By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 4:00 pm
Over at Cnet, Tom Krazit has blogged about an analyst’s report that the iPod shortage that began at Amazon.com seems to be spreading to other venues. Which surprised me–not least because I didn’t know that Amazon was suffering from an iPod shortage.
But it is. I just checked, and while most of the myriad iPods (from the 1GB Shuffle to 160GB Classic) seem to be on hand for immediate delivery, Amazon itself doesn’t seem to have any 8GB or 16GB iPod Touches in stock, though you can order them there for fulfillment by other merchants.
(Side note: Is iPod Touches correct, or should that be iPods Touch?)
The only other sign of a lack of iPods I found at Amazon was the listing for the 1GB green Shuffle. The company doesn’t expect to be able to get that model to customers by Christmas, which will no doubt ruin untold holidays. (Okay, maybe not–especially since Apple.com has them in stock.)
A spotty supply of even a few iPod models at one major retailer suggests that Apple’s music players continue to sell briskly, which makes for an interesting contrast with this BusinessWeek story which speaks of the possibility that iPod sales may be down this quarter for the first time ever. Even if Apple has a merry Christmas iPodwise, the gist of the BW article is surely on target: Most of the folks who want iPods have them, and it’s going to get harder and harder for Apple to come up with new models that make for tempting upgrades. For instance, I can’t imagine that many owners of third-generation iPods Nano have felt much of an urge to splurge on the fourth-generation version.
In that light, it makes sense that the iPod Touch is in short supply–at Amazon, at least–since it’s a relatively recent model that’s a great leap forward in many respects compared to the classic models, the Nano, and the Shuffle. (Anecdotally, the Touch seems to be one of Apple’s most-loved products–everyone I know who has one adores it, which is not something you can say about the iPhone.)
Long term, Apple is going to have to sell lots of iPhones–and to come up with other compelling gadgets–to make up for the fact that the world’s need for iPods is declining. Short term, it’ll be fascinating to see if there’s ever a new iPod that is, indeed, strikingly new rather than a modest refresh…