Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

Sony to Compete with iPod

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
50,432
11,816
On Tuesday, Sony announced that in 2004 they would introduce versions of a music player for as low as $60 aimed at unseating the popular Apple iPod. With no details, it's unclear how competitive this low end player would be.

Of further interest, Sony detailed plans for upcoming Playstation Portable (PSP) devices which Sony claims "will be the Walkman of the future."

The upcoming portable gaming platform due by the end of 2004 will be multifunctional devices featuring games, music, videos, and communication abilities.

One recent Wired opinion column called for Sony to leapfrog the portable music player and embrace portable video players after having let Apple dominate the portable digital music player market. This initiative may partially fulfill that author's wishes.

Sony is felt to have been slow to embrace the digital audio market due to internal conflicts with their Music Division and concerns of losing revenue to digital piracy.
 

JohnGillilan

macrumors regular
Oct 12, 2003
161
0
Los Angeles
Up until the iPod, Sony dominated the portable music market. Frankly, I'm surprsied it has taken them so long to compete with Apple on this front. I'm confident that Sony will provide a great product, however, I am also confident in Apple's ability to remain competitive in a market that they virtually created. Bring it on Sony.
 
Comment

tentimestwenty

macrumors newbie
Nov 4, 2003
4
0
$100 iPod

If Apple would just make a 2GB $100 iPod they'd kill every possible competitor including portable CD players.
 
Comment

JohnGillilan

macrumors regular
Oct 12, 2003
161
0
Los Angeles
Any thoughts as to how Sony could produce a rival product at such low cost?? How much storage do you suspect their device would have? Internal or removable storage?? Any word on a Sony sponsored download service? They co-founded PressPlay, which they sold to Roxio (now napster2). If they were to repartner with Napster, they would be competing with the Samsing player, which would be a serious conflict of interest. Any thoughts??
 
Comment

wsteineker

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2001
727
0
Montgomery, AL
I've noticed one dominant theme regarding this topic. Everytime an article is written regarding a new MP3 player, regardless of manufacturer or media outlet, it's always describd as some sort of "iPod killer". That is to say that the only model that any of them are compared to is the iPod itself. Where are the comparisons to the Dell DJ? Where are the comparisons to the Samsung Napster Player? These two models in particular were supposed to be iPod killers, and yet are rarely ever mentioned when HD based MP3 players are discussed. If the competition's so great, where is the mindshare (not to mention the marketshare)?
 
Comment

reyesmac

macrumors 6502
Jul 17, 2002
393
63
Central Texas
Apple knew it would have competition when they launched the iPod. They should know that about any product they launch. So they better have something up their sleeve about price or features to maintain their sales.

Now, if the Playsation Portable can play mp3's and videos and games. I would rather buy that than an iPod if the two are the same price.

I hope Apple does not play catch-up with their iPod someday.
 
Comment

ITR 81

macrumors 65816
Oct 24, 2003
1,052
0
$100 iPod

Correct they would.

TechTv did a roundup of all the new MP3 players out there and still declared the iPod the champ.

I hoping gives out some good news in the direction the iPod is heading.

Thing is we all know Jobs has talked about the $100-$200 dollar iPod before...now it seems like the time to make it reality.
 
Comment

neutrino23

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2003
1,765
261
SF Bay area
Interesting. In their minds what constitutes a competitive product? Will it sync with iTunes? Will it play nice with Apple's DRM? Will it sync with iCal and Address Book?

There are already a number of cheaper players on the market. It will take more than a low price to unseat the iPod.

Moreover, Apple will not be sitting still. By next summer we may see at least one and perhaps two revisions to the iPod.

That's what makes it so hard to play catchup.

Sony will sell a player as low as $60? I think that is about what I paid for my son's iPod (we took advantage of the special offer to buy it together with a PB).

If price is important Apple is in a good position to adjust price to special markets.

They already have the education discount for students. That could be increased in short spurts. They could offer coupons worth 100 songs. They could offer more bundles like the one recently ended. Buy a Mac and get an iPod for $50 if you are a student.
 
Comment

sethypoo

macrumors 68000
Oct 8, 2003
1,580
0
Sacramento, CA, USA
The Sony PSP seems to confusing, not to mention the fact it is so cheap could mean it's flimsy, aka low quality. It is weird how every new MP3 player that comes out is labeled as an 'iPod killer.'

Most amusing.
 
Comment

csubear

macrumors 6502a
Aug 22, 2003
613
0
why i will not buy any music device buy sony

About a year i bought a NetMD. For anyone who dose not know what the NetMD was, it was a portable player that i think could of been competion for the ipod. I was based off sony's MiniDisc format, and offered 2 1/2 hours off music on one disc. With a battery life of well over 20 hours of play this device seemed like a winner. I figured for the price of $1 a disc, and $150 for the player i was saveing my self money vs. buying an ipod. ( I wasn't a mac user a the time)

What i ended up doing is wasting about 155 dollars.

