8 reasons Apple would be crazy to kill the iPod

Is the iPod really living on borrowed time? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Is the iPod really living on borrowed time? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

A funny thing happened on the way to the iPod’s funeral. When we laid out the reasons we think the music player is nearing the end of the line, we clearly struck a nerve.

A lengthy and fascinating conversation broke out in the page’s comments section, on Facebook and on Twitter as Cult of Mac readers articulated all the reasons Apple shouldn’t kick the iPod to the curb. Reasons ranged from forward-looking strategies for expanding the iPod’s appeal to old-fashioned love for a perennial favorite product.

Here are highlights from eight of the best:

  1. The iPod should live on … as a game machine. “iPod Touch with rebranding would fall perfectly into that category,” said Daniel Szeitz. RobertPerez1 called for a processor boost and a targeted acquisition to speed the evolution: “[Apple] needs to drop in the A7 and make it the ultimate gaming device. [They] need to buy Nintendo and take over Mario and Luigi.”
  2. Some want a small portable music player (and don’t want to shell out for an iWatch to get one). “What about those who can’t afford the new iWatch?” Said The BlackerSheep. “Do they have to buy the cheap iPhone to be able to stick with the brand and then put up with the disadvantages [that come with its larger size]? 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.”
  3. Forget CarPlay — the iPod is the perfect commuting soundtracker. “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,” said Walter Cooke. “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.”
  4. Streaming music isn’t quite there yet. “Streaming music is convenient, but not always appropriate,” said Nino. “What if you have no internet connectivity? What if you surpass your data plan’s allowance? … 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/bit rate 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.”
  5. Cut back on iPod models rather than killing them all. “The iPod line [should] be reduced to one or two products only,” said UZ. “Maybe an iPod touch with storage options that match the [iPod Classic], and a cheap iPod shuffle/nano…. 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.”
  6. The iPod is great for kids. “My daughter has a number of friends who use an iPod as a messaging device when they are too young for a phone,” said bobajoul. “Keep it going — it has its place.”
  7. The iPod is a gateway drug into the Apple ecosystem. “The iPod is an entry-level device to get consumers addicted to Apple and iOS,” said Art Swirsky. “Keeping it is a very inexpensive way to get more customers to buy more and more expensive Apple devices in the future.”
  8. The iPod touch is great for photos. “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,” said annastine. “It is useful as a portfolio and although I will eventually bump up to some kind of pad, the smaller [iPod] 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.”

Do you agree or disagree with the above? If there’s an iPod use we haven’t covered, or you think Apple would still be better off pulling the plug on its portable music player, drop us a line in the comments below.

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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