iPods were first introduced to in 2001 and has since grown into a recognized cultural symbol. Designed and marketed by Apple Computer, iPod is a brand of digital audio/video players that stand apart from the rest due to their user friendly interface and sleek design. Customers can carry their entire music collection and more in their pockets. Although Apple Computer already had a huge following of loyal costumers, the iPod has created a new generation of Apple fanatics that simply cannot get enough of the iPod and all of the iPod attachments that have since developed.
THE GROWTH STAGE
Currently the iPod finds itself in the growth stage of its product life cycle. It has shown a steady growth rate as demonstrated in the sales reported by Apple Computers for the past 15 quarters. The most recent quarters have shown a significant increase in the sales volume of iPods, a good indicator that the iPod market is expanding. It appears as though there is now definitely a public awareness of the Apple iPod worldwide.
Competition is also quickly increasing as new players are being incorporated into the market. Some of the main competitors include Creative Technologies, Dell and Sony. All of which create similar players that incorporate design and functionality. Although some of these are household names none has been able to dethrone the iPod from being the icon for digital jukeboxes. The first casualty that fell to the iPod was the iRiver Rio that could not compete with the loyalty people have for Apple.
Part of the iPod secret is the iTunes software. This is a platform where you can download music into your iPod and organize the files. It offers a library of over three million songs from very diverse genres of music. Others have tried to mimic this concept but have not been able to create the following that iPod has. An example of these failed ventures is the Sone Connect store which is attempting to offer Sony's MiniDisc player as an alternative to Apple's iPod. Even Wal-Mart, Amazon.com and Tower Records are also seeking a piece of the action by selling individual songs for a cheaper price than iTunes by adding these retailers the market is growing and becoming more and more competitive. It can be a safe assumption that Apple's iTunes internet downloadable music will partly replace the traditional channels through which music had been distributed in the past.
It is evident that since its emergence into the market this little monster has gobbled up the market share of digital music gadgets. Apple has been able to directly penetrate the market and enable a quick adoption for the iPod. Now the iPod defines the category of personal music players and sets the standards for their innovation.
EXPECTED LENGTH OF CYCLE
Like Theodore Levitt stated in his Harvard Business review article (1965), there is a life cycle for all products. This cycle has new product development, market introduction, growth stage, mature stage and decline that ultimately lead to market termination. It is difficult to picture a decline in iPod sales since they are so strong in the current market. But, in a market that seeks innovation it is understandable that what is in today could be out tomorrow. In order to prevent being phased out like...