Is the iPod a dying product?

If you tuned into the iMore show last night, we covered the Apple Holiday gift guide but when it came to the topic of iPods we found some of them still had a place in the world. Some, like the iPod Touch were easy recommendations while others, like the iPod Classic we had a tough time suggesting.

Looking back on it, it reminds me of a thread I came across the iMore Forums asking a similar question but placing the whole iPod category itself at the center with the question being, is the iPod a dying product?

Yes, but I don't see it dying completely, at least for a while yet.kona314, iMore Forums Member

Looking through the forum thread it seems most people came to the conclusion we did on the iMore show. That the iPod Touch is a nice, easy and cost effective way to enter into the Apple ecosystem but when it comes to devices like the Nano, Shuffle and Classic their time is almost up.

The touch will probably stick around since it's an iOS device and is a gateway to the rest of that product family.BlackBerry Guy, iMore Forums Member

With that though, there's a lot of folks out there who think the Nano and Shuffle still have plenty of life left them and will keep on going for quite some time yet based on the fact that there will always be a demand for small, easy to use music players that can just be tossed around without much worry.

I don't think it will die out. Evolve yes. The need of a small device capable of music I think it is great. Small enough to keep with you doing physical activities.freeyo, iMore Forums Member

After all, not everyone wants to spend $200 just to listen to music and there's no reason Apple should give up a market they basically helped define. What do you folks think? Will we soon see the Shuffle's, Nano's and Classics retired? What about the iPod Touch, how much life does it have left in it? Sound off in the iMore Forums or in the comments below.

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Chris Parsons

Editor-at-Large at Mobile Nations, gadget junkie, energy drinker, ranter.

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Reader comments

Is the iPod a dying product?


I think we'll see the shuffle retired soon out of those 3. A classic would be nice to get just to load your entire library onto and keep in the car or something.

No I disagree, I think the classic may be discounted and instead they will put massive flash drives into shuffles and nanos. Think about it, a iPod shuffle with 128Gb? Then make it water proof! It will then really be, all your music, everywhere!

No way that would happen for a couple of reasons. First is, an iPod shuffles logic board wouldn't be able to recognize that much memory. Second is, even if that were possible, it would be an insane way to navigate through tens of thousands of songs, should you load up a full 128GB.

Records, tapes, CDs are all dead (pretty much) so where does that leave the person who just wants something to use to listen to music? iPod. I know iPhones have take the place of a stand alone music player for a lot of people bit it would seam to me that many would still want a device to play their music. Especially if they don't have an iPhone.

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If or when the iPod touch gets more storage then I could see the classic disappearing. The classic is cheap to make. Easy to use. IMO there's not a huge market for it but that's because the market is overwhelmed by other apple products.

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Out of all the iPods, the Shuffle looks like the only one that can be easily manipulated in a pocket, to navigate tracks and such, which is nice when jogging, or whatever. Personally, I'd choose one over a Nano just for that reason.

I think the classic could easily get replaced by iTunes Match if more people knew about it. The iPod has been rendered useless for the most part. People still buy them however

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if you have enough music to come close to filling an iPod Classic, iTunes Match is pointless because you probably have more songs than Match supports.

Not true because:

a) the Classic is not much bigger than other options
b) most people who use the classic are audio snobs who use lossless, (therefore divide by two the number of songs it can actually hold.)

Explain other options with 160gb.

iPod Classic user here and hardly an audio snob.

iPhone 5s user, and even though it has 32 gb, let's consider the fact that my apps and pics/video consume more than the music I choose to put on. Also an iPhone is not and has never been considered a primary music player, except maybe the first iPhone.

Every iPod in the iPod category, with the exception of the iPod touch are dying, in my opinion. I'm sure there are some users, like me, who want both iOS and non-iOS devices on their hands. Because of that, people buy iPod Touch.

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I agree. I'm using a BlackBerry Q10 for my communication needs but always have an ipod touch on the othet pocket. The ipod usually provides the app that I can't have on the other device. I just hope that the next gen will have a bigger screen and storage.

I use my iPod touch 5 more than I use my other iOS devices. I do have ample access to wi-fi connectivity throughout my day; however, I do not need to be online to do the things I enjoy regularly with my iPod. I don't know whether the other iPod models will be killed off soon, but the touch is a wonderful and practical device. I hope Apple continues updating it.

