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Is Apple Trying to Take Over iPod Accessories?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the signs-point-to-no dept.

193

An anonymous reader writes "With more and more iPod accessories being released by Apple all the time many users are speculating that Apple is trying to shoulder the after-market iPod companies aside. However, at least one user doesn't see it that way, and thinks that Apple's move may actually help the after-market companies. From the article: 'Even if it wanted to, Apple knows that it couldn't simply make the iPod accessory market participants magically go away. If Apple did try to steal their lunch, all it would succeed in doing would be to drive those companies straight into the arms of the iPod's competitors, most of whom are desperate to see any kind of an accessory market form around their players. And that's the last thing Apple wants to have happen.'"

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Well... (1)

zubinjdalal (816389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860008)

... I'd want in too for profits on a $99 iPod case!

Re:Well... (0, Flamebait)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860142)

Not to mention the ugly and useless case market...

Re:Well... (0, Flamebait)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860295)

... I'd want in too for profits on a $99 iPod case!

As much as I like to think that the iPod is rather overpriced for what it is, one almost has to believe it's a Loss-Leader when Apple is goug^H^H^H^Hoffering iPod mavens these ridi^H^H^H^Htrendy accessories. Is this where the profit really lies?

I've been fascinated, looking over financial statements from a variety of concerns, as to where they really make their money. All is not often as it so appears.

Re:Well... (4, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860757)

I recall going to Hong Kong at the height of the changeable phone cover craze. You could buy a new phone cover over there that cost a couple of dollars that sold in the UK for 20 pounds. The quality was the same - in fact higher since the sheer choice of covers to choose from was unreal.

It just goes to show what the markup is on accessories. A case for an iPod which could be a few lousy bits of neoprene stitched together could well sell for $30. It's no wonder Apple want in - there are suckers aplenty who buy such tat even if their iPod is going to be obsolete by the same time next year.

Re:Well... (1)

70Bang (805280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860970)



iPod cases aside, what about the patents which non-Apple companies have secured for the actual add-on toys (e.g. wireless attachments)?

And...successfully defended said patents against other companies who were practically shipping to market when they found out they were in violation of other parties and as a result, had to climb into the white porcelain euphemism whilst Jinx the cat practiced his newest trick: flushing (Meet the Parents, Meet the Fokkers).


i.e. How will Apple deal with this?

apple has a monopoly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860011)

isn't apple's monopoly of the ipod dangerous for consumers?

This seems appropriate (4, Interesting)

guitaristx (791223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860013)

linky [userfriendly.org]

Re:This seems appropriate (1, Insightful)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860144)

And that's exactly why the iPod accessories market has nothing to worry about from Apple. Move along.

Re:This seems appropriate (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860256)

And that's exactly why the iPod accessories market has nothing to worry about from Apple. Move along.

That's where you are wrong!

Apple is clearly undercutting the high-end market for $199 iPod holders, made of nothing less than Rich Corinthian Leather.*

* You must be an old fart to know what this means.

Re:This seems appropriate (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860312)

* see also - Khaaaaannnnn

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Re:This seems appropriate (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860491)

* see also - Khaaaaannnnn

Sorry, couldn't resist.

np. When I was in High School* Ricardo Montalban was on Johnny Carson**, where Johnny*** asked Ricardo what it really was, and Ricardo stated, "Alright, yes, it is vynil!"

*Usually an old fart starts statements like this, to help identify them as old farts.
**Another confirmation of old fartitude.
***Distant and deceased predecessor of Jay "the chin" Leno

Re:This seems appropriate (4, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860158)

Just goes to show that people are suckers.
Especially when it comes to audio.

Personally, I'm holding out for the leather case that'll make the high notes higher, the low notes lower and the mid notes really *pop*.

And no, I will not put my iPod in the microwave. It didn't make the electrons run any faster at all.

brand strength (5, Insightful)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860028)

To your average iPod buyer, no amount of accessories will make another player as attractive as the iPod.

Re:brand strength (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860274)

Exactly. Plus the fact that no other player has that kind of marketshare. Plus the fact that other players often include extra functionality (radio, note taker, etc).

Re:brand strength (2, Insightful)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860441)

To your average iPod buyer, no amount of accessories will make another player as attractive as the iPod.

Nope. Choose either:

To your average apple fanboy no amount of accessories will make another player as attractive as the iPod

or

To your average mp3 buyer, no amount of explanation will make them understand the difference between another player and an iPod

You see - to your average joe, an mp3 player is an ipod - they no more understand the difference between an ipod and *generic mp3player* then they do the difference between kleenex and tissues.

The average public is not as discerning as you think it is.

