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« Placeless but permanently connected | Main | Stampeded by Mac fanatics, replying to 32 comments on iPod 14% »

July 20, 2006


Dean Bubley


Some good stuff in here. A couple of nit-picking points:

- total 3G subscribers is 110m, not 200m+ (see
- both that figure and the overall 2.4bn number include substantial double-counting from people with 2 phones / multiple SIMs etc, so the actual user base is considerably lower (same thing as you mention with iPods)
- I suspect Apple's profit per iPod (and therefore overall market share of profit for the "MP3 player industry") is higher than for mobile phones
- Actually, the iPod share of "hybridised" MP3 players is even lower than you suggest, as you need to add in laptops (and maybe desktop PCs) as well as mobile phones, as they all have MP3 capabilities, headphone socket etc & are often used to play audio.
- RIM ships far more than 1m Blackberries per year - it shipped 1.2m in the last quarter alone.

Oh, and I owned the first (I think) MP3-playing mobile in 2002 - the Siemens SL45i - so the mobile guys have been trying this for a few years, not just recently.

For what it's worth, I reckon you're right that the iPod's share has reduced a bit, but I still reckon that 70%+ of MP3 users I see in London use iPods (not just on the basis of white headphones, but seeing the actual device)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Dean !!

Thanks for visiting and commenting. And thanks for the stats-police work...

On the 3G stats, I always report both technologies, CDMA2000 EV-DO ran ahead of WCDMA (GSM Association) stats for the first 3 years and only last year WCDMA climbed ahead of CDMA2000 3G subscribers. On WCDMA there are 110 million yes but I was talking of all 3G subs.

The 2.4B global subs is yes subscriptions not users, and my estimate is that a little over 10% of all humans with phones (20% of Europeans) have 2 subscriptions. So 2.15 billion humans. Doesn't really matter in the big picture especially at the growth rates of mobile ha-ha, but good catch.

RIM? I recently spotted the 5 millionth blackberry milepost, I recall late last year. So its been running at less than a million at least until 2005. But yes, if they now ship 1.2 million in a quarter, I have to update my stats. I'll look into it. Sounds like very sudden and quite dramatic upturn (and goes very strongly against the "gut feeling" of many of my colleagues recently around the world who all seem to suggest Blackberries are underperforming in all of their markets - that is outside North America obviously)

I wasn't aware of the Siemens but I know there were some PDA-smartphone converging devices that included MP3 player functionality. South Korea in June 2003 Ricky Martin's six MP3 tracks were I am very certain, the first mass market attempt at selling full-track music to mobile phones. In that way, I'd classify your phone and you then, as more of a beta-tester, thought-leader, "Alpha User" type, ha-ha, but that the MP3 market for mobiles started in June 2003 in Korea. Its a bit a question of definitions, definitely :-)

I'll also do a sanity-check/numbers check on the actual blog probably tomorrow, so whatever clear errors are there, I will want to correct. So thank you also for that, I know many read our site for refernce, and we do want the numbers to be as solid as is humanly possible (without employing a staff of researchers ha-ha...)

Thanks for writing Dean !

Tomi :-)

Piers Fawkes

maybe, we all have one now - accessories are up 90%



The phone will kill the iPod just like it killed the Digital Camera. Just like it killed hand held gaming consoles.

MP3s, Cameras, games maybe add ons to a phone but it is certainly something that a majority of people don't use. I know several people (me included) who own MP3 phones. But I don't know a single person who ever uses this functionality.

Dream on, fan boy.


Can any of the Mp3 phones do this?,8599,1216589,00.html

AAPL up $6.33 this morning. Good luck selling your book.

Bert C


"Apple hints at iPod phone
Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said: "Apple is investing heavily in iPod and iTunes engineering and is very enthusiastic about products in the pipeline."

Oppenheimer also dropped Apple's biggest suggestion yet that it has plans to deliver a hybrid mobile phone iPod, saying: "We don't think that the phones that are available today make the best music players. We think the iPod is. But over time, that is likely to change, and we are not sitting around doing nothing."