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I think it is. Maybe not right away but with higher storage options, and people wanting to consolidate multiple devices into one, I can see apple going away from the iPod line and maybe focus more on iPhone and iPad

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I agree with you here. Apple will probably keep updating the models every couple of years until the market share drops to a certain point. Then, they'll probably just push people towards iPad minis.

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I agree with you here. Apple will probably keep updating the models every couple of years until the market share drops to a certain point. Then, they'll probably just push people towards iPad minis.

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I have - in addition to my 64gb iPhone 5s - two nanos (current and previous gen) and a "classic". I put it in quotes bc when I got it it was called iPod video. I picked it up when I was a senior in college and it still works like a charm. It's the only idevice I have my entire library loaded onto. Great to have one device w everything. Though I doubt I'd buy it again given the other options I own. The current gen nano stays in my car hooked up to idrive. And my previous gen nano has the clip and I use when running.

The video I use the least. But the others get daily use for music. I will always love having a simple dedicated music player on the side. But if I had to pick one, iPhone is obvious answer.

it definitely is since they introduced ipod touches. personally i never saw the point in those. they're exactly like iphones except you can't make calls and specs are out of date. not to mention the tiny storage sizes for the price is such a bad deal. i never understood why anyone would buy an ipod touch. i'm probably gonna get another 160GB classic before they're gone for good.

160GB ipod classic=$249
64GB ipod touch=$399
no brainer

That is the point of the iPod touch- an iPhone without the data plan and the phone part. It is perfect for those who want iOS with being bound to a data plan and contract and/or don't need an iPhone. I would think the biggest users being teens and young kids. It is a great device.

There are also times when multiple ios devices come in handy, but who is gong to buy 4 iPhones? I often keep multiple iPod touch devices on hand for such occasions.

Depends on what you need. If you want something small the touch is the way to go. If you don't want iOS the nano is perfect.

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An iPod Classic only plays music, videos and pics on a 2.5" screen. I left that screen size in 07. An iPod touch does so much more so I don't see the no brained for people who want to do more than listen to music.

iPods aren't going anywhere. ipod classic gives great battery life which an ios device can never match. There is nothing better than a shuffle when you are up for some exercise and just want to hear some music. iPods were the first products that made apple something more than the rest and they cannot kill a product so wonderful.

Exactly I don't listen to music on my phone, only very very rarely only when I don't feel like carrying my classic around. But for long trips/work/what ever the classic is the mainstay. I have over 13000 songs on it. On top of audio books and podcasts. My phone's battery can't take the abuse the classic can. If they do away with it, I just may have to start looking into referbished ones or a 3rd party mp3 player. And out of spite going to android for my phone.

As long as Apple continues to charge those prices, then yes it is a dying product. But, I do believe the younger kids are still using for games and music.

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Yes I think the iPod is becoming a dying product.. Every other portable apple device has an iPod on it, so there's no need to carry an extra device with you if you already have an iPad or iPhone. I believe that the only use for an iPod touch is for someone who owns an android device but really wants an iOS experience and their contract isn't up for a while and the don't have the money to buy an unlocked iPhone. The only use for an iPod nano is to have a inexpensive music player that works well and it wouldn't been an issue if lost or broken mainly for a child or something to put your workout music on.. Like you guys mentioned in your live gift guide steam.. And that's not a very big market for apple to target so if sales drop tremendously where as though apple isn't making any profit from the iPods I could see them dropping the product completely unless they have something really special in store to add to the iPod and revamp the craving for that device.

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I've always used an iPod as a companion to my workout/yard work routines, but now that more fitness apps are making their presence in those routines, I find myself using my trusty iPod less and less.
... iWatch, maybe?

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I won't even touch on the "iPad-vs-shuffle/classic" nonsense you wrote, but in general the need for a Classic is.....STORAGE SIZE

Shuffle 4GB or Nano 16GB model (for $99) will sell well enough next year, even iPod Touch 5th gen for $199 (16GB) and $249 (32GB) will be good and there's no need of a major refresh soon, with 128GB model right around the corner every 'angle' will be covered. Too bad they didn't make those price adjustments right now, they would probably sell more of those this holiday season. NOT reducing the prices and NOT adding the storage capacity was the main mistake Apple did this year, no one demands that they put fresh hardware inside or redesign the product but doing nothing at all ? They simply don't want to sell those and they don't care if anyone buys one of their iPods anymore. Those products are solid but they will never matter as much as they did in the past (or iPad does because it's all about the tablets now). Of course Shuffle/Nano could be replaced nicely by the iWatch and I wouldn't guarantee their existence in 2015.

"Is The iPod A Dying Product?"

