iPod dominates MP3 player market

Apple's iPod has apparently cornered 68% of the overall MP3 player market. At 82%, the iPod's share of the hard drive-based MP3 player market is even more impressive. Archos, Creative, Dell, iRiver, and Rio all offer hard drive-based players that compete with the iPod, some of which are quite appealing, but none have been able to challenge Apple's dominant position.

Growing iPod market share is great for Apple and its iTunes Music Store, but the iPod's mainstream appeal is driving some long-time users into the closet.

Closet iPod use is particularly acute among early adopters, said consumer behaviorist Tom O'Guinn, because they don't want to be identified with the Johnny-come-latelies.

"The phenomenon in question is 'desired marginality,'" he said. O'Guinn said for some Mac users, for example, Apple's marginal status and low market share is a "source of pride." And as the iPod goes mainstream, some early adopters are affronted by its lack of exclusivity.

Was the iPod really that much cooler back when it was underground?
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