Should Apple ditch the iPod?

 2012_iPod_touch_5th_gen_01

For the moment, the Apple doom-mongers have been silenced by another record quarter. But there’s one area where things are down, and still dropping. It’s the iPod division, and it’s the closest thing Apple has to a dead man walking.

Sales of the music player continue to plummet as more people buy iPhones than ever, and listeners move away from music downloads toward streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and iTunes Radio.

Should Apple ditch the iconic product line that first signaled Apple’s expansion beyond computers — or is there some way the business can be turned around?

Read on to find out where things currently stand.

By introducing the iPhone, Steve Jobs put the iPod on notice.

When he introduced the iPhone, Steve Jobs put the iPod on notice.

In a very real sense, the writing has been on the wall for the iPod for at least half its lifetime. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone back in 2007, he described it as a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough Internet communications device, but also as a widescreen iPod with touch controls.

In some ways, this was Apple's first stab at an iWatch.

In some ways, this was Apple’s first stab at an iWatch.

By doing so, he was signing the iPod’s death certificate by raising the question of why anyone would buy any of these three items separately when Apple had so neatly packaged them together in the form of the iPhone.

Forget the iPod’s marketing pitch of “one thousand songs in your pocket” — who wanted three different devices when they could be easily replaced by one?

Steve’s prediction proved to be right on the money, since iPhone sales overtook those of the iPod just a few years later in mid-2010 — becoming the company’s top-selling product line in the process. Rather than vanish, however, the iPod responded by growing smaller.

Although Apple continued selling previous models of the device, the iPod’s most dramatic reinvention came with the sixth-generation iPod nano in September 2010. It was a great way to differentiate the iPod, and it worked. At least at first.

When the sixth-generation iPod nano launched, Jobs noted that an unnamed Apple board member had claimed they planned to wear it as a watch. While it was less a serious attempt to take on the fashion watch industry than it was to come up with a way to keep the line relevant by letting it be clipped onto clothing, it is interesting to look at now that plans for an iWatch are coming together. Although it was far from Apple’s biggest hit as a product, the cottage industry that sprang up around the iPod nano — embracing its watchlike functionality — perhaps gave Apple pause to think about a more serious kind of wearable.

With the iWatch now poised to replace the iPod, the question is what Apple should do with the iPod division. As far as I can see, there are three possible moves:

Attempt to restore the iPod to its former glory

Let’s face it: This is the option that is least likely to happen. But could it?

The truth about the iPod is that, despite media playing being its raison d’être, it’s no better a media player than either of Apple’s other iOS devices. That’s not going to change with the arrival of the iWatch. Although most stories about the iWatch have focused on its health-tracking capabilities, it is its position as a media player, driving iTunes purchases, that is the most proven business model for Apple.

For the iPod to be differentiated from its siblings, the device would either need to be much better at working with streaming media services than existing iOS devices or offer another “value added” function like higher-quality sound. The iPad and iPhone are both perfect for streaming music, thereby not really leaving a space the iPod could capitalize on in this area.

As for higher-quality music? Neil Young recently raised $2.5 million on Kickstarter (against an $800,000 goal) for his “high definition” PonoPlayer.

Young’s idea is that there are many people out there who have been waiting to hear 24-bit audio sampled at 192 kilohertz (kHz), rather than the lower-resolution audio found on an iPod or CD.

But is there? Anyone who remembers the sad story of Super Audio CDs (and if you don’t, that sort of proves my point) should realize that there is likely not a mass audience out there so unhappy with the sound of regular iTunes music that they’ll shell out for a whole new device and format.

Even if Apple decided this was a route worth exploring, the cost and risk of creating a separate, higher-definition iTunes for iPod isn’t going to happen in a million years.

Sorry, iPod, you’ve simply outlived your usefulness!

