The New York Times published a very interesting piece on Sunday about the iPod, Steve Jobs, the rest of the industry, the past, and the future. No small task, of course, but John Markoff, the reporter on the piece, offers a fairly comprehensive look at the market the iPod has created. From the article:
In fact, the wild success that Mr. Jobs has enjoyed with the iPod may have come in the nick of time. For all the acknowledged design and ease-of-use advantages of the Macintosh, Appleis overall PC business is still growing more slowly than that of its Microsoft- and Intel-based competitors.
Moreover, it was obvious at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January that a horde of consumer goods and computing companies is preparing a fresh assault aimed at bringing computerized gadgets into every nook and cranny of the home. In particular, two powerful Apple rivals, Sony and Microsoft, are betting that Mr. Jobs is wrong when he says, "Itis about the music!" This year, both companies plan to release more expensive, hand-held combination video and audio players that their executives hope will blow the iPod away.
So will Apple eventually be overwhelmed by its bigger, better-heeled competitors? Throughout the technology world, there seems to be a simple, uniform answer to that question: Never underestimate Steve Jobs.
Mr. Markoff also talks about the various digital products in Appleis theoretical pipeline, and looks at the ones he considers likely and unlikely to be legit (tablet and handheld out, set top iffy, and some kind of mobile phone using VoIP (voice-over-IP the favorite). These speculations are backed up and refuted by various industry folks.
Also of note is the story of one Tony Fadell who may, or may not, be the "father of the iPod." Leander Kahney of Wired News has some interesting information about that story relating to the Times piece in his blog.
We recommend the Times article as a very, very interesting read.