Re:brand strength (1)

GigG (887839) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860838)

You see - to your average joe, an mp3 player is an ipod - they no more understand the difference between an ipod and *generic mp3player* then they do the difference between kleenex and tissues.

Then I must ask why then is Apple selling the hell out of iPods when the average joe doesn't know the difference and could easily buy a generic mp3 player at Wal-Mart?
While I agree that Joe 6-pack usually doesn't have a clue in the case of the iPod he seems to see something there he likes enough to pay extra for it.

Re:brand strength (4, Insightful)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861279)

Then I must ask why then is Apple selling the hell out of iPods when the average joe doesn't know the difference and could easily buy a generic mp3 player at Wal-Mart?

1) Because walmart sells ipods. [walmart.com]

2) Average joe walks into CE shop & asks for an 'ipod' meaning 'generic mp3 player' - what do you think he's going to get?

3) Advertising. To average joe, a brand you've heard of is better then any other brand.

Re:brand strength (2, Insightful)

yurnotsoeviltwin (891389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861107)

You may be right that the average public may not be able to tell you that *generic mp3 player* has *generic non-iPod feature (voice recorder, radio, etc.)* but they WILL be able to tell you that it isn't either as good looking or as trendy as the iPod. That's why Apple sells so many of those things, because they know what the average consumer really cares about, and it isn't techie features.

Re:brand strength (2, Interesting)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861125)

I can't tell the difference between jeans from Tommy Hilfiger and Old Navy, yet plenty of people buy the former despite the price sometimes being several times as much.

Re:brand strength (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860482)

i agree, what other mp3 player can make me spontaneously spooge my pants?

Re:brand strength (1)

KarateExplosions (959215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860497)

I've got a little 1 GB, $100 Creative MP3 player, with FM radio, FM recording, line-in recording, and a voice recorder. For the same price, I could have gotten a 1GB IPod Shuffle with no FM radio, no recording, no backlit screen, et cetera... but I could have gotten a pretty-colored case for it! Maybe something in Fuscia or Mauve.

Re:brand strength (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860516)

That's what 3DFX users thought, too.

Re:brand strength (1)

iMac Were (911261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860839)

Not even this [glossynews.com] , sweetie?

Re:brand strength (1)

aMillionAndNine (901575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861078)

I love my iPod but one of the big reasons is the huge selection of add ons and accessories. I would be much more likely to look at other brands if they had that also. Of course, it would have to be a top quality device to make me give up on my iPod. I think people would consider the alternatives if they had more to offer. That said, I don't think it is going to happen anytime soon.

omgwtfbbq (4, Insightful)

Soviet Assassin (815206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860036)

OK, so apple created the ipod, they can create accessories if they want

If other companies are too slow to release new ipod accessories and apple beats them to it, well thats just too freakin bad for those other companies now isnt it?

Dont blame apple for keeping on top of the game, blame those smaller companies for slacking.

Re:omgwtfbbq (2, Informative)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860065)

I'm not really a big fan of the 10% royalty fee [macnn.com] however for accessories which use the universal docking connector.

Re:omgwtfbbq (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860346)

If other companies are too slow to release new ipod accessories and apple beats them to it, well thats just too freakin bad for those other companies now isnt it?

Most (if not all) of apple's recent ipod accessories have already been done by other companies... Bose SoundDock, iHome, dozens of cases, fm transmitters, etc.

Re:omgwtfbbq (1)

Soviet Assassin (815206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860773)

Well then you would have to thin that the "other guys" have sucky marketing schemes -- If they create the accessories first then apple makes them and apple sells them, well, how do they do it? marketing? trust? that would also be a problem of the other companies, its not like apple brainwashes us into buying stuff directly from apple.

As someone else said, sometimes apple just makes it better.

Whether they have a monopoly or not, there stuff is damn good, imho of course. And if the other companies cant sell as well as apple, stop crying in your beer and deal with it.

Re:omgwtfbbq (1)

EddWo (180780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861003)

Well other companies can and have created FM Radio adaptors and speaker docks, but only Apple can create accessories that integrate with the iPod firmware to such an extent. Both the recent radio and HiFi have required a firmware update to add an additional menu item to the iPod interface. The tuning system on the new Radio adaptor looks very good and uses the scroll wheel effectivley, the HiFi lets you change tone settings and display fullscreen album art while it is docked. No other third party accessory maker can compete with that level of integration.

To me it seems very much the same tactics that Microsoft have long been accused. Building features into the OS to support their products that are not documented for use by third parties.

Re:omgwtfbbq (1)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860537)

Yes, they can create accessories if they want. But not without receiving the wrath of Apple haters seeking to spread some FUD. The only reason they did the iPod HiFi is because it fills a vacuum in the current offerings.

