The iPod is about done, Apple co-founder says

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The iPod is about done, Apple co-founder says

Chicago (IL) – Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has given another interview that highlights his opinions about some Apple core products – opinions that Apple PR would not approve as public statement even on April 1. Wozniak believes that the iPod may die, just like the Walkman has died before.  

Apple iPod/iPhone family H2 2008 (9 pictures)

If Steve Wozniak is right, then we might see an era come to an end – the end of the iPod, the digital music player that made the MP3 player popular and has dominated the market segment since its debut 2001. The Apple co-founder told the British that the “the iPod has sort of lived a long life at number one” and that such things like that – such as transistor radios and Walkmans – “kind of die out after a while.”      

These words leave room for interpretation. The newspaper itself believes that Wozniak may be predicting the “imminent death” of the iPod, which may be a bit extreme. However, There is little doubt that Wozniak is at least bored with the iPod and that the device that still sells more than 10 million units a quarter offers few new features to get excited about. That seems to be a general impression in the market and Apple’s latest round of new iPods indicates that Apple is milking its iPod for every penny it can squeeze out its shiny casing.

“It’s kind of like everyone has got one or two or three,” Wozniak said.  You get to a point when they are on display everywhere, they get real cheap and they are not selling as much.”

Is the death of the iPod imminent? That may be a bit hard to imagine since there isn’t any serious rival with a comparable ecosystem on the horizon. Of course, that leaves smartphones and MIDs with iPod-like capabilities out of consideration. It has been suggested before that the iPhone may be the iPod’s single biggest threat (and given the iPhone’s high price, Apple certainly does not mind if that in fact is the case) and other cellphone manufacturers may get a shot at killing the iPod with smartphones. Smartphones effectively killed the PDA and they can attack the portable music player in the same way. The Nokia 5800 may provide an idea how such a strategy could work.

During the interview, Wozniak also indicated that he isn’t that excited with the iPhone.  “Consumers aren’t getting all they want when companies are very proprietary and lock their products down,” he told the Telegraph. “I would like to write some more powerful apps than what you’re allowed,” he said.

And, interestingly, Wozniak may be a bit concerned about the loyal following Apple enjoys today. Comparing it to a “religion”, he said that “With a religion you’re not allowed to challenge anything. I want our customers to challenge us.”  The newspaper pressed him on potential future products, but he simply noted that “not even Steve Jobs” knows what is next. However, he pointed to an iWatch as a possible future Apple product.