Kevin Barbs

I rarely post in response to any article on the web. But this article was one of the most laughable I'd ever read. To lump in music playing cell phones into the calculation is grasping for straws. Those cell phones would have sold without the ability to play music. The cell phone market is enormous on it's own. So, when customers are presented with a cell phone that plays music vs one that doesn't, they pick the phone with more features. This doesn't reflect on the standalone mp3 player market,...yet. This will be a force in the future when many quality, battery, and usability hurdles are crossed. But for now, you can't even begin to make this claim. Hence, you can't claim these numbers until these devices actually meet on a more accurate playing field. So in regards to this article, I disagree at this point.


I have a radio in my car, but only listen to CDs. Staticians would define me as "a radio listener".

I have small noname mp3 player, an iPod mini and a mp3 capable mobile phone at home. I listen to music and podcasts only on my iPod mini (now almost 2 years old).

So market share says nothing in terms of the importance of the iPod in my life, but only refers to the potential listening based on hardware numbers.

A more significant number as you mentioned is the music bought online through mobile phones. I doubt this is taking market share away from Apple, as the market is not a zero game but is growing.

Apple said as much yesterday. They also hint that they will be ready whenever an "iphone" will be the accepted way to listen and buy music.

Bela Sopron

If the rumor sites are to be believed, Apple is already planning for this eventuality with the release of an "iPhone". It would be the perfect move by Apple to capture market share yet again with a great product. The motorola iTunes phone deal was DOA, if they are to do it right the next time, Apple will start their own cell service via a cell network renting agreement with one of the big carriers.

This would solve a lot of problems and create some interesting possibilities, for instance if they run the service and make the phone they could allow you to upload files and music directly to your phone unlike the standard policy of carriers which is to force you to download through the cell network and pay their rip-off fees. That feature alone would drive hordes of customers to their product/service and shake up the whole industry model.

Not sure how having their own service would impact the handset subsidy issue, that is definitely a big one. I imagine if they ran their own service they could work it in their favor with lock-in contracts, etc. the way other carriers do.

Normally I would say Apple has no business getting into a totally different industry, telecommunications. But look what they did with the iPod and iTunes and all the deals with the music industry and soon Hollywood. Unthinkable six years ago.


Rather than being prescient you seem a bit delusional. Apple making selling over 8 million iPods for a profit of a hundred million or so is somehow a crushing defeat. Maintaining their dominance of the MP3 player market is a failure. You confuse what people CAN do, with what they ACTUALLY DO. I have a Sony walkman phone and guess what, I don't listen to music on it because it ISN'T as good as an iPod and I need my phone as a phone and don't want to drain the battery listening to tunes. The only times I've done it is when I left my iPod at home.

Funny, but I don't think I've EVER seen ANYONE listening to a Walkman phone here in the US but you're unlikely to even be in an elevator without someone listening to an iPod (or possibly another MP3 player.) Perhaps things are different overseas, what a blow for Apple not to control the whole world.

There are some very nice "walkman phones" out there, but the convergence hasn't happened yet so you can quit patting yourself on the back.


While you're in the business of creative market-share numerology, I'm curious to know the market share numbers between cell-phones and stand-alone devices of the following types:

1) Cameras (35mm & Digital)
2) Camcorders
3) Alarm Clocks
4) Web Browsers
5) IM Clients
6) Datebook Organizers
7) Game Systems
8) Calculators
9) Time Pieces

Granted, I tend to use my phone as a PHONE and have other devices to do all of the above, but I'm still interested in seeing the numbers.

Jiim Harner

I have a camera and MP3 on my Treo, but never use them. No one I know uses these functionalies and that is unlikely to change. My battery life it too short as it is.

I see the iPod going to very small, e.g., the Nano, and big, the new true video iPod with 3D games, and fairly small, the iPod phone. There are reasond you want all three sizes and functionalities. I do not mind carrying a small Nano and a small phone and I do not want to drain my phone's battery by doing lots of things other than making calls. That is why I am geting rid of my Treo.


This article is filled with non sequitur, poor research, and a complete (and obvious) bias and hatred for the Apple platform.

Not a single paragraph in this commentary contains fact or insight into business ... get an editor.


One more comment I forgot to make:

You mentioned that camera phones have been available for several years.

If you aren't feeling too stupid yet, tell us how that has affected the market for standalone cameras.

