Friday, December 03, 2004

Hope is on the way...

So... Sony wants to join the party and challenge the iPod's dominance in the hard drive MP3 player sector? Here an indication of how Apple thrives in Sony's home market: Apple Ginza Store Opening Video.

Also, what's new here is not the player (which is slated for release in Europe) but the fact that it plays MP3s and not just Sony's proprietary file format. Don't get me wrong, I felt a sinking feeling when I first saw Sony's new Walkman, which makes Apple's iPod look too simple and toy-like. However, we're dealing with normal people.

Hope remains. If you thought the iPod was expensive (unless you go to Duke), the Network Walkman will cost nearly 200 dollars more. Granted, it's got a cool metal case that's smaller and lighter than the iPod, has significantly better battery life and presumably higher quality engineering overall, be not afraid. Ok, if you are afraid, cash out like everyone else.

But, here's the good news: the iTunes music store has yet to be rolled out in Japan and just opened in Canada. Market analysts are saying that PC users who buy iPods are more likely to buy Apple computers (the iMac G5 got rave reviews). Apple has tremendous ground to gain in the PC market, having only 4% of it. Don't forget that the XBox II is going to be using a G5 PowerPC processor. Although that doesn't mean games are going to simultaneously developed for OS X and the Xbox, but think about the possibilities! Maybe Microsoft will have the Xbox running OS X. Or, Direct X will be ported to... I don't know...

DISCLAIMER: The author is an Apple stockholder and has a vested interest in the performance of AAPL.

SOURCES: Laszlo, Mac News, Engadget, and The Unofficial Apple Weblog

UPDATE 4:41 EST 12/9/04: Just like before the iPod mini was announced, I was thinking I would probably go for a sub $100 MP3 player, just because it's the right price. Check out MacMinute for analyst predictions of this and pictures of what could potentially be the product. Some logistical info here citing sources in Asia about the announcement during Macworld. I guess it's better to let the year-round marketing do it's job for the Christmas season and then announce a new product.

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