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Apple May Kill Two iPod Devices Next Week

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DYING WITH DIGNITY
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It may not have been the first portable media player. It may not have been the first to sport a smooth and straight-forward UI with an aesthetically pleasing form factor. And it may not have been the first to become the prototypical benchmark against which all devices were measured.

But every handheld device today -- our smartphones, our tablets, our portable consoles -- each owe a bit to the iPod Classic for being the gold standard in performance, ease, and consumer penetration over the better part of a decade.

However, according to new reports, we may all have to move on next week.

Both CNet and TUAW have gotten word that along with unveiling the iPhone 5 to a rabid crowd, Apple will likely discontinue the iPod Classic, as well as the iPod Shuffle. The former would soon be celebrating ten years on the market, influencing scores of manufacturers who envied its design and interface. But with the iPod Touch and smartphones doubling as media players for many, there's little room for the outdated device -- no matter how revolutionary.

As for the Shuffle, the highly-portable player doesn't make much sense when it and the Nano essentially share the same form factor, only the latter sports a screen. Given how important screens are in every device nowadays, it does seem a tad outdated.

And overall, the iPod line is taking its lumps. Just last year, the media players represented only 8% of Apple's total revenue -- and that includes the Touch. There's just no point in lugging around a smartphone in one pocket and an additional, superfluous device in another.

And it's not like Apple has the Zune to worry about anymore. That is, if it ever did.

So next week at Apple's iPhone 5 event, all signs point to a triumphant closure to a well-loved device.

Rest in peace, iPod Classic. In honor of your launch date, here's 2001 hit band Creed to play you out.

(See also: Amazon Takes "Fire" at Apple's iPad and Apple Denied Multi-Touch Trademark by Patent Office)

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