iPod What if iPods were giveaways?

Doctor Q

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Original poster
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Sep 19, 2002
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Caveat: There is no chance of what I'm talking about here actually happening. This is not a rumor or an inside story. This is just a "thought experiment".

What if, for some reason, Apple decided to give away its lowest end iPod, free of charge. All you had to do was stop by a retail Apple store, register (simply to prevent a customer from getting more than one), and walk out with your free very-low-end iPod.

What percentage of the population would go get one? First of all, there are only a handful of Apple stores outside the U.S., so we're already down to 5% of the world population as likely candidates. So let's just consider the United States. It would still be nowhere near 100%.

  • People who don't live near an Apple Store wouldn't have the opportunity except when they were traveling.
  • There are people with no computers.
  • There are a good number of people who don't understand what an iPod is.
  • There are people convinced they don't work with Windows, simply because they don't pay attention.
  • There are people who won't use anything made by Apple because they think of it as the opposing camp.
  • There are people who share iPods with a relative (sibling, spouse, parent, child) and would even share the free one, and don't think they need their own.
  • Some people have a career or personality that leaves them no time for leisure activities.
  • Some low-income people can't afford to buy music and wouldn't steal it either.
  • Some people might consider registration a privacy issue.
  • If you are deaf, you probably wouldn't have a use for one.
  • Some people are happy with their LPs or 8-track tapes and aren't interested in listening to any "modern" music.
  • The converse: people with a huge music collection might not settle for the lowest capacity iPod.
  • People who already have an iPod might not want a second, very-low-end, model.
  • Some people would be too suspicious of a free offer.

Are we down to 1%, even in the United States? Would anybody besides MacRumors forum members go pick one up?
 

hyperpasta

macrumors 6502a
Aug 1, 2005
680
0
New Jersey
Interesting Idea

That's a good idea. But I think that it would be a 512MB shuffle when the price goes down. I have a hunch that eventually the shuffle will reach REALLY low prices as flash memory prices plummet (like $50). Then they could do it for a day and get HUGE traffic. It would be like 130 Henrico Counties.
 

devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
15,588
1
Doctor Q said:
Would anybody besides MacRumors forum members go pick one up?
No, I believe 'loads' of people would still flock to stores to get such a freebie. I mean seriously, have you taken a look at Costco's freebie sample tables?! Massive traffic holdups inside... much less something as cool as an iPod, even a 'low end' model. But it could wind up being quite the marketing feat if Apple could pull it off w/out having individuals get multiples. Drool. I wouldn't mind a free 512MB shuffle. :p
 

musiclover137

macrumors regular
Jan 23, 2005
104
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This is sort of the same:
A lot of my friends are selling the mini they got for free after buying a mac for college. People would probably sell them if they started giving them away.
 

Macaddicttt

macrumors 6502a
Apr 22, 2004
993
2
San Diego, CA
musiclover137 said:
This is sort of the same:
A lot of my friends are selling the mini they got for free after buying a mac for college. People would probably sell them if they started giving them away.
How can you sell something that anyone else can get for free, too?
 

Nickygoat

macrumors 6502a
Dec 11, 2004
992
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London
Doctor Q said:
[*]Some people might consider registration a privacy issue.
Interesting idea and I can see it working.
How do you take peoples ID for them to register? Just let them put down a name and address, or force them to show ID? What guarantees do you give with the collection of that info?
Which ID? Most companies that do that here specifically exclude mobile phone bills and ask for Utility or local Government bills, so that excludes another portion of the population (most of those under 18).
 

jimN

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2005
934
10
London
Macaddicttt said:
Well, you're not just buying tap water then but cleaner water and convenience. But I did find your response pretty clever.
In the UK Dasani got laughed off the shelves after it turned out to be little more than bottled tap water except with more carcinogens! As for convenience, get a bottle and refill it. Convenience to me isn't worth a several 100% mark-up.
 

Doctor Q

Administrator
Original poster
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Sep 19, 2002
38,010
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Los Angeles
Nickygoat said:
How do you take peoples ID for them to register? Just let them put down a name and address, or force them to show ID? What guarantees do you give with the collection of that info?
Which ID? Most companies that do that here specifically exclude mobile phone bills and ask for Utility or local Government bills, so that excludes another portion of the population (most of those under 18).
If Apple did this, I imagine they wouldn't expect it to be foolproof, just a deterrent. Name and address matching a driver's license or student ID card number, for example.

Or add retinal scanners to iSights in the store!
 

