Everything coming from Apple is a multi-tasker, including the iPod. But, out of all of the devices in Apple's lineup, the iPod Nano and Shuffle are the closest thing it has to a uni-tasker.
Sure, the Nano can broadcast radio, track fitness, play videos and even make a decent compass, but it's main job is play music. The iPhone does this too, along with just about everything else, so why is the company still holding on to such a seemingly simple device? Because some people still want to keep their music and their phones separate.
It's obvious that Apple knows when to give up on a device or project: Power Mac G4 Cube, MobileMe, Ping. There must be a good reason for keeping something on board that, by the numbers, isn't as big a hit as it once was.
In the third quarter of this year, Apple reported a 10% decline in iPod sales. (It didn't specify which kinds of iPods sold, or didn't sell.) In 2011 it was reported, that there was a decline in iPod sales since 2005 overall. After the launch of the 6th generation Nano, there was speculation that it would be the last of the line. It took a decade in gadget time (real time: two years) to get a new version.
Despite the falling numbers, the Nano and Shuffle persist. But why? Doesn't Apple want to push us to carry the brunt of our music on an iPod Touch or iPhone? Those devices - and their ability to perform countless tasks - are one of the reasons Apple is a big dog in the mobile world now. But when it comes to the Nano, Apple's strategy is different. It only has one task during its life span: to play your music.
And that explains it lasting appeal. I don't like to carry my phone with me at the gym. Or when I'm out for a run, or when I'm on a plane. Or when I'm trying to have a peaceful moment without my phone reminding me that I have obligations and people trying to connect with me. I also don't worry when my Nano is dropped, or gets near sand and sweat, as I do with my iPhone. It's an expensive device, but it doesn't carry as much weight, it's easier to replace.
It's true, sometimes, you don't want to be connected. You just want a moment to yourself (and your music) without the burden of our new found social world. That's why Apple is holding onto the iPod.
What do you think, is there still a market for this line of iPods and future ones, or is this a last-ditch effort from Apple to see if MP3 players are still viable? Do you still use your iPod or want a new one?