Call it the iPod watch: what they should call the iWatch
There have been several leaks about this over the last few days, and the prospect of a device with this name and feature set seems to be exciting to a large number of people. Even my mother was intrigued by the idea after reading the NYT article this morning. This would lead to the thought that Apple is onto something here.
Trouble is, it's not easy to just create a new business for a company like Apple. They have their business "pillars" (iPhone, Mac, iPad, iPod+iTunes) that are very well known to a huge number of consumers. Each of these businesses are doing well, except for iPod hardware.
Here's the current iPod lineup, plus the iPod classic:
The iPod touch remains a good seller, because iOS allows for connectivity and the App Store's vast array of games and other feature adding apps. I'd argue that there's still a solid, though nascent market for the classic model, as people still have huge curated music libraries that they want with them everywhere and anywhere.
The nano and the shuffle though...I just don't see a market for small, low capacity music players that aren't cloud/app connected that serve only one purpose. Higher end devices such as the classic, yes. These though are not an additional purchase most cash conscious consumers want to bear when their smartphone provides all the same functionality and more, while being their phone and mini computer in their pocket.
Which is why I think that Apple should discontinue them both and introduce this "iWatch" as the iPod watch for these reasons:
- It's under a brand consumers trust, and they know the uses of the product.
- It injects the iPod division with the spirit of innovation and rapid product iteration of the mid 2000's
- It gives the iPod division a legitimate business case for investors again should the product be as widely successful as it could be.
The iPod was the "pillar" of Apple that gave it the money to have the iPhone project work. The iPod watch will give the iPhone a companion product to the iPhone that consumers see a legitimate use case for. While being an extension of the phone, with notifications and information, it could also cache music for the gym and casual listening like the iPods of old. This solves the problem of the nano and shuffle by replacing both with a similar wearable device that enhances the other products Apple is selling to its users.
The iPod nano and shuffle don't give most consumers a good reason to spend extra money on another piece of Apple hardware. An iPod watch does, while helping revitalize the iPod business division.