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Apple Marketing Genius

Stefan Tilkov,

Of all the comments I’ve read about Apple’s new iPod shuffle, I like Joe Gregorio’s best:

Apple’s marketing is breathtaking. They start with a perfectly good MP3 player, rip out the display so you have no idea which song is playing, lock the thing into permanent shuffle mode and call it a feature. Actually, they go even further and make it the primary selling point, naming it ‘shuffle’ and topping it off with the tag-line ‘Enjoy uncertainty.’ You just have to admire their skill.

On a related note, be sure to check out Apple iProduct and Apple Haters.

On January 14, 2005 6:42 PM, Mark Martel said:

Actually, the shuffle can be switched into linear play mode (“Play in Order” mode). Reality is that most people I know who own MP3 players either listen to playlists of diffferent artists in order, or in shuffle mode. There’s not a ton of difference except the order in which you hear them — and that partly makes the experience “fresh” every time.

Still, it’s clearly a “damaged goods” strategy. Apple gets the benefit of capitalizing on its potent brand and design strength to grow share in the low-end of the market, while the extremely basic and limited feature set ensures it won’t cannibalize its high-end sales.

Will it work? Well, Creative’s MuVo doesn’t have a display either. And the cost savings on the screen enables Apple to offer more room for music. Which do kids value more? Probably the space for music. At $99 for 512 MB, I think that’s pretty close to class leading value on a capacity basis.

By the way, check out the picture of the guy biting into an Apple at the front page of iRiver’s web site. It’s pretty funny.

Full disclosure: I don’t own any Apple products.