Grant McCracken blogged in late July about an amusing, and definitely not passive, means of going to the market to understand it. Read his anecodote.
The Story When Apple unveiled its iPod digital music player back in October 2001, I dismissed it as a parity product . I already owned the Cowon iAUDIO CW100 MP3 player, loaded with my favorite tunes. There was Apple, generating great hype over the iPod as if it were a breakthrough product. The idea of a portable digital music player was nothing new. The first mass-produced MP3 players came out in 1998. In late 2001, the concept may have been new to a lot of Apple customers, but it wasn't new to me. I proudly showed my MP3 player to friends when they gushed about the iPod. Thus Apple's iPod was not an innovative product in and of itself. Years later, however, I realized the significance of ecosystem of which the iPod was a part. Apple had released iTunes (with technology purchased from SoundJam MP ) and created the iTunes Store for finding and downloading music. Unlike Napster , it was a safe and legal way of distributing and acquiring music. The prior way of playing