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TheVerge.com has an interesting story noting that while Apple's iPads and iPhones sold better than ever before during the recent holiday season (though not as well as analysts expected, which was at least part of the reason the company's stock price has been dropping), sales of its iPod line dropped 52 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.

"What happened to the iPod?" the story asks. "Simple cannibalization, for one: every one of those 51 million iPhones can take the place of an iPod. (Steve Jobs famously called the iPhone 'the best iPod we've ever made.') And as people increasingly get their music from streaming services, a constant internet connection could be key, something you don't get with an iPod or even a iPod touch unless you have a Wi-Fi hotspot to pair with."

In other words, the company may have engineered itself out of the iPod business … unless, of course, it can come up with a dramatic refresh for the line that will capture public attention and create acquisitional fervor in a way that the original iPod did.
KC's View:
I think it is fair to say that the iPod changed the world a little bit. But it may simply be that it has outlived its usefulness, and has been replaced by technology that is better, cheaper or more convenient. So now Apple has a decision to make. (Actually, it has a lot of decisions to make, with the perception growing that it simply is not as innovative as it used to be.)

I will tell you this. I have an iPod Classic, and I love it. I travel with it all the time, and take it to the gym … it has all my music and videos on it, and is enormously convenient. And I like the idea that I keep all my media stuff on a device separate from my iPhone and iPad, which have much smaller drives.

But it remains to be seen what the smart business play is.