Analysts See Apple Gains In iPod Lineup
By Joseph Palenchar On Sep 13 2010 - 3:01am
– Apple’s revamped
iPod lineup could help maintain
iPod Touch unit-sales growth
worldwide and perhaps slow or stop
the worldwide decline in overall iPod
unit sales, analysts told TWICE.
The addition of FaceTime video
chat and online multiplayer gaming are
two key features that could increase
the Touch’s already strong sales momentum,
analysts said. “Whereas the
iPod Touch underwent the least physical
change from the last iteration, the
addition of the FaceTime camera really
opens the door to an affordable, massmarket
videoconferencing option over Wi-Fi,” said Ross
Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for consumer
technology at The NPD Group.
Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe noted that the Touch’s
rising share of iPod unit sales has already been raising the
average selling prices of iPods and the new features could
help continue to raise the Touch’s share of sales.
Sales of the Touch grew 48 percent in units during Apple’s
fiscal third quarter ending June 26, boosting the average
selling price of iPods worldwide by 12 percent year
over year and boosting overall third-quarter iPod revenue
by 4 percent year over year to $1.5 million, company reports
show. During those three quarters, worldwide iPod
unit sales fell 6.3 percent to 41.3 million.
The new Touch, combined with the new Nano and Shuffle,
might help stem the overall unit-sales decline, Howe
noted. “This is protecting their existing base and possibly
expanding it to people who are looking for something
smaller and more fashionable,” he said of the redesigned
Nano and Shuffle. “Apple is practically making electronic
jewelry.” Adding a clip to the downsized Nano also makes
it more attractive to women who often don’t have pockets
to place their Nano in while listening to it, he added.
Apple also has a clearer strategy to step consumers up
to the Touch, Rubin added. “The
new lineup adds more rationality to
the product line by putting still and
video capture in the high end of
the line [Touch] as opposed to the
midrange Nano, where it has been
removed,” he explained.
Sales of the tiny Shuffle could also
gain because control buttons are
back on the Shuffle’s body, analysts
noted. “The addition of the buttons
back on the iPod Shuffle show that
it is sometimes possible to make a
device too small,” Rubin said. The
previous Shuffle featured controls in
the earphone cable to play, pause, adjust
volume and switch playlists.
In launching what CEO Steve Jobs called the “the biggest
change in the iPod lineup ever,” Apple enhanced the Touch
by adding the iPhone 4’s Retina display, multiplayer gaming
via the new iOS 4.1 OS, a front-facing camera for use with
the company’s FaceTime video-chat application, and a rearfacing
camera/camcorder that captures HD video but has
The Touch also got the iPad’s 1GHz Apple A4 chip, a
three-axis gyro for better game play, and extended music
playback time of 40 hours on a single charge. Like before,
the Touch is available in three capacities: 8GB at $229,
32GB at $299, and 64GB at $399.
Apple downsized the Nano by 46 percent, made it
square, added an aluminum and glass body, and in place
of a clickwheel added a multitouch touchcreen that users
can manually reorient. It adds a belt clip and carries over
its predecessor’s FM tuner, video and picture storage, pedometer,
and Nike+ feature. Prices held steady at $149 for
the 8GB version and $179 for the 16GB version.
The Shuffle, which morphed into an aluminum square, got
back clickable buttons to control select features. Like before,
the Shuffle lacks a display and features VoiceOver. The new
model now comes in only one capacity: 2GB at $49.