And a $99 iPod case? LOOOOL I'm sure the iPod case guys are shitting their pants now. OMG Nobody will want to buy our $35 case now. I actually interpret the pricing as a deliberate attempt by Apple to not offend or harm the case vendors, while still providing a solution for the oddball nut that insists on a 100%-Apple solutino.

Re:omgwtfbbq (2, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860720)

OK, so apple created the ipod, they can create accessories if they want If other companies are too slow to release new ipod accessories and apple beats them to it, well thats just too freakin bad for those other companies now isnt it?

Um, not when they have a near monopoly. Let's change that to "MS created Windows, they can create the programs for it if they want."

Still agree with that statement? Didn't think so. And I'm not sure where you're going wieh the speed argument. Apple isn't "beating" anyone, in fact they're trying to artificially restrict the marketplace.

Re:omgwtfbbq (1)

Cymsdale (772966) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861266)

Are you saying MS shouldn't be allowed to create programs for Windows? That doesn't make any sense.

How is creating an accessory for your product artificially restricting the marketplace.

Re:omgwtfbbq (2, Insightful)

noisyfont (919296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860741)

Sure, but this overlooks a simple fact: since the ipod shuffle, apple has started releasing ipod accessories at the same time as the ipod itself. In other words, this isn't a levelled field where competition push towards better products with faster release. Apple could certainly take advantage as the designer of the ipod to drive other cie's out of the ipod accessories business. They could try to change the ipod specifications to rapidly for third parties to keep up, while their products would always word flawlessly. They could also introduce some incompatibilty so third parties' products don't function properly anymore, etc. This of course would be illegal (and would piss many people off), but they could certainly drive third parties' out of business before being having their hand slapped by the court. That is the problem with proprietary formats, you depend on the 'owner' generosity. As soon as you are making 'too much money', the 'owner' will come back and eat your lunch. At which point there is little you can do to compete but fill a lawsuit... which won't get you very far, at least in the short run.

Re:omgwtfbbq (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860862)

If other companies are too slow to release new ipod accessories and apple beats them to it, well thats just too freakin bad for those other companies now isnt it?

That is an "if" that isn't satisfied here. Has Apple beat others to the accessories game? Apple was generally late to make accessories, and sometimes half-assed too, like the $99 leather case and the iPod socks. Anyways, I think this whole article is irrelevant. There is plenty of room in the market for accessories, and thankfully a lot of them differentiate on styles and features rather than just price.

Re:omgwtfbbq (1)

TeacherOfHeroes (892498) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860876)

Maybe thats what apple is trying to do; force the other companies to R&D even more accessories for the ipod.

Get some profits from an existing market without any heavy R&D, while at the same time forcing your new competitors to help sell your other products.

Uh... Yea! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860039)

What kind of stupid question is that? Of course they want to own the market that sells $1 leather sleeves for $30-$100! Why should some Chinese company profit with $100 iHomes when Apple can profit with $150 iHomes.

This is why... (1)

sharpestmarble (875443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860043)

Apple overprices their iPod accessories. To create an accessory market.

Kind of like giving their competitor^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hhelper companies some advertising dollars, only without actually doing so.

Why wouldn't they want a piece of the action? (3, Insightful)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860048)

Incredibly overpriced stuff = maximal profits!

Believe it or not, a company exists to make money. With the cachet of the Apple brand already driving the sales of the ipod, why not increase the booty a bit by getting in on the extras?

Re:Why wouldn't they want a piece of the action? (1)

twbecker (315312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860146)

Incredibly overpriced stuff = maximal profits!

By that logic, maybe Apple should sell their already ridiculously priced iPod case for $199 to maximize profits. There is the small matter of pricing your accessories such that people will actually buy them. The only people stupider than Apple for trying to sell a case that cost 1/3 of what the iPod itself does, are the people that actually buy it.

Re:Why wouldn't they want a piece of the action? (1)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860336)

In general, I agree (this is a fundamental tenet of economics). However, it's really about the branding in this specific case. The people who are buying ipods are trendy hipsters. Your run of the mill trendy hipster isn't going to want to be seen with a bo-bo case covering their premium priced ipod, so they will pay for the brand.

The core of fanatics here don't really pay attention to the prices, so long as the brand is there. If it has the logo, then it sells. It's the same principle as designer jeans. Sure, you can buy a dozen cheap pairs, but those aren't cool.

