When will Apple update its iPod line? Will Apple ever release a new iPod touch, iPod shuffle or iPod nano? Will Apple bring back the iPod classic?
How are the mighty fallen. Once upon a time, the iPod was the jewel in Apple's crown: the mass market commercial success that introduced tech consumers at large to the beauty and wonder (and high prices) of the Apple product constellation. Nowadays that place, and much of its reason to exist, has been taken by the iPhone, and the iPod has even suffered the indignity of being removed from the main menu bar on Apple's website.
Pictured: Apple's home page menu bar. Not pictured: any reference to the iPod
But lots of you still love your iPods, and use them regularly - so regularly, we'd guess, that they've practically worn out. And you're probably wondering when Apple is going to get around to launching some new iPods.
Well, so, for that matter, are we. That's why we've put together this article bringing together all the information and UK release date rumours related to Apple's iPod plans, looking at past release dates and public statements, as well as rumours and speculation from industry analysts and supply-chain leakers, to provide some insight into whether Apple is likely to update its iPod touch, iPod nano, iPod shuffle and iPod classic (and when it's likely to do so), or if it's more likely to quietly kill them off.
New iPod release date rumours UK: iPod touch
The iPod touch is the most modern-seeming of Apple's iPod line, offering as it does virtually everything the iPhone does except phone calls: it's a lot like a shrunk-down version of a WiFi-only iPad mini, and people still buy those. And some of us still like to have a separate iPod touch (for mobile entertainment) and iPhone (for work and social co-ordination), so that we can burn through music and films and games without worrying about running out of battery and being cut adrift.
The iPod touch is also the iPod that's has seen a meaningful update most recently: July 2015. Although you will notice, looking at the release history, that following four years of regular yearly updates the updates have got a lot less frequent. There was a three-year gap between the fifth and sixth iPod touch models, which would suggest that we'll have to wait until 2018 - by which time the iPod touch may seem even more antiquated than it does now.
iPod touch release history
- iPod touch 1G: released Sept 2007
- iPod touch 2G: released Sept 2008
- iPod touch 3G: released Sept 2009
- iPod touch 4G: released Sept 2010
- iPod touch 5G: released Oct 2012
- iPod touch 6G: released July 2015
Chances of Apple killing off the iPod touch
Of all the iPods, the touch probably has the best chance of surviving. But its real purpose to Apple was always about introducing users to the iOS platform at an affordable price (like a sort of My First iPhone), and the ubiquity of Apple's interface is such that this purpose is less necessary now than ever before. And Apple is notorious for preferring to kill off products too early than too late. We may have seen our last iPod touch.
New iPod release date rumours UK: iPod nano
The iPod nano has been a staple and workhorse of Apple's music player lineup but does anyone need a nano any more? If you want something super portable, the shuffle is more appealing (and the Apple Watch is another alternative), and you can't get it with any more than 16GB of storage, which is rather limiting if you have any kind of respectable music library.
Like the iPod touch, the nano has gone from regular yearly updates to long gaps, which tells a story about Apple's priorities.
iPod nano release history
- iPod nano 1G: released Feb 2006
- iPod nano 2G: released Sep 2006
- iPod nano 3G: released Sep 2007
- iPod nano 4G: released Sep 2008
- iPod nano 5G: released Sep 2009
- iPod nano 6G: released Sep 2010
- iPod nano 7G: released Oct 2012 (and then different colour options released July 2015)
Chances of Apple killing off the iPod nano
High, we'd say. We had an update of sorts last year, which makes another update any time soon fairly unlikely, but the fact that it was just new colour options suggests that Apple isn't too bothered about the nano.
New iPod release date rumours UK: iPod shuffle
The shuffle is the most portable of the iPod line-up, but its storage cap of 2GB can be offputting.
iPod shuffle release history
- iPod shuffle 1G: released Jan 2005
- iPod shuffle 2G: released Sep 2006
- iPod shuffle 3G: released Mar 2009
- iPod shuffle 4G: released Sep 2010 (new colours announced in Sep 2013 and Jul 2015)
Chances of Apple killing off the iPod shuffle
Moderate. The next one to go, if Apple continues to pick the iPods off piecemeal, will probably be the nano, but we'd lose the shuffle after that. Apple would much rather have customers tote around their music on an Apple Watch.
New iPod release date rumours UK: iPod classic
The original and best - but the iPod classic was also the first to be killed off.
iPod classic release history
The iPod classic, as the name suggests, is the iPod line that's been around the longest - by far. But bear in mind that only the sixth and final generation of this product was actually called 'classic' in its lifetime. The rest tend to be called iPod classic retrospectively, to differentiate them from other Apple products, but were just called iPod at the time.
- iPod classic 1G: released Oct 2001
- iPod classic 2G: released Jul 2002
- iPod classic 3G: released Apr 2003
- iPod classic 4G: released Jul 2004
- iPod classic 5G: released Oct 2005
- iPod classic 6G: released Sep 2007
Read next: iPod classic review
Chances of Apple killing off the iPod classic
The iPod classic has already been discontinued - back in Sep 2014. Apple won't bring this product back.