James Moore: Apple shares will be ripened by new iPod

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The Independent Online

Outlook There seems to be a standard form for any announcement by Apple: a new product or product development is rumoured, anticipation builds to a fever pitch in the blogosphere and beyond, then the announcement arrives and the brickbats start to fly.

The consumer might or might not pay some vague attention to the critics, but it won't stop them from going out and buying. And buying and buying and buying.

The experts will tell you that really smart, price-conscious consumers are all buying the XYZ Zap 431.0 because it's is cheaper than Apple's latest gizmo and in many ways just as good. Or they will point to the ZXY 3.1 Xoom, the choice of all the really savvy tech geeks because they've discovered that it's better in loads of ways for about the same price. But it's hardly likely that Steve Jobs will be losing much sleep over either. It's the overall picture that Apple just does so well. Its offerings are sleek, stylish and – crucially – incredibly easy to use. For the most part there's no need for the sort of forbidding technical manual that electronics companies so often seem to specialise in. Apple tends to supply these as an afterthought on pdf because they aren't all that necessary. Part of the fun of using its devices is finding the little tricks that makes them better as you go along.

The company is hardly immune from the odd glitch (iPhone 4 and reception anyone?) but like it or not, the one certainty from the launch of the new iPod is that Mr Jobs will be smiling at the next results presentation. The final piece of the jigsaw when it comes to Apple products is that they are expensive. The genius of the company is that its customers don't seem to care.

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