Apple last updated the iPod Video on September 12, 2006, nearly 7 months ago. Typically, we would have seen an update around now, even if it was just a small revision to keep things fresh. With the announcement of the iPhone in January, to be released sometime in June, Apple has created a bit of a void. The iPhone is nothing more than the upcoming iPod Video, with a slick phone included. Apple only has a few options:
1. Release the new iPod Video, same form factor as the iPhone, without the phone now. Similar prices to the current Videos ($249 – $349), but with much larger storage, touch screen, flip features and wide screen video. In possession of a working iPhone in early January, Apple is waiting for two things to occur before they can release it to the public, FCC approval and for manufacturing to ramp up. Without the phone feature, FCC approval would not be necessary, and manufacturing would have been at full speed by now, nearly 4 months after the announcement.
Positives: Huge iPod sales, crush any competition that is left
Negatives: Cannibalize iPhone sales, decrease the buzz around iPhone launch
2. Wait on a revision until after the iPhone is released. The problem is that the iPhone is not expected to be released in Europe until late 2007, and Asia until sometime in 2008. If Apple decides to wait, how long do they wait? Do they wait until it is released in both North American and Europe, and get it out sometime before Christmas? Or do they wait until it is available in Asia sometime next year? How close to iPhone launch do they release it? Imagine dropping $599 on your new iPhone at release only to find out you could have gotten the exact same thing without the phone and fat contract for nearly half the price.
Positives: Keep iPhone sales and interest high
Negatives: Lose possible iPod sales, give competitors 6 – 9 months preview of your upcoming product
3. Assume that the phone and iPod market are two different markets. The assumption can be made that those looking for an iPhone either already have an iPod Video that they will continue to use after their purchase, or are not in the market for an iPod at all, but are looking for a cool/hip phone. If this assumption is found to be true based on Apple’s own research, Apple can then release the updated iPod Video when they want, which they will most likely do so sometime right around the launch of the iPhone.
Positives: Great publicity, no cannibalization
Negatives: Huge risk iPhone will fail if research is incorrect
4. Keep the iPod Video form distinct from the iPhone. In order to keep the iPhone cachet, Apple may choose to completely redesign the iPod Video in a different form factor than the current iPhone. While many of the features would be shared between the two, the design and feel would have to be different enough that someone wouldn’t confuse the two.
Positives: Preserve iPhone sales, iPhone is immensely popular, will the new iPod be as well?
Negatives: Additional expense, possible loss of iPod sales
The road Apple takes will tell us a lot about what they think about the MP3 market and the cellular handset market. If the decisions that are made all favor the iPhone, it is clear they think that is where the greater profits lie for the company.iphone, ipod, ipod video, apple, steve jobs
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