Friday, September 3, 2010

The "no iPod touch clones" mystery

Has any one noticed how all the iPod models got lower case identifier names now. The iPod Touch is now iPod touch, the Nano is nano and so on. Is Alppe trying the emphasize the iPod part?

Also, up until now Apple was selling a 2nd Gen iPod touch model at $199. Now for $30 more you get a 4th gen device.

Back to the mystery after this though detour...

So Apple makes the iPhone in 2007 and changes the whole phone industry. Everybody wants to have an iPhone clone in its line up. 3 years later there are countless iPhone wannabes

Apple also makes another device that they call the iPod touch. It is the phones without the phone and even less (no GPS, camera and all) and represent 1/3 of all iOS devices sold. The incredible thing is that there are 0 - zero iPod clones that challenge in any way the touch. The Zune does not count as it was clone of the iPod touch from 2007 but in 2009 (2 generations behind)

For some reason the only thing companies are successfully cloning from Apple are 3G enabled devices. There is no clone yet, coming for the iPad Wifi. Alldevices have 3G antennas build. No only that, they all preserve the phone functionally. At best the only thing they are cloning is the iPad 3G. There is no contract free iPad clone that is available widely.

If I had to make a guess as to why this is the case, it would be that a 3G device is a lot more profitable and/or a lot more sellable.

If I had a second guess as to why is that, it would be that only carriers have retail locations and store partnership. Only a Carrier can potentially market and sell a device since no one else but Apple has 300 stores and retail network that has nothing to do with phones. Only Apple has the complete product distribution solution.

If I had to make a third guess, it would be that Carriers are only interested int 3G (phone) enabled deices as only trough them can they make a profit. Consequently, no Android device would be sold if it does not have a 3G phone feature.

If HTC were to market and sell the devices it sells all by itself, it would have had to incorporate the cost of the retails store and advertising into the price of its products. People constantly complain about the Apple tax on products, yet no one even tries to measure the cost of ex. renting a super huge palace like the 300th Apple store in the middle of London and making it profitable. Most of the 40,000 Apple employees work in retail. They are support personal and they earn good salaries.

If my analysis is correct then we would never see a 3G less iPod Touch clone.
Same for the iPad.

The only company big enough to replicate the Apple complete product matrix and distribution solution would likely chose its own operating system too.

Seams like the Android platform has shot its one leg off right from the start. Even if there are eventually more Android Phones and Tablets than iPhone and iPad 3Gs, there will be just as many if not more iPod touches and iPads.

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