Will Steve Jobs’ iPod shuffle price cuts — and a new iPod touch mobile computing platform — revive Apple’s iPod line?
The 22.1 million iPods that Apple sold last quarter marked just 5% year-over-year unit sales growth. That’s the worst growth performance the iconic line has ever turned in — and the fourth straight quarter that iPod sales growth decelerated.
But that trend could reverse this quarter. Yesterday, Apple slashed prices on its cheapest MP3 player, the iPod shuffle. Its 1-gigabyte model dropped from $79 to $49, and a new 2-gigabyte model will cost $69.
In a note today, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said the price cut could lead to a “modest uptick” in unit sales, and projected March-quarter iPod unit sales of 11.3 million. That represents 7% y/y growth — a minor increase over the last quarter.
That’s good news for Apple, but Munster thinks things could get even better if Apple rolls out more iPod touch-like devices with wi-fi, Web browsing, email access, maps, YouTube, mobile purchasing, etc — essentially, iPhones without AT&T contracts.
More — and cheaper — touchscreen iPods with wi-fi could convince existing iPod owners to upgrade their devices, and could also open up new, bigger markets. That, he suggests, could juice quarterly iPod sales growth from the doldrums to around 15% y/y through 2009.
Update: Chart updated to include revenue. See related story.
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