♦ This post is one of the Best of 2015 ♦
Ah, the iPod Touch. I remember how badly I wanted one in middle school, and how excited I was when I got one in 7th grade. Back in those days, the iPod Touch was about the coolest gadget a kid could have. Nowadays, though, it seems like every kid over 10 has an iPhone. However, the iPod Touch continues to pay off in spades for Apple. Why? Indoctrination.
What does indoctrination have to do with the iPod Touch? Easy. Apple marketed the iPod Touch as something for kids, and parents bought it (literally). Honestly, it was a good device for kids: it allowed them to do most things that an iPhone could do for around $200 flat. Not super cheap up front, but there were no expensive monthly bills to deal with. Kid friendly? You bet.
After that, however, is when things got interesting: all those kids grew up. They grew up and, like their parents, wanted smartphones. And what kind of smartphones do you think these kids wanted? iPhones of course! Having already been indoctrinated into Apple’s ecosystem – the apps, iMessage, Game Center, and so on – they didn’t want to leave. Apple continues to see these benefits to this day. Most of my friends in high school and college used to have iPod Touches, but now they have iPhones. The iPhone is well established as the gold standard; almost everyone agrees it’s simply the best you can get. Sure, Android still has a substantial presence, but the iPhone remains in the lead.
What allowed Apple to completely take over this market? I think it’s in part because of Apple’s previous dominance with the iPod in general. And with the iTunes Store. They had already set themselves up as the go-to for media players; it was only a natural jump to a touch screen. More than anything though, Apple won this market because they tried. It’s not like Android couldn’t have done anything about it. Android phone manufacturers simply didn’t see the value in creating touch screen media players. They did exist; I remember reading about a couple of them. However, they never got off the ground the way the iPod Touch did, mostly because they were never pushed very hard.
Maybe Android didn’t see the long-term value in the market. Actually, I don’t know for sure if Apple did either; maybe to them it was just a good product in the short-term. But whatever the reason, Apple invested a lot into the iPod touch from around 2007-2012. However, that has begun to change.
As I’ve said, I see fewer and fewer iPod Touches these days. More and more I just see iPhones, being held in increasingly smaller hands. And since we didn’t see an iPod revision last fall (which would have been on par with the previous two-year update cycle), it would seem that the iPod Touch has just about breathed its last. But it had a good run. In fact, it had a great run; one that put the next member of the relay team – the iPhone – a few extra strides further ahead of the competition. ••