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What should Apple do next with the iPod brand?

Aasim Barlas, @gadgetmill

There was once a time when Apple had the music industry in the palm of its hand. They had various iPod models available for sale, selling millions of units (54.83 million being sold in 2008). This was coupled with the iTunes music store, a popular online store for your favourite songs in MP3 format, ready to be uploaded straight to your iPod device. Sounds like a beautiful monopoly for any company, however unfortunately for the iPod brand all good things come to an end and Apple started to see a slump in sales.

As you can see from the graph illustrated, iPod sales started to take a slump around 2010 and have been deteriorating ever since.

There are many potential reasons behind this sales trend, such as the introduction of the iPad in 2010, the iPhone brand becoming increasingly popular and essentially taking a bite out of the iPod sales. After all, both the iPhone and iPad are able to play music, sync with iTunes and more. Making the iPod not so special anymore.

Music streaming services such as Spotify also started to become a trend, allowing users to stream music without having to use up much of their own storage space.

Comparing today to the golden times for Apple when it comes to the music industry, you could say they are now struggling in a far more competitive market, with many celebrities also launching their own streaming music services. Not only this but Apple also have seemed to back away from the iPod brand, as we have not seen an updated iPod since over 468 days and counting as noted by Macrumors. So the question is, where can Apple go from here? Seeing the iPod brand has now been brought down on its knees.

Fortunately for Apple, there are many routes they can take. After all they own the Beats brand and have launched their own Apple Music streaming service. With the iPhone and iPad doing significantly well, Apple should really concentrate on making the iPod more unique. This could mean ditching existing devices such as the iPod Touch which is essentially the iPhone with the phone part ripped out. We have even seen an increase of consumers selling iPods online in favour of their iPhone.

Essentially the iPod should be what the iPhone and iPad cannot offer, such as portability and durability. Emphasising on the quality of sound the device produces, perhaps by implementing the Beats technology into the iPod itself such as it's internal speakers and making such technology exclusive to this one brand lineup. Apple can also potentially include Beats earphones as standard with such devices, along with having some kind of tie in with the Apple Music streaming service. The device can be offered with various storage space options, both internally and cloud based. The key here is to differentiate the iPod from existing devices and emphasise on the sound quality the device can produce. Perhaps giving consumers a reason to buy both an iPhone and an iPod. Not just one or the other.

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