Yesterday, Apple detailed its finances for the latest quarter and once again blew away Wall Street expectations. They sold lots of iPhones and iPads and a nice number of Macs. Stockholders, a bit spooked by the recent decline in Apple shares, rejoiced--as they should.
But buried deep in the numbers was this one: 7.7 million iPods were sold in the quarter, which is down 15% from a year ago.
That's still a lot of iPods, but when you compare that sales figure to the number of iPhones sold (35.1 million, up 88% from the prior year), it makes me wonder how much longer standalone iPods will continue to exist.
Let's face it: as a mature product, there's not much more Apple can do to improve the iPod. Of that 7.7 million, I'm willing to bet that the majority of purchases were for the iOS powered Touch. They still make the high-capacity Classic with its click wheel, but with access to music quickly becoming more in vogue than possessing music (thanks to everything from streaming services like Slacker, Rdio, Spotify and Apple's own iTunes Match), how many people want to walk around with 30,000 songs on their device?
While the iPod has been the gateway drug for Apple products--I started with an 4 gig iPod Mini and now own far more Apple gear than I ever expected to--the new introduction to the ecosystem is the iPhone. And let's not forget that the iPod icon has disappeared from iOS units in favour of one labelled simply "Music."
So I ask again: how much life does the iPod have left?