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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 11:23 AM   #1
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So... WHICH Sony is the iPod killer again?? & iTunes rip-off

Talk about throwing enough spaghetti against the wall hoping some sticks, after announcing that "Sony Bean" thing a couple of weeks ago, they yesterday announced a new "Walkman 'A' Series" player. (more here http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20050908-5287.html )

SO, which one's the iPod killer? I'm not sure even Sony knows.

And to boot, Sony released a "redesigned" -- make that "reverse engineered" -- Sony Connect PC program:





Look familiar?

Meanwhile, over in that techno hotspot, Korea, Korean manufacturers are "sulking" over the fact that Apple got an awesome volume deal from Samsung on Flash memory. That's what happens when someone else buys more than you do. It's called "free enterprise", folks.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 11:54 AM   #2
 
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I don't know about you, but I find all this both hillarious (especially the sulking Korean manufacturers) and puzzling. I mean, if Apple can design something like the nano, what's stopping the competition from coming up with something half decent? They've had a couple of years at it; you'd think they'd have SOMETHING by now?! But no, nothing that really approaches the sexiness of the nano. Apple keeps raising the bar. If the other guys want to keep up, they're going to have to start thinking 18 months ahead. But hey, what do I know about business...
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 12:13 PM   #3
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Thing is, all the asian electronics manufacturers, marketing guys, distributors and record labels ALL had YEARS before the iPod came out to develop the market and define the state of the art. Instead, they built dyslexic and cryptic hardware and interfaces, marketed to geeks only, while the record labels were only interested in fighting to keep music distribution rooted in the dark ages or limply offered up neutered, half-hearted lame excuses for online stores with inconsistent and restricting usage rights.

Today, they all enjoy a far more positive environment for them to succeed, thanks to the unbelievably difficult job Steve Jobs had in establishing the first reasonably fair and consistent music distribution model AND showing them all how attractive and easy to use an MP3 player could be... and showing them all what they SHOULD have done when they all had their unique chance instead of keeping their heads in the sand -- or in worse places:



makes me wonder how much snickering went on when the first iPod came out -- made by who? APPLE??! "RIGHT. SURE!" I bet they all thought.

Those guys had their chance. They failed to take advantage of it. Now, they're desperately playing catch-up while Apple has all the momentum and isn't letting up. it must be brutal -- JUST BRUTAL -- in those other baordrooms, man.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 12:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macsackbut
I don't know about you, but I find all this both hillarious (especially the sulking Korean manufacturers) and puzzling. I mean, if Apple can design something like the nano, what's stopping the competition from coming up with something half decent? They've had a couple of years at it; you'd think they'd have SOMETHING by now?! But no, nothing that really approaches the sexiness of the nano. Apple keeps raising the bar. If the other guys want to keep up, they're going to have to start thinking 18 months ahead. But hey, what do I know about business...
I don't find it puzzling at all.

Apple succeeds time and time again fron an aesthetic design perspective because of the culture of the company. Consumer electronics manufacturures are not concerned with design from the outset. Engineering teams are given a budget and are required to design that product within said budget within a specific period of time. That system hardly embraces innovation in electronics or design for that matter. It's completely marketing driven.

While Apple is a significant marketing company, the culture stems from the top down to build "insanely great products". Most if not all Apple employees adhere and embrace this culture. When your CEO says that we have to make a profit to support our ability to design our products the way we want them, it fosters that culture.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 01:13 PM   #5
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More on the korean makers and the market:

http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/biz/...9201311880.htm
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 01:37 PM   #6
 
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I don't find it puzzling at all.
Well, as I said, I'm no business expert. I guess it always amazes me how conservative corporate culture is, especially in the computer business, where you snooze you lose. It's survival of the fittest at work.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 02:48 PM   #7
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Apple has put together (what I would say) is one of the best marketing ploys of all time. But, did it correctly.

Apple Stores - these are probably some of the nicest stores on the planet.. it's all in how things look, these stores are probably designed just as well as the machines that the company sells. (Yes, Sony has stores.. but what do you hear of them? In fact, the one we had here.. closed.)

Branding - The Apple logo has to be one of the most significant logo's out there today. Even when you're in public, using your iBook/powerbook.. it's a glowing beacon to anyone passing by. Not to mention the iPod... all the way down to the white headphones being an icon and something they've branded.

Commercials - Apple's commercials are stunning, off the wall, and usually catchy. Using a song from a popular group at the time helps too. Really nice job on that part.

Quality - Apple is gaining momentum with the iPod's success because of it's quality. More people are taking a look at Apple's Computers now.. because of the iPod.. that's no small deal. "If their Mp3 player is this good.. maybe I should see what OS X is all about." Then you move to the switch campaigns... (integration )

Integration - All of Apple's products seemlessly work with one another, iTunes and iPod are completely 1 unit as far as I'm concerned.. and that's the way it should be. You can never have a second "first impression." This grabs a LOT of people on it's own. On top of that, iTunes is an amazingly simple but powerful music jukebox.. MOST of the PC users I've shown have never looked at another jukebox again. It just works.. and it's simple. (And now it looks great too )

All in all.. Apple has spent a LOT of time and money on their brand. Getting it out in the public eye is only the first step in getting things rolling. Keeping a supply of Innovative, Sexy, Fun and Quality hardware and software is what keeps them ahead of their game. Making people want to "Buy" again. Apple is great at this.. and FWIW, I hope they are for a long time.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 02:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macsackbut
Well, as I said, I'm no business expert. I guess it always amazes me how conservative corporate culture is, especially in the computer business, where you snooze you lose. It's survival of the fittest at work.
Well, you can extend it even further. I believe that this is the driving reason why Apple was such an important and long sought after design win for Intel. The computer industry, and the PC industry in particular desperately needs innovation. They know they're not going to get innovation in design and function from Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo and HP.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 02:56 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexel
Apple has put together (what I would say) is one of the best marketing ploys of all time. But, did it correctly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexel
Apple Stores - these are probably some of the nicest stores on the planet.. it's all in how things look, these stores are probably designed just as well as the machines that the company sells. (Yes, Sony has stores.. but what do you hear of them? In fact, the one we had here.. closed.)
The stores look great, but I still will only support smaller retailers. I still get better selection/services/prices from the small guy. There is only one Apple store in Canada, I don't think that cutting out the middleman in Canada will help in the long run.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexel
Quality - Apple is gaining momentum with the iPod's success because of it's quality. More people are taking a look at Apple's Computers now.. because of the iPod.. that's no small deal. "If their Mp3 player is this good.. maybe I should see what OS X is all about." Then you move to the switch campaigns... (integration )
Uhmm... the halo factor is helping sales, but I'm surprised at the lack of quality control from Apple lately. Everything from the new computers to the mighty mouse seems to suffer from this. I'm really surprised at all the tales from people who have had to return their units at least once...
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 03:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ArtistSeries
I'm surprised at the lack of quality control from Apple lately. Everything from the new computers to the mighty mouse seems to suffer from this. I'm really surprised at all the tales from people who have had to return their units at least once...
I'm forced to agree. iPod batteries, laptop problems (a few different ones in recent years), G5 iMac heat issues ( the G5 CPU itself with its inability to scale without burning up). I'd blame some on outsourcing parts and manufacturing, but some are also design flaws from Apple's own hand.

What's up with the Mighty Mouse? Did I miss a memo?
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