Monday, April 18, 2011

The iPocalypse

First of all for the record, I am an unashamed fan of Apple products. My laptop, phone and MP3 player all bear the Apple logo. I would probably own an iPad as well if I could think of a single justifiable excuse to do so. My obvious fan-boy attitude doesn’t alter the fact that you’d struggle to find a household that doesn’t have at least one Apple product lurking in the shadows. 

Most people these days don’t even think twice about their options when buying an MP3 player, they usually just trudge towards the Apple store like a brainwashed zombie. In fact this is so much so that the term ‘iPod’ has for the most part become the every day lingual substitute for ‘MP3 player’. “What songs are on your iPod?” “My iPod is dead” or “Shit, I dropped my iPod in the toilet” have become very commonly heard phrases in the past few years.

MP3 player = iPod and that seems to be the end of it. I expect the hipsters will all be out buying Creative ZENs now in an attempt to be different. Maybe Creative could partner with Ray-Ban to colour coordinate their merchandise.

Apple has released thirty-four different iPods over the past ten years, from the original pocket-bricks to the recent Nanos and Shuffles that are so small that I’ve been dared by friends to eat them on several occasions. You don’t need to be a genius to figure out that ten years of iPod market saturation means that there is approximately 466,529 buttloads of iPods in the world today. 

When a product gains an enormous portion of the consumer market like the iPod has, the third party manufacturers show up in the hundreds eager to make as many compatible products as they can possibly envisage. You’ve all seen them; every sound system, alarm clock, wristwatch, microwave, refrigerator, BBQ, car stereo and vacuum cleaner has an iPod dock as standard now. Having just done a lap of the Two Finger Scroll offices I found seventeen hundred dozen electrical devices that have an iPod dock on them, not a bad effort for three guys who barely have two pesos to rub together.

Now there’s a very obvious dilemma coming out of all of this; with Apple’s insatiable upgrade lust combined with ten years of third party electronics ALL with the same iPod dock built in, what is going to happen when Apple finally decides to upgrade the iPod’s connection mechanism?

Complete and utter chaos.  Fire and brimstone will rain down from the sky. The ground will open up and the streets will flow with blood. Only those with the freshest, most succulent livers will be saved.

The iPocalypse

Or we’ll all cue up to buy a new sound system, alarm clock, wristwatch, microwave, refrigerator, BBQ, car stereo and vacuum cleaner.

Whichever is more likely.

- Tom

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