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Dying slowly.

Although the pace is probably already quickening. Kids with smart phones are getting younger annually it seems. Less need/demand for iPods.

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My old iPods won't die so I put them to good use. I leave a nano in my truck, a classic on a speaker dock and my iPod mini (mainly as a memento as my first pod). I believe there could be a space for edge case users to refresh the classic, but I think it's probably in their best interest to just up the storage of the touch. Streaming kind of killed the classic, because without apps like iTunes Radio, spotify or audible and a shrinking number of people with large cd collections the use case is limited. I love my classic but I had a huge collection of CDs that I've burned to iTunes. Unfortunately the death of physical music media has led to the death of the classic, but for many bands iTunes or download distribution is much cheaper than CDs. That model also let's users cherry pick their playlist. I think for a lot of people growing up now feel that streaming is a better value than physical music media which they get with an iPod touch but not with a classic.

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I think maybe the Shuffle will die out, but the Touch is here to stay. The Classics will stick around the audiophile community for the fact that they can override Apple's software with RockBox, and given time it will have a retro prestige about it and sell for a higher price.

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Not all markets are like the US and other developed regions. They may take out a few models (Shuffle, maybe), but there will always be people buying iPods (for children and others). iPhone is not sold in all countries either.

I don't think they'll die anytime soon. They all have their uses. They'll never be at their zenith again but they do fill a niche

The death of the ipod has been a narrative for iphone lover for several years. I don't get why exactly. For the people that have to have the latest thing, that do things like stand in line for phone launches it's different. They can't see that every situation doesn't call for an all in one phone. And they don't see that all consumers aren't like them doing everything on a phone.

There are many consumers that don't want to pay for a data plan. There are many people that don't want an iphone but want a music player like an ipod. There are many that want a small lite portable player for use when they excercise. I live in SoCal in an area where there's a lot of outdoor and active people. Like i'm talking fitness boot camps on the beach in the park are a daily thing. You see 70+ year olds jogging regularly. And many have shuffle's and nanos. My gym has people using all kinds of music players from phones to shuffles. And then there are kids that need a player but don't need a phone plan their parents have to pay for. And the world is full of places where people don't use iphones.

I don't think the music player is a dying product space. Just today i spoke to a friend who has a phone and a media player (ipod). That doesn't mean ipods will continue because Apple doesn't always do what i'd do. But if they go away someone else like samsung can easily take up the slack.

I think the iPod line up still has a few years left before a complete refresh. I see an iPod Nano & iPod Shuffle merge. A bit more compact than the Nano but will function more or less like a Shuffle with a display plus some health/fitness apps. Can't really tell what will happen to the iPod Classic. Maybe another refresh for the "music hoarders" but with some of the technologies available today incorporated into it like iTunes Radios & Match. Lastly, for the iPod Touch, I think it will still follow the same cycle. An upgrade every 1-2 years.

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You could look at it another way - there is an iPod in every single IOS device, which essentially means the iPod has never been more popular!

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I think there will always be a place for the nano for sports and excercise but I can see the iPod Classic eventually fading out.

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I think there will always be a place for the nano for sports and excercise but I can see the iPod Classic eventually fading out.

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I don't think so...Especially the shuffle! It's really small and easy to use and this is perfectly for sportists. I go fitness every day and I think of buying this product because if I use iPhone it will be too big for me and I'm afraid of braking it...So shuffle is still really usefull :) Maybe Apple should add more memory to it.

I personally never thought the iPod line was useful for me, but with that said I doubt they will go away. My first apple product was the original iPhone, and since then there was no reason to have any other iPod device. I'm sure preteens and their parents would still continue to purchase them if they can't /don't want to get iPhones instead.

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Just got an iPod touch for our son for Christmas. He loves his gen 4 touch but we don't want him to have an iPhone yet. I can see some consolidation of the rest of the iPod line.

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I think the Touch and the Nano are totally relevant products and will stay that way for a while. Every kid I know under the age of 14 has an iPod touch. It's the entry product for kids who's parents don't want them to have a cell phone, or who can't afford more . 3 teenagers in my family want a Touch for Christmas, and that's ALL they want! Plus the new game controllers for iPhone / Touch will make it even more of a gaming device.

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I love my 7th gen classic with click-wheel. I do have a iPhone 5, but when it comes to training I need a rugged beast that is quick to scroll through 160gb of songs. I need to jump around alot and its a much slower process with touch especially with sweaty hands.

