July 2nd 2006
By Mike Flaminio
Is iPod losing its luster? At least in the UK, the Scotsman writes, the Little MP3 Player That Could is beginning to garner some negative vibe.
Why? Quality issues, mainly, the article says. What's more, the recent revelations over the working conditions at Foxconn hasn't necessary endeared Apple to Generation Next.
The evidence? A YouGov brand awareness survey index, which has seen a fall in popularity in Apple's brand. The index for quality has fallen the most, according to the survey.
Unsurprisingly, Apple denies a quality problem. Indeed, big guns like iPod Marketing VP Greg Joswiak says that iPod has a first-year failure rate of 5%, whereas many companies, such as cell phone makers, have failure rates of up to 30%.
Joswiak blames perceptions about low quality on mishandling of iPods. He notes it's a complex piece of electronics, which can be broken if dropped.
Analysis: Mere FUD? Or is iPod on a downward slide? If iPods were really falling in popularity by degrees, wouldn't we expect to see commensurate gains in market share by rival MP3 players? That hasn't happened yet, not by a long shot.