Points of difference (PODs) are attributes or benefits consumers strongly associate with a brand, positively evaluate, and believe that they could not find to the same extent with a competitive brand (Kotler p. 312-13). Points of difference for iPod were that the product was appearing as cool ,the consumer could listen music whenever and wherever s/he wanted and with the addition of the new features (video, photo and phone) it changed the way people interact with these media.
Points of parity (POPs), on the other hand, are associations that are not necessarily unique to the brand but may in fact be shared with other brands. These types of associations come in two basic forms: category and competitive (Kotler p.313). When iPod was launched we would say that it followed a category point of parity and a competitive point of parity. Category points-of-parity are associations consumers view as essential to be a legitimate and credible offering within a certain product or service category (Kotler p. 313). The connections between different genres of music and that the consumer could listen to the DJ sets without commercial interruption created the category points-of parity.
In the beginning the iPod was thought to be just a portable device for listening shuffled music. Today with its enhanced features, it replaced radio broadcasts without commercial interruption and it added new features of video, photo and phone which changed the way people interact. So this has definitely influenced iPod attractiveness since it makes it unique and it is also addressed to people that want to have the above features in a single device.
Sony and iRiver have reacted by making larger storage devices, in particular iRiver is not tied to a software such as iTunes, it provides good sound and is durable beyond anything Apple can manage. However, although there are these technical differences, Apple reacted by having a decent device, strong advertising and focusing on this competitive advantage which is style.
A) Why did Apple change their distribution strategy from just selling iPod at their Apple stores to also including independent distributors And what kind of economic effects has such an expansion in general and what kind of economic effects had such an expansion for Apple's iPod
Apple in the beginning was selling directly to the consumers through its retail shops but then it added some "mass electronic" retailers. This change was due to