End of The Line for Apple Dedicated Music Players?

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, you may have missed the news that Apple has discontinued its iPod Nano and Shuffle music players. These two devices are the last of a line of devices, with no internet connection, or ability to stream via Apple Music. As such, the writing had been on the wall for them for some time, but why now, and is this the end for dedicated music players?

iPod Nano and Shuffle

Both of these once popular devices, launched back in 2005, two years before the first iPhone. At that time, they were hailed as less expensive versions of Apple’s standard iPod, a gateway to an even wider market share.

As for each models role, the Nano replaced the aging but popular iPod mini, offering for the first time a flash-based storage system. Meaning, not only was it smaller than its predecessor it was also lighter. Gone was the shrunken PC-like hard drive, and music could be loaded via iTunes or from ripped CDs.

What about the Shuffle? It was surely a gamble by Apple, one that had it searching for a way to bring down costs. At the time, it caused controversy as the iPod without a screen. Meaning users could not scroll through a selection of tracks; instead, they would have to leave it to blind chance. Having said that its physical size was so small that, users quickly grew accustomed to the lack of a display. Instead, they revelled in its 2GB storage capacity, and audio quality.

So What Changed?

The dawn of the smartphone era and its multifunctional nature meant that within two years of their release Apple’s priorities changed. Consumers were now, no longer restricted to choosing between carrying computing, audio, or communication devices, the iPhone offered it all.

As such, the Nano and Shuffle suffered from stretched update schedules, with the last coming in 2012, and 2010 respectively. So, as you can see, their demise could have come much sooner. In fact, their fall from grace is also due to the rise of streaming. Audiophiles no longer need a device with large storage capacity. Instead, they just use an app or visit a site, choose a track, click play and listen.

What Does The Future Hold?

With the Nano and Shuffle no longer available online via Apple, they will soon be removed from stores. And that means the only remaining iPod is the Touch; the iPhone look alike with no calling functionality. Launched in 2007, it according to Apple still has a purpose and at some point will have its storage capacity doubled. However, when that will happen, no one knows, it looks like the HomePod is the future of non-iPhone music consumption.