The software that the thing came with is pure junk, and it is not avaiable for mac. In fact because of the way the made the device there is now way that even a third party could write a driver the device.(It transfered the music encryped). And again i must say again the software was junk. The software required that you import and re-encode all you music to a sony "format" and placed in to a libary. After that when you wanted to "check out " (you could only check out a song three time, and if you failed to check that song back in it was lost forever) a song it then coverted the file to ATRAC3 and then encryped it for transmision. While this was happening the software always crashed, or hung(thanks windows).

Sony is paranoid about music priating( They are a major record label), and any music device that involes sony will suck for the following reasons.

1. Your music will have to be re-encoded in to their format(Just imagaine how much sound quality will be lost). They are not just going to give up all their ATRAC research.

2. You will have to use there very crappy software(OpenMG). Which is not very open.

3. There will be no mac support.

But anyway. I am sure that i have not covered every thing in my little rant, but this is the best i can do. I am sure sony will screw up the DRM for this thing, and even though it will be a cheaper, sony will kill it with its bad software and DRM.

I am sure other people can say other things about sony's digtal music product(NetMD).

(forgive the spelling and grammer)
 
Comment

ITR 81

macrumors 65816
Oct 24, 2003
1,052
0
Sony's MP3 player

Well it may not be HD based. It could be something like Compact Flash based but the problem with that 1GB would be like around 100 bucks a pop for them plus the hardware to go around it. Using compact flash though would allow it to be smaller however..not sure on cost however unless 1-2 GB HD's went down alot over past yr.
 
Comment

tentimestwenty

macrumors newbie
Nov 4, 2003
4
0
The iPod will soon be a loss leader. It's already taken on all the functionality the average person could ever need and eventually there will be so many competitors offering the same thing no one's going to make any money. The only route (as in all other highly competitive markets) is to sell so low and get such market share that you become the only player. Then, hopefully the music downloading can subsidize the hardware and vice-versa. How many companies make money selling portable CD players, or DVD players anymore. They're just commodities and there's little differentiation in the marketplace. A $500 portable do-everything device is many years away from being practical. Battery life and general uselessness are two huge hurdles to anybody buying something like this.
 
Comment

Phil Of Mac

macrumors 68020
Dec 6, 2002
2,036
0
Washington State University
Re: $100 iPod

Originally posted by tentimestwenty
If Apple would just make a 2GB $100 iPod they'd kill every possible competitor including portable CD players.

That's not really feasible. A 2 GB drive doesn't cost much less than a 10 GB, and a 10 GB can't go into a $100. It's a cost of production issue.
 
Comment

Phil Of Mac

macrumors 68020
Dec 6, 2002
2,036
0
Washington State University
Originally posted by tentimestwenty
The iPod will soon be a loss leader. It's already taken on all the functionality the average person could ever need and eventually there will be so many competitors offering the same thing no one's going to make any money. The only route (as in all other highly competitive markets) is to sell so low and get such market share that you become the only player. Then, hopefully the music downloading can subsidize the hardware and vice-versa.

What!?

The music downloading is there to support and promote iPod. iPod is a serious profit product for Apple, and there would be no use to making it a loss leader.
 
Comment

greenstork

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2003
617
0
Seattle,WA
Originally posted by wsteineker
I've noticed one dominant theme regarding this topic. Everytime an article is written regarding a new MP3 player, regardless of manufacturer or media outlet, it's always describd as some sort of "iPod killer". That is to say that the only model that any of them are compared to is the iPod itself. Where are the comparisons to the Dell DJ? Where are the comparisons to the Samsung Napster Player? These two models in particular were supposed to be iPod killers, and yet are rarely ever mentioned when HD based MP3 players are discussed. If the competition's so great, where is the mindshare (not to mention the marketshare)?

Well, the thread isn't about Samsung and Dell DJ, it's about Sony, arguably the most successful consumer electronics company ever. While they might no produce the highest quality products, they have historically been good enough to capture the "mind share" that you mentioned.

The winner of this battle will be the company with the best vertical integration, assuming Apple and Sony can compete on price. With the opening volley at $60, I am anxious to see what they are offering. With a mini hard drive, I can't see a Sony device being nearly as useful but I am just assuming this to be the case.
 
Comment

tentimestwenty

macrumors newbie
Nov 4, 2003
4
0
That may or may not be the case but the reality remains, a $100 iPod with any functionality, even solid state memory would clean up the market. I'd buy one even if it had only 1GB of memory. I just want a measly 4 or 5 albums to take with me and I think most everyone else that hasn't bought an iPod is a similar market.
 
