updated 10:45 pm EDT, Tue September 27, 2011
Non-touch iPods may disappear at October 4 event
A rumor with a potentially far-ranging impact has alleged that Apple might drop the iPod classic and iPod shuffle. The two remaining non-touch iPods would disappear "this year," TUAW heard from its lone source. Only the iPod nano and iPod touch would remain, although it's not clear if Apple would slash their prices or deliver upgrades.
The switch could be the mystery product transition Apple mentioned happening this quarter. Although many have taken this to refer to new Macs, it could be a phase out of iPods affecting Apple's supply dynamics. Some have also suspected that a production switch for the next-generation iPhone has played a role.
Shots have shown the current iPod nano with a camera and thus that Apple has at least been exploring new designs for the device, but outside of a white iPod touch, nothing else has leaked of new iPods.
While unverified, other than that the source is "not an analyst" and less likely to be driven by second-hand information and estimates, the move would be supported by Apple's recent product positioning. The iPod nano is now only slightly larger than the shuffle and, while more expensive, accomplishes much more. Advances in flash storage technology, along with iTunes Match, could also let Apple release a 128GB iPod touch that would carry most of the storage of a classic and let users get access to missing content as long as they're online.
October will also mark the 10th anniversary of the iPod and may be used as an opportunity for Apple to 'retire' the wheel-based control it has had since the very first version in 2001. The control scheme was praised early on for being much faster at the time but has lost its effectiveness as touchscreens and non-music roles grew in importance.