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Reuters: Apple May Offer New RAM Based iPods

Reuters: Apple May Offer New RAM Based iPods

by , 10:00 AM EST, December 24th, 2003

Many times have you heard us and others call Apple the bellwether of the computer industry. It is a title that Apple has earned, not through any one action or particular feat of its own, but due to the consistency of actions of others in the industry and those who watch and report those actions. In other words, Apple is the computer industry leader because everyone seems to think it is.

Want proof? Check out a recent article from Reuters News Service in which reporter Duncan Martell offers some interesting predictions of what Steve Jobs will talk about in next month's Macworld Expo in San Francisco. The article's chief prediction is that Mr. Jobs will offer a new line of cheaper iPods based on flash-RAM instead of small hard drives as found in the current models. From the Reuters News article, Apple seen unveiling lower-cost iPods -- analysts:

When Apple Computer chief executive Steve Jobs takes the stage at Macworld next month, analysts expect him to unveil smaller, cheaper iPods and hope he will detail the company's strategy to move into the digital living room.

The lower-end iPods, which are expected to carry a price tag of about $100 (63 pounds) and will hold 400 to 800 songs, are a necessary answer to the bevy of MP3 digital music players now on the market that cost $100 or less, analysts said.

"Odds are it's a flash-memory-based player, something to position Apple against the low-cost offerings from Creative and Rio," said Rob Enderle, principal of market search firm the Enderle Group.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on its plans for Macworld, traditionally a forum for the company to unveil its plans for new products.

You can read the full account at Reuters News.

The Mac Observer Spin:

We would like to point out that, even though this article appears in Reuters, an extremely reputable news source, it is still speculation and rumor, and should be taken with a few grains of salt. We would also like to point out that the author of the article is relying on Rob Enderle to suggest that new iPod units could be Flash-memory-based. Mr. Enderle has been consistently wrong about everything he has said about Apple for the last two years, and we have little reason to suspect that might have changed now. He is, after all, the worst analyst in the tech industry.

That said, the article is interesting on at least 2 counts. First: That Reuters ran it seems lends a bit of validity to the report. Second: The iPod line up is due for something fresh. There are many, including some on our staff, who would welcome an iPod that holds 800 songs for US$100. Perhaps Apple is sensing that demand, and is moving to fill in. If so, good for Apple. The only question we would have is: What took so long?

A move such as this to address the low end of the market, a segment Apple is currently ignoring, would allow the company to completely own the MP3 player market. It will also make it much harder for other companies to complete with Apple based only on price, further raising the bar for all would-be competitors. That should have an interesting effect on this space, but it should also further pad Apple's sales and profits. That's a Good Thing™.

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