Opinion Brief

Will Apple kill the iPod?

In the age of the iPhone and iPad, the iconic MP3 player may have little left to live for

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Amid ever-growing buzz about the iPhone and the iPad, sales of the once-dominant iPod have been on a downward slide for years, and analysts predict that next week, Apple will report second-quarter figures down 7.2 percent from the same period one year ago. Such numbers have the tech world brooding about the possibly imminent death of the iconic MP3 player. Is the end really near?

Prepare the burial plot: With smartphones usurping the role of MP3 players, "it's possible that Apple could lay an iPod, likely the old iPod Classic rather than the more popular iPod Touch, to rest at its upcoming September event," says Christina Bonnington at Wired. One indicator that iPods are fading: For the first time since the iPod Touch came on the market, it's not being offered as a back-to-school "free gift" with any Mac purchase. Instead, buyers get a $100 iTunes gift card."Could the iPod be on its deathbed?"

Not so fast: I think "we have a bit of time before we'll be writing the official obituary...," says David Murphy at PC Mag. Sure, the iPod's declining sales figures can't be ignored, but they shouldn't be a big surprise either, considering Apple's prioritization of iPhones and iPads. And Apple is still expected to sell more than 8 million iPods in the June quarter. This classic tech toy still has life left in it."Is Apple cannibalizing its own iPods?"

Let this be a lesson to other tech companies: Many of the features that were once "exclusive to the MP3 player" are now packed into the iPhone and iPad, says Ed Sutherland at Cult of Mac. While I appreciate the iPhone's multi-functionality and iPod-like size, "there is just something about a single-purpose bit of silicon" like the iPod. No wonder the simple Kindle has been so popular. "Perhaps Amazon should take a lesson from the iPod's slide and not pack too many features into its upcoming Kindle tablet," lest it kill the original Kindle."Analysts: The iPod is dying"

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