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A few days ago we noticed that there was a serious performance problem affecting the Apple iTunes store. Our speculation was that perhaps the iPod was selling much better than analyst predictions. A gentle reader chided us for being in a reality distorted field, for not […]

A few days ago we noticed that there was a serious performance problem affecting the Apple iTunes store. Our speculation was that perhaps the iPod was selling much better than analyst predictions. A gentle reader chided us for being in a reality distorted field, for not criticizing Apple’s lack of planning. I admit to an eggnog-induced momentary lapse of snarkiness, but our reader was right. What were they thinking in Cupertino?

Maybe not a super iPod christmas, that was clear. It seems even they were unprepared for what was to come. According to Hitwise:

  • The market share of visits to the Apple Store (store.apple.com) showed an increase of 110 percent when comparing Christmas Day 2006 to 2005.
  • The Apple Store was the fourth most visited website in the Hitwise Retail Index on Christmas Day 2006.


“For the third holiday season in a row, the iPod has been the must-have Christmas gift,” said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise. “Competitive offerings have not yet succeeded in capturing the attention of music listeners, and the surge in visits to the Apple Store shows that iPod owners are also engaged in filling and accessorizing their new devices.”

Les Posen, who often writes insightful commentary about all things Apple, was one of the few who was unrelentingly optimistic about iPod’s chances this holiday season. On Dec. 26, he noticed that:

“Seven out of 20 searches on Google that came to my site were about using iTunes Music cards… So, I’m guessing – interpolating – these cards were huge stocking-stuffers this year, and perhaps many people were “gifted” with the less expensive iPods, like Shuffles and Nanos, together with iTunes cards.”

So did you get an iPod as a gift this Christmas?

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  1. I gave my wife a 30GB iPod and iTunes card to replace her old Mini; she got another iTunes card as a stocking stuffer. I got a Shuffle as a business gift (to go along with the Nano I got earlier this year as a performance award).

    And I bought the iTunes card at CVS. I think it’s clear that iPod and iTunes have become favorite gifts to give and get.

  2. I gave $65 in iTunes gift cards, spread among three people… each of whom ( and I didn’t know this was going to be the case ) received other iTunes gift cards, and one of whom received an iPod.

    That’s a lot of iTunes goodness in just one household.

  3. No, but I gave some away. My sister underscored Apple’s product marketing savvy with the iPod line when she looked over all the models, and said, “I can think of a reason why I need every one of these.”

  4. My ten-year-old got an iPod Shuffle from Santa Claus… and I spent all Christmas day trying to authorize our second computer at the iTunes store so he could play the Fiona Apple CD he bought with a gift card.

  5. I “gave” myself a Nano 8GB, and gave a family member who owns a 30GB model an iTunes gift card. And I had another family member who was wanting one of the red Nanos but didn’t receive it; I expect it to be an “iPod after-Christmas” in the not too distant future for her…

  6. I got my wife one from the Apple store at the Stanford Mall in Palo Alto. They had an “ipod express” line.

    If one did not know better, given the speed at which they were flying across the counter, you would have thought they were giving out hot-cross buns!

  7. Many people use iTunes that do not own an iPod. I was buying music with iTMS before I ever bought a ‘pod. For pre-digital top 40 it’s about as good as what you get on CD and you don’t have to leave the house.

    Despite my considerable CD collection I have bought over 2,000 songs from iTMS and I know that I am not the only one who has used it this extensively.

  8. I bought a Nano for a old friend of mine this holiday. Bought a shuffle for my brother. Did not consider another brand at all.

  9. Downloads from iTunes are always relatively slow, and they stall quite often.

    It’s been this way ever since the shuffle came out, and either Apple just can’t install servers fast enough, Apple isn’t able to maintain a data center that will let its customers utilize the full capacity of their cable modems, or Apple sees no economic incentive to make it any faster.

  10. i got an ipod 8gb and it whouldn’t download music at all or gift card.It was like my computer,labtop and ipod was all freaking out.

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