Here's Nikon's outlook for 2007:

Q: What are your forecasts regarding shipments for this period?
A: We plan to increase the shipment for digital SLR cameras of 30% compared with the year ended March 31, 2006, with the proportion accounted for by high-end and mid-range models expected to rise.
(From their presentation of financial results for the year ended 3/31/06, on their website)

Oh, the humanity! Can you stand the carnage? Is Nikon's failure even forgivable?

Here's how Canon charaterized their Q1 2006 results:
Within the camera segment, digital SLR cameras continued to enjoy robust growth, bolstered by particularly strong sales of the EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT and the newly introduced EOS 30D.... Sales of compact-model digital cameras also continued to expand steadily,.... Accordingly, unit sales of digital cameras for the quarter recorded growth of
approximately 20% from the year-ago period.

A dismal failure, the final nail in coffin, the last blow, the dying breath. Is there anything that can stop the camera phone?


I would dare say that if you measure the MP3 sales figures for the 4th Q of 2005 vs. 1st Q of 2006, you'd see that the entire market was down in comparison. To isolate Apple's downturn as an indication of overall customer displeasure for the iPod is a grave misconstruction of the market. I won't get into the distortion of the phone percentages since previous posters has so succinctly detailed the fallacy of such an opinion.

Bottom line is that if someone is looking to purchase a device to play MP3/digital songs, 3 out of 4 are choosing an iPod. The rest is merely smoke and mirrors.

To paraphrase another's point, good luck selling your Kool-Aid!

Barney F.

I would dare say that if you measure the MP3 sales figures for the 4th Q of 2005 vs. 1st Q of 2006, you'd see that the entire market was down in comparison. To isolate Apple's downturn as an indication of overall customer displeasure for the iPod is a grave misconstruction of the market. I won't get into the distortion of the phone percentages since previous posters has so succinctly detailed the fallacy of such an opinion.

Bottom line is that if someone is looking to purchase a device to play MP3/digital songs, 3 out of 4 are choosing an iPod. The rest is merely smoke and mirrors.

To paraphrase another's point, good luck selling your Kool-Aid!

Johnny Appleseed

Your article conveniently avoids the question of how many owners of music phones actually use them to listen to music? If more and more phones are incorporating music players, it's inevitable more music-playing phones will be sold.

Also, the relatively low-capacity music phones are in a whole different market segment to the HD-based iPods that allow users to carry their entire music collection, videos etc.

The fact the iTunes Music Store has 80% US market share should tell you where most downloaded music is going.

Oh, and could you please stop calling this a blogsite. "Blog" is already a contraction for weblog, so call it a weblog if you must.

David Gnotta

Your article is so far beyond absurd that it does not deserve an
eloquent response. So here is the response it does merit
.... you are so full of sh#t


This article is just proof positive that Samuel Clemens was right when he said, "there are three kinds of liars: a liar, a damned liar and a statistician."

These numbers have been manipulated and stretched more than taffy on the Atlantic City boardwalk.

Even with my iPod Mini, I have 4 GIGABYTES for audio. My next one will be the one with the biggest harddrive, likely 80-100+GB. So, while phones will meet the needs of iPod Nano listeners (maybe), I listen to my music for HOURS at a time and NO phone is even close to blowing my ears off for hours at a time.

Is there crossover? Sure, and you make some valid points on where that convergence is headed. However, the iPod as a device is multipronged. The coming Video iPod with likely 100+ GB and phones are WAY more than 5 years from having the storage and battery life to play full length movies.

If you restrict the entire MP3 market to those who only hold 256MB of music at a time, don't care about audio quality or battery life, then cool. However, right now there simply are no equivalents to even the iPod Mini, let alone the Video iPod. Moreover, they aren't JUST mp3 players. Like phones they have other features and ignoring the points of differentiation is like comparing cars and skateboards. They both have 4 wheels and get you someplace, but the points of differentiation make it so that GM isn't about to start making skateboard. Now, Apple WILL make an iPhone, but they certainly aren't gonna abandon their Video iPod level devices for which there simply won't be a phone equivalent.


I had to blog about this myself ... it's hard to believe that this guy didn't have Dvorak write this lunatic piece

Titled: In The History Of Articles Written On The Net - This Is The Worst!

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