New iPods May Put Shine on Apple

Retailers and analysts say that Apple's video iPod and diminutive nano are showing strong sales results, based on early customer interest and initial demand.

Apple Inc.s latest crop of iPod portable media players is finding favor with buyers, as retailers and industry watchers report that both the video-capable iPod and diminutive nano are moving off the shelves at an impressive clip.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apples announcement last week that it had sold one million video downloads via its iTunes service in less than 20 days of offering the content illustrated that demand for the new feature has been strong.

While most experts agree that its too early to tell if the added video capability will increase overall iPod sales, or whether the smaller, more powerful nano music player will outpace Apples own ability to ship the devices, the early consensus is that both of the new products are delivering resoundingly positive sales results.

In a report distributed on Thursday, market watchers American Technology Research said that early returns from industry and channel sources indicated that sales of both the video-capable iPod and nano are beating expectations.

Shaw Wu, analyst with Greenwich, Conn.-based ATR, said in the report that the video iPod, introduced in mid-October, is making a stronger-than-expected showing and already outselling the nano at some retailers.


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However, Wu reported that sales of the nano continue to lead the way at some of Apples largest resellers, including and Best Buy Inc.

The new iPods with video come in 30GB and 60GB models, which are retailing for $300 and $400 respectively. A 2GB version of the iPod nano starts at $180, while a more powerful 4GB model can run over $300.

Apple has yet to detail any sales results for the new iPod with video, but reported that it sold one million nanos in just the first 17 days after it shipped in early September.

Company representatives said that Apple wouldnt be releasing sales numbers for the individual products, as is its longstanding practice. But according to at least one regional retailer, demand for both devices remains strong.

Fred Evans, product manager at Apple specialists First Tech Computer in Minneapolis, Minn., said that the nano and new iPod have been beating the stores projections, despite the fact that the retailer ordered larger numbers of the devices than earlier models.

He called sales of the video iPod "brisk" and said that the nano continues to do well with first time iPod buyers looking for a music-specific device.

As some analysts had also predicted, Evans said that the video-capable device is being purchased largely by existing iPod users looking to replace or upgrade their machines.

"Having the new video capabilities appears to be a big deal to iPod owners," said Evans. "I dont think the photo-viewing capabilities of the nano swayed as many people to trade in their iPods and purchase a new one, but the video is—especially for watching TV.

"The nano is selling really well to first time iPod customers, people who are looking for a smaller, less-expensive music player."

The one major downside Evans cited with the new devices was Apples decision to eliminate an accessory input jack included in its older iPods, making most of the peripherals sold for the devices, including his stores five top-selling add-ons, incapable of working with the latest models.

Evans said that he has not fielded complaints from any nano buyers regarding the reported scratching issue affecting some of the devices displays, for which some consumers have filed for a class action suit against Apple.

According to enthusiast Web site iPod Garage, the black-cased version of the iPod video is selling in greater numbers than the white model, with the 30GB version outselling its more expensive 60GB counterpart.

Next Page: iPod sales hot, but still preliminary.