Is the iPod doomed (someday)?

Is the iPod doomed (someday)? At the end of last year, I wrote a long post about why the iPod was not going to “be killed” any time soon. I wrote it because I was tired of reading about MP3 players that were “iPod killers.” While I don’t see those articles as much anymore, here’s an article from the August Fast Company that has as its first sentence, “The iPod is doomed. Not this month, not this year, and maybe not the next. But soon enough, Apple will lose its hold on the marketplace for both digital-audio players and digital songs. It’s inevitable.”

John J. Sviokla bases his prediction (well, if you can call “soon enough” a predication) on an “economic ecosystem” of companies that will cooperate and compete at the same time, but undermine the “closed” nature of the iPod. While, no doubt, the iPod will go away one day (my Mac Classic went away), Sviokla misses an important aspect of the iPod’s success, the point I tried to make in my earlier post: The iPod’s success is based also on iTunes and the myriad of features cooked into it that foster an ecosystem of users. (iMix being among the many examples I point to in the earlier post.)

Frankly, I don’t care if the iPod is doomed. If Apple stands still and lets that happen, they have only themselves to blame. But you can’t ignore the ecosystem of customers and not explain how exactly manufacturers and marketers can undermine the relationships and communities that are facilitated by some of the “sharing” aspects of iTunes.

Analysts tend to miss the whole community thing when focusing on iPods/iTunes as a technology and consumer product.

  • Kevin Newman

    Doomed? Even if everything in the article happens as the author supposes it might, iPod/iTunes would lose market share. But Apple has long been in the position of being a profitable company with a small market share.

    Plus, that closed system builds loyalty. Who is going to invest money in iTunes content and then buy a player that won’t play it?

  • Chris

    I think the guy on Fast Company is right, as long as you define “innovation” as “add a camera to it, unless it is a camera, then add a radio to it.”

    Apple had an innovative breakthrough with the iPod / iTunes combo. The rest are just the corporate equivilent of little brothers saying, “Me too! Gimme some!”

    I can count the number of companies that were innovative last year on one hand, and not one manufacturer of ‘iPod killers’ is among them.