Abandon the iPod

The other end of the spectrum is getting rid of the iPod altogether. Closing shop completely on a still-profitable product line is the kind of thing most companies wouldn’t dream of. Of course, Apple isn’t like most companies. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, one of his first moves was to greatly streamline the company’s product lines, creating a basic grid of products with only one or two in each category. Even though Jobs eliminated some perfectly acceptable products, his idea was that in the long haul a simplified, non-confusing matrix of devices would help welcome new customers, while also ensuring that Apple poured its resources into doing a few things very well.

Apple has strayed from that formula a bit since then (and its pourable resources are a world away from what they were in the late-1990s), but the central concept has remained the same. As a company, Apple has always been good at cannibalizing its own product lines before other companies could do it for them. (“We have to have the courage to eat our babies,” was how a former Apple engineer once phrased it to me.) It’s also never been scared of getting rid of what it views as antiquated technologies — such as the floppy disk or optical disc drives — simply because it can.

Why would Apple want to kill a product line that is still making money? To avoid diluting its other lines. It could be that there is a certain base of customers currently buying iPods who could be convinced to invest in a lower-cost iPhone 5c. With a huge amount of pressure on the iWatch to be Apple’s next insanely great product, Apple might also want to ensure that customers only have one option for a wearable music player that isn’t a phone — and avoiding that confusion in the marketplace could be reason enough to kill the iPod.

Keep the iPod going until it becomes unprofitable

“Unsuccessful” takes on a whole different meaning when analysts are talking about Apple. It doesn’t mean unsuccessful in any real sense, but rather “not iPhone successful.” In this way, people can dismiss Apple TV as unsuccessful — despite $1 billion in sales over the past year and 28 million units sold since 2007. There is no doubt that iPod sales are dropping. Recently announcing sales of 2.8 million units, they are down 50 percent from the 5.6 million sold this time last year.

But Apple’s iPod business is still worth $5 billion. In a recent report from mobile ad traffic tracker Opera Mediaworks, a single iPod — the iPod touch — was reported as accounting for more global web traffic (3.14 percent) than BlackBerry (1.14 percent ) and Windows Phone (0.18 percent) combined. That’s barely a ripple in Apple’s overall web traffic dominance (38.17 percent) — and neither BlackBerry or Windows Phone are the most successful businesses to look at — but it’s still enough to suggest that reports of the iPod’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

And while the iWatch looks like it’s eventually going to take the iPod’s place in the Apple ecosystem, how long did it take for the iPhone to overtake the iPod in sales, despite its obvious advantages? If those three years are anything to go by, then the iPod could continue eking out sales until around 2017 — provided the iWatch launches later this year, as many think it will.

Of these options, it seems pretty clear that Apple is opting for the last one. The iPod will continue, but we’ll probably not see a refresh of it this year — suggesting the company isn’t too concerned about rehabbing its tarnished image.

The iPod touch is a much better idea than creating cheap iPhone models.

The iPod touch is a much better idea than creating cheap iPhone models.

And why should it? To modern consumers, the iPod means very little as a brand. Refurbishing the iPod as a viable product line would take not only a radical rethink of the device, but also a concerted marketing effort, neither of which Apple seems interested in.

All the criticism of the iPod is justified. No, it doesn’t play media any better than other iOS devices; yes, whatever cachet the iPod has left will likely be all but wiped out by the arrival of the iWatch; and yes, the device is a relic of the digital downloads age in a world embracing streaming music.

But the division’s not losing money for Apple, it offers a cheap entry point into the Apple ecosystem, and keeping the iPod touch around is certainly a much better idea than a low-cost iPhone.

In all, the iPod’s not ready to go off to the iScrapyard in the sky just yet.

Agree? Disagree? Post your comments in the box below.