Re:Why wouldn't they want a piece of the action? (1)

twbecker (315312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860739)

I see what you're saying, but the iPod is way past the point of trendy and into the mainstream. In Q4 2005, Apple sold something like 1 iPod *per second*. Hell, I have a 4th gen 20GB model myself. I would expect Apple to offer accessories that, while certainly not cheap, would appeal to as wide a range of iPod users as possible. A $99 leather slipcase that doesn't even offer access to the iPod's controls doesn't come close.

Re:Why wouldn't they want a piece of the action? (1)

doughrama (172715) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860758)

You are totally off the mark. Sure some trendy hipsters, who are trendy yet not hipsters, are going to want to be seen with the Apple iPod case. As is the general sentiment here, I think the actual hipsters are going to see this for what it is, Apple milking one great product to cross sell a different not so great product. It's not going to sell well, at least not in comparison to the the current well established accessory makers.

Consumers buying the ipod case has more to do with trust than cool. Something along the lines of: John walks into the Apple store to buy a new iPod, as he's buying he realizes he wants a case too. John looks over the different cases and can't really tell the difference between them. Being well paid with money rarely being an object he opts to get the much more expensive Apple case. John got quite a bit for his $100. What he got was a case that he liked reasonably well, obviously. But the most expensive thing he bought wasn't even tangible, what he bought was the ability to not think. Sometimes, not having to think is well worth the price.

Boil it down and it's about convenience and trust. Apple's providing both and that by itself will sell some product. Really has nothing to do with cool. In fact I'd be willing to bet that only the terminaly uncool would buy the Apple case simply because it would be "cool" to do so.

Re:Why wouldn't they want a piece of the action? (5, Insightful)

Fahrenheit 450 (765492) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860771)

The people who are buying ipods are trendy hipsters.

Except when they're not...
  • Sometimes they're people who use Apples as their primary computer (or at least their primary computer for storing/playing mp3s[1]). I've yet to see an mp3 player other than iPod who's interface with the Mac could be described as much beyond "pathetic".[2]
  • Sometimes they're people who reviewed their needs and found an iPod was the best fit for them. A good example of this would be me. I found that a Shuffle suited my needs better than any other player on the market at the time. Now, it may be a Nano, or something different -- then it wasn't.
  • Sometime's they're people who think mp3 player=iPod -- they aren't even aware (or are only barely aware) that other companies make mp3 players. A good example of this would be my mother -- of course she called me before buying one and I sent her my old MuVo that was lying on the shelf collecting dust. Of course, she doesn't use that player anyway, as the human interface pretty much sucks for someone who is not overly familiar with their computer. She would actually be much better served by picking up an iPod which integrates seamlessly with iTunes. Note. This is a potentially huge group -- likely far larger than the "trendy hipster" demographic.
  • Sometimes they're people who find the interface on the iPod to be much better than that of the competition. E.g. navigation on my MuVo pretty much sucked ass (though it was better than the shuffle in some regards). And they find that to be much more important to them than the features that the iPod doesn't have. And of course there is a huge class of people who don't want all those other features -- believe it or not most of the world could care less about things like gapless playback, ogg support, or voice memos.
  • And as always, there are the brand jockeys and trendy hipsters. But these people exist for every product, and pretty much every brand...


But hey, I get that it's easier to toss off a dismissive generalization than it is to actually think about something.

[1] I use mp3 throughout to refer to a whole swath of digital audio formats, as I'm too lazy to type everything out.
[2] Of course I stopped looking after buying my player last year. Thing may have changed, but I doubt it...

Re:Why wouldn't they want a piece of the action? (1)

iMac Were (911261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860917)

Now that you've impressed us with economics 101, I suggest you look up "recursive demand curve" and/or "Whoooooosh!!!".

Yes... (4, Funny)

taskforce (866056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860052)

owever, at least one user doesn't see it that way, and thinks that Apple's move may actually help the after-market companies.

That's right... You guys are misunderstanding this. Apple are saints. They're only trying to help other companies by releasing competing products!

Re:Yes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860191)

They're only trying to help other companies by releasing competing products!

Well, since they are only competing at the high end, where very few of the other companies compete, I would say that they are not "competing". Or do you honestly believe that Apples $100 leather case is going to take the market away from all the myriad $15-$25 cases out there? Even their speakers were targeted strictly to high end users (with Jobs rambling on about replacing home hifi systems, yeah right). They are simply building brand recognition at the high end of the market. They are seen as upscale to begin with, this merely drives the point home. Remember, if it drives more iPod sales, then everyone benefits, which only a tiny fraction of companies being hurt. Now if they came out with a line of $20 cases, $15 fm adapters, etc, then that'd be another story.

I'm getting deja vu (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860575)

You guys are misunderstanding this. Apple are saints. They're only trying to help other companies by releasing competing products!

