In an age where everything from refrigerators to SD cards to cellphones is to the web, how much longer can Apple’s dedicated music player last? Just to be clear, I’m talking about the Nano, Classic and Shuffle here, not the Touch. The three standalone media players have been due for an update for quite some time now, but Apple doesn’t seem too eager to update the once-great iPod line.
And really, why should they? At this point, the only thing that can really be done to these devices is a design change. Adding Wi-Fi and web browsing capabilities to an iPod Classic, for example, would be impractical because of the device’s input method. The click wheel is great for scrolling through songs, but that’s about it. Anything more advanced would require more buttons (not Apple’s style) or a larger, touch-enabled display (you know, like an iPod Touch).
With OS X Mountain Lion, Apple is really looking to unify its products across the board, and the older iPod models stick out like a sore thumb. To me, the only redeeming quality of the iPod Classic is the large amount of built-in storage, but even that is out dated – a combination of iCloud, streaming applications and built-in storage covers the needs of most consumers with iOS gadgets.
Really, the only iPod besides the Touch that could potentially stick around is the Shuffle, and that’s only because it’s so great when it comes to exercising. Other than that, though, I think the customer’s expectations of their mobile products has evolved, while the older iPod line has stayed relatively static.
It’s a strange a sad thing that the product that put Apple on the map for mobile devices seems to be at the end of its life, but it’s kind of undeniable. Now I’m sure there are those of you out there who still love your iPods and use them frequently, but you have to admit that there has been a shift in the consumer market. A few years ago, almost anywhere you looked there was someone rockin’ out to their iPod. Now, chances are the headphones you see people wearing are plugged into a smartphone.
I have an old iPod Nano that I got a few years ago and a Shuffle that I won in a raffle last year and I love them. That being said, I don’t think I’ve taken them out of my drawer in months.
What do you guys think? Are iPods on their way out, or are they in for the long haul? Weigh in down below in the comments section or let me know on twitter.