But every one trying to crack the iPod’s dominance is missing a really important point: Third Party Hardware Developers. The iPod has scads of hardware developers cranking out toys at a furious pace, the other guys have none. The reason for it is pretty obvious if you think about it. Developing for the iPod is dead simple compared to the other folks.

First, let’s look at cases. If you want to design cases for the iPod, it’s really simple. If you started today, you’d have three cases to design for. (Four if you wanted to get the Mini crowd.) The case for the current iPod will work on pretty much every click-wheel version. if you had a lot of requests, you might consider the older versions, but it’s not a pressing need. So, 3-4 templates, and you’re set. You can download the engineering drawings of the iPod with ease from Apple, so you can get the specs with absolute accuracy. At that point, it’s just color, pattern, and materials. Apple gives you everything you need to start making cases, you don’t even have to join their developer program.

John Welch has more. (via Rafat Ali)