Apple may soon be axing both the iPod Classic and the iPod Shuffle according to a recent report from TUAW. The article doesn’t relay much substantial evidence aside from the tried and true argument that iPod sales are slumping and that iPod sales as a whole only account for 8% of Apple’s total revenue.
Further, the only iPod model that continues to see any success is the iPod Touch. Devices like the iPod Classic and Shuffle, in contrast, certainly aren’t selling like hotcakes. Consequently, this year may be the last year you can pick up one of those iPod models so you might want to do that sooner rather than later.
Obviously we can’t divulge our source, but it is NOT an analyst. Most of us listen to analyst predictions with the proverbial grain of salt (or bag of salt). We feel pretty confident that Apple will soon discontinue the shuffle and classic, and we see few changes coming for the iPod touch — unless you’re super excited about it being available in white. The nano will then become Apple’s lowest-end iPod (we’ve heard nothing about a price drop, however) and the iPod touch will remain a premium iPod with its current form factor intact.
This, of course, isn’t the first time we’ve heard a rumor to this effect. Back in February, supply of the iPod Classic was running low, prompting many to ponder how many more years Apple’s trusty ole’ device had left in the tank.
The larger question here, though, is if Apple should axe the Classic and the Shuffle.
We don’t think so.
Sure, the Classic and the Shuffle aren’t best sellers any more, but they undeniably fill a niche in the MP3 player market. On one hand, the Classic draw in music aficionados who absolutely need as much storage space as possible. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the iPod Shuffle is appealing to people who aren’t music fiends and are simply looking for an easy to use MP3 player for commuting and activities like exercising.
These two products, therefore, not only serve a role of serving a subset of music-loving consumers, they keep people in the Apple brand. Every iPod Shuffle or Classic sold is yet another iTunes user. Besides, and as we’ve written previously, the Classic is appealing to the hardcore music lovers out there, and it’s nice to have those folks on your side.
Adding more speculative fuel to the fire, remember that Steve Jobs this past March responded to a user email regarding the iPod Classic:
The email read:
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!!!
And Jobs’ reply,
We have no plans to.
Sent from my iPhone
So yeah, Apple’s upcoming media event mentioned nothing with respect to the iPod, but we think it’s because the iPod doesn’t warrant a media event these days. Marginal upgrades, if any at all, don’t need stage time and can be made quietly in the background without stealing attention away from Apple’s true workhorse – the iPhone.