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Olympus Pen: the iPod (classic) of the camera world?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by labcoatguy, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. labcoatguy

    labcoatguy Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 23, 2011
    Cambridge, MA, US
    It might have been the recent announcement of Steve Jobs's retirement that sent me along this train of thought, but I've come to this hypothesis based on a number of things.

    Before the iPod, music players were divided into either bulky jukeboxes with 2.5" hard-drives or small flash-based players with limited memory. Then the first-generation iPod with its 1.8" hard drive came along, and despite its limitations (physical scroll wheel, Mac-only compatibility), it was a hit. By the time the third generation arrived, despite very little change in its external shape and layout, it had become mature enough to become a major player. Meanwhile, the Pen E-PX series has had very little restyling in its third generation despite much behind the scenes tweaking, and has shed many of its idiosyncrasies in the meantime, but kept the same sized sensor, much like the iPod classic retains the 1.8" hard drive.

    It's not just the parallels in product evolution (basic shape unchanged, lots of behind-the-scenes development, compromise in sensor/hard drive size) that lead me to this; it's also the "want to touch" factor. The iPod had white plastic as its signature look, and the Pen has brushed metal. Even the people who are raised on Nikon or Canon Kool-Aid can't help but ask to borrow my E-P2 and start grinning when they snap away; they also hold onto it for quite some time before, reluctantly, handing it back. It's this irrational want factor that we also see with the 12mm lens, which shares that signature look with the main product.

    The last bit of product parallel? When they decided to expand downmarket, Apple came out with the iPod Mini. Cough cough, Olympus. Next thing you know, the successor to the E-P3 will actually be called the Pen Classic. Is a Pen Phone nearer than we might expect?

    I realize that as with any analogy, differences can be found between the two items of comparison, and complete parallels are impossible in the real world. I'm sure that there will be people who point out some areas where the Pen and the iPod are completely different in their market position or user interface, and they'd be right. These are just idle musings from an addict, and it feels like this forum is the kind of support group where it's safe to air them.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    I like the excitement with you which you reveal your findings. I understand your analogy and your points are valid. And yet, for me the Pen has a strong emotional pull. I love it to death. I don't use it as often as I my Panasonics, but I still can't bear to part with it (unless I decide to get the E-P3).

    The iPod (on the other hand) left me cold. I rode around with it in the car for awhile, but it never engaged me with the music like playing records (or even CDs) did. To me it was a cold, lifeless tool.....a bit like most modern cameras. I understand that I'm likely an exception to the rule.
  3. As long as there is never such thing as an "Olympus Store", where uber-cool staff in blue shirts ask you if you want to be applauded out of the store when you hand over too-large sums of money, I'm cool with this...
    • Like Like x 1
  4. uscrx

    uscrx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 26, 2011
    Shasta Cascade
    I would say iPod is the Olympus Pen of the music world...

    since Pen was introduced in the late 50's.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. ZephyrZ33

    ZephyrZ33 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern California
    My Pen is alot like my Ipad...

    Bigger better alternatives out there for sure, but I love the way it feels and works.
    No need to spec brag, just using. Life's good.
  6. brianvickers

    brianvickers Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 1, 2011
    I think the olympus Pen is one of those great designs which just feels so right you have an irrational desire for it - though obviously it still has to do the job though most users would still love it even if it didn't perform so well.
    Not sure its reached the iPod/iPhone status though as there are not so many copies around.
    By the way the Apple Store may be a bit american/have a nice day but their service and attitude is way above competitor outlets like the high street electricals - and service is way ahead of PC manufacturers - so they should be applauded - hope I havn't started an argument!
  7. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    For overpowering service visit a Z service station in New Zealand. That'll give you that "is this some kind of cult?" feeling much more than an Apple store not that there are any Apple stores in New Zealand :mad: 
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