The iMportance of iPods
(Editor’s note: This article is intended to be taken as personal opinion only, and in no way speaks for any entities/companies involved or mentioned aside from the author.)
The following is an excerpt from the July 30, 2012, Los Angeles Times article “Is it time to declare the death of the iPod?”:
The sales figures are not promising. Last quarter, Apple sold just 6.8 million iPods — a 10% drop from the same quarter last year. While that is more than the 4 million Macs the company moved in the same time period, it is just a drop in the bucket compared with the 26 million iPhones and 17 million iPads it sold in the same quarter.
Are the iPod’s days numbered?
In a word, no.
Deborah Netburn, the author, explores reasons as to why the iPod might be at the end of its lifecycle. In truth, for many people, there’s never been a better time to buy an iPod — or any music-based device, for that matter.
Convergence, a central word in Netburn’s article, provides the main idea for her article. Almost every device you own has some element of convergence. Your phone takes pictures. Your television plays music. Your car broadcasts your calls. And with a growing number of cloud-based storage solutions, the days are here where almost everything you do on one device syncs with every other device you own.
But an iPod? Well an iPod just plays music. And who needs that?
So many people. I do. Swimmers, runners, commuters, children, parents, grandparents, audiophiles, completists, techno-neophytes…the list goes on.
The bottom line is that a streamlined music device is still a great choice for any of the above users. Do you want to carry your Droid or iPhone with you wherever you bike or run? Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. These devices combine many beneficial tasks for us but that doesn’t mean we have to use them everywhere, all the time.
A $49 iPod Shuffle, on the other hand, stores more than enough music for your daily Phelps-inspired swim playlists. It’s not waterproof, but mine went through the wash and came out completely functional on the other end. So throw it in that waterproof case. If it something goes wrong…call it a wash.
I already mentioned that there hasn’t been a better time to buy an iPod than right now. Technology improves exponentially, literally (see Moore’s Law). Because of this, it gets cheaper and cheaper to buy the same processor, hard drive, component, computer, … whatever, every year. And the price you paid for an iPod seven years ago could get you an iPad with Wi-Fi and 4G capability now. iPods have become a lot more common, as we’ll see later, and as a result, have become a lot more affordable.
The iPod Nano and Touch will track your workouts, tune you into FM radio, let you take pictures and so on. So the tech convergence begins the moment you leave a dedicated music player like the iPod Shuffle or Classic, but is still manageable enough to not turn into a second phone.
Certain music-completist friends of mine depend on their iPod classic’s massive amounts of storage; with libraries as large and valued as their’s, cherry-picking playlists is a fruitless endeavor. There are cloud-based solutions for getting larger libraries onto your phone, but they largely rely on having (and using) some sort of data connection.
Personally, I own three iPods. Each one serves a different purpose. I could probably get by with just the one that does everything I “need,” but then what if that dies? And what if the one after that one dies? So in my backpack are three 30-pin cables, three iPods and a spare pair of headphones.
Do you see where I’m going with this? iPods (plural) are still important as hell. For those of us that like love music, convergence is great. Access to Spotify, Pandora, cloud-based music storage all on one device. But sometimes, it’s just better to have more than one.
Let’s revisit those sales numbers via latimes.com:
6.8 million iPods last quarter
6,800,000. That many. That is a LOT of iPods. Consider that Apple has sold over 350 million iPods since its debut in 2001. Eleven years ago.
iPhones and iPads trump iPod sales numbers, but have been out for a fraction of the time that the iPod has. They are still in a much earlier area of the product life cycle.
So when color televisions first became attainable for the masses, sales went through the roof. But the more people that buy something, the less that are left to need it. A product approaches maturation. I own three iPods. Two of them are years upon years old. Up until last summer, I had one from 2003 that still worked. So for some, purchasing the latest generation may be of the upmost importance, but for others, it might be completely unjustifiable, given their large collection of fully-functioning iPods.
And that’s okay. Apple still sold 6.8 million iPods in a three-month period, without any major product updates in some time.
I don’t see the iPod going away any time soon.
At least not for me.
And that’s the iMportant part.