Sarcasm aside for a minute: Didn't we go through all of this when Apple included Dashboard in OS X 10.4, basically killing Konfabulator on OS X? Or when Apple started selling Final Cut Pro and Apeture? Or GarageBand, Pages and Keynote... you get the idea.

Apple has helped encourage a burgeoning accessories market with the iPod, and just because they're playing the game themselves doesn't mean they're trying to kill everyone else.

I mean, even taking the iPod Hi-Fi into account: that's an expensive box, a quality set of speakers that costs over $300 and will NOT appeal to everyone. Most iPod users will be quite happy with a set of portable-size speakers that cost $100 or less, and the rest have to take into account the cost-versus-quality of the iPod Hi-Fi.

Apple has been selling its own accessories since it started selling iPods, and the accessory companies, quite frankly, have more to fear from the likes of Belkin than they do from Apple.

Re:I'm getting deja vu (3, Insightful)

taskforce (866056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860823)

Seriously though, you can say all you like "Apple are helping to encourage the budgeoning iPod accessory market," but it doesn't make basic economics of Supply and Demand obselete; Apple are increasing the supply into the market and have a very capable commercial position from which to hawk their products, along with the brand recognition.

Re:Yes... (1)

shotfeel (235240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860585)

Wow! So the "Switchers" campaign did have some success!

Is this "Obvious Day" on Slashdot? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860056)

Is Apple Trying to Take Over iPod Accessories?

You mean, has Apple realized that people are willing to pay obscene amounts of money on cheap accessories for the gadget of the decade, and would Apple like a cut of that delicious, delicious profit by making some of those cheap accessories too? I believe the answer is "yes".

Next up on Slashdot: Is Microsoft trying to compete eith Open Source?

Re:Is this "Obvious Day" on Slashdot? (1)

sharpestmarble (875443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860111)

>Is this "Obvious Day" on Slashdot?
No, but it is "RTFA Day".

>and would Apple like a cut of that delicious, delicious profit by making some of those cheap accessories too?
Apple's trying to create a bigger market for accessories by spending their advertising dollars hitting everyone with ads targeted at audiophiles with fat wallets.

After-Market ipod accessories are generally poor (5, Interesting)

TheWorkz (866187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860060)

I dont feel that there is any issue with Apple releasing their accessories. In fact, the "Apple" Branded accessories I have purchased for the NANO are much better quality than third parties. An example is the armband which is a leather that feels much softer and gentler on the skin. Third party accessories for the same item are half the price, but normally elastic and plastic.

It all comes down to quality of product, and I would much rather have something confortable and that lasts longer and looks nicer for a little more..

One exception is the new itrip nano.. that thing rocks.

Re:After-Market ipod accessories are generally poo (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860552)

You hit the nail on the head. There are a lot of products out there for the iPods. Not every product is going to be of reasonable quality but, due to the default markup, they will all be quite expensive.

So how do you find a good product. Certainly an Apple branded product will be a good risk. It will probably be of reasonable quality, and not neccesarily out of line on price. For instance, a $100 Apple case might compare favorable with a $215 Prada case.

Now, with me, I have my favorite companies. Most cases for my apple products are Marware. Mostly I like to by Lacie for peripherals. Others will have fovorites. But for those that do not wish to look for quality, or just want the Apple brand, the option exists.

Re:After-Market ipod accessories are generally poo (1, Flamebait)

bogie (31020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860607)

Of course there are crappy 3rd party products. There are also vastly superior 3rd party products sold to supplement the stuff that Apple puts out.

You can also lose out by buying Apple. A $99 case for an Ipod? Does is massage your ass when you wear it? A $30 armband for the shuffle that only cost $2 to make?

"It all comes down to quality of product, and I would much rather have something confortable and that lasts longer and looks nicer for a little more.. "

Again, don't buy shitty 3rd party products.

[rolling eyes] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14861002)

"the armband which is a leather that feels much softer and gentler on the skin. "

Clearly, you are one of those people who *don't* work out with an iPod.

Besides... (1)

kukickface (675936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860076)

Just because it might be a bad move doesn't mean they wouldn't do it.

Not quite (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860078)

"If Apple did try to steal their lunch, all it would succeed in doing would be to drive those companies straight into the arms of the iPod's competitors, most of whom are desperate to see any kind of an accessory market form around their players. "

I think the summary has it backwards. The accessory market won't develop unless the product has good marketshare already. If Apple drives the iPod accessory companies to make accessories for the iPod's competitors, it will in effect drive them out of business.

Look at it this way: if there was good profit to be made making accessories for other music players, there would be companies meeting that demand already.

