iPod still riding high in digital music players

You have seen them all around campus. They are the latest craze in electronic devices. MP3 players have taken Florida A&M University, as well as the rest of the nation, by storm.

Apple may have introduced its innovative digital music player in 2001, but of the 14 million iPods sold to date, 8.2 million of the $249 to $399 gadgets were purchased in 2004. Nearly 5 million were bought over the holiday season alone.

Three new iPod models debuted this year: Shuffle, Nano, and the iPod Video – also known as the 5G (that’s short for fifth generation).

According to http://www.ConsumerReports.org, “The Nano is the top choice among MP3 players, with what may be the best-yet combination of size, storage, and ergonomic ease.”

Meagan Johnson, a 20-year-old agricultural business student from Miami, got her iPod Nano for Christmas.

“My mom got it for me. I had wanted one since Thanksgiving,” said Johnson.

Even though it is the popular choice, not everyone has opted for an iPod yet.

“Consider a flash-memory player from another brand if you want additional functions such as recording capability or an FM radio. Such players typically cost less than the Nano but hold only a quarter to a half as many songs,” advises http://www.ConsumerReports.org.

“My MP3 player is light and easy to take to the gym and study with,” said Avonny Hankins, a first year nursing student at the University of Maryland, who owns the VL303 from Visual-land, but admits the price had a lot to do with her decision.

For others however, price does not appear to be a problem.

“Because of what it can do and how many songs can be saved to it, I’d rather spend the money one time and download songs versus buying CDs,” said Johnson regarding her Nano.

The reasons for the purchase can also make a major difference in how students feel about the price.

“Look at what type of listener you are – if you jog or work out with it, you should get the small one, if you listen to it while walking to class everyday you should get the big one,” said Keeyon Upkins, a 19-year-old business administration student from Jackson, Miss.

The popularity of the delicate Nano has continued to increase sales for iPod accessories. “Yeah, I’m scared of dropping it, but that’s why I got a case for it,” said Johnson.

Common accessories include armbands, cables and docks and speakers, that can also transform your personal music device into an ambulant home entertainment system.

Sales of accessories have become a rapidly growing market. Months ago, Apple came out with the “Made for iPod” seal of approval program, a way for customers to know that the accessories they’re buying will be compatible with their iPods.

Additionally, in an effort to get a chunk of the accessories market without having to sell anything, Apple has asked third-party manufacturers to pay a percentage of accessory sales as royalty for the seal of approval.

Thanks, in large part, to the iPod, Apple has been ranked the top brand in the United States for 2005, by Brandchannel, followed by Google, Starbucks, Target and Lance Armstrong. Apple came in second, behind Google, for worldwide ranking. According to its web site, for its fiscal 2006 first quarter, which ended Dec. 31, 2005, Apple reported the highest revenue and earnings in the Company’s history.

Apple posted revenue of $5.75 billion and a net quarterly profit of $565 million.

“We are thrilled to report the best quarter in Apple’s history,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive officer, citing the sale of 14 million iPods as one of the highlights of the, incredible quarter.”

Contact Steffany Bennett at steffany_bennett@yahoo.com