The iPod: iStockingStuffer (11/21/01)

We mentioned yesterday that we didn't have any hard numbers on how well the iPod is selling, and we still don't-- but the same Wall Street Journal article which reports that Apple is planning to complete its transition to Mac OS X by next March also quotes jolly old Phil Schiller as saying that sales of the "breakthrough" digital music player are "looking very good." Evidently Phil didn't have any numbers either, but he insists that his own tour of stores stocking iPods revealed that a unit is being sold "every couple of minutes." (We picture him sitting there with a stopwatch.) And you know what Teacher says: every time an iPod is sold, an angel gets his wings. Attaboy, Clarence!

Meanwhile, Phil's not the only one sniffing around trying to get a handle on the iPod's popularity. Think Secret has amassed some more anecdotal data from a recent grilling of channel sources, and the buzz on the iPod sales-wise is pretty nifty; "one independent Mac retailer describes them as 'flying off the shelves.'" We're going to assume that's just an expression meaning "selling very quickly," and not a report that iPods are literally taking flight around the store, perhaps to the sweet strains of Madonna's "Ray of Light." ("Awright, who stacked the iPods next to these copies of Windows XP?!") In actual Apple retail stores, the iPod is reportedly enjoying "relatively good sales," although said sales are "drastically missing expectations." This isn't necessarily incongruous, nor is it the first time we've heard it implied that Apple retail sales goals are set so unrealistically high that they're apparently conceived by a random number generator on crack.

Anyway, minus any real sales figures, that's about all we can tell you. Despite its hefty $399 price tag, though, it's clear that the iPod is shaping up to be one of this holiday season's rising stars. Sure, it's not likely to inspire consumer violence and mayhem like the "Tickle Me Elmo" Riots of '96, given its higher price and its drastically smaller target market (i.e. "music-loving owners of FireWire-enabled Macs" versus "every whining kid on the planet under the age of ten with parents who try to buy their love"), but the buzz is out there. Faithful viewer Jeffrey Piercy even noted that the iPod is mentioned several times in a Slashdot thread soliciting opinions about the best geek gifts this year. Of course, every mention of the iPod there eventually devolves into a Mac-vs.-PC/"Apple sucks" flamewar-- after all, this is Slashdot we're talking about, here-- but if even hardcore geeks are salivating over the iPod, that bodes well for its success this holiday season. Ho ho ho!

SceneLink (3410)
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The above scene was taken from the 11/21/01 episode:

November 21, 2001: Phil Schiller notes that Apple's full transition to Mac OS X will conclude next March. Meanwhile, word on the street is that the iPod is a hot seller, and may get hotter before the holidays are through, and Apple announces two new promos for customers who like to get checks and merchandise in the mail...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3409: Dr. Jeckyll And Dr. Jeckyll (11/21/01)   Reality check: as much as we love Mac OS X (particularly now that the advent of version 10.1.1 means the system actually runs rather than hobbles), it's still not "the" face of the Macintosh. True, Mac OS X is preloaded on every new Mac and has been for six months, now, but the fact of the matter is that when those sparkly new Macs are pulled from their boxes, plugged in, and powered up for the first time ever, their owners will still find themselves face to face with Mac OS 9 in all its Platinum glory...

  • 3411: It's ALWAYS 8 To 10 Weeks (11/21/01)   Trade with your friends; collect them all! Maybe you're the type who collects stamps, or coins, or bottle caps à la Bert from Sesame Street. Us? We collect Apple sales promotions. Imagine our glee, then, to find that there are two new ones to stick in the scrapbook today!...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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