Seems clear what they're doing. (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860102)

They're trying to better define the market. They want to put their accessories at the very top end of the market, and shake everyone down from there.

It's like getting your key blanks from the dealer rather than at the corner store. They don't want to take away the market, but they certainly do want to own the 75% margin end of it.

Why don't they sell their headphones??? (1)

CyberSnyder (8122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860109)

If you break or lose your original headphones, Apple doesn't sell replacements as far as I can tell. Maybe they're afraid people will buy them to look like they're listening to an iPod??

I already did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860197)

I already did. Actually, I got some white cord and two gobs of putty. I cut the cord into two pieces, put white putty on the ends, jammed it into my ears, and let the white cord ends trail into my jacket pocket.

All of the "oh how kewl" iPod cachet with none of the cost.

Re:Why don't they sell their headphones??? (1)

splatterboy (815820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860405)

You didn't check very hard - they do sell replacements ($40 with a remote, yikes!). And yes, here in New York (where 95% of the millions of mp3 players I see are ipods) I've seen LOTS of people using ipod headphones on non-ipod mp3 players and even cd walkmans. Pathetic? yes, but that doesn't people won't do it.

The reverse is true to a certain extent - when you see a person with expensive third party headphones (ie shure, etymotic,sennheiser), they're plugged into an ipod.

Re:Why don't they sell their headphones??? (1)

endrue (927487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860544)

I don't know - the first thing I would do if I ever bought an iPod woudl be to trash the original headphones for some more generic-looking ones. Nothing says "hey, mug me, I have an iPod!" like those little white earbuds.

Re:Why don't they sell their headphones??? (1)

shotfeel (235240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860701)

I've seen LOTS of people using ipod headphones on non-ipod mp3 players and even cd walkmans.

You sure those aren't something like the RetroPod [flickr.com] (Walkman modded as iPod case)? You might be less likely to get mugged [macworld.co.uk] if they thought you just had an old piece of junk.

Re:Why don't they sell their headphones??? (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860446)

Apple doesn't sell replacements as far as I can tell.

Right here. They even throw in a little remote like the one that some of the 3G iPods used to come with.

http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/A ppleStore.woa/6034003/wo/5j7PKMQPV1zg2TmF2SXxlrDh2 9B/1.SLID?mco=49C8A68F&nplm=M9128G%2FA [apple.com]

For $40, you can probably buy much nicer headphones. I find that the Sony $10 earbuds sound just as good if not better.

Re:Why don't they sell their headphones??? (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860556)

But are the Sony ones the iconic dirty-white? (well, the buds themselves are white, but the cord - the bit you really see - is definately light grey). Didn't think so. Sales = 0.

Also, those won't work with the new 5G iPods, nor with the Nano (thanks to the remote plug), unless they can (as one would hope) be separated from the remote itself. In which case you've just wasted $35 on a useless remote and the other $5 went to overpriced earbuds.

Re:Why don't they sell their headphones??? (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860615)

But are the Sony ones the iconic dirty-white? (well, the buds themselves are white, but the cord - the bit you really see - is definately light grey). Didn't think so. Sales = 0.

Sales = 0???

You haven't set foot in a Best buy in quite some time have you. Those little jobbies fly off the shelves there.

Also, those won't work with the new 5G iPods, nor with the Nano (thanks to the remote plug), unless they can (as one would hope) be separated from the remote itself.

They can. They are the exact same ear buds as the ones that don't come with the remote.

In which case you've just wasted $35 on a useless remote and the other $5 went to overpriced earbuds.

You could always eBay the remote if you don't want it. There's a lot of people who own iPods which support it yet don't have one. (A friend of mine was eyeballing my remote with a bit of envy during a recent ski trip. It sucks having to dig around in your powder jacket to adjust the volume or skip a track while riding the chairlift.)

You can get replacements for free! link in comment (5, Informative)

Winckle (870180) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860527)

err sorry to say this, but when my iPod headphones broke, I just ordered some new ones for *FREE* from apple! just go to here [apple.com] and if your ipod is in warranty or/and applecare you can get new headphones for free without sending your old ones back!

Good info (1)

CyberSnyder (8122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860655)

Thanks!

Re:Why don't they sell their headphones??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860762)

i hate the white headphones and they sound shit to me any way. Plus muggers have started looking for people with white headphones beacause it means they've probably got an iPod.

Re:Why don't they sell their headphones??? (1)

XMilkProject (935232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861135)

Ugh why would you want to buy replacements of those horrible earbuds? For 40 dollars the apple is charging you could get some semi-quality ones from Sony or Sennheiser.

Do it slow, then (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860133)

I guess Apple will just have to boil the frog, then.

