The iPod has traditionally been Apple’s gateway device. Yes, Apple’s revival started before the iPod appeared on the scene but there is no doubt that for many people their first experience of Apple products was the iPod series. I know many friends who the iPod led to them buying iPhones and eventually OSX products. However, with the recent earnings call it was clear that the iPod is on the way out and with it goes Apple’s traditional gateway device
So where is Apple’s gateway device and what could it be in the future?
A Cheaper iPhone
The obvious reason the iPod’s decline could be it’s natural successor. The growth of Smartphones has eliminated many people’s need for a separate MP3 player, this is even more true when combined with streamed music service which can really make the most of a data service. However, the current iPhone is priced too high to be a gateway device and even the 5C falls no where near cheap enough to be people’s first point of call for an iPhone.
A cheaper iPhone that hits the sort of price points Motorola have managed to hit with their Moto X and G would certainly be a way to entice more users into the Apple fold.
There are plenty of rumours surrounding the iWatch and few facts but it seems fairly likely that a smart watch is in the works for Apple. Most rumours center around the iWatch being a companion device that requires another device (the iPhone?) to function. However, if the iWatch is truly a revolutionary device in the kin of the iPod and iPhone then it is possible that it will be fully functional on its own. If so then there is potential for this device to be a users gateway into the Apple ecosystem.
Although Android phones have become increasingly popular, the iPad is still holding its own in the tablet arena with the iPad Air and iPad Mini with retina screen. Yes it isn’t the cheapest device but as many users are coming to the iPad as a replacement to a laptop and fulfilling most or all of their needs, perhaps the iPad has become the device that brings people into the apple ecosystem?
There is still a hole in the Apple pricing chart emerging with the shrinking size of the iPod market. Perhaps Apple will try to fill it with a new device or maybe the iPad has already filled the gap. Either way it is unlikely to make a cheap low quality device, if they sell a lower cost device it will still have the same Apple quality. After all, that is one of the reasons people stick to apple devices.
Does Apple need a new low cost device?