Sources are speculating that Apple will officially discontinue both the iPod Classic and Shuffle models as part of the upcoming Apple event on October 4th. It is believed that Apple will unveil a white iPod Touch as part of this announcement.
Going forward, this would leave only the iPod Touch and the iPod Nano as the remaining iPod offerings. Both the Touch and Nano use flash memory; and so far the Touch has been limited to 64GB of storage, which is still less than half as much as the current 160GB hard drive-based iPod Classic. It could be that rumors of Apple bumping the Touch up to 128GB of flash memory could finally be a reality with the retirement of the iPod Classic. It is also rumored that the new iPod Touch will also get an improved camera as possible 3G data only abilities.
The iPod Classic is latest generation of iPod that (besides using hard drive technology) is the only iPod that is modeled after the original generations of iPods. The Classic and the previous generations of the hard drive-based player have had an impressive run, from the 5GB first generation Firewire-only model that started the iPod craze.
As for the Shuffle, while it has been a success for Apple, the lack of a screen and low storage capacity have continued to plague sales of the Shuffle since its release. This has led many to spring for the more expensive Nano, just because it did have a screen. With the latest Nano being almost as small as the Shuffle but with more storage and a screen, the move to discontinue the Shuffle does seem logical.
We will have to see how this all pans out; but with the iPhone’s continued popularity, Apple has seen sales of the iPod product line drop off since these features are now incorporated into the iPhone. The consolidation move does seem to be the best way for the product line at this time.