You may have noticed it already, but if not here it goes: Apple no longer offers its personalized laser engraving feature for replacement iPod devices.
As first noted by MacRumors, Apple has removed both product descriptions and store listings for its iconic iPod nano and iPod shuffle portable music players from its website around the world, suggesting they've been discontinued or are on their way out.
There will be no transferring your offline Apple Music collections onto the new iPod nano or iPod shuffle because Apple is overly concerned about piracy, as it should be, and so the company's decided to play it safe instead.
As 9to5Mac discovered Friday, attempting to transfer Apple Music songs marked for offline playback onto your nano or shuffle via iTunes produces a “some of the items in the iTunes library were not copied to the iPod because Apple Music songs cannot be copied to an iPod” message.
Of course, you can still sync your own songs that you imported into iTunes and music purchased on the iTunes Store, just like before, but Apple Music including songs marked for offline playback is off limits to the nano and shuffle.
Following a recent discovery of hidden graphics assets inside iTunes 12.2 which have hinted at an imminent iPod refresh, Apple on Wednesday quietly refreshed its dedicated music player family with a press release and a website update.
The headline new model is a much improved sixth-generation iPod touch, “the best iPod touch yet.”
It now features the Apple-designed 64-bit A8 processor, essentially the same chip that powers the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and runs Apple's M8 motion coprocessor. Apple really went all out with the iPod touch: there's three times faster Wi-Fi 802.11ac and also an improved FaceTime HD camera with an updated sensor and burst mode for even better selfies.
But the good news doesn't stop here: the back-facing iSight camera has received a substantial upgrade, going from five to eight megapixels with slo-mo and burst mode, 1080p video capture at 30FPS, cinematic video stabilization and more.
The screen size has remained the same, measuring four inches diagonally, and there's no Touch ID. The device runs iOS 8.4 with the all-new Music app and Apple Music integration. As for the iPod nano and iPod shuffle, they have received a minor refresh with new color options available.
It's no secret that iPod sales continue to decline year after year. Many of the people who were once targets for the iPod now opt for iPhones or iPads.
This isn't exactly a terrible problem for Apple to have. The company has never had qualms about cannibalizing its own products for the sake of the greater good.
But with Apple's historic, and now renewed, love of music, it just wouldn't seem right to let the iPod—at least its conceptual existence, and not so much the name—fade out into the sunset.
For that reason, I think that Apple should go back to the drawing board. Even if this year's rumored across-the-board iPod update is nothing more than just a meager spec bump and minor changes—I think that ultimately, the line is due for a complete overhaul.
How could Apple reinvigorate its flagship music player? By doing the following five things...
If you're buying an iPod music player these days, hold off your purchase for just a little bit longer as Apple is thought to be unveiling new iPod touch, iPod nano and iPod shuffle models next Tuesday.
According to French blog iGen.fr, a pretty reliable source of Apple leaks, the iPod touch could get a substantial refresh in the form of a 64-bit processor.
The iPod nano and shuffle models are said to be receiving only cosmetic changes.
Apple yesterday unleashed iTunes 12.2 with Apple Music and Beats 1 integration and as per usual, enthusiasts combing through the installer have managed to find traces of unreleased products.
Hidden device graphics uncovered by MacRumors depicts new color options for iPods, including a gold iPod nano and a brighter pink iPod shuffle.
It's unclear if the unreleased devices are coming, if they might offer only new color options or if a more substantial hardware upgrade is in tow for the aging music player lineup, but additional assets suggest the new colors will be applied across the lineup.
Apple is not killing off the iPod shuffle, according to a report from Billboard who cites sources with knowledge of the situation. Instead, the publication says that "Apple is actually going thorough component supplier changes that have interrupted production of the Shuffle." If this report is to be believed, slipping iPod shuffle shipping times and unavailability in Apple Stores around the country could simply be explained by the fact that Apple is switching components supplier.
The diminutive iPod shuffle, Apple's $49 clip-and-go music player, could get phased out in the near future as supplies of the device are dwindling across retail channels.
As noted by 9to5Mac, iPod shuffle shipping times on the Online Apple Store dropped to 7-10 days while Apple Retail Stores appear to have run out of stock around the country.
Contrast this to the iPod touch and nano, both of which continue to be available within 24 hours. Originally launched in January 2005 and having been through multiple iterations and form factor changes, the device hasn't been updated since September 2010 and therefore could easily be the next iPod model to fall victim of consumers' changing habits.
With Apple's iPod line receiving a significant upgrade last fall, and declining sales making the music players ever-less important, it wasn't surprising that there was no mention of them during today's event.
But Apple gave them a little love this afternoon, though, as it introduced a new colorway for the iPod touch, nano and shuffle. The devices are now available in the 'Space Gray' color, debuted on the iPhone 5S...
This reminds us of Apple's famously interactive version of the Mac vs. PC campaign spotted at the top of NYTimes.com and other big media web properties. This time around, Apple has taken its nicely done dancing commercial for the new iPods and embedded it on various places online, like the indie music review site Pitchfork that in the past ran Apple's custom iPod touch page-topper ad.
It's interesting because the publication draws hipster audience so it's clear who Apple's target is. By the way, turn down the volume before hitting the Play button. Don't you just live how the little things 'explode' out of the box?
Apple yesterday refreshed the iPod lineup alongside the new iPhone 5 (here's your keynote) and boy do these colorful iPod touches look sexy. The company also revamped the popular iPod nano, making it taller and giving it a widescreen display with multitouch user interface, Bluetooth (we envision interesting accessories for the new nano).
Yes, the new touch comes in a bunch of attractive colors as well. The entry-level iPod shuffle also saw a slight redesign. But how do you go about advertising the updated iPods in a memorable, attractive and easy-going manner? Here's how...