Rumor: Video iPods Close, Good News for Marketers?

In the future, HD flip cams will be bought by the pallet.

In the future, HD flip cams will be bought by the pallet.

Interesting article from Michael Arrington of TechCrunch today. Apparently a source close to Apple‘s manufacturing infrastructure in Asia says that the company is ordering a whole lot of tiny digital eyeballs.

One of our sources in Asia say that Apple has placed an order for a massive number of camera modules of the type that they include in the iPhone. These are inexpensive cameras, in the $10 range. And the size of the order, our source says, means they can only be used for one thing – the iPods.

Hoo mama. As Arrington points out, this is really, really bad news for the bottom end of the digital camera market. If you could get a video iPod (ViPod? eyePod? Anyone?) for the same money as one of those inexpensive cameras that shoots in HD, and if that iPod let you edit your videos and post them to YouTube directly from the device, (oh yeah, and if it played music, too,) why on earth would you buy a camera?

Well,  you wouldn’t. But let’s look at this from a marketing perspective. (That’s why we’re here, after all.) Portable cameras are great at shooting spur-of-the-moment interviews and covering events, and we all know that these videos are great marketing collateral. But if you go to a trade show looking for an interview, you’re probably not going to bring your iPod. You will, however, bring a camera. For the purposes of video marketing, Apple didn’t cut down on the number of things in your pockets — they just made sure that the thing in your pocket that records video is Apple-branded.

Let’s look at the practicality of the eyePod (that’s what I’m calling it, I’ve decided) via hypothetical anecdote:

Jim is a marketer for a mid-sized business in the CRM sphere. (I don’t know why I picked CRM — it could be any sphere, I suppose.) Jim bought a new eyePod. He takes it with him to a trade show. There, Jim finds one of his clients. They get to talking, and eventually the client agrees to do a short video testimonial for Jim’s company. Jim whips out his eyePod (friendly gee-whiz banter briefly ensues) and shoots the video. Then he edits it up all nice, and posts it to YouTube. Great! But… now what? Jim’s eyePod can’t let people know about the video. His clients will have no idea it exists until he gets back to his hotel room, turns on his laptop, and tells them. If Jim had used a regular flip camera, he could have gone back to his hotel room, edited the video on a proper computer screen, posted it to YouTube, and alerted all of his customers to the video’s existence in short succession. That, to me, seems like the better alternative.

In the end, maybe the eyePod will crush the low-end video camera market. But before it does, count on camera prices dropping so ridiculously low that your company will be able to buy HD flip cams by the gross.

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