Macaddicttt

macrumors 6502a
Apr 22, 2004
993
2
San Diego, CA
jimN said:
In the UK Dasani got laughed off the shelves after it turned out to be little more than bottled tap water except with more carcinogens! As for convenience, get a bottle and refill it. Convenience to me isn't worth a several 100% mark-up.
I agree, but that's not really the point. My point was that you're not going to buy an iPod from someone if you can just walk down to the store and get one for free.
 

watcher2001

macrumors 6502a
A new Twist

OK, lets throw a new twist on this. Let's say apple created a new low end iPod that would ONLY work with music downloaded thru ITMS. They could give the player away for free and bank on making their money back from downloads? They could even make the player free by signing a commitment to D/L say 5-10 songs per month.

Just a random thought.
 

fartheststar

macrumors 6502a
Dec 29, 2003
504
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Toronto
jimN said:
In the UK Dasani got laughed off the shelves after it turned out to be little more than bottled tap water except with more carcinogens! As for convenience, get a bottle and refill it. Convenience to me isn't worth a several 100% mark-up.
Dasani (in my area - Toronto) is tap water from a town just west of Toronto and some bottles taste "Ok" or "like water" and some have such a strong taste (like @ss) that I won't ever buy it again.

Edit: Like I would imagine "@ss" to taste like ... lol.
 

mpw

Guest
Jun 18, 2004
6,364
1
Doctor Q said:
...
[*]If you are deaf, you probably wouldn't have a use for one...

...Are we down to 1%, even in the United States? Would anybody besides MacRumors forum members go pick one up?

Google tells me there's just under 300million people in the US so the 1% you're talking about is about 3million. I thought iPod sales had already surpassed that number, does that mean they've sold to deaf people too?

Way to go Apple marketing!
:D
 

StarbucksSam

macrumors 65816
Nov 21, 2004
1,427
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Washington, D.C.
Doctor Q said:
Are we down to 1%, even in the United States? Would anybody besides MacRumors forum members go pick one up?


I'd highly doubt it. I think teenagers make up something like (don't quote me on this) 17% of our population, and at least 70% of them live within reach of an Apple Store. Most of them want an iPod, and we'll take free stuff if we don't or already have one.

I'd say that considering teens and adults, about 1/4 of Americans would probably go and cause an incredibly disorganized mob scene at local Apple retail stores.
 

steve_hill4

macrumors 68000
May 15, 2005
1,856
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NG9, England
jimN said:
In the UK Dasani got laughed off the shelves after it turned out to be little more than bottled tap water except with more carcinogens! As for convenience, get a bottle and refill it. Convenience to me isn't worth a several 100% mark-up.
Well it received a lot of negative publicity when people found out it was merely processed tap water, but the real problem occured when they had to pull stock off the shelves when they discovered they had been putting too high levels of a chemical linked to cancer, (not sure if this was the carcinogens you speak of). Re-launch was a flop after the attention. I'm glad apple don't make too many gaffs like this.
 

Chaszmyr

macrumors 601
Aug 9, 2002
4,267
85
Maybe everyone would get them, but no one would care as much about them and they would lose their iconic status.
 

bigandy

macrumors G3
Apr 30, 2004
8,852
0
Murka
jimN said:
In the UK Dasani got laughed off the shelves after it turned out to be little more than bottled tap water except with more carcinogens! As for convenience, get a bottle and refill it. Convenience to me isn't worth a several 100% mark-up.

it was laughed at before it was removed, but the reason it was removed was because of the content, it was breaching UK safety standards.

trust coca-cola to do something like that and think they can get away with it :rolleyes:
 

jimN

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2005
934
10
London
apparently they got the idea whilst watching only fools and horses. Have to admit it is strange that a water can be pulled for being unsafe and yet cigarettes aren't. I appreciate that fags have been around for a good deal longer but if you put a disclaimer on your project (along the lines of this water has been linked with cancer but not drinking it has been linked with dehydration, renal failure and death) surely you could continue to offer it for sale.

At any rate you both seem to be in agreement with me (and, for what it's worth, chemicals that cause cancer = carcinogens) so no sense is arguing.

If the iPods were free but in limited supply then people would still pay for them. Not quite teh same but look at the amount of money that live 8 tickets were selling for - massive amounts of profit given that all it cost was a text message or two.
 

devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
15,588
1
Chaszmyr said:
Maybe everyone would get them, but no one would care as much about them and they would lose their iconic status.
But if we were going on that basis alone, wouldn't the iPod already have lost its iconic status? ;) For goodness sakes, I've seen kids younger than 10 with mini iPods!
 

zap2

macrumors 604
Mar 8, 2005
7,241
1
Washington D.C
Lots of people would, people would get them to sell on ebay, people who go crazy 1% of the world is still a lot of people, and peope near the other not USA apple store would still go. Tons of people would go for it, many average people
 
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