Elbow out the accessory companies one company or accessory at a time, until they lose the critical mass they need to stay in the business. And do it slowly so that won't mount a unified reponse against Apple, such as a multi-complainant antitrust suit.

Coach (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860138)

If you thought those were expensive, check out what Coach [coach.com] has to offer!

Re:Coach (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860553)

An iPod case from Coach is not just a cover, it's a fashion accessory. They are a company which mostly sells $300+ purses.

Note that a purse does exactly the same job as a paper grocery bag under most circumstances. From a functional point of view, it's just a bag with a handle.

Women buy expensive Coach bags (and even more expensive ones from other makers) because what a woman carries is considered part of her outfit. She doesn't carry a purse; she wears it.

From the photos I've seen, the $100 iPod cover from Apple seems a little more utilitarian. I doubt it will become a big fashion statement.

Then again, if the Pink RAZR can become a must-have item for celebrity runways, I suppose just about anything is possible.

Re:Coach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860635)

Who would've taken you seriously if, 5 years ago, you'd suggest that the iPod itself were to become a fashion statement?

Re:Coach (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860905)

Who would've taken you seriously if, 5 years ago, you'd suggest that the iPod itself were to become a fashion statement?

I don't take them seriously when they tell me that today.

If it looked exactly like a lump of fresh dog turd, I'd still take it everywhere, because I find it extremely handy. (I might be more tempted to buy a case from Coach to hide it in, though...)

Re:Coach (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861196)

I understand the cheese [coachfarm.com] is pretty good though.

Raising the bar (2, Interesting)

woozlewuzzle (532172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860139)

It may be a case of Apple simply not being impressed with the 3rd party products currently offered. If quality accessories will help sell your product, and the after market isn't releasing high enough quality, Apple may well want to 'show them how it is done'. Basically Apple spends its marketing and development dollars to prove that a quality accessory can make money and that should encourage the after market companies to improve their wares.

Or maybe Steve is really on one of his kicks to control everything. What do I know?

Re:Raising the bar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860461)

Steve is trying to control everything. As far as quality is concerned, Apple was never, ever known for it's quality, just of it's design.

the footsteps of HD ??? (3, Interesting)

hihihihi (940800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860179)

if I remember correctly, many decades back Harley Devidson motorbikes did the same thing by creating the black fashionable leather garments for its fans, as they already had a *cult* following, this just helped them in strengthening it further.

i think apple is also following the same footsteps..

look at the prices (1)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860251)

the few apple branded ipod accessories on the market are much more expensive and generally not of any better quality than competitor accessories.

they are just making a few bucks extra off of the people who would rather buy apple accessories (like my dad, who cannot be convinced otherwise that a griffin accessory is just as good or probably better for much less)

Re:look at the prices (1)

Darth Maul (19860) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860689)

Yeah, that's right, because the price is THE ONLY DIFFERENCE. Seriously now. Some people will actually pay more for better products. A shock, I know.

Apple (2)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860257)

Is it anti Apple week? Seems to me the news outlets have been overhyping Apple and when Apple didn't live up to it (and never claimed to do so), they decided they should attack Apple so they look better.

I mean I don't hear anyone going "Sony are releasing PSP extras! That should be banned!" or "Nintendo released a DS carry case! They're trying to push others out of the DS add ons market!".

Seems the old "attack opponents character so we look better even if we're as black as that pot over there.

Anti-bad grammar week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860378)

"I mean I don't hear anyone going "Sony are releasing PSP extras! That should be banned!" "

Nobody says that since the above sentence shows ignorance of how to use singular nouns in sentences. It should read "Sony is releasing PSP extras!"

Singulars is not plurals and plural are not singular. :)

Re:Anti-bad grammar week (1)

jerk (38494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860933)

I see why you posted anonymously.

Slashdot (2, Insightful)

LightningBolt! (664763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860406)

Apples for Nerds. Stuff that apples.

For crying out loud, I'm as much of a fan of Apple as anyone. OK, not anyone, but I do like my Powerbook quite a bit. But really, the ratio of Apple to non-Apple news on /. has become extremely high. I mean, where's the news about how Dell tries to sell accessories? It's not news, and neither is this.

Righto! (1)

Kludge (13653) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861230)

This makes 2 stories in one day about "iPod accessories". Who gives a crap?! I long for the day when /. posted the latest kernel releases and useful, cool nerd stuff rather than this.

The answer.. (4, Funny)

saboola (655522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860447)

Is Apple Trying to Take Over iPod Accessories?

Yes. That was easy. What's next? I'm on a roll.

