Must Be A "Guesstimate" (12/29/03)

There it went, folks: another Christmas come and gone, with nothing left to remind us of its fleeting glory but the faint lingering scent of sugar cookies, the neighbors' traditional "Three Santas Bringing Gifts to Baby Jesus While Penguins with Little Scarves Look on" lawn display (the one that won't be taken down until June), and a credit hole so deep your bills arrive printed upside-down and in Chinese. Oh, and the loot. Can't forget the loot; it's the gift that keeps on giving! After all, like it or not, these days Christmas is primarily a retail event, and what better reminder that Santa came than the sacks of goodies he left you to play with?

And this year the loot is especially sweet, because the odds are pretty good that yours was rife with iPod-y goodness. While there were scads of news reports about iPods selling out all over because they were "the" hot-selling prezzies this season, Apple hasn't released any actual sales figures yet-- but we've got a source on the inside who estimates iPods sold between Halloween and Christmas to number approximately 1.8 trillion units worldwide. That's a whole lotta iPods: roughly 216 for every man, woman, and child on the face of the planet.

Of course, we're not claiming that everyone on earth got 216 iPods for Christmas. That would be silly. For one thing, there are all those people on Santa's Naughty List who got 64 MB Nomads instead. (By the way, since when is 64 kbps MP3 "CD-quality music"? Liars! LIARS WALK AMONG US!) As for the people who made it onto the Nice List, economic disparities come into play; whereas the wealthiest 2% of the population received several thousand iPods each, destitute individuals in third-world countries only got a dozen or two. Sad but true.

Still, all told, Apple sold a ton of the little white and silver wallet-suckers, despite such karmic ugliness as a planeload of them catching on fire at the height of the shopping season. Faithful viewer bo dished us a Mercury News article noting that "a large FedEx MD-10 airplane" carrying a load of iPods caught fire in Memphis a week before Christmas, which is the sort of thing that carries a certain "Divine Vengeance" vibe that probably had a few high-ranking Apple execs watching overhead for lightning bolts for a few days.

Note: there's a slim chance that our source's "1.8 trillion" figure is slightly off. We recently asked him to estimate how much Ted Koppel weighs, and he guessed 940,000 tons-- which sounds high to us, even if the guy is carrying a little extra holiday weight. So until Apple issues some official sales figures (which Uncle Steve will surely trot out on stage during his keynote next month), we're probably all best off simply referring to the number of iPods sold during this holiday season by the qualitative technical term "a crapload." Vague and classy!

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The above scene was taken from the 12/29/03 episode:

December 29, 2003: Christmas has come and gone-- so how many iPods did Apple sell, anyway? Meanwhile, still more miniPod "confirmation" arrives (plus reports that they'll be available in "Gold"), and Apple allegedly plans to make its 20-inch Cinema Display the low-end option in the display lineup...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4414: Someone Pass The Syrup (12/29/03)   Slow news day? You bet your sweet bippy it's a slow news day. C'mon, seriously, what did you expect? We're smack in between Christmas and New Year's; everyone has checked out, if not physically, then certainly mentally...

  • 4415: 30 Inches & Splitty Cables (12/29/03)   Man alive, just what is going on with Apple's displays these days? We've all been hearing rumors about a refreshed display lineup for months and months now, but nothing's changed in almost a year-- and if you listen really hard, you can hear the sounds of G5 owners asking themselves the question that keeps them up all night: "Why am I looking at transparent plastic, pinstripes, and chrome next to my perforated aluminum Power Mac?"...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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