After 12 Years, Will Apple Finally Kill the iPod?

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iPod Classic. Source: Apple.

The click wheel. An excellent expression of Steve Jobs' preference for a blend of simple design and an intuitive experience, the feature made its debut on the original iPod in 2001. Though the technology was groundbreaking in its day, it may now be time to say goodbye to the feature. Wired asserts that the iPod Classic's life will come to an end at next week's Apple media event.

A dying breed
Apple's iPod lineup is aging. Since 2008, unit sales have been on a steady decline.

Source: Data retrieved from quarterly filings for quarters shown.

This isn't the first time, however, that the iPod Classic has been rumored to be killed. In 2011, similar concerns were raised.

Whatever the verdict, the iPod Classic makes up a minuscule portion of the company's revenue. The entire iPod segment amounted to a paltry 2% of Apple's total revenue in its most recent quarter. Even more, the latest updates on the segment from Apple say that the iPod Touch accounts for more than half of total iPod sales.

The iPod Classic likely lends itself to a small niche. At 160GB of storage, the iPod Classic appeals to hardcore music lovers. But does it make sense for Apple to continue to serve this niche?

Unworthy of the Lighting connector?
Last refreshed in 2009, the iPod Classic still sports the 30-pin connector. As Apple transitions its products to the Lightning connector, it may make sense to stop producing the iPod Classic.

But even if it doesn't make economic sense, should Apple keep it around in memory of Steve Jobs?

On the other hand, it doesn't seem like a Steve Jobs thing to do to keep old technology around. As CNET author Donald Bell pointed out, Steve Jobs' once advised Nike CEO Mark Parker, "Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff."

Despite its nostalgic significance, maybe it's best if Apple says goodbye to the click wheel.

What do you think? Should Apple finally kill the iPod Classic?

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