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Apple iPod Growth 2002-2007

Blackfriars shares a jaw-dropping graph of Apple’s (AAPL) iPod/iTunes growth. The only platform that draws comparison is Microsoft Windows, which is now the ubiquitous enterprise computing platform. Charts like the one below are strong evidence Apple is on it’s way to be the ubiquitous consumer media platform.

The statistical beauty of a log chart is in full effect here. Notice how the adoption rate (slope of line) for new media formats such as TV and Movies follow the same trendline as songs. This is clear, numerical evidence of the platform power of iTunes. The most interesting thing about the Apple TV is how it leverages this platform out of your pocket and into your living room. The guts of the Apple TV clearly show Apple has plans for this hardware beyond being simple a music/video player. (See Apple iTV – Intel and NVidia Inside)

iPod growth will slow, but should be replaced by growth in Apple TV and even iPhone. All three of these products leverage the iTunes platform, and should count in the above graph as ‘iPods’.

It will be very interesting to see this graph in 5 years with the Apple TV included. If the above trends continue, Apple will have pole position in the living room sealed up. The Xbox, Sony Playstation, and even the Nintendo Wii are running out of time. 

But really – forget the above companies – it’s the Cable and Telco video guys who should be really scared.

Great graph, Carl Howe. Thanks for sharing.

Author owns shares in Microsoft. Author is also uncomfortable being the 10,000th+ person to opine on Apple but the data was too good not to share.


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  1. It is not a valid comparison to put them up against MSFT with regards to the media biz since apparently MSFT has no coherent media strategy. The Zune is a non-starter, and Microsoft has near-zero impact on the sales of content.

    OSX appears to chew away at the foundations of the Windows marketplace, and corporations are not that far behind the consumers. I see far more Apple laptops at technical conferences theses days than stuff running Windows.

    This data is very compelling, thanks for sharing.

    Posted by chuck goolsbee | April 9, 2007, 2:28 PM
  2. Yes, it isn’t a fair comparison. But it is a comparison that should be made, because as you point out it is hurting them.

    I think Xbox is their last hope. They have a pretty good platform in place and there does seem to be innovation there. They need to build a $199 Xbox DVR and resell it through the carriers. Give the carriers a slice of the $$$ they get from selling movies and services.

    Apple laptops don’t outnumber windows laptops IMHO, but I agree 100% there are many more today than 12 months ago.

    Posted by Andrew Schmitt | April 9, 2007, 3:54 PM
  3. If you drew a graph for the Sony PS2 would it look much different? As they say “Past performance may not be indicative of future results.”.

    I’m not disputing Apple’s strong move into mainstream consumer electronics. I’m jump damping the iPod enthusiasm a bit.

    I see the iPod clone I bought was sold out the following week and so I’m confident it will take a chunk if their supply problems can be solved.

    I see the collapse of DRM, Jobs hoisted by his own petard, that would end the iTunes lock-in (people who bought iTunes tracks have to buy iPods forever because its the only thing that can play their tracks).

    25 tracks per iPod max indicates iTunes gets it leverage from the iPod which in turn gets its upgrades from iTunes. That link will be broken.

    If Jobs did a major 180 and removed DRM added MP3 iTunes could outlive iPod. Not likely, Jobs will play games with DRM free music, someone else will take the crown (you can have DRM free, but only if you also pay more for higher quality than you can hear that fills your iPod up quicker…??? Ooooo Scammy).

    I like appleTV, it’s a clean single function box and I like those and I see a market. But I don’t think that product is quite right yet. It hinges on Job’s next moves. iPhone looks good, but pricey.

    Apple likely to succeed but not an absolute slam dunk as that graph suggests.

    Posted by And | April 9, 2007, 4:34 PM
  4. Just to follow up my own post,

    This is what happened as these new generation of players (the ones coming into Europe now) came into Taiwan mid 2006:

    “The sales volume of Apple Computer’s iPod nano and iPod video players in the Taiwan market has shrunk to below 20,000 units a month since May this year due to strong competition from the latest MP3 players from Samsung and SanDisk, according to local retail channels.”

    Sadly this story is members only:
    “29 Mar 2007:
    Inventec Appliances may see revenues drop 30% in 1Q on declining iPod orders”

    You can see how the first gloss is coming off iPod, still growth but not slam dunk.

    Also my other prediction for the year, Wiiiiiiiiiii 2007 slam dunk (now with added slam dunk motion).
    (Games companies moving quickly to make Wii titles.)

    Posted by And | April 10, 2007, 3:44 PM
  5. I feel like such an Apple lemming writing this, but I think they are in the process of changing the game just as the commodity guys are catching them.

    I saw the same Bloomberg article. When EA is adapting hit Wii titles to the Xbox, you can celebrate your slam dunk.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by Andrew Schmitt | April 10, 2007, 8:22 PM
  6. I don’t buy the “iTunes lock-in/DRM” argument.

    Right there in iTunes, since Apple released the iPod… the third item in the “Advanced” menu: “Convert selection to MP3″…

    Rips your DRM right out. Even if you bought the track from the iTMS. Reclaims the space on your iPod that you say you can’t hear. Lets you copy the file to as many devices as you wish.


    Posted by chuck goolsbee | April 10, 2007, 10:42 PM

    ‘If you try to convert an Audible file to another file format using the Convert Selection to (MP3, AAC, WAV or AIFF) command in the Advanced menu, the message “Filename could not be converted because protected files cannot be converted to other formats.” appears.’
    – Apple.

    Posted by And | April 11, 2007, 1:39 AM
  8. Qoute:
    “Sadly this story is members only:
    ’29 Mar 2007:
    Inventec Appliances may see revenues drop 30% in 1Q on declining iPod orders'”

    Do you realy think Inventec is the sole manufacturer of the iPod?Inventec’s revenue is dropping for other reasons:

    Posted by Don | April 18, 2007, 11:03 AM
  9. Heads up:

    (2GB Nano sized, bigger screen, FM radio, voice recorder, 59 euros).

    2GB iPod is 159 euros in the same market.

    You can see it depends on what Apple delivers in the coming months.

    Posted by And | April 18, 2007, 2:13 PM
  10. I like the thinking here but I think you missed a couple things.

    The IPOD is mobile where the Apple TV is stationary. They complement each other more than they take each other out. Heck I considered buying an IMac MINI for just the same thing as the Apple TV. Oh yeah and it has a DVD player in it.

    The other thing you missed is the fact that Microsoft is a rather large player in the IPTV space. They ay not control the content but they are building the infrastructure for the content delivery. Check out the new FIOS DVR boxes. They are running Microsoft code, which is better than the MOT junk running on the same box I have with Time Warner.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out because where Apple cas the appliance, Microsoft has the content dlivery infrastructure and the appliance (XBOX).


    Posted by Matt | April 23, 2007, 7:59 PM