Jupiter's David Card: 'Apple is in Great Shape' in MP3 Player Market

Apple Computer is in great shape to dominate the MP3 player market and will continue to innovate for the future, according to Jupiter Research Senior Analyst and Vice-President David Card, who was interviewed Thursday by MarketWatchis Andrew OiDay.

During the audio interview, Mr. Card noted that "Apple is in great shape [in the MP3 player market]. Theyive built two or three great products and continue to innovate. Theyive also been aggressive on pricing and have really nailed the sweet spot of the market."

Mr. OiDay compared the iPod phenomenon with the success Sony had with its Walkman CD player 20 years ago, an analogy that Mr. Card said was "right on the money. Apple has set the standard with their hard drive-based iPods and now theyive shaken up the lower-priced model marketplace with the iPod shuffle."

Mr. Card cautioned, however, that "Sony should not be counted out. Their new models show they have their head in the right place."

On the subject of market saturation, Mr. Card said that despite the ubiquity of the white iPod headphones in such places as New York City, the MP3 player business "is still a relatively small market. Theyire still not a mass market device." He estimated that there were about 15 to 16 million MP3 players in the U.S. at the end of 2004, which is too small to constitute mainstream acceptance of the devices.

Mr. Card predicted that within a year-and-a-half to two years, the market "will explode with the introduction of US$50 products. I think Apple will be there for that and will have the stomach for it, something I didnit think they had previously." Right now, he still sees plenty of sales to early adopters looking for second devices.

You can hear the entire interview on the MarketWatch Web site.

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