iPod U2 Special Edition
Apple has announced a special edition black-&-red iPod with the signatures of the band members of U2 engraved on the back. This isn’t the first time Apple has honoured a famous iPod user with their own signature model. Artists Madonna and Beck have had their own editions, along with the members of No Doubt and pro-skating legend Tony Hawk. But the U2 edition is different in that its front face plate is – for the first time ever – not white. The click wheel is red, matching the colours of the latest U2 album.
The co-branding exercise doesn’t stop there, though: U2 has appeared in an iTunes advert, in the silhouette style of the other iTunes ads. The band is plugging its latest album, out in mid November. To top it all off, the fans that buy the U2 iPod can get a £40 discount on the complete works of U2 (at least all their albums and some unreleased songs) from iTunes Music Store.
Apple is keeping its cards close to its chest as to whether this is a one-off or if we can expect more special-edition iPods. There are certainly a lot of bands and artists that would do well to ally themselves with Apple.
The special U2 edition costs £249, but is functionally identical to the conventional 20GB iPod. Whether it’s worth the extra £30 depends on how big a U2 fan you are, or how much you fancy the black-&-red case colouring. I’m not, but I will concede there are plenty of them about. The extra £30 is negated when you take into account the £40 off voucher for the Complete U2 collection from the iTMS – although if you’re a fan, it’s likely that you’ll have at least some of their albums on CD or MP3 already. The price for The Complete U2 is £149, or £109 with the voucher.
The U2 special edition will appeal to U2 fans and nobody else. I would quite like a black-&-red iPod, but wouldn’t want to be labelled a U2 fan. But having said that, there’s no shortage of U2 fans all over the world willing to pay an extra £30 for laser-engraved signatures of Bono and the band. For my money, I’d definitely pay the extra £50 for double the capacity, and forgo the U2 poster. Also there’s usually a healthy gap between the 20GB and 40GB models as far as price goes. The £80 price difference is enough to help people choose between the smaller slimmer, cheaper 20GB or the thicker and heavier (but double capacity) 40GB iPod. Reducing that price difference to £50 may add confusion to potential U2 iPod buyers. I can see it now: “I love U2, but would it be stupid of me not to get double the capacity for £50?”. Buying the U2 iPod is a true test of fandom.