Apple is a very successful company. Sales of its iPod music player had increased its second quarter profits to $320 (June 2005). The favourable brand perception had also increased sales of Macintosh computers. So iPod gives the company access to a whole new series of segments that buy into other parts of the Apple brand. Sales of its notebooks products is alsovery strong, and represents a huge contribution to income for Apple.
Brand is all-important. Apple is one of the most established and healthy IT brands in the World, and has a very loyal set of enthusiastic customers that advocate the brand. Such a powerful loyalty means that Ample not only recruits new customers, it retains them i.e. they come back for more products and services from Apple, andthe company also has the opportunity to extend new products to them, for example the iPod.
It is reported that the Apple iPod Nano may have a faulty screen. The company has commented that a batch of its product has screens that break under impact, and the company is replacing all faulty items. This is in addition to problems with early iPods that had faulty batteries, whereby thecompany offered customers free battery cases.
There is pressure on Apple to increase the price of its music download file, from the music industry itself. Many of these companies make more money from iTunes (i.e. downloadable music files) than from their original CD sales. Apple has sold about 22 million iPod digital music players and more than 500 million songs though its iTunes music store. Itaccounts for 82% of all legally downloaded music in the US. The company is resolute, but if it gives in to the music producers, it may be perceived as a commercial weakness.
Early in 2005 Apple announced that it was to end its long-standing relationship with IBM as a chip supplier, and that it was about to switch to Intel. Some industry specialists commented that the swap could confuse Apple'sconsumers.
Apple has the opportunity to develop its iTunes and music player technology into a mobile phone format. The Rokr mobile phone device was developed by Motorola. It has a colour screen, stereo speakers and a advance camera system. A version of Apple's iTunes music store has been developed for the phone so users can manage the tracks they store on it. Downloads are available viaa USB cable, ands software on the handset pauses music if a phone call comes in. New technologies and strategic alliances offer opportunities for Apple.
Podcasts are downloadable radio shows that can be downloaded from the Internet, and then played back on iPods and other MP3 devices at the convenience of the listener. The listener can subscribe to Podcasts for free, and ultimately revenue couldbe generated from paid for subscription or through revenue generated from sales of other downloads.
The biggest threat to IT companies such as Apple is the very high level of competition in the technology markets. Being successful attracts competition, and Apple works very hard on research and development and marketing in order to retain its competitive position. The popularity of iPodand Apple Mac are subject to demand, and will be affected if economies begin to falter and demand falls for their products.
There is also a high product substitution effect in the innovative and fast moving IT consumables market. So iPod and MP3 rule today, but only yesterday it was CD, DAT, and Vinyl. Tomorrow's technology might be completely different. Wireless technologies could replace theneed for a physical music player.
In 2005 Apple won a legal case that forced Bloggers to name the sources of information that pre-empted the launch of new Apple products. It was suspect that Apple's own employees had leaked confidential information about their new Asteroid product. The three individuals prosecuted, all owned Apple tribute sites, and were big fans of the company's products. The...