  • Nino

    I disagree, the iPod should not be discontinued. For one, the iPod touch 64GB (which is a LOT of storage just for music and some other apps) is way cheaper than any iPhone. Second, streaming music is convenient, but not always appropriate. What if you have no internet connectivity? What if you surpass your data plan’s allowance? Keep in mind these are expensive, and in MANY countries people opt to just keep “offline” music on their devices. The cost of any subscription is negligible, but the cost of a data plan is not (plus, few really are unlimited).

    There’s also the whole audiophile community generally favoring offline music over streaming. Why? Quality. With offline music, you are free to rip whatever you like, in the format/bitrate you desire and listen to it. You can even rip FLAC (lossless audio) and listen to that on your iPod, provided that you get an app that reads FLAC (CanOpener is a great option). Good luck with streaming, that’s not possible. If the song you want isn’t there or you want higher quality, you’re out of luck. Offline music will always surpass streaming in my opinion.

    I personally even prefer buying physical CDs than hitting up iTunes for digital downloads for my favorite artists. The whole experience is unmatched.

    • RoboBonobo

      “In all, the iPod’s not ready to go off to the iScrapyard in the sky just yet.”

      Are you sure you disagree, or did you just not read the article? lol

    • http://www.feastofbeast.com DJBabyBuster

      Agreed on everything except, nobody buys CDs anymore. If you want higher quality and/or a physical product, vinyl will always be the way to go. Otherwise just grab it in FLAC.

  • Robbie

    A couple of things – most cell phone providers still don’t have cheap data plans or unlimited options, which means your music streaming services are going to wind up costing you a bundle.
    Second, as long as there are places where you can’t get a signal – underground on a subway train (most services don’t offer wi-fi down there), or anywhere you’re roaming off your native provider’s towers, you can’t use streaming services.
    Third, a lot of people get the smallest local storage iPhone because it’s cheaper (or free on a 2-year contract), and that doesn’t leave a lot of space for music, after your apps and your photos and information. Streaming would seem to be ideal, but for the above reasons, I know more than one person who’s bought the lowest tier iPhone AND a high-storage iPod Touch (or iPod) to store their music separately. It’s actually cheaper to buy two devices.
    Fourth, music streaming services (as well as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc.) not only eat up data, but devour battery life. Having a separate device for music helps extend your entertainment on long trips or when you don’t have access to a power outlet/back-up battery.

    Of course it’s up to the individual. But there’s plenty of reasons to keep it around.

  • Tom McCowan

    I don’t want video or apps or cameras or games, just music. Currently, 130GB of music on my 160GB iPod Classic. I’m not so concern about super hi fidelity lossless recording. Most of my listening environments and equipment don’t do it justice anyway. But I do want ALL my music with me all the time. And I don’t want my collection to disappear if a certain streaming music company goes bankrupt or hikes prices. And I don’t want to use up all my data allowance on my iPhone streaming stuff in my car, or losing the stream while traveling through rural Maine with poor cellular connectivity. So no. Please don’t kill the iPod – unless you make a 250 GB – 1 TB iPhone. That’d be nice.

  • Jeff Bickart

    Do any of you have kids? The iPod touch is huge for kids. This is a great segment to to cultivate the next set of iPhone buyers.

    • http://www.cse.iitb.ac.in/~pratnala Pratyush Nalam

      Bang on!

      • Luke Dormehl

        Interesting point. I wonder what the “conversion rate” is, so to speak. I know a few friends who have iPods, but have never ventured further into the Apple ecosystem — whereas I know a lot of people who started out buying an iPhone, then moved to an iPad, and onto an iMac or MacBook. Anyone have thoughts on this?

      • retiredinboyntonbeach

        I started with a Windiws XP Sony kaptop and a Samsung flip-phone. I got an Asus netbook for travelling and it was horrible. Then my laptop hard disc started making bad noises just before Microsoft announced it was going to end its support of XP. Meanwhile, all those layered “updates” for XP plus updates for Norton 360 took a toll on startup times that was getting out of hand. So in August 2012 I got a MacBookPro 13″ and it was easy to get used to and easy to fall in love with it. But I still needed a device for travel. So I went back to the Apple store in January 2013 to look at iPads, and found this little thing called the iPodTouch. Wow! So I got it instead of an iPad and took it to Europe in May 2013 (with the Asus in tow, just in case) — and I never once opened the Asus case in the whole three weeks of my trip. Never needed to — the Pod did everything I needed to do.

