a market space that can drop $250 on a whim, you need to pay attention to the design of your product.
When consumers purchase something using their own money, they care deeply about how the product feels. Surely some lucky devious bastards out there have figured out how to expense an iPod, but the majority are being paid for by private individuals, individuals who want to feel good about the device.
The article linked above also mentions that most stores are completely sold out and that Apple is having difficulty replenishing them on the iPod minis. It’s good to see that Apple isn’t breaking with its tradition of having no clue about demand for its products…
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