My 10 year-old has been after his father and I for an iPod for months. We said “no” because we didn’t think it was a good idea to entrust an item of that price to a fifth-grader. But right after MacWorld in early January, the iPod shuffle became available, and now Alex has one hanging from a lanyard around his neck almost every waking hour.
The Shuffle is an flash player about half the width of an iPod mini. It can hold only 125 songs vs. 1000 songs on the Blue iPod Mini that I took with me to Europe last week. The iPod Shuffle is cute, lightweight, fun and cheap at $99.00.
And today, it’s completely sold out. Anyone who wants one will have to wait 3-4 weeks for it.
What a marketing and product introduction success! Not only has Apple Computer created a must-have product, but they have done so while hitting the sweet spot for price point. At $99.00, the Shuffle will be a major factor propelling the shift away from portable CD players and toward MP3-like players. Now this looks likely within the next two years.
While it is regrettable that consumers will have to wait weeks to get one, it is understood that this is a minor inconvenience while production is ramped up to meet high demand. Consumers are never happy about out-of-stocks, but this is one of the rare cases where they will extend a bit of understanding. In a way, knowing that you can’t walk into a store and take one home ups the Shuffle’s cool factor, making it even sweeter to own when it arrives.
I like Apple products. They are well colored, well designed and easy to use. The Marketing Directions office is filled with an assortment of portable and desktop Macs that absolutely never get viruses and rarely need work (our family of four also owns five of them at home). We are also iPod users, both in the office and at home. We are loyal because Apple, while not the cheapest choice, feeds our creativity and helps us to feel as though we are part of the future.