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Friday, June 09, 2006

What do you prefer? iPod or drinking

Times have changed: College students now prefer their iPod more than beer. This doesn't seem right but when I went to college only a handful of people had mp3 players.

A survey conducted by StudentMonitor shows that students favor their iPods over a nice ice cold brew. This is the first time in ten years that anything other than beer has topped the survey. So maybe it isn't the intense partying and drinking that is causing students to perform poorly in school but the fact that they listen to too much music on their iPod (I don't think you could find anyone who agrees with that argument, myself included).

So how did students rank beer and their iPod? The results show that the difference between the two were two percentage points. Hardly a significant difference between the two (the survey had a margin of error of 2.3 percent). But even if students don't hold their iPods more dearly than beer, they do reserve a special place for the portable music player. More importantly, the previous survey from last year had ranked the iPod as 20 percentage points lower than the current survey.

Some believe that part of the "explosion" of the iPod's popularity is due to its use as a learning instrument. I disagree with this mostly because the majority of students I know that use portable music players are not downloading education content, but rather listening to the latest tunes. I believe that the tremendous growth of the iPod among students is not based on its educational merit but the fact that it is a must have device.

At major universities you will be hard pressed to find many students that don't own some form of portable music player. The device is well suited for a student who is constantly on the move and having one allows you to interact with everyone else that has one. The educational podcasting may play a small role in the iPods adoption but it is no way explains the survey's results. This only goes to show how misunderstood today's youth really is.

How long will the iPod dominance last? Well I wouldn't sell my stock in Samuel Adams just yet because drinking beer is an American pastime and something that I think will never go out of style. What you can bet on is the fact that the iPod in its current form won't dominate for long because the next great invention is just around the corner. College students, in particular, are known to be "early adopters" and thus their actions might foreshadow are larger increase in public demand for the iPod. Either way, the signs are good for Apple that they have a product that everyone wants.

I wonder what results we'll see from next years survey?


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