        Well, you can guess the rest. My old Samsung flip-phone started to give me problems (calendar stopped working, notes stopped working, battery was not keeping irs charge as well as it used to), so when I went to replace it in July 2013 I got an iPhone 4S 16Gig. Still use the iPod for most everything, and just use the Phone either as a phone or when I don’t have access to WiFi.

    • duncanator

      Exactly! I often wonder if the people who say this have children. I gave my 5 year old my old 3Gs, but I plan on giving him a new iPod in the fall. It’s much cheaper than an in car entertainment system and it’s easy to store. Not everyone needs an iPhone where an iPod would work just as well.

  • http://generalintention.com Walter Cooke

    Personally, I want to be able to have all my music hooked up to my car audio system when I’m on the road, so having a 64G iPod in my car is ideal. I have no need for apps or other stuff – just the songs please! And I’m certainly not going to plug and unplug my iPhone in the car, or leave it in the car – my iPhone stays with me. So the iPod and iPhone can and do serve very different functions in my day-to-day life.

    • http://www.feastofbeast.com DJBabyBuster

      I used to use an old 32GB ipod as my dedicated music player via usb in my car separately from my iphone. But with a 64GB iphone, and the fact that connecting through usb also charged my phone simultaneously, I ditched the ipod long ago.

  • Steve Ebener

    I have an iPod classic (120Gb) for music. It doesn’t have enough room for all of my music (165+Gb) to listen to my music on. My main playlist has over 2000 songs in it ranging in size from 9Mb to 70Mb. (I liked it when iTunes told us how much disc space a playlist required, which it doesn’t anymore.)

    I have a OLD iPhone without service that I use as an iPod touch so I have a portable (as in it fits in my pocket – which an iPad won’t) to play games and check/reply to email when I’m on the go.

    I’m in the market to upgrade/replace the OLD iPhone with a 64Gb iPod touch so I have more room for apps, movies etc., and a very small part of my music.

    I really can’t afford to purchase an iPhone and pay for the service and data plan. I can afford an iPod Touch.

    For what its worth, I’ve been using Mac’s since 1990, and iTunes and some variant of an iPod (classic) since they came out.

    It may be in Apple’s best interest to discontinue the iPod line. However, it won’t be in mine unless there is an alternative that has the capabilities and capacity of the iPod line that doesn’t require (me) to subscribe to a data plan beyond my local internet provider.

  • Tim

    iPod shuffle is the best thing to use when exercising (running, biking, whatever). iPhone is too big, heavy, and expensive to chance something happening to it when running and it falling on the ground and cracking.

  • winstonsmith39

    “To modern consumers, the iPod means very little as a brand”. Really? You make it sound like the iPod is the same vintage as a gramophone. I know tech changes fast, but that’s selling the drama just a little too hard. As someone who doesn’t have or want a phone, I use my iPod every day.

  • Andrew Johnson

    Like other readers I treasure my iPOD which is invaluable for my daily commute to work, shops and on the rare occasion, the gym.

    I have two classic 160GB iPODS though I only use one on a daily basis for listening to my music and podcasts.

    I do not own nor do I intend to own a smartphone such as an iPhone.

    Streaming music to your phone is very expensive and sound quality is markedly inferior.

  • abVegas

    I still use my iPod classic. I have an iPhone 4s. I have 3000+ songs, many podcast files (most an hour+ of audio), movies, tv shows. I can barely fit a small fraction of that on my phone right now.

  • bobajoul

    My daughter has a number of friends who use an iPod as a messaging device when they are too young for a phone. Keep it going, it has its place.

