When will Apple kill the iPod?

Apple wants to move all of your "content" to the iCloud, so the Touch is probably safe, but the rumors about the Classic's demise have been churning for years.

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read

Physical music formats were so 20th century, so we put our music on computers. But even that was too much of a burden, so music is going up, up, and away, into the cloud and streaming. The iPod Classic is firmly rooted to the ground, and I like it that way.

I can live without Siri, iCloud, a camera, iOS 6, a Lightning connector, Bluetooth, AirPlay, or any of that jazz to keep the Classic's 160GB storage capability, and the Classic's "classic" 30-pin connector that still works with gazillions of docks and accessories. Is there another music player or phone that can match the Classic's storage capacity for thousands of WAV or Apple Lossless tunes? Oh, and the Classic sounds pretty decent and still sells for $249, the 64GB Touch runs $399.

When the time comes and Apple announces the Classic's demise, the remaining stock will evaporate that day. Some of my friends think it's already history, but I just bought another one, and I have a few spares. The Nano and Shuffle aren't yet on the endangered species list, but I could be wrong. They don't fit Apple's iCloud strategy so their days might be numbered.

I wonder, will musicians and record companies be better off when no one ever buys albums or singles, or pays for a legal download ever again? You can't beat free, and free Spotify, Pandora, and maybe Apple subscriptions will eventually kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Only a minority of subscribers step up to the pay services; musicians and labels can't continue to make recordings funded solely by the micropayments those subscribers generate. The number of albums and singles bands make per year will continue its long slide to oblivion.

That's where it's headed, and I can't imagine that's a good thing for music. Nonstreaming iPods can't survive much longer, and that's too bad. The Touch will probably be the last one standing.

What's your take on the iPod's future? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.