The Continuing Success of the iPod

by Business Case Studies on Wednesday 19th September, 2007

The Continuing Success of the iPod

By Guest Writers Ronald Tong and Ryan Wong (Year 13 students)

Back in 2001, Steve Jobs announced 'listening to music will never be the same again' and launched the iPod.It notched up healthy worldwide sales of 400,000 units in its first year, but at that time, interest was largely confined to tech-savvy early adopters (The Times, 5th September 2007).However, within six years, Apple has sold more than $17 billion worth of iPods, more than three billion tracks on iTunes, its online store, and is now able to exert influence over record labels and the public's buying habits (The Times, 6th September, 2007).Apple has transformed itself from a niche maker of stylish computers into a music powerhouse. Now business commentators are reviewing how it has managed to maintain such a strong position in the marketplace.

Perhaps it is Apple's development process that explains its success?The iPod can now be bought with larger electronic memory and there is now the iPod video, iPod mini and iPhone and a new touch screen version. The latest form of the music player is only 8mm thick, comes with a 3.5in colour screen, built-in Wi-Fi internet access and Apple's Safari internet browser (The Times, 6th September, 2007). Apple seems to have tuned into customers' needs and developed products that match the demands of different consumer segments.

The Times 100 presents a case study that has some interesting parallels.The case study explains how 3 has been able to maintain market leadership within the 3G technology market. The case study emphasizes the company's major strength as 'anticipating and meeting customers' needs' to maintain and promote the life cycle of its products.

Sources:

iPod touch available at your fingertips – TimesONLINE, 6 September, 2007

The iPod story – TimesONLINE, 5 September, 2007

The Times 100 Edition 12 Case Study – 3, Market leadership in the 3G market

Potential Study Questions:

What is meant by the term 'early adopters'

What are the key stages in a product's life cycle?

What is meant by an extension strategy?What evidence is there in the passage that the product life cycle of the iPod has been extended?

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