Apple claims the expansion of the iTunes Music Store to nine more countries in Europe means that it now reaches almost 70 per cent of the global music market, but Apple shouldn't rest on its laurels, according to an analyst.
And according to the New York Times, the iPod has 92 per cent of the market for high-capacity music players.
Gartner G2 analyst Mike McGuire told NewsFactor: "Apple is probably further ahead than most, but it's not like they can go take a nap."
"Every market has its own set of genres, artists and so forth that require local expertise to program and stock. Apple still has to execute well, as a business, to make sure it is meeting those expectations", McGuire said.
Keeping the customers coming back is also a challenge, but one that Apple is more successful at than other players, he suggested. "It's hard to explain, other than to say that just because all these other competitors have great technology and have licensed the same content, doesn't mean they have any clue as to how to get people to come to their stores."
Where are the others going wrong? McGuire thinks they have a fundamental misunderstanding of what they are selling: "They think they're still just selling technology. They aren't," he explained.
"Apple understands what they are really selling -- and it ain't just pieces of plastic and metal."
Photo yes, video no
The iPod Photo is also set to become a hit, McGuire predicted. He told NewsFactor: "Digital photography is pretty damned popular by anybody's accounting."
Giving the iPod the ability to play a music accompanied slide show may "make people excited, not terrified, when they hear the words slide show", he joked.
He doesn't think that this would stretch to a demand to watch home movies in the same fashion however. "Very few people wander around saying, 'Hey, wanna see my home movies? Wanna see my wedding video?' Photos are a different story. I can check out the pics on an iPod a lot easier than I can watch a video of any type," McGuire said.
"The demand for portable video, I believe, is still very weak," he concluded, agreeing with Apple CEO Steve Jobs who likewise doesn't believe there is a market for small-screen, portable movie playing devices.