Comment

ITR 81

macrumors 65816
Oct 24, 2003
1,052
0
Whats cool if it was solid state..maybe someone would come out with ram doubler to increase the size to 2GB.
:)
 
Comment

chicagdan

macrumors 6502a
Jan 3, 2002
723
0
Chicago, IL
I don't see why anyone would be upset with this -- competition is good. It will make the iPod better and cheaper, it might even give us some Mac compatible choices. In the end, isn't that all we should care about? We're Apple consumers, not employees or stockholders (although I'm sure there are some of those around here too.)

Let Apple worry about their own profitability, they have a duty to impress us, not the other way around.
 
Comment

leet1

macrumors 6502
Nov 3, 2003
365
0
Originally posted by tentimestwenty
That may or may not be the case but the reality remains, a $100 iPod with any functionality, even solid state memory would clean up the market. I'd buy one even if it had only 1GB of memory. I just want a measly 4 or 5 albums to take with me and I think most everyone else that hasn't bought an iPod is a similar market.

This would fall into my area. I'd be willing to shell out $100 for 1 gig of space, but thats all I'd spend on a portable music device. Would beat the hell out of the Gym's music! lol

The average person wouldn't need more than 1 gig anyways, thats a lot of space and a lot more than I would need to listen to in one day.

I'd prefer flash memory or something similar over a harddrive<they tend to skip I've read on long runs>, but I wouldn't be too picky for that price. Sony makes high quality products, so thats no worry here :D
 
Comment

wsteineker

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2001
727
0
Montgomery, AL
Originally posted by greenstork
Well, the thread isn't about Samsung and Dell DJ, it's about Sony, arguably the most successful consumer electronics company ever. While they might no produce the highest quality products, they have historically been good enough to capture the "mind share" that you mentioned.

The winner of this battle will be the company with the best vertical integration, assuming Apple and Sony can compete on price. With the opening volley at $60, I am anxious to see what they are offering. With a mini hard drive, I can't see a Sony device being nearly as useful but I am just assuming this to be the case.

The issue at hand has much more to do with the other major players in the market (read: not Apple) than you imagine. First, Apple has already captured the aforementioned mindshare to the point that the term "iPod" has become a catch all to refer to an entire range of products. It's now used in much the same way as brand names like Kleenex and Coke. That sort of branding is so rare and powerful that it takes more than just another successful name brand to penetrate the recognition.

Sony also has to get past the competition of its music and hardware arms if it ever wishes to create a usable product in this sector. Read the above post on the NetMD to see what I'm talking about.

Finally, though Sony may be known for quality, they're definitely not known for low price. I would be shocked to see them release a device similarly configured to the iPod (which will be necessary to sell the thing) at a price point that is even competitive. Like I said, they make great stuff. They just charge an arm and a leg for it. :)
 
Comment

Dahl

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2002
623
16
L.A.
I fear Sony more than any other company then it comes to MP3 players and similar gadgets, they have been around forever and make solid products. But Apple has a huge lead, so if they screw up it's going to be their own fault. I see no reason why Sony should leapfrog over Apple, I'm sure Apple is working hard to make sure they stay ahead.
Isn't it the first time Apple has a product that's the bestselling in it's group ?
 
Comment

neutrino23

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2003
1,765
261
SF Bay area
no MP3?

Reread the article. It doesn't say MP3 player, it says music player. Sony's current player uses Sony's propritary ATRAC format, not MP3.

If the player will not support MP3 and will not support AAC it is sheer hubris on the part of Sony execs to think they can get any substantial market share.

In the US iPod gets a lot of help by being tied to iTMS. Note that in Japan (no iTMS) iPod is still a market leader.

The second thing I notice is that Sony seems to be offering a melange of future products. They don't seem to have any strategy other than spaghetti marketing. Toss out a bunch of different products and see if one sticks.
 
Comment

greenstork

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2003
617
0
Seattle,WA
Originally posted by tentimestwenty
That may or may not be the case but the reality remains, a $100 iPod with any functionality, even solid state memory would clean up the market. I'd buy one even if it had only 1GB of memory. I just want a measly 4 or 5 albums to take with me and I think most everyone else that hasn't bought an iPod is a similar market.

It's amazing how often this argument comes up for me on these threads but for me, if it is a choice between Apple gaining market share and Apple remaining financially successful, I chose the latter.

Historically, it has kept Apple one of the most innovative companies of the past two decades. If you think about it, they've always been this way. As long as you can vertically integrate, and maintain high profit margins on your products, you can afford to sink a bunch of money into new ideas.

So for those who want to get a cheap, flimsy mp3 player, buy a Sony or a Dell DJ. For those who want a quality product, pay more for an iPod, innovation isn't cheap and nobody likes a copycat. Ask yourself why you use Apple in the first place.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.