iPods still a part of Apple's big picture

When Charles Golvin gets on an airplane, he often finds himself sitting next to somebody with two Apple devices in hand--usually an iPhone, often along with something smaller, like an iPod shuffle or an iPod nano. It turns out that lots of people love their iPhones too much to use in every situation.

"The iPhoneiPhone is such a valuable instrument, they don't necessarily want to be out jogging with it--exercising at the gym and getting it all sweaty," said Golvin, a senior analyst at Forrester Research in Boston. Alles zu iPhone auf CIO.de

And that's a key reason why the iPod remains firmly in the picture, as AppleApple prepares for its annual fall music event on Wednesday. While the days of explosive sales growth are behind the company's iconic music player and the classic, nano, and shuffle versions of the iPod have ceded their place in the spotlight to touchscreen-driven devices like the iPhone and iPadiPad, the music business remains a lucrative one for Apple. Alles zu Apple auf CIO.de Alles zu iPad auf CIO.de

True, in Apple's most recent fiscal quarter, iPod sales fell 8 percent from the previous year. But the company still sold 9.41 million iPods--not bad for a future product line that hadn't seen an update since the previous September.

Even with overall growth slowing, the iPod remains the top-selling brand of MP3 player, commanding a 70 percent market share, according to Apple's figures. And Apple enjoys strong growth from the more advanced--and higher-priced--iPod touch. Sales of that model grew 48 percent during Apple's fiscal third quarter, leading to a 12-percent jump in average selling price for the iPod.

"Clearly, Apple likes selling touches," said Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research. "It's more like their other devices than other iPods are."

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