Inside Digital Media is today offering an extensive interview with Apple's director of iPod product marketing Stan Ng.
Ng discusses the iPod mini, which ships in the US tomorrow. He claims the iPod is attracting a new market: "We are starting to see quite a bit of interest from new users – youths, athletes, women, who appreciate the styling and design of the iPod mini. We are seeing a lot of new customers coming to the iPod mini," he said.
The discussion looks at what formats Apple supports with its player and the product's price position. It also looks at the pre-paid cards available now at 1,200 Target stores across the US, which let users pre-pay for iTunes music from Apple's online store. Ng observes that this is ideal for high-school students who don't have credit cards as these prepaid cards let them buy songs too.
Ng also looks at the global HP/Apple iPod/iTunes deal that begins this summer worldwide.
"I think HP was looking at the marketplace and wanted to provide the best solution possible. They looked and saw Apple could provide the best solution for their customers in the digital music era. Who knows what will happen in the future?" Ng states.
He adds: "iPod is the dominant music player in the world today, and we are certainly attracting new users now: people who have never experienced digital music before."
Ng looks at the conflict between Apple's chosen AAC format and Microsoft's WMA format – iPod won't play WMA, but Apple's iTunes format is the market leader. Ng says: "We are trying to create a great music experience for our customers. We believe we have a great solution. I don't think customers care about the format – they care about the experience they have."
There is also a workaround for users who may have legally acquired WMA music files: "You could probably burn tracks acquired in WMA format to a CD, and then rip those tracks to iTunes and the iPod," he said.
"For the forseeable future I don't think we see a real need right now to support WMA format."
The complete twenty-minute interview is available in yet another multimedia format, RealNetwork's RealPlayer.