The Perplexity of Outrage – An Apple iPod Commentary

iPod sales vs. the other guysWhen you are king of the hill your every move is watched, anticipated, predicted, exalted, and even reviled. Microsoft can’t get away with much on their OS platforms. If they sit too long (XP) they stagnate. When they have a success (Win2000) they are touted. When they have a bomb (Vista), even they can’t buy a friend.

It’s lonely at the top, so the saying goes. Just ask two companies who are still getting used to their perch; Apple & Google. My thoughts today will focus on the former.

I was watching the Apple Media Event yesterday and was fairly pleased with the announcements. (I had been waiting for a 64GB iPod Touch and placed my order yesterday. It’s already shipped). Following the event I decided to see what others thought about it. I searched Twitter and some common Mac forums and I discovered that the comments were, by-and-large, negative.

It seems that some people were looking for an earth shattering announcement. Many were disappointed that the event was centered around the iPod (September is commonly the month for iPod upgrades and announcements). Apple released the theme of the conference last week which I’m certain they hoped would quell any discontent; “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll”. That’s a pretty good sign that Apple would be focusing on the iPod.

So why the outrage? The answer is in the numbers.

According to Apple, 220 million iPods have been sold since 2004. Greater than 50% of new purchases come from first time buyers. Apple commands 73.8% of the market share for portable music players. (The joke was that the next largest chunk of the pie was attributed to “other”.) Microsoft Zune came in at 1.1%. According to these numbers Microsoft could announce a major upgrade to the Zune and approximately 1% of us would give a crap.

Are we becoming immune to great news? It’s almost like there are those who see a construction site and get as close as they can, watching every brick getting laid, only to continually lament that it’s just another stupid brick.

I prefer to sit back a ways. I don’t need to see every brick being laid to realize that a building is being erected. Besides, the view from the back is better. I may not be the first person in the building, but the experience will still be worth it.