If you haven’t noticed, Mp3 files have practically become the primary way that people listen to music. Whether at home, in the office, or on the go, the majority of us are using one device or another to listen to Mp3 playback. With the number of devices that play Mp3’s vastly increasing, how long will it be before standalone Mp3 players like the iPod Touch and Nano become absolutely obsolete? Scroll on down to see our reasons why we think may be gone by the end of the year.

1. iPhone Trumps iPod Touch

Apple iPhone

When the iPhone first came out, it was little more than an iPod with a phone antenna. Over the years, that has changed and the iPod (Touch) is now just a lighter iPhone with less features. Sure, it’s cheaper than buying a new iPhone, but isn’t the smarter decision of picking up a used 64GB iPhone a better decision? With that purchase you get a capable device that gives you Wi-Fi connectivity as well as the option to connect it to cellular service when necessary? Speaking of Wi-Fi connectivity…

2. They’re Wi-Fi Only

WiFi in Hand

Many people have begun to decrease their purchasing of Mp3’s in favor of using streaming services like Spotify, 8Traks and Pandora. Having a device such as an iPod Touch or Nano means you won’t be able to use such service on the go as they’re Wi-Fi dependent for internet access. Also, many mobile games now offer the ability to play with or compete with friends online, