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When I walked into the local Apple store on Saturday night, I could see business was brisk. Buyers young and old were in line to purchase the new video-enabled Nano, and when I asked the guy manning the register how things were going, he said they were having trouble keeping them on store shelves. I realized then we’d entered a new phase in the adoption cycle of pocket video. Call it a tipping point, crossing the chasm, or whatever your latest “it just got huge” term du jour is, but the new video Nano will make pocket video mass market unlike any device before it.
Some would argue that the Flip kick-started the pocket video revolution by putting cheap and easy-to-use video cams in consumer pockets, purses or backpacks. No doubt, Pure Digital changed the market with its affordable and easy-to-use video cameras, but where Flip was the kindling, the new Nano is the gasoline, certain to make pocket video decidedly more mass market.
Here are the reasons why:
• Apple’s marketing machine will create a higher level of awareness for pocket video. The Nano dominated the headlines last week as the mainstream media — and consumers — realized that video could fit into the pocket in this tiny package.
• Unlike with the iPhone 3GS, the Nano is Apple’s first non-phone video-enabled iPod device. No doubt, having video capability on the 3GS was a big upgrade, but it isn’t the Flip killer some predicted since comparing the iPhone — with its two-year service contract and $100 monthly bills — to the $149 video Nano is, well, comparing Apples to iPods.
• The new Nano is a very good deal. Sure, the price difference between the Nano and other pocket video cams isn’t much, but the device is, well, an iPod. It has video and music playback capabilities and connects to the huge installed base of iTunes.
• The new Nano is a great starter camera. My 7-year-old is asking for an iPod, and when I told him the newest one shoots video, the look in his eyes told me I’d just written his Christmas list. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who will be nagged from here to Dec. 25 for a new Nano.
Make no doubt, the new Nano will sell by the boatload. It doesn’t matter if the camera is in an awkward position or that the Flip takes better quality video, consumers young and old are going to buy them.
As for Flip, my belief is that the new Nano will actually help sell more of those, too, since Apple’s new device catapults pocket video into a higher state of consumer awareness and will double the passion among Flip evangelists, who I expect will continue to spread the good word (and deservedly so, since the Flip is a better video camera).
But whether it’s Nano or Flip, get ready for those Facebook video clips, because the pocket video fire has just spread into the mass market.