Apple’s iPhone and iPad are miles ahead of the competition, and every year we see more and more powerful improvements to these lines. However, the iPod line is left in the dust with each quarter that goes by. As a matter of fact, that might be a reason why iPod sales have been declining each year for the past couple of years. It might simply be that Apple doesn’t see the iPod as a key component of their revenue any longer, but keeps it around because it still has the lion’s share of the MP3 player market (something that is also in decline).
Even with the aging iPod line, Apple has still managed to crank out several more iPods, including the multi-touch iPod nano, the smaller and lighter iPod shuffle, and the aluminum iPod touch. The only iPod that has yet to see any improvements is the iPod Classic. The Classic was introduced in its original form back in 2001 when Apple launched the iPod revolution with the tagline “A 1,000 songs in your pocket.” Since then, the capacity and design of the Classic has changed; the latest generation sporting a whopping 160GB of storage in addition to an aluminum and stainless steel design.
Unfortunately, the Classic still uses the click-wheel, which now looks like it is from a different era of Apple devices. As a matter of fact, Apple doesn’t even include the Classic in ads and literature on its website anymore, aside from its own dedicated page. Considering this, one has to stop and wonder if Apple should kill off the iPod Classic altogether. This is something I–and many others–have been saying through several of Apple’s iPod and other music related events.
Every time Steve Jobs or, more recently, Tim Cook took the stage, I always assumed Apple was going to finally hang up the old Classic and make way for a new product. That day has yet to come, but I think that 2014 might be the year that Apple finally kills the iPod Classic. It makes perfect sense for the company to do so, especially because this is the last remaining iPod with a click-wheel, it is unable to make use of the App Store, and 160GB of storage on an iPod touch is now more possible than ever before. I think Apple will introduce a 160GB iPod touch, especially because it skipped a refresh this year; we might even see an A7 chip and better cameras in addition to the increased storage. Also, Apple is rumored to be introducing a new smart watch line, dubbed the iWatch. This would likely mean Apple is going to consolidate the iPod line if the iWatch takes on some of the features that iPods currently have (which isn’t a lot).
Don’t get me wrong, I see that the Classic is hugely popular with some of my friends who are musicians because it allows them to carry a wide array of music with them in a slim package and they don’t have to worry about storage capacity. However, the storage option of 160GB seems to be the only reason why they even considered buying one, and if an iPod touch comes along with the same storage, they will likely switch over to that. I don’t see the Classic surviving 2014, as it wouldn’t make sense for the company to continue selling a product that doesn’t fit in with any other products that they offer.
I think it is finally time to lay the iPod Classic to rest, thank it for the many years that it provided us, and move on to better and more updated hardware and software.
For more thoughts on the year ahead, including our editor Kirk Hiner’s thoughts on the the future of the iPod classic, read Appletell’s product predictions for Apple in 2014.
Product [iPod Classic]