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The iPod: Apple’s Innovation Strangler?

Tech columnist, Don Reisinger, on how Apple has stopped innovating with the iPod, how it’s stifling innovation in its market and why the player needs to die.

Tech columnist, Don Reisinger, minces no words in conveying his opinion about what the iPod’s fate should be. In his blog entitled Why I can’t wait for the iPod to die, he writes: “Although it may be difficult for Apple zealots and even CEO Steve Jobs to understand, the iPod is not going to be one of the most important devices forever, and if we consider the impact the Walkman had on the industry, the iPod should be moving to the execution chamber in the next 5 to 10 years.”

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While Reisinger admits that iPod revenue is up 7% percent since last year, and unit sales are up 12%, his reason for wishing the iPod into retirement is plain: “The iPod is the main reason why innovation is at a standstill in the PMP (portable media player) market and why we’re not being satisfied nearly enough by the right devices.”

According to Reisinger, Apple has no incentive to change its wildly successful tactics and has made insignificant changes to its portable music player: “Granted, the iPod Touch is unique in its own right, but the iPod Nano and Shuffle have been the joke of the iPod world for years now. The design changes look more like Apple felt it needed to do something to get people to keep buying them, so they went from long and thin to short and fat and back to long and thin.”

And its currently feeble competitors are all just “countless iPod-wannabes” who aim to do exactly what Apple is doing in the hopes that they will become the next big thing.

Nothing will change, Reisinger argues, until Apple has one bad year. Then competitors will scramble to innovate and be different, and Apple itself will be forced to think outside its safety net. You can read his full post here.

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