Wed, Sep 28, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Consumers snap up latest version of Apple's iPod

MUSIC PLAYER The iPod Nano is as popular as its predecessors, and has spawned a whole industry of accessories built to go with it as well

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The long queue at the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store (新光三越) in the Xinyi District last Sunday morning was a demonstration of "iPod power."

Hordes of fans lined up as early as 9am to be able to have the chance to purchase one of a limited number of Apple Computer's latest MP3 music player, the iPod Nano, which went on sale at 3:30pm.

All 100 units of the gadget were snapped up, according to Chinese-language media reports.

The new iPod Nano comes with a color screen and a size smaller than a standard No. 2 pencil, making it easy to fit into a pocket. Retailing for NT$6,900 (US$207), the 2GB model holds up to 500 songs, whereas the 4GB one is sold for NT$8,600 and stores up to 1,000 songs.

"Affordable pricing combined with large storage is the main attraction of the gadget. IPod Nano is a breakthrough in MP3 players as it comes in such a compact size yet offers huge storage," said Simon Yang (楊勝帆), an analyst at the Topology Research Institute (拓墣產業研究所).

Currently, Korean-brand MP3 players in the local market are priced at around NT$8,000 for models with 1GB of storage.

IPod fever is expected to sweep through Taiwan's market over the next two years, driven by the product's exquisite looks, user-friendly interface, mini size and large storage, he said.

To date, over 21 million units of the iPod have been sold worldwide since it was first launched in October 2001, according to Apple's statistics.

"iPod and its related peripherals have become an industry in itself," Yang said.

Peripherals for the MP3 player have quickly become big business, with other companies making more than 1,000 different accessories -- such as fashion cases, lanyard headphones, armbands, speaker systems and automobile integration kits -- for the player.

There are now more than 700 products bearing the "Made for iPod" logo on the market or in development, assuring customers that an electronic accessory has been designed specifically to connect to an iPod and has been certified to meet Apple performance standards, according to the company.

Yang said that as the iPod has become a valued accessory, the attraction of the gadget is no longer limited to Apple users, but also includes general consumers who like the item's image.

Some say that hot sales of the iPod may force other similar gadgets that offer only 256MB or 512MB of storage to become entry-level products.

Unless vendors selling these items slash prices to below NT$1,000 from the current NT$2,000 to appeal to buyers who are price-conscious, they will find it hard to survive, he said.

The Nano will be available in local stores next month.

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