  • testcard

    I’m struggling to understand how the yet unreleased iWatch is intended to replace iPod.

  • BrodeRayEwing

    I use my iPod Touch 5th Gen as a wifi phone. I don’t have a want or need to be in constant contact. So I just use it when I have wifi (home, work, friend’s homes, trusted wifi spots around my city). For calls to people without an iDevice, I use an app that provides phone service for $10 a month ($99/year, a discount of two free months if you pay all at once). I just ported my phone number to them. Super easy. The only caveat is that there is no built in ear centered speaker. Meaning calls are on speaker, which is no big deal in a private setting. But out in the world… So I bought iPhone EarPods. Private calls. And when I travel, I use a prepaid wifi hotspot (which I can use with my MacBook and iPad also). Makes my iPod Touch a great prepaid iPhone, and I don’t have to pay a bill every month. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and I love it.

    The other thing the iPod Touch is good for is children. Adults don’t have to let them mess with their iPhones and risk unexpected app/in app purchases, deletion of info, or snooping. Gets children into the Apple ecosystem, and can help them learn how to use a phone (without the added monthly bill).

    So I think Apple should keep the iPod Touch. In fact, it would be smart to keep updating it. Either change the iPod Touch EarPods to the speakered iPhone variety, or put ear speakers and mouth microphones into it like an iPhone. Low-cost, prepaid/wifi iPhone.

    • retiredinboyntonbeach

      If you use the voice-over-internet protocol via Skype, it’s a heckuva lot cheaper! I called a friend in Germany and chatted with her via Skype-to-landline for 43 minutes and it cost $0.86 — yup, eighty-six cents.

      And the Skype app is free to downlaod on the iPodTouch.

  • daniel.burnette@gmail.com

    I have thousands upon thousands of songs. My 160GB iPod Classic is the only device that will hold them all. Many of them are not available on streaming services. Data streaming music is an expensive proposition. ‘Nuff said.

  • RobertPerez1

    The iPod is HUGE with school kids. And the contagious factor with iMessage continues to rope more and more iOS converts. Apple is about 10 years away from an iOS mushroom cloud. There’s no way that Apple should kill the iPod. It needs to drop in the A7 and make it the ultimate gaming device. They need to buy Nintendo and take over Mario and Luigi.

  • dcj001

    “Should Apple ditch the iPod?”

    No.

  • Art Swirsky

    The iPod is an entry level device to get consumers addicted to Apple and iOS. Keeping it is a very inexpensive way to get more customers to buy more and more expensive Apple devices in the future.

  • bdkennedy11

    There is still a need for the iPod and Apple knows this. Many people still want to carry around their entire music collection and not wait 20 minutes to upload something to a 16GB iPhone.

    Even an iPhone with 128GB of storage isn’t cost effective to carry around that much music.

  • UZ

    I think there is a fourth option. The iPod line will be reduced to one or two products only. Maybe an iPod touch with storage options that match the classic, and a cheap iPod shuffle/nano (much cheaper than the iWatch). It makes business sense to reduce options in a declining market, in order to make more money from fewer products. And it makes consumer sense for those who still want a disconnected portable music player.

    • San Diego Dave

      I totally agree. As other commenters have noted, there is a niche market still for the iPod, mostly having to do with cost and with data usage for streaming. That means they will still sell an iPod Touch (the cheaper iPhone) and a small, super-cheap shuffle that just holds a bagillion songs and does nothing else (and is so small that people who already own a smart phone won’t feel burdened by “two devices”). The middle option, the Nano, is probably going to go soon. And I imagine even the Touch and shuffle will only have 1 or 2 options each.

  • Randy Johnston

    Disagree

    • RoboBonobo

      So then you think they should kill the iPod? Why? As long as it’s profitable.

  • AlanAudio

    Apple doesn’t just do things on a whim, they quietly put all the pieces in place before anybody realises what those pieces are going to do and at some point in the future people look back with hindsight and it becomes obvious what they were planning.

