Apple and the iPod: A Story Ready to End?

iPod. You say those four letters and instantly, everyone knows what you’re talking about. It’s become  world wide icon for music, it has revolutionised an industry and made a certain company (Apple) very valuable.

Starting off in 2001, Steve Jobs introduced the iPod as a killer of the traditionally ‘bulky’ MP3 products currently available. Sold with the tagline:

“1000 songs in your pocket”

By today’s standards, iPod was itself, bulky. However in 2001, at the turn of the millennium, iPod set the standard for MP3 players for years to come – Apple made millions from its sales, and its intuitive click-wheel design brought a certain ‘cool’ factor not seen since the Sony’s Walkman.

iPod, coupled with iTunes, put the power of music into the hands of the user. Concerns around piracy circulated throughout the industry  – Apple had put the record labels in a precarious position, liberating users from highly priced ‘hard-disk’ CDs; a digital disaster could soon have been on their hands. Enter iTunes. Apple’s online store revolutionised music purchasing. A song. And Album. A playlist. Users could download music through a store, at their own convenience. Bringing digital downloads to the masses.

Nevertheless, 13 years down the line and a whole 26 iPods later, Apple may soon see their iconic iPod die. Fading into history with out so much as a second glance.

Numerous attempts to make iPod ‘cool’ again have failed and Apple can’t now compete against its own iPhone lineup.

“I think all of us have known for some time that iPod is a declining business,” – Tim Cook CEO during Apple’s Earnings Report

Profits declined 52% since 2013, and with further drops expected; iPod isn’t cutting it any longer. Cook didn’t sound alarmed at such statistics, but in fact embraced the looming departure of one of Apple’s greatest achievements. With customers who’d have previously bought iPod, now buying iPhone, Apple has a dead horse on their hands that they are trying desperately to flog.

iPod has been dominated by its newer and more expensive big brother for a while now. Apple refreshed its lineup to reflect a move towards touch, but failed to capture the imagination of a  very much, smartphone addicted market. Ironically, Steve Jobs said in 2007, that the iPhone was the “best iPod we’ve ever made” – now 7 years on, iPhone is about to push the stake further into the heart of the iPod.

Steve Jobs Unveils Apple iPhone At MacWorld Expo

iPod remains the biggest selling MP3 player, generating big revenues of $973 million. Younger users are being drawn to Apple’s iPhone-like iPod touch, described as an iPhone without the phone; it has allowed education institutions to empower students with mobile technology. Whilst iPod Nano continues to win over the more sporty consumers, with a niche market among runners and cyclists.

Apple hasn’t forgotten about iPod. It has just been shifted stage right for the moment. Cupertino is looking at moving into new markets. TV, wearable and smart gadgets; iPod might not fit their new product strategy. But, here it from me. iPod won’t be forgotten.

Even if Apple introduce a smart TV or a smart watch, features of iPod will remain embedded in these new devices. Apple will continue on the legacy of iPod through a new product line, whilst simultaneously moving the company forward.

iPod, an iconic product that set Apple apart in the last decade. Now all they need is a new product to set them apart in this decade.