Apple makes money selling music, movies, accessories and some software, but the big bucks come from selling hardware, and the hardware that really put Apple on the public map had all but died until this week when the company resurrected the device that saved Apple from obscurity.
iPod, Because iCan
Yes, boys and girls, guys and dolls, the product that saved Apple’s bacon was recently removed from Apple’s home page menubar. Go to Apple and what do you see? Apple icon, Store, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Watch, Music, Support.
Where is the iPod, the product that brought Apple’s design and manufacturing esthetic to the great unwashed masses of music lover and gadget collectors? Oh, how quickly we forget those we once loved.
Yes, friends and neighbors, Apple just made a bet by resurrecting the iPod for one last hurrah, one more curtain call, before being shipped off– again– into obscurity. The iPod is back with a little more muscle and a fresh coat of paint(s).
Let’s look at the iPod touch first, because that’s where the action is. As of now, iPod touch is a serious gaming machine, a serious multi-media device, a serious camera, and it does almost everything an iPhone 6 can do, but without the expense and the phone.
iPod touch comes in six neon-like colors and starts at $199 for a 16GB version with options for 32GB, 64GB, and even 128GB. That’s serious storage and capability for less than an iPad mini. It’s also a 4-inch Multi-Touch Retina display, but the real news is what’s inside– 8MP camera with autofocus, f/2.4 aperture, hybrid IR filter, panorama and burst, tap to focus, geotagging, and more. There’s even a FaceTime HD camera at 720p.
In other words, iPod touch is about as much like an iPhone 6 without the phone as you can get, a device perfect for gamers, kids who don’t deserve or need a smartphone yet, or anyone who wants to carry music, photos, videos, and Podcasts in a pocket-sized device.
Shuffle, Meet Nano
Apple’s new found attention span for all things iPod includes all things iPod, including iPod nano and iPod shuffle, and though they’re not as powerful as touch, they get new paint, and in the case of the nano, a few extra goodies.
iPod nano comes in six colors (and, like the iPod touch, one of the six is the red (product)™ to help fight AIDS in Africa. There’s only one price. $149. And only one storage capacity. 16GB. But nano does feature a 2.5-inch display (non-Retina), an FM radio, support for Nike+support, and a few other updated options.
iPod shuffle has the same colors (gold is included in all models) and starts at $49 for 2GB.
The real question to ask about the new iPod line is, “Why?” Or, rather, “Why bother?” The iPod’s sales have declined sequentially every year since 2009 when the iPhone began to sell in ever growing numbers. Why bother to resurrect iPod? The reason has more to do with math than first glance might reveal. iPod sales the past year have remained mostly flat, which indicates steady demand. iPod is a multi-billion dollar and highly profitable business segment. Apple has sold over 400-million iPods to date, and it’s the product that, not even arguably, put the 21st century Apple on the public map, squarely in the eye of gadget hungry customers.
The new line might be iPod’s last gasp, but if it is, it’s going out with some bang for the buck.