Apple may discontinue the venerable iPod classic and iPod shuffle this year, bringing about the biggest changes in years to the company's lineup of mp3 players. That the classic may be ditched has long been a rumour but dropping the shuffle is a newer development.
The latest rumours come from TUAW, with it claiming to have heard from a reliable source - it makes a point of noting that the source isn't just an analyst - that both models will be dropped in the next round of iPod updates. The reasons for doing this could be manifold but the streamlining of the range to only have touchscreen enabled models seems to be the most likely.
The iPod classic still has a large following thanks to it being one of the few mp3 players still available with a proper hard drive with capacities extending to 160GB. In contrast the iPod touch maxes out at 64GB, though with this announcement we may be able to get our hopes up that the next touch model will go up to 128GB.
A control system and layout that's simple and easy to use has also seen the classic have huge staying power, despite changing little in overall design from the original iPod. As such, there's potential for a move to a fully touchscreen range to put off those simply after a simple music playing life.
As for the shuffle, its days seemed numbered as soon as the latest iPod nano was revealed - it's essentially a shuffle with a screen... or the shuffle's a nano without a screen. The suggestion is that the nano will become the budget iPod option, though it won't receive a price cut. Meanwhile the iPod touch would sit as the only premium alternative.
That Apple would cut down its range quite so dramatically seems somewhat unlikely to us, and we suspect there will be something to fill the budget gap, but we will see.
We generally expect an update to the iPod range around this time of year but with the Apple iPhone 5 announcement next week, we may see this pushed back.
All told, given the age of both the shuffle and classic, we fully expect the bulk of this rumour to hold true. Would this upset you, or have you long been waiting for this move? Let us know in the comments.