No matter what Steve Jobs has up his sleeve for Macworld tomorrow, there's one thing he won't have to worry about: any immediate threat to the iPod.
One of the questions that emerged early in last week's monstrous Consumer Electronics Show was whether someone--anyone--would unveil an MP3 player that could honestly be considered a viable competitor to the iPod. The answer, at least among those companies that have rivaled Apple in the computer arena, was a rather pathetic no.
In some ways, the difficult path to music players was foretold by the PC makers' attempts to get into the flat-panel TVs at last year's CES. The common problem: Profit margins in the consumer electronics industry are far lower than those in the computer business, and cutthroat competition quickly drives down prices in the global marketplace. Even Gateway, one of the first and most successful computer companies to make TVs, ended up abandoning the market last summer.
With its roots in electronics and music players, Sony would seem to been in the best position to make a run at Apple but , both in design and resources since laying off thousands to offset massive financial losses. So even if Jobs were to introduce nothing more than a newer version of the iPod, that might be enough to proclaim Macworld another huge success.
Blog community response:
"It would appear that the basic strategy of all portable media player producers competing with AppleÂ’s iPod is 'let's pretend the iPod doesn't exist.' That would be a decent idea if the iPod had the market share the Mac has; unfortunately, in some areas, it actually has about the market share Windows does."
"All new iPod like products follow a path Jobs has been clearing for a while now, and they have to measure up to Apple's standards in the consumers' eyes. Every week we hear about an iPod killer or new music service that will take iTunes down. Easier said then done."
--A Mac Addict's Page
"The Consumer Electronic Show 2006 didn't have any representation from the Apple Garden, but the influential waves were felt everywhere. There were several devices and music services that were unvieled to kill iPod + iTunes duo. Even the keynotes from various CEO's were benchmarked with Job's presentation."
--Ideas and Opinions