Apple could potentially cut the two models during or following the company's Oct. 4 media event at company headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., where most believe Apple will unveil the iPhone5.
Invitations for Apple's Oct. 4 media event say Let's talk iPhone, but missing is a mention of its original flagship product, the iPod. While the iPod will celebrate 10 years of existence on Oct. 24, it seems the company wants to retire the old click wheel once and for all.
If the reports are true, the iPod Touch and iPod Nano will be the only two remaining iPod models. The Nano will be the lowest-end iPod option, while the Touch will remain Apple's premium iPod.
Apple's first-ever iPod was developed in less than a year, on Steve Jobs' orders. Unveiled on Oct. 23, 2001, Jobs advertised his 5 GB Mac-compatible digital music player as 1,000 songs in your pocket.
The original iPod Classic model has evolved six different times over its lifetime. The famous click wheel for navigation eventually evolved into an anodized aluminum front plate with touch sensors, and stuffy black and white menus were eventually given full color and the ability to browse through album covers. The largest capacity for the first model was 10 GB; the current model's greatest capacity is 160 GB.
Apple will also reportedly shift away from the iPod Shuffle, which was first introduced to Apple's iPod line-up on Jan. 11, 2005. The first model looked like a stick and featured no screen; in four generations, the Shuffle assumed a clip design with aluminum casing, and was made available in several vibrant colors. The Shuffle also added a VoiceOver feature, which could tell you the song title, playlist name, or battery status with a click of a button.
Unfortunately, sales of these products have been in perpetual decline since the introduction of the iPhone. And simply put, they're not making enough money for the company. In the fourth quarter of 2010, Apple reported that iPod sales made up just eight percent of the company's total revenue.
But the move makes sense for Apple. The company is clearly invested in touch screens and gesture technology, as evidenced by the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and gesture-based platforms OS X Lion and iOS 5. Apple wants no part of an outdated technology like clicking.
If two iPod models are being dumped, however, there's a possibility that one or two models will be introduced in its place. Several reports indicate Apple has already added two new iPhones and three new iPods into its internal inventory. These models could just be color variations, like a white iPod Touch, but there's a remote possibility that Apple will reveal completely new iPod models.
As Steve Jobs told Nike CEO Mark Parker back in 2006, Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff. It sounds like Apple is taking this notion to heart in consideration of its iPod Classic and iPod Touch, even if it means cutting ties with one of the products that started it all.