updated 09:45 am EDT, Thu September 10, 2009
Helped by iTunes 9, App Store figures
Apple's 2009 iPod update event was generally a positive, says Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf. It did for instance mark Steve Jobs' first public appearance after his six-month medical leave, during which he had a liver transplant. Jobs also announced several important statistics, such as the existence of over 75,000 iPhone apps, and over 1.8 billion app downloads. The last official figures included 65,000 apps and 1.5 billion downloads.
Jobs further revealed that there over 50 million iPhone and iPod touch owners, and that more than 30 million iPhones have been sold since the debut of the original in 2007. This suggests that Apple will exceed Needham sales predictions for the September quarter, calling for 5 million phones, says Wolf.
Changes to the iPod touch and iPod nano are said to be important, including a faster processor in the case of the Touch, and a video camera and FM radio for the Nano. Most iPod models have had their prices reduced. The analyst adds that an overlooked but extremely important feature in the iTunes 9 update is Genius recommendations for apps. The option should increase discovery of other titles, and hence provide encouragement to developers, leading to a greater number of apps in production.
Wolf does express disappointment that Apple did not announce availability of the Beatles catalog at the iTunes Store. At the same time however he suggests that Apple's only real financial obstacle is the economy, which is just recovering from a recession and still affecting computer sales throughout the industry.