As noted by AppleInsider, Apple has removed iPod click wheel games from the iTunes Store, pulling a link to the category from the App Store’s dropdown menu inside iTunes, and also removing listings for those games that users could play on a click wheel-based iPod. It’s not clear when Apple made the change exactly, but it appears to be recent. Apple updates the App Store’s homepage every week with new features, banners and links to special sections, and the removal of iPod Click Wheel Games (which had their very own category) might have been part of a weekly refresh. There were around 50 games for click wheel iPods in the iTunes Store, including classics like Vortex and Klondike, or other titles like Song Summoner by Square Enix.
Click wheel games were compatible with the iPod classic, as well as older versions of the iPod, iPod nano and iPod mini. They allowed users to control games using an iPod’s touch-sensitive click wheel, and they’re still mentioned on Apple’s iPod classic Features page. Development of click wheel games never really took off with third-party developers, as Apple didn’t make a software development kit publicly available.
The FAQ page for iPod Click Wheel Games has been marked as “archived” and “old article” by Apple on September 21, 2011. The article still reports click wheel games are available in the iTunes Store, but old direct links for such games aren’t working anymore, and games no longer appear in iTunes’ search results.
The removal of click wheel games comes amidst rumors of the discontinuation of the classic and shuffle iPod lines, quite possibly with a formal announcement as early as next week at Apple’s October 4th keynote. The iPod classic was rumored to be nearing discontinuation before, as Apple didn’t announce a refresh at last year’s music event in a clear focus on iOS devices (and the updated iPod nano). Apple’s Steve Jobs allegedly confirmed in an email to a customer that they had no intention to cease production of the iPod classic, which remains the only iPod to offer high capacity with 160 GB of storage. Speculation surrounding the iPod suggests Apple would axe the Classic to make room for a new 128 GB iPod touch, although this year’s iPod touch refresh is believed to be a minor one and there have been no signs of a 128 GB iPod touch in the past months. A 64 GB iPhone prototype surfaced earlier this year, if this can be an indication of Apple looking to bump the storage sizes of its iOS devices.
In 2010, the iPod classic was the 5th most popular MP3 player in the United States.
Apple could be about retire the iPod classic and iPod shuffle as part of a “product transition” that was hinted at by Apple in their last earnings call. The news comes from TUAW who seem reasonably confident that at some point this year Apple will axe the two devices — likely keeping the iPod nano and iPod touch, for now.
To back up their source’s information they cite a recent report from CNet in which it was noted that the iPods now only make up for 8% of Apple’s total revenue. As the above graph shows, iPod sales have also been stagnant or falling over the last few quarters and although Apple doesn’t break these figures down model by model, its believed the iPod touch is what has held iPod sales up. Interestingly the iPod’s 10 year anniversary is coming up soon on October 24th and as CNet said it would be a nice for Apple to say “It had a great run, now go buy an iPhone”.
The shuffle is basically the same form factor as the nano, minus a screen. The classic uses a platter-based hard drive, while Apple is largely transitioning to flash-based memory solutions. The shuffle’s lack of a screen has been an issue since it first appeared as a memory stick with music playback functions. If Apple killed these off, all of its iPods would have touchscreens, and something tells me it wants it that way.
Concluding their report, TUAW notes that their source is “NOT an analyst” and that Apple’s plans are to consolidate the iPod line into just the nano (which would become Apple’s lowest-end iPod) and the touch. The iPod touch would become the premium iPod, with few changes except the availability of a white version.
In the past months, several reports suggested Apple was in the process of discontinuing the iPod Classic line, which hasn’t been updated in years, to make room for the latest generation iPod Touches, Nanos and Shuffles. With stock running low in several Apple resellers and a lack of announcements at Apple’s September music event, many thought the iPod Classic was on its way out. The numbers, however, proved that in spite of old hardware, the Classic was the 5th most popular music player in the US in 2010. Rumors of new portable hard drives by Toshiba even suggested Apple might not discontinue the line, but bump its capacity to a whopping 220 GB in the same design. That hasn’t happened yet.
Now it’s Steve Jobs himself, in an email reply to a MacRumors reader, to confirm that Apple isn’t planning to kill the iPod Classic just yet.
Q: Hello, I’ve heard a LOT of speculation that Apple is looking to kill the iPod Classic because it wasn’t updated on Sept. 1st, and that a lot of people would rather Touch. The iPod Classic is probably the best iPod in the line. PLEASE DON’T KILL IT!!!
A: We have no plans to.
Sent from my iPhone
So there you have it. In his usual short-reply fashion, Jobs allegedly reassures a loyal Apple fan that the iPod Classic isn’t going anywhere. Discontinuing the line would indeed be a strange move on Apple’s part, considering how the iPod Classic is the only device that can enable owners of large music collections to carry around their libraries without worrying about space.
This product will likely never see the light of day on retail stores’ shelves, but it’d be so perfect on my home desk next to my iMac. The Polyply is a multi-device stand designed by Andrew Kim, and it’s made out of acrylic plastic and birch plywood. Realized as a two-week project by Kim to see how such an accessory would fit on an Apple’s fan desk, all parts were cut on a laser cutter. The Polyply could easily keep in place an iPad, an iPhone, and iPod and a stylus. It’s got room to plug in your Apple 30-pin dock connector and it even lowers for a better typing angle.
The design is simple and clean and, in spite of the times, it’d be just right for my desk that is daily cluttered by iPad, iPhone and, yes, an iPod Classic.
Like I said though, this was just an experiment. But I’d be ready to open my wallet if it was a Kickstarter project. [via Cult Of Mac]
This week was filled with rumors that Apple may finally be pulling the plug on its traditional-spinning-hard-drive MP3 player. Well, the NPD Group revealed to AppleInsider the overall portable media player sales rankings for 2010 in the US. Guess what placed fifth in the rankings?
Apple’s black 160GB iPod classic was the fifth best selling media player in the U.S. for all of 2010, suggesting that the hard drive-based device won’t be exiting the company’s product lineup in the near future.
For those of you feeling nostalgic and missing the click wheel from the latest iPods: have at it in the video below.
Love that noise. (more…)