So it was an iPod Christmas

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 ( 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?