The iPod's reign is coming to an end. Plummeting sales, the rise of other convergence devices, and Apple's own iPad are all contributing to the iPod's rapid decline.
In the company's just-released fiscal third quarter results, the once flagship product saw a 10% decline year-over-year for that quarter, selling just 6.8 million units. By comparison, iPhone and iPad sales skyrocketed at 26 million and 17 million, respectively. So is this the inglorious end for the once status-symbol device? That's what some critics think. Below is our take on the fall of Apple's star player.
iPod Deals Become Scarce, Dropping 50% in a Year
At the height of its popularity in 2007, Apple was capable of shipping 22 million iPods during the holidays. An impressive feat considering the company had pushed 21 million iPods during the holidays in 2006. Fast-forward to Christmas 2011 and things begin to look bleak as Apple was only able to sell 15.4 million iPods.
The sharp decline was also noticeable here at dealnews. This past Black Friday, iPod deals weren't as abundant as previous years. In fact, compared to November and December of 2010, this past holiday season saw 50% fewer iPod deals.
And whereas the iPod has generally been a highly sought-after device any time of the year, this summer we noticed a 5% decline in clicks (which we equate with interest) for iPod deals compared to the number of clicks we saw over the holiday season. So not only are iPod sales slowly winding down, but even reader interest in the iPod appears to be weakening.
Waning Popularity Could Spell Aggressive Prices
That's potentially good news for bargain hunters as they'll now see more aggressive discounts (even if they're less frequent) on the current-generation iPods. Even Apple knocked $30 off the entry level price of the iPod, a rare move by the Cupertino giant that's infamous for its frugality.
So what prices should consumers look for? For starters, $146 has been the all-time low we've seen on a current-generation 8GB iPod touch (back in November). The best deal we've seen in 2012 has been $169. So we'd suggest looking for a deal under $169, but expect to see prices go as low as $146, if not lower, in the coming months.
Meet the New iPod
The iPod has been one of Apple's most successful products. It pushed the company into rockstar status and helped the tech giant become what it is today. However, Apple has moved onto greener pastures and its current golden child is the iPhone. Whereas we haven't seen a major iPod refresh in two years, the iPhone has received an update each year since its inception. And you can bet this fall when Apple announces the iPhone 5, the iPod touch will be just a footnote in Apple's presentation. After all, Apple doesn't like talking about its weak spots, and right now the iPod is the weakest it's ever been.
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