The nano imo went downhill when they got rid of the clickwheel. They should have just had the touch nano as a different class of products, no clickwheel=no nano.

They should bring clickwheel style nano with larger capacity, maybe a hd camera, or create a new Ipod Classic Air with clickwheel. Keep the classic a rugged beast.

The iPod touch will live for a long time, however the nano and shuffle are at risk, Apple should do better.

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I think if the iPod offers a micro HDMI ouput and larger storage capacities it might give them a new demographic.

I think the iPod line as a whole is fine. The only competition to the "MP3 Player" is Apple itself. So Apple is capturing consumers whether it's the audiophiles with the Classic, or the gym rats with the Nano/Shuffle. Apple owns that market. And it's still a gateway into their ecosystem even if it's just purchasing music on iTunes.

My dream iPod would be to refresh the Classic with flash memory and give me Bluetooth. Keep the same storage option, hell, give me more. My whole music library and wireless setup would be an awesome refresh.

The iPod line is so antiquated. Hell, the iPhone is a better music playing device because it has wifi/LTE , iTunes Match, great music apps like Spotify, etc.

The fact that you have to whip out a white USB cable and connect those stupid iPods to a computer running iTunes to get them to do anything shows you how truly serious Apple is about continuing to sell them. If Apple really saw future potential in selling MP3 players, they would at the least add wireless technologies, and the ability to use iCloud and iTunes Match. But they don't, because the iPod is dead...period...THE IPOD IS DEAD! Lets all move on people.

Your points are mute for people who don't use smartphones, or choose to have lower data plans for the sake of the U.S.'s expensive phone plans. And not everyone wants to dish out numerous payments to different streaming services every month.

Lets also think about the people who purchase the 16gb iPhones. I don't even have music on my phone and 13.6gb is used up from photos/videos and apps. So my 32gb 5s is now basically an empty 16gb 5s.

I am pretty sure people who still upload their iPhones use the cable still to this day. The wifi sync still has a person sit at a computer and choose on iTunes which songs you want to sync. And even then the wifi sync is still inconsistent. I still use the cable just for the dependability.

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Some updates might help revive them. An apple branded game controller for the touch? Push it as a mobile gaming device against the vita and Nintendo ds.

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All things have a life cycle and the iPod has reached its end. I actually do not consider the iPod Touch an "iPod" it is an iOS devise. True iPods - those whose function is just audio - are gasping their last breaths.

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Apple needs to release iPods with updated technology on par with current iPhones, I believe that would help keep iPod sales up but Apple keeps releasing current iPods with less power than current iPhones. That's been a major frustration for me personally

Don't miss the business point of the Touch. Here in Germany we use it as device in hospitals to go mobile with patient records or enter menu wishes from patients or even for mobile dictation, get email on the go or have a quick search for pharmaceuticals in the web. It even works nice using the camera as a barcode scanner.

Ironically, I'm seeing renewed interest in the iPod Nano's from...Android owners with big phones. As their phones continue to grow, they are diverging into separate gadgets for their music. For the time being, the relatively small and light iPhone seems able to serve as both phone/mp3 player.

I haven't seen someone with a Shuffle or Nano in a long while. The iPod Touch I see all the time with my daughter and her friends. I have to imagine the majority of the Touch's sales are for kids and teens. If you're an adult and the Touch interests you, it doesn't make sense to me that you wouldn't just go ahead and buy the iPhone instead. If it were up to me, I'd ditch the Nano and keep the Shuffle (for runners) and Touch.

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The Nano incorporates the Nike+ running accelerometer which benefits most runners. However, as a runner, I use my iPhone now. But eventually I want to slim down to a good GPS watch and a shuffle for less weight.

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The Nano incorporates the Nike+ running accelerometer which benefits most runners. However, as a runner, I use my iPhone now. But eventually I want to slim down to a good GPS watch and a shuffle for less weight.

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I think the iPod touch will live on, but only because it's an iOS device. If and when the high-end and midrange iPhone get bigger screens and/or OLED screen technology, the touch line might stay at 4" with LCD technology to keep its costs down.

The thing that makes the iPod touch an awkward product for Apple is that it's not subsidized by cell carriers. It's more or less an iPhone minus the phone electronics, with last year's iPhone components. So pricing it higher than the latest iPhone is a hard sell.

On the other hand, Apple would prefer that customers buy an iPhone instead of an iPod touch. More revenue for Apple over the long term, thanks to their deals with cell carriers. So I don't think the iPod touch will be getting much cheaper any time soon. (And it's amazing how important that initial purchase price is. $200 for an iPhone 5S is a drop in the bucket compared to the roughly $2400 you'll pay to AT&T or other carrier over 2 years.)

