Typically reserved for accessories like Apple Watch bands, headphones, and iPhone cases, Apple Store accessory walls will now be home to the recently-updated iPod line. Apple products, ranging from iPods to iPads to Macs, have typically been stored in the back of Apple Stores and brought to a customer upon the point of sale. Now, when a customer wants to buy an iPod, she or he can simply pull it off a shelf without needing to wait for the product to be brought from the back room.
Such a move only highlights what we’ve known for some time: the iPod is no longer critical to Apple’s narrative. Everything an iPod is good for day-to-day can be accomplished on an iPhone or iPad.
Aside from giving the kids a handheld to play games on, iPod is probably a lot more niche than we’re willing to admit, and it’s no longer needed as a gateway device to Apple’s mainline offerings. It’s even lumped into Apple’s ‘other devices’ category in its quarterly earnings reports.
Shelving the iPod suggests Apple sees a use for it, and I’m still hoping it’s going to serve as an Apple TV remote; another item Apple keeps on a shelf but doesn’t let go of.
The iPod Touch also received an update not long ago, bringing in better processors and sensors. Sounds an awful lot like a living room device that you can AirPlay media and games from; HomeKit is coming, too. You may want a dedicated device for your home.
Even if iPod languishes on a shelf, the subtext of its move is likely more important: What’s Apple making room for?