The surprising success of the iPod mini

Filed under: Design,Hardware

iPod mini - pinkIntroduced during the January 2004 Macworld keynote as “the world’s smallest portable music player to hold up to 1,000 CD-quality songs” the iPod mini was made available in the USA more than a month later, on the 20th of February.

In a February press release it was mentioned that there were “over 100,000 pre-orders” and Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Philip Schiller stated that the response to iPod mini has been off the charts” foreshadowing the impact that the model would have.


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The extraordinary reception of the iPod mini surprised even Apple which originally planned the model to just go after the high-end flash-based devices.

Hence, at the end of March, another press release was issued, warning that worldwide availability was postponed to July, due to the “much stronger than expected demand in the U.S. far exceeding the total planned supply”. In the release Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Operations Tim Cook was quoted saying that

“The iPod mini adds further momentum to the iPod, which is already the leading digital music player in the world.”

If we take a look at statistics by early 2004, Apple knew it had a hit with the iPod: in less than three years, the device had captured 31% of the U.S. market for mp3 players. Thanks to the release of the iPod mini Apple’s market share grew during 2004 and in January 2005 was at a staggering 65%.

iPod nano - silverAs to which were the winning factors of the iPod mini making it the most successful iPod model ever the answer is simple and yet manifold. It was small in size and weight, extremely portable, designed with great care and with an eye to wearability.

It was also marketed as a must-have fashion item, not just encased in a stylish curved aluminium body but offered in five colors: silver, gold, pink, blue and green. In the following years Apple reproduced many of those characteristics in the second and fourth generation of the iPod nano which very much resembles a mini and in the second generation of the iPod shuffle.

The iPod mini and iPod nano pictures are “courtesy of Apple”

Thursday 01 July 2010, 3:47 pm
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