Chart: iPod vs. iPhone – Apple 2.0 – Fortune Tech

What fueled the iPod’s explosive growth several quarters after its debut was the opening of the iTunes music store. the iPod debited in late 2001 and the iTunes store opened its digital doors several quarters later.

The availability of commercial content for the iPod heightened its appeal and helped create a success story unrivaled this decade until the release of the Apple iPhone.

The opening of the iTunes app store occurred closer to the iPhone’s original debut than the iTunes music store opened relative to the release of the original iPod. Further, in some ways at its introduction the first iPods had kind of a split and confusing personality. I remember being at a technology conference for educators in May, 2002 at which the iPod was being pitched by the Apple marketing staff not as a digital music player but as a portable curriculum content device for teachers. I used my original iPod far more as a content storage and backup device than any other purpose.

The iPhone debuted with far more functionality for the user (phone, iPod, Web tool, etc.)while the iPod evolved into a much more functional device over several quarters after its initial release.

I think the link between content availability and hardware sales is unmistakeable. is it a surprise?

What fueled the rise in sales of Windows PCs in my view wasn’t that Windows itself was better than the Mac OS, but it was “good enough” in comparison when the availability of content (software) was taken into account. Developers helped sell Windows in the same way music helped sell the iPod and apps help sell the iPhone today. This is an old enterprise story merely involving new devices.

What’s not reflected on the graphs is the sale of the iPod touch which shares an OS and app availability with the iPhone. if one were to add the iPod touch sales numbers to the sales of the iPhone, the magnitude of the success of iPhone OS devices would be amplified even more.

The iPod numbers also include sales of the iPod shuffle which debuted in early 2005. This lower cost, lesser storage capacity iPod sold without a screen and sold in huge numbers. though an iPod and while it boosted iPod unit sales numbers, it can give a bit of a false read as to growth in sales of more fully equipped iPod models. In my view the graph of only the higher ASP iPods would provide a more economically accurate comparison when contrasting the timelines of success of the iPod and the iPhone. for many (including myself), the shuffle is a second iPod device. we won’t see many people carrying around two iPhones.

Two conclusions I draw from the graphs: Commercial content helps drive hardware sales and the early success of the iPhone is unprecedented with most likely much more success to come.

Chart: iPod vs. iPhone – Apple 2.0 – Fortune Tech


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