Monday, January 17, 2005
The Genius of Apple. Again.
Have you seen the new iPod Shuffle? A pretty neat, albeit not necessarily new innovation. iRiver and Creative Labs have both made small, flash-based mp3 players for a year or two.
Apple's newest product is pretty similar to these. Subtle differences include the fantastic Apple Design and a USB-based rechargable battery (instead of reliance on AA or AAA batteries). It's also a pretty good value, with the 512MB flavor going for $99 and the 1GB going for $149. (Although iRiver and Creative Labs models have LCD screens and other features at this price point.)
I'm betting that the margin on this product is rather small. Apple is betting on making money on the acessories. Go into any Apple store around the country, and you'll see about 10-15% of the shelving in the store dedicated to earphones, cases, chargers and car adapters (rather than computers and software). Recently, Apple retail stores doubled store space dedicated to iPod accessories, breaking up iPod and iPod Mini SKUs into different departments to help alleviate traffic issues in the stores. Too many people crowding in too small a space. Who thought?
And get ready for more. Go to Apple's iPod Web page, and you'll see the dozen or so accessories that will be coming out for the Shuffle in the next few weeks. Accessories are where the money is.
But there is one accessory missing from this list. One thing - one accessory - that it made more sense to include with all new iPod Shuffles. Something it made sense to give away rather than trying to milk $12 out of each iPod Suffle buyer. What is it? A lanyard.
Why is this so important. It takes the Shuffle from being an audio player to being a FASHION ACCESSORY. It's an advertisment for Apple and the iPod product. Just like the trademark white earbuds have been an ad for an "iPod In Your Pocket," the Shuffle lanyard will be sandwich board on every early adopting consumer around the planet. Because they'll want to show off their new toy, too.