Rumor: Apple to shut down iPod Classic and Shuffle?

As Apple gets ready to make its big iPhone 5 reveal on Tuesday, some people are wondering if the company will also make some iPod hardware announcements as the same press event. There hasn't been much in the way of news about Apple's long running line of media players. Now the Unofficial Apple Weblog is reporting via unnamed sources that Apple might discontinue the iPod Classic, the product that started it all, along with the iPod Shuffle.

If true that would reduce the iPod hardware line up to the iPod Touch, which is basically the iPhone without the phone features, and the iPod Nano, which has basically the same casing as the current iPod Shuffle but with a touch screen.

The shut down of the iPod Classic would certainly be an end of an era for Apple. The original iPod, which launched in 2001, has the same case design as the current iPod Classic. Over the years Apple has continued to use that design even as it increased the iPod Classic's hard drive space and later added support for running video and connecting to the iTunes online store. The iPod Shuffle was first launched in 2005 and was always designed to be the smallest and cheapest version of the iPod family. The first version was also the first iPod to use Flash-based storage. It has come in a variety of form factors over the years.

Sales of iPods in general have seen a decline ever since Apple launched its iPhone and later its iPad products. Even with this decline, Apple still controls 70 percent of the media player market.

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