There's no doubt that the iPod is one of the biggest marketing success I could see myself buying an iPod simply because it would open the door to hundreds of other shiny bits of gearstories of all time. It transformed the music player market and destroyed the competition. But what is it that makes the iPod the huge success that it is? I think that the huge number of iPod accessories might have something to do with it.
Just the other day I got an electronics catalog through the mail. While I casually flipped though it I came across the section on music players. What struck me as I was browsing was how the space devoted to music players and accessories was divided up. There was one page for players from Creative and Sony (and possibly another company that I don't remember), one page for iPods and then four pages of accessories for the iPod.
Now, I'm pretty happy with my Creative Muvo, but if I was in the market for a new audio device, all those cool accessories for the iPod might just sway me to buy an iPod. There are just so many cool accessories - chargers, cables, cradles and docks, voice recorders, bigger batteries, mixing decks, cases, radio receivers, and so on. The list just went on and on. There was also stuff which I couldn't really figure out what it did but which looked like it would be a fun process finding out.
Something else that struck me was how few of these accessories were made by Apple. Most were from third party companies. In fact, I'm pretty sure that there are companies out there manufacture that nothing but iPod accessories.
Now, I'm well aware that it was the success of the iPod and that lead to this huge, flourishing ecosystem of accessories for the iPod, but as someone who's obsessed with gadgets, I have to say that while I wouldn't buy an iPod just because it's an iPod, I could see myself buying one simply because it would open the door to hundreds of other shiny bits of gear.
One thing's for sure, all those accessories have to act as a free ad for the iPod, and anyone searching for a music player will quickly come to the conclusion that the market is dominated by the iPod brand, so much so that they might not realize that there are alternatives.
I don't think that Microsoft's Zune stands a chance.
Anyone else out there bought an iPod because of the wide range of iPod accessories out there, or do you just use your iPod "naked"?