Apple Creativity Design Design Thinking Industrial Design Innovation

It took four generations of iPod before it tipped

iPod was not the first product in this space

Sony Walkman was introduced in 1979

Eiger Labs MPMan F10, the first portable MP3 player, was introduced in 1998

Other products introduced include Personal Jukebox PJB-100, Nomad, etc.

iPod was different from PC.  It was an information appliance indicating the direction of technology based product space in the future. 

iPod was noticed because of its great design and high usability

Style and fashion were its appealing design features

Having said that, there was still room for improvement on both – design and usability

It took four generations of iPod before it tipped

In other words, it was successive iterations and applying the learnings from each release that made iPod successful

Compare iPod first and fourth generation and you’ll see a world of difference

The user interface and scroll wheel have evolved through the four generations

The much larger ecosystem around iPod was key to its success

The holistic design of iPod was firing together with marketing, sales and business model on all cylinders

All groups were going in the same direction

The parallel initiative of iTunes music store was critical to iPod’s success

Getting music companies on-board with iTunes was important

Steve Jobs turned the Gillette model on its head

Gillette sells razors at a loss to make money on the blades

Xerox earns major part of its revenue from paper and toner consumed by its copiers

Videogame consoles are sold at a loss to realize upside from game sales

Cell phones are sold at a loss to realize upside from network charges

Apple did the exact opposite

Apple earned margins on its razor (i.e. the music player iPod) and accessories while selling the blades (i.e. music) at the minimum

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