updated 06:55 pm EST, Tue January 9, 2007
Analyst on CES, iPod
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is producing many new product announcements, none of which pose a material competitive threat to Apple's iPod and iTunes, according to Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster. "As has been the case for the last several years of CES, we did not see any devices that we believe could prove to be significantly competitive with the iPod," Munster wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN "We continue to believe Microsoft's Zune is the best iPod alternative and we continue to be surprised at the lack of a compelling offering from consumer electronics giants like Sony." Microsoft indicated at CES that the company believes its Zune has had a successful start in capturing the no. 2 market share position in its first several weeks in the market.
Microsoft made no official announcements related to Zune at the trade show, but one company employee said the Redmond-based company's path will cross with Apple's more in the future. Microsoft also noted that an annual release cycle for Zune makes sense for the company, offering annual pre-holiday releases. Additionally, Microsoft said it wants to get a music player right before looking into multi-function devices such as cellular phone/MP3 player combo devices.
Interestingly, Creative has yet to release any new devices at CES that would compete directly with Apple's iPod. Creative employees were themselves surprised that the company has not had a faster product release schedule, according to the analyst, citing Creative's last release in the hard disk drive MP3 player space when it launched the Zen Vision M, which was over a year ago.
SanDisk, meanwhile, released three MP3 players at CES, but none of these will significantly steal iPod market share, according to Munster. The company's 'Sansa View' is a player boasting a four-inch screen that is likely video-focused, offering a storage capacity of 8GB for $299. SanDisk also announced the 'Sansa Connect,' a Wi-Fi-enabled MP3 player that allows users to access as well as purchase content from select services with a wireless internet connection. The Sansa Connect offers 4GB of storage space and is priced at $249.
"We believe the Sansa Connect will have some appeal given it is one of the first wi-fi MP3 players in the market from a major manufacturer."