As for the other iPods, who knows how long Apple will keep selling them? The non-iOS iPods have little if any forward-looking technology. They're all dead ends. The "tie clip" iPod shuffle proved that there's a lower limit to the size of button-controlled iPods. The current shuffle is at the limit. The iPod classic hasn't been updated in years, and it works against Apple's push toward iCloud. It only appeals to the few iPod customers who need to keep all their content with them at all times.

The iPod nano may have one more evolutionary step. It just might be possible to shrink the iPod touch's screen / battery / electronics into a nano-sized enclosure. It could run iOS with a simplified home screen. Not a shrunken 4 x 6 grid of app icons like on iPhone / iPod touch. Maybe a 3 x 5 grid instead. So the icons wouldn't be too small to tap.

I haven't done the math, but if next year's high-end iPhone model has a 1920x1080 screen with a 4.7-to-4.9-inch diagonal, maybe a smaller panel with the same technology could be used in an iOS-based iPod nano. It could keep the current iPhone's 1136 x 640 resolution, so apps would run as-is on the updated nano. (There would, of course, be some re-coding for the "big" iPhone screen, but only if you haven't followed Apple's "Auto Layout" guidelines.) Just a thought.

I think that they will continue the iPod touch for a good few years. There still is a big market for it. It's iOS without a hefty price tag or contract. The iPod shuffle and classic however I think maybe in a few years will be discontinued. After all, the only main thing that they can do is play music. The nano I think will be sold as the primary music device. There just isn't much need for the shuffle and classic. They can increase the storage on the nano to make it the dedicated music iPod.

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I think one factor in decreasing demand for the iPod is the desire for consumers to be always connected... can't do that with an iPod outside of wifi or hot spotting. I am using a 1st gen iPod touch as a music player in the car, so I'm not hogging up my family data plan when using my iPhone (although iTunes Match + Radio is a winner for me.)

The iPod line is certainly out of its prime, and it's aging and falling in popularity, but I don't think it's dying quite yet. The iPod Shuffle is still nice for a cheap music player, and the touch is still a great device and a gateway to the iPhones. I would like to see Apple keep a dirt cheap device and maybe give it a little more storage, and keep the touch, then nix the rest.

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I predict in a year or two there will be only two iPods that Apple sells. The iPod Shuffle due to its price and portability and the iPod Touch due to iOS. The iPod Classic is only for a very specific group of people and that group is shrinking rapidly. It's also expensive considering its very limited capabilities. The iPod Nano is a good product but doesn't really fit in. It's a little too overpriced to be an iPod Shuffle alternative yet too low tech to compete with the iPod Touch. I don't think the question should be "Is the iPod dying?" but rather "Where does the iPod go from here?" The iPod Touch 4th Gen. used iPhone 4 external hardware but iPhone 3Gs internal hardware. The current iPod Touch has iPhone 5 external hardware but iPhone 4s internal hardware. What happens next year? Will the iPod get a fingerprint scanner? Will it get an A7 processor? If so, it would make the iPod Touch an even more odd and compelling product.

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I would think that even with the iPhone and even iPod touch people would still want a way to simply listen to music. I know smart phones have taken over this task for many but for those who don't want to use a phone for that or don't even have one, an iPod can be THE way to listen to music now that CDs are dying on the vine.

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For my personal use, I use my iPod Classic all the time, I have a lot of music and the only device with enough memory to hold it is the classic, I would love to be able to stream my music through sonic or something along those lines at work; but where I work, we have no wifi and never will, and def can not afford to pay the data plan to stream 40 hours a week, so unless the touch goes bigger memory wise (or the iPhone bumps up to a 256) I will continue to use my classic cause I very much have a need for it

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I hope the iPod touch is not killed. It's my iPhone substitute since I can't afford an iPhone.

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Well I think they are a dying product, but I do have a iPhone 5 32GB and a iPad Mini with Retina Display 64GB, and I might go to the store today and pickup a iPod Nano, simply for the battery life on long trips, and for yard work, work. And the only think that keeps the iPod Touches still selling is kids.

Let's all just say thanks and give our respects because these devices are dead. Consumers just want one device only; communications and multimedia.It's why we like the universal remote control so much. They're great devices but why buy $200 for audio and video when your phone plays the same getting faster with increasing space capacity every year, Buy an Iphone or Android and be happy.....