    The entry-level iPod touch has minimal storage and only has a camera on the front. At first glance that makes it a fairly limited iPod. On the other hand, it’s likely that Apple will release a better Apple TV that users controlled by using an app on their iPhone or iPad. For those who don’t already have iPhones or iPads, or those who want a dedicated remote control, a cheap iPod with minimal storage and only a front facing camera would be a perfect remote control for it and could allow users to control the new Apple TV by using touch control, voice control or gesture control and would also support FaceTime calls..

    • retiredinboyntonbeach

      That has changed. The 16Gig iPodTouch now is identical to the larger-storage versions, with both cameras and full choice of colors. Plus they’ve reduced the price of the 64Gig version substantially — it now costs just what I paid for my 32Gig version. And with FaceTime, iMessage, and downloadable Skype for iPodTouch/iPhone, so long as you’ve got access to adequate WiFi you can communicate with anybody anywhere rather inexpensively.

      There’s still a good market for this marvelous little “junior iPhone.”

  • http://smoke.livejournal.com/ Smoke Tetsu

    I’d also say.. an digital media player is also good to help preserve battery life on your cell phone by playing your music and or your games on it rather than your cell phone.

    Also, personally I don’t have a smart phone and I’m not in the market for one any time soon.

    So I’d like digital media players to stick around and yes.. I prefer audio files such as FLAC or ALAC over music streaming services. My iPod Nano is basically mostly full of ALAC files.

  • JustReboot

    I use my iPod (6th Gen) in one place only / that’s the gym. Currently I use it as a ‘watch’ and listen to my own playlist(s). I rarely keep more than 2GB on it as I change my lists up every week depending on mood. I actually took 90% of my music off my Mac (and the iPhone as well) and made it offline (external 3TB HDD) / These days I listen to spotify (iPhone 5s) in the car pretty much all the time. I am one of the ‘lucky ones’ who still has unlimited data. Last month I used approx 14GB just on streaming (I have a 1 1/2 hr commute each way).
    If the nano had just the spotify app I would actually keep ‘0’ music on the device. I had a 4th gen touch 64GB but sold it as I never had more than 4GB on it. I would most likely grab the 5th gen touch (16GB)? If the price dropped to under $150. I had the thought of bringing my iPhone to the gym, as most likely the day I did that, I would do something stupid, like drop a dumbell on it :)
    Seriously, is there a middle ground here?

  • annastine

    I still store a lot of music on my iPod Classic but my iPod Touch is where I store photos from my iPhoto Library and play with photo apps. It is useful as a portfolio and although I will eventually bump up to some kind of pad, the smaller pod is easy to carry and less obtrusive when taking a quick picture on the fly (the iPod Touch camera sucks but when used in conjunction with stitch and paint apps, the results are fun).

    • retiredinboyntonbeach

      I don’t think the camera sucks. I only feel limited in that It is fixed focal length ( wide angle). But the image quality per se is amazingly good.

      • annastine

        You have a good point and my results attest to its versatility and handiness. I look forward to a slightly better lens when I bump up to an inevitable iPhone and I am no longer able to update some apps with my two year old iPod Touch.

  • San Diego Dave

    The consensus of the comments here seems to be that there is still a remaining niche market for the iPod, primarily because a 64GB iPhone is just too expensive (but also a few other reasons, like kids). I think I agree, but at the end of the day it will all depend on sales. Sure, maybe 80% of people who read Cult of Mac still use their iPod and are planning to buy a new one soon, but that’s still a very small number compared to the number of iPods that Apple will need to keep selling to keep the iPod division around (no disrespect to CoM, I’m sure you guys have tons of readers!).

