Apple iPod Classic Sales Expected To Lag Behind Other Models - InformationWeek

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Apple iPod Classic Sales Expected To Lag Behind Other Models

With the exception of the Classic, Apple has migrated the iPod line to solid-state flash memory, which is more durable and uses less battery power.

Apple's new iPod Classic, the only model in the product line with a hard disk drive, is a "stopgap" product with dated features that are likely to limit the music players longevity and success in the market, a research firm said Thursday.

With storage capacity of 80 Gbytes or 160 Gbytes, the iPod Classic, which is essentially the same inside as Apple's previous flagship iPod, is meant to appeal to people with large storage requirements, iSuppli said.

"Apple's continuation of the iPod model without adding new features suggests a stopgap measure necessitated by lack of time to develop an HDD-based touch iPod," iSuppli analyst Chris Crotty said in a statement. "Apple may not have had time to develop an HDD-based touch-screen iPod before the 2007 holiday season."

The new iPod Touch, which uses solid-state flash memory of 8 Gbytes or 16 Gbytes, has the same innovative touch screen as the iPhone. The iPod Touch and Classic were part of Apple's refresh of the product line in September. Apple also introduced a new iPod Nano.

With the exception of the Classic, Apple has migrated the iPod line to solid-state flash memory, which is more durable and uses less battery power, but also offers less storage capacity. In the case of the Touch it has also added Wi-Fi capabilities for wireless broadband access.

Because the Classic lacks any new significant features, it's sales are expected to lag behind other models. ISuppli tentatively forecasts iPod Classic shipments to start with a bang, rising to about 3.1 million units this year. Growth next year, however, is expected to slow markedly, with shipments rising by only 12.9% to 3.5 million units.

In contrast, combined shipments of the new iPod Nano and Touch models are forecast to reach 26 million this year, rising by 52% next year to 40 million units.

A teardown of the iPod Classic reveals that it contains $127 worth of components and materials in the 80-Gbyte version and about $190 worth in the 160-Gbyte model, according to iSuppli. The classic is priced at $249 and $349 for the 80-Gbyte and 160-Gbyte version, respectively.

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