Apple has discontinued the iPod Nano and Shuffle, where does that leave iTunes?
It has been a long time coming, and isn’t entirely a surprise. Apple has finally closed the chapter on two of its three iPods—the iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle. Let’s just say, the two iPods that did not have internet connectivity, and thus could not connect to the Apple Music streaming service, have been done away with. Perhaps this was required, because music downloads are declining, as most users now prefer streaming music.
That leaves Apple with the iPod Touch, an iPhone lookalike in many ways. The Touch will now get new pricing globally, and will now cost $199 (32GB) and $299 (128GB).
The iPod Touch runs an Apple A8 processor, has a 4-inch display, an 8-megapixel camera and access to all streaming services that you also get on the iPhone. What the iPod Touch does not have is a SIM card slot, which means you need to keep it hooked to a Wi-Fi network, unless you have saved music for offline listening from streaming services such as Apple Music, Saavn, Spotify and more, as well as Apple’s iCloud services.
The 16GB and the 64GB storage variants have been discontinued. Apple has sold 400 million units of the iPod thus far, of which the majority sales have been for the iPod Touch.
The reality is that neither of iPod Nano nor the iPod Shuffle, first introduced in 2005 by Steve Jobs, had been updated in years. The Nano received its last big update in 2012, while the Shuffle hasn’t seen a major overhaul since 2010, though both iPods did get new colour options along the way.
Another reason why the Nano and the Shuffle have been eliminated from the iPod line-up could be because they don’t have Bluetooth, which doesn’t work well with Apple’s music ecosystem that also involves the AirPods earphones and the upcoming HomePod smart speaker.
This isn’t the first time that Apple has had to change things around in the iPod line-up. The much-loved iPod Classic was discontinued in 2014, which is still remembered for its legendary design and the click-wheel navigation keys.
But where does this leave the iTunes software? There was a time when the iTunes software was an inextricable part of the iPhone and iPod experience, right down from setting it up, transferring music to it and for backing up.
On your Windows or MacOS computing devices, it still remains the most un-Apple-esque piece of software one can ever find. There is a clutter of your locally saved music files, the library on Apple Music, video files, apps, podcasts and also the management for any iPhone, iPod or iPad you may connect to it for whatever reason.
On iOS, the software that runs on the above-mentioned devices, all these features have been spun off into separate apps. Music is different from Videos and Podcasts, for instance. The reality with iTunes is that it is just frozen in time, and apart from visual changes along the way, the basic clutter and the unnecessary features remain steadfast.
Even if there’s just one user for the iTunes software out there, Apple will continue to update it—but just don’t expect anything to change anytime soon. We would love a dedicated Apple Music app for Windows and MacOS, for instance, because that’ll be the ideal solution for those of us who want to stream music while working.
With the iPhone now heading into a new decade, it doesn’t need to be tethered to a software that has never really come across as something made by Apple. And by streamlining iTunes for critical tasks and for developers, it could very well be around for a while. But the rest of the features it packs in, need to be spun off into separate apps. And users will download what they specifically need.