    As for kids, when I upgrade to the iPhone 6 I’m going to strap a bullet proof case onto my iPhone 5 and give it to my daughter. It will be her wifi-only music and app device, just like an iPod Touch (only free!). I have a feeling a lot of new parents (like myself) will end up doing something like that rather than spending $250 for another device for their kid. That will only further cut into sales that would otherwise have gone to the iPod.

  • TheBlackerSheep

    The great advantage of the iPod over the iPhone is its size. Yes, I can listen to
    everything (Music and books) on my iPhone, but do I want to haul that with me when I’m at the gym? Out jogging? No, I don’t. Even using it while sitting at my desk is
    annoying because it’s just not quite as portable. If I’ve not got a pocket big
    enough to hold the phone, I’ve got to wear an arm strap to hold it which is
    big, clunky and generally uncomfortable. I don’t want to have to make do with
    that, especially after having the iPod 6 which fits on my watch strap. I’m
    still lamenting this model as my current one really needs replacing after I
    dropped it, but I don’t want to go to the larger 7th gen version
    because it also requires a larger, more uncomfortable strap. The other
    advantage to the “first iWatch” is that it saved me a lot of money in terms of
    earbuds. The cable broke a lot less often because I wasn’t constantly moving
    the iPod from one place, or pocket, to another depending on activity or
    sitting/standing position.

    If the wearable iWatch functions as a iPod as well as the iPod does, then yes, I
    will probably ditch the iPod, but only because I can afford to. What about
    those who can’t afford the new iWatch? Do they have to buy the cheap iPhone to
    be able to stick with the brand and then put up with the disadvantages? Put in
    that position, I’m afraid I’d switch brands. I wouldn’t spend my hard earned
    money on a product I don’t really want to use it in a matter I don’t really
    want.

  • Daniel Szeitz

    personally I believe that you left the portable gaming segment completely. iPod Touch with rebranding would fall perfectly into that category.

  • ianthetechman

    Not yet there is still enough interest and sales in order for apple to continue making them.
    Maybe when the sales are very low then apple should look to discontinuing but at the minute it would make little sense to stop producing something that still generates decent sales.

  • mikehorn

    Memory and battery. My iPod Classic holds my entire collection and lasts 40 hours per charge. I’m a musician, so my reference library is larger than any phone memory could handle. Phones need to keep charge long enough to act as, well, telephones.

  • j238

    The iPod is was my first and still favorite Apple product. As I write this, I’m listening to music on my home speakers sourced from my 2nd generation Nano. I’ve got apps int the store, so I’m pretty deep into the ecosystem.

    iPods are smaller, lighter and cheaper than iPhones. I’d rather listen to great music than receive a stupid text, wouldn’t you?

    The 12 year-old who gets a Shuffle from his aunt can end up as a sophisticated iPhone user 10 years down the road. Even if it starts to lose money, Apple won’t discontinue the iPod.

  • retiredinboyntonbeach

    The author is a blithering idiot, because he fsils to appreciate the differences between the various kinds of iPods. He’s only thinking of the iPods that merely store snd pkay music (one of those also has a radio receiver). He ie either ignoring, or is unaware of the existence of, the “iPod Touch.” I am writing and posting this message via my iPodTouch (5th generation, 32 Gigabyte capacity). It is basically an iPhone 5 but without the telephone and without data capability — it’s Wi-Fi only. I bought it instead of an iPad mini because it’s smaller, lighter (lighter and thinner than the iPhone 5), and therefore handier. It was also cheaper! And it comes in great colors (mine’s bright red).

    I use it for surfing the Web (via Safari), checking on my bank balances, paying my credit card bills, checking my emails, using Maps as a GPS when travelling, playing games, etc. and oh yeah — listening to music! Music via iTunes downloads, iTunes Radio, and podcasts (both fownliaded and streaming). And I’ve used it to watch full-length movies, old TV show episodes, and even live TV via a Comcast app linked to my cable TV account. And it syncs with my iPhone and my MacBook.

    The iPodTouch is wonderful.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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