Apple has every right to create its own iPod accessories, Macworld Online readers believe - but it doesn't mean they'll buy them.
In a recent poll, Macworld Online asked: 'Should Apple release its own iPod accessories?'
The question arose with the announcement of Apple's iPod Hi-Fi and leather iPod case. The majority of readers side with Apple, but one-in-three voters are concerned that the firm's move to introduce such products may stifle competition.
A total of 1,311 votes were cast as follows:
'Yes, Apple is always best': 676 votes, 52 per cent;
'No, it stifles competition': 462 votes, 35 per cent;
'Don't know': 173 votes, 13 per cent.
Does Bose look worried?
Reader comments pointed out that Apple's product success in this market may be limited by price: "Due to the high price of its offerings, I can't see it damaging the income of other companies all that much ($99 for a nano case?). It's worth bearing in mind that this is already a huge market anyway, so Apple's merely added one more speaker to the selection available - it's hardly the end of the world for Bose and others."
"Yes, I think Apple's leather case may have increased sales of other leather cases, after users realised how much better and cheaper the others are," another quipped.
But for all the general enthusiasm favouring Apple's move to sell iPod kit, some readers were concerned that Apple maintain a level playing field for its third party iPod product partners: "Where problems can occur is when Apple knows a new iPod is coming and is then able to release accessories without any competition at the same time."
Apples reassuring expense
Other readers had a problem accepting that 'Apple is always best'. "Apple has a long, proud tradition of selling over-priced fluff to people willing to splash huge amounts of cash on anything with an Apple logo. Bully for them - but bad for the rest of us when it adds further proof to marketeers that the brand can command a premium that is in turn added to its useful products," a voter warned.
iPod Hi-Fi isn't HiFi
Apple's introduction of the iPod Hi-Fi has generated an angry response from some audiophiles. By its nature the device plays music held on iPods that has been encoded - and in the case of iTunes purchases (which the system is clearly made for with its full-screen album cover mode), the encoded files are a low 128k.
"But big, limited range speakers for £250? Get a grip - the iPod is LoFi almost by definition," a reader cried. "I'm afraid it rankles that iPod's ubiquitousness has had something of a stifling effect on the development of true HiFi. CD was bad enough in that regard and MP3/AAC is a further retrograde step. The power of King Consumer strikes again - hoorah!"
Other readers angrily rejected any complaints against their favourite computer company.
"The complaining parties could always go off and make their own Creative Zen add-ons if they are so keen to walk away from the most lucrative MP3 player on the market," a reader said.
"I don't understand what these companies are moaning about. After all, this is a market that Apple created and these people are feeding off. Why shouldn't Apple have a slice (no pun intended) of the pie that it invented?" said another.
"What is wrong with having choice? This is all about us, the consumer being given choices, and with those come improvements all round in what we're offered," said yet another.
For the record
For some readers, complaints about encoding bit rates and iPod add-ons are irrelevant or uninteresting: "I've never purchased a single track from iTunes. Older stuff I want tends to be off the beaten track and therefore not available through iTunes. So when acquiring fresh tracks I use a - what do you call it - oh, yes, 'record shop'.
"The choice is good, prices surprisingly competitive and you get this back-up disc thing with fairly minimal compression in a handy little package (which doesn't even break if you don't use it frequently!) with often quite attractive pictures and stuff."