Duh? (1)

wackymacs (865437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860547)

Duh, everyone's been saying this for over a year now. It's pretty obvious Apple wants the $1 billion iPod...I mean wouldn't you? ;)

To respond to the snippet... (1)

ursabear (818651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860548)

I don't think Apple should/would want to become the exclusive producer and seller of iPod stuff. There will always be the $.99US iPod skins (with $19.99US shipping, of course!) and straps and such. That said, Apple would likely want to gain additional revenue by offering its own bits and bytes of accessories. Apple will surely pick up some sales of iPod accessories if they are sold co-located with iPods - because many folks reason that the accessory will be "more compatible" if made by the same company as the product for which the accessory is built.

It would be quite self-defeating for Apple to squish the aftermarket accessories makers - they are making the iPod product intrinsically more interesting by offering things that will help one with one's iPod, and even make them more visually individual.

MONEY! (1)

immorak (904819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860777)

It would be stupid for Apple not to get in on the money. If all the other companies can make big bucks on ipod gear why not sell it on the ipod site with the ipod? They might even put deals together later with ipods and gear for one price in a package.

Apple also opens doors for accessory makers (2, Insightful)

synergy3000 (637810) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860804)

By dropping the dock and now dropping power cords Apple has allowed accesory makers to step in and make better docks and power cords for use with the pod.

As long as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860845)

they don't release a product and then not include an essential part: e.g. a USB cable. 3G iPod + $30 for a proprietary USB cable with the dock connector. Too bad they decided afterwards to include a USB cable.

The missing step 2!!! (4, Funny)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860885)

Step 1) Create high demand, but easily scratchable MP3 player.
Step 2) Sell cases to prevent scratches to said easily scratchable MP3 player.
Step 3) Profit!!!

Re:The missing step 2!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14861023)

It's an age old sales tactic:

Onion and Horseradish Dip: Free
Toothbrushes: $19.99

Now, if we could convince Apple to give away the easily scratchable iPod and make all their money on the accessories...

How long until they change the connection ports? (-1, Troll)

LordJezo (596587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860903)

They dropped the firewire connector and screwed all of us early gen adopters so how long until they take away the standard connector and change it into something new? It will lock everyone out of all future upgrades and force everyone into getting a new iPod.

They have done it before so I am just waiting for them to do it again.

(I might be bitter but I still like my iPod more than any other mp3 player, even if I can't hook it up to my new pair of jeans)

Plenty of room (2, Insightful)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860934)

Apple is going to aim for the high end, high margin end of the accessories market, just as they have with everything else they sell. There will be plenty of room for 3rd party manufacturers of bargain-priced accessories, as well as premium-priced accessories targeted toward "niche" markets that are too small for Apple to bother with.

Remember the Newton? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860990)

>"Even if it wanted to, Apple knows that it couldn't simply make the iPod accessory market participants magically go away"

Sure they could. Remember the Newton?

There was a robust and growing medical devices and applications market for the Newton. As far as medical applications were concerned, Apple *owned* the market. The AT&T EO was newly dead, and PenPoint 32-bit object-oriented handwriting recognition - oriented OS was being sold off to Taiwanese concerns.

Apple killed it, this industry segment of software add-on developers and VARs, in one blow - by discontinuing the Newton.

Yeah, yeah, I know about the historical context - they were desperate for cash, and brought Jobs back to take this, and other cost cutting measures, and accept Microsoft's bailout offer.

But sure, look at history. Apple could very easily make the iPod accessory market go away. By discontinuing the iPod.

(Personally, I prefer Diamond's products anyway. Apple is too proprietary)

For what it's worth.

  -dcm

Articles like this... (2, Insightful)

Pleb'a.nz (712848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861030)

... prove people think too much about things.

Apple misguided (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14861031)

Why doesn't Apple try to add needed accessories instead of copycatting current offerings.

#1 on my list, a 5g microphone!

Article is right for the wrong reasons (4, Insightful)

Fatal0E (230910) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861110)

Anyone remember when Apple jacked their licensing fees for port access late last year and pissed off manufacturers? Just in case you dont: http://www.macnn.com/articles/05/10/11/made.for.ip od.licensing/ [macnn.com]

I haven't read anything that spoke towards manufacturers backing out b/c the licensing hike tho but I suppose economic theory implies some products getting squeezed out.

Is apple trying to squeeze out the market by marketing first-party schwag and jacking its fees?

I think a more compelling argument might be that they're just trying to squeeze every dime out of the ipod as corporately possible before the ipod loses its buzz. Between that and the fact that the silly boom box is yawn inducing (as opposed to being the killer accessory for the killer app) I'm not sold on apple's upcoming knick-knack dominance.
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