The iPod is an engineering marvel and iTunes store was a revelation to the world and these two together ruled the market for almost a decade setting the bar for experiencing music. But, in the last few years, the landscape of Music has drastically changed and the iPod along with the iTunes Store has not adapted well with that change. The world has moved on to subscription based music streaming. Not everyone wants to buy all the music they want to listen to. People prefer streaming music over the Internet on their devices which is not only cost-effective but also allows them to listen to any of the millions of songs in the entire catalogue of the service provider.
Spotify, which launched in 2008, is a commercial music streaming service that has reached 24 million users now, among which 6 million of them pay a monthly subscription fee. Spotify has almost 20 million songs in its catalogue and over 20,000 songs are added every day. Rdio and Rhapsody are among the other popular services similar to Spotify. Pandora is another well-known service that has 60 million users that allows you to listen to music as Radio Stations for free, but are ad-based though you can choose to buy songs if you want to. Microsoft’s Zune Music Service provides a Music Pass that costs $9.99/month for unlimited streaming of music on your Windows Phone and Windows PC. These services have seen tremendous momentum in the last few years and have drastically reduced the sales on iTunes and Amazon Music stores.
The other major problem with an iPod other than being redundant while owning an iPhone is that, iPods don’t support subscription based services. You cannot listen to iTunes Radio on your iPod leave alone Spotify and Rdio. You can only listen to the Music bought on iTunes (songs cost a $1/each), which then has to be synchronised to your iPod. Well, the iPod Touch is an exception. It is the only iPod on which you can buy music directly on the device and on which you can listen to iTunes Radio (only 5Th Gen iPod Touch supports iTunes Radio). But the iPod Touch has always not been considered as a traditional iPod. Even otherwise, the iPod Touch has only Wi-Fi and no Data Connection, so when you are on the go, it is just another iPod on which you cannot listen to iTunes Radio or buy music instantly.
The way people experience music has changed. People want to subscribe to music services and stream songs than buy them. People mostly use smartphones to carry music. People want to be able to stream music and buy music on any device instantly. And people also want all their devices to stay in sync with each other automatically via the cloud without the need for manual syncing. Music cannot be the same without the Internet and the Cloud. The iPod cannot do any of these. The iPod hasn’t adapted to the changing music trends. The iPod has been that same old standalone device that cannot auto-sync with the cloud and other devices, cannot provide on-the-go services, and cannot connect to the Internet for streaming music. This has made the experience on the iPod very limited and broken. Becoming a niche device that cannot do everything, sales of the iPod have continued to drop exponentially. What could be a more revealing evidence about the falling trend of the iPod, than Apple itself not announcing any new models of the iPod in 2013. There hasn’t been a single year after 2001 in which Apple hasn’t released a new iPod, and 2013 is the first time. The Absence of a new or improved version of the iPod speaks volumes. Apple seems to have finally understood.
But the question remains, what if Apple can build a modern-day iPod equipped enough to provide modern-day services? Well, that already exists, it’s called the iPhone! A modern-day iPod has to connect to the internet, sync with the cloud and allow music streaming over data connection and iPhone is exactly that. There cannot be an iPod that is seemingly different from the iPhone doing these exact same things.
Yes, so the iPod is dead.