Apple is cutting the price of its one-gigabyte iPod Shuffle, from $69 to $49, and announced that a two-gigabyte version will be available later this month for $69. “At just $49, the iPod shuffle is the most affordable iPod ever,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of worldwide iPod product marketing. “The new 2GB model lets music lovers bring even more songs everywhere they go in the impossibly small iPod shuffle.”
Even at under $50, Apple is “printing money” with flash-based MP3 players, a commenter on the Ars Technica site said. Indeed, low-end MP3 players are starting to look like USB drives — products “where the price of production is so small because of the drastic drop in technology costs that companies will start delivering these things at breath-taking prices,” said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, in a telephone interview.
The price cuts may also be a reflection that the iPod is now a mature product no longer able to command premium pricing, at least at the low end. “The music market is starting to fracture and Apple will be seeing increased competition. It’s going to get ugly out there,” King said.