Despite there still being a demand for the iconic MP3 player, in September, Apple quietly discontinued the iPod Classic, removing it from its website and retail stores.
The move, just six weeks before what would have been its 13th birthday was seen as an admission that physical and even digital albums are dead and that music streaming is the future.
However, during his headline interview at the WSJD Live Conference on Monday evening, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the decision to ax the click wheel iPod was down to parts.
“We couldn’t get the parts anymore. They don’t make them anymore,” said Cook, according to Engadget. “We would have to make a whole new product … the engineering work to do that would be massive … The number of people who wanted it is very small.”
The iPod Classic offered owners 160 GB of disk space for their music, video and photo collections, and what made it so innovative at the time was the combination of the click wheel for easy searching and operation and the use of a spinning physical hard disk for storage which enabled the device to hold a huge amount of data without breaking the bank.
Although the iPod’s days have been numbered since the launch of the first iPhone back in 2007 the device is loved by many, particularly those with large record collections and those who spend a lot of time traveling.
However times change and even Apple, which pioneered the digital music market with the iTunes Store is finding that it has to adapt.
In its annual report, officially filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week, it admits what a number of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, have been claiming for some time, that sales of digital downloads are falling rapidly.
The Journal claims that sales have fallen by as much as 14 percent over the past year, and while Apple doesn’t offer specific figures, it notes in the filing that “Growth in net sales from the iTunes Store was driven by increases in revenue from app sales reflecting continued growth in the installed base of iOS devices and the expanded offerings of iOS Apps and related in-App purchases. This was partially offset by a decline in sales of digital music.”
To combat this fall in demand, the company is expected to incorporate the Beats music streaming service into a seriously revamped iTunes Store that is expected to launch in early 2015.
In an August report, Futuresource Consulting claimed that revenues from the premium tier of existing music streaming services from the likes of Spotify are already generating $3 billion annually from U.S. and European consumers. It forecasts that by the end of this year there will be 20 million paying subscribers in the Western world, meaning that in the past 24 months demand has more than doubled.
The Recording Industry Association of America also notes that over the first six months of 2014, revenues from music streaming services collected in the country were up 28 percent.