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.
Today we saw the return of the 2nd generation iPod shuffle as a smaller, 4th generation upgrade that features VoiceOver and a familiar scroll wheel in pale yet lovely shades of silver, blue, green, orange, and pink. Arriving in similar hues with savvy graphite and slick (PRODUCT)RED coats, the iPod nano has truly become the nano charm I’ve always wanted: a no-camera, no-video mini music player featuring an interactive multitouch interface and a clip-able form factor that’s perfect for my morning jog. I’m incredibly satisfied with this year’s offerings, and the click-and-go functionality of Apple’s latest iPods are great.
Mac Magazine claims they’ve got the sources in Cupertino that points towards an August 16th or 17th media event to unveil Apple’s brand new line of iPods.
We have an idea of what the next generation iPod touch might look like, sporting a front facing camera and possibly a rear cam as well, though we’re not sure what the next iterations of the iPod nano or iPod shuffle might bring. It’s rumored that the shuffle might be getting a very tiny display, but then it wouldn’t be the absolute minimal shuffle we know and love (I might be the only one who actually liked the 3rd-gen shuffle).
I’d like to see a quick announcement of a new iLife at the event, and being a Verizon subscriber, you already know I’m on board for the next iPod touch. It only takes a couple of days for Apple to set up shop (likely at the Yerba Buena Center) for these events, so we’ll see if these rumors hold true or not.
Also, if Apple is provide a major update to the iPod shuffle, I would be excited to see something along the lines of Fitbit meets Nike+ in a portable package you’d wear all day. Wouldn’t that be cool?
[Mac Magazine via Cult of Mac]