Apple: Don’t Discontinue the 5GB iPod

by Gregory Ng Apr 10, 2003

imageIt seems that the life of the 5GB iPod has now come to an end. I am sitting here writing this and wondering if in fact, this is a good thing. Despite all the rumors of 40GB and 60GB iPods on their way, I can’t help but wonder whether eliminating the 5GB will be the end to iPod’s overwhelming appeal amongst music lovers. I have compiled a list of why I think the iPod could lose some of its appeal by eliminating the 5GB iPod.

Let’s face it, the iPod is by far the most elegantly designed MP3 player on the market. But this will not last. With the iPod, Apple proved that you could have a powerful and elegant portable at the same time. But Apple does not have all the best designers hidden away in their design studios. Other companies now have Apple to learn from by dedicating more time to the design and usability of their products. In fact, new product offerings by Philips and Sony threaten to join Apple in the “must-have” MP3 player market.

Price and Capacity:
Apple’s current iPod line is already significantly more expensive than it’s mainstream MP3 competitors such as Rio, Archos, and even Nike. Granted, the iPod is a portable hard drive providing sometimes 40 times the amount of space for music, but I will be so bold to say that the majority of MP3 users do not need that type of space. On my 20GB iPod, for instance, I have over 12 days of music encoded at 192kbps and this is with 4GB of space to spare! Sure it is nice having all that music at my fingertips, but I am an Apple lover and I am a music hoarder so this fits my personality. But for the person wanting an MP3 player to take to the gym or to listen to on a walk in the park, this is overkill. With the 5GB iPod, people could still feel it was a smart idea to spend a little extra because it was good looking, compatible with their computer, and only 100 or so more dollars. There is no word yet whether the elimination of the 5GB iPods will lower the price of the10GB and 20GB models.

Apple has always had the reputation of creating machines that are beautiful but expensive. Apple seems to be, outside of the design world, seen as a luxury. I can’t say I disagree with my PC using friends when they say, “Your machine is nicer to look at but my machine does the same types of things for a more reasonable price.” I am not saying Apple should start selling their products at Dell and Gateway prices. What I am saying is that for the first time with the 5GB iPod, PC users felt they could have a nicely designed product for a reasonable price.

It is a huge mistake for Apple to discontinue the 5GB iPod. To take away what I consider to be the bridge that connects PC land from Mac land is not the right thing to do. Take that model away and all of a sudden Apple is out of reach again. People will now say, “Yeah, the iPod is nice but the Rio does the same thing, is more reasonable priced, and is not ugly looking.”


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