Ars Technica Editor-at-Large Jacqui Cheng offered up an opinion on Thursday on "Why the days are numbered for the legacy iPod." The original iPod with scroll wheel was introduced in October 2001. The currently selling iPod classic was introduced in September 2008 (the earlier version from 2007 was discontinued with the introduction of the newer model).
Cheng offers the continuous decline since 2009 in sales of the whole iPod category as evidence that it's time to retire the product line or at the very least some of the iPod models. She notes that in the third quarter over the past five years alone, the sales drop is significant: Apple "sold 4.57 million iPods during Q3 ... In Q3 2012, Apple sold 6.75 million iPods; in Q3 2011, Apple sold 7.54 million; and in Q3 2010, Apple sold 9.41 million." She predicts a showing of less than 4 million units sold in Q4 2013.
She also takes into account how Apple retires products with old technology. With the charging cable update from the 30-pin rectangle to the new Lightning connector in iOS devices, she seems to doubt that the iPod products will receive that upgrade. While she implies that some of the iPod products could be retired this year, she does clarify that they are still making money, so maybe Apple will wait to put them on the chopping block. The Ars Technica article's comments section includes messages from many people who don't seem to agree with Cheng's opinion and presents an interesting read.
Happy anniversary to the venerable iPod touch, by Victor Agreda, Jr. (9/5/13)
Create a bootable iPod classic, Steven Sande (9/5/13)
Six cool upgrades for an old iPod, Kelly Hodgkins (3/15/13)
Steve Jobs reportedly says "no plans" to discontinue iPod Classic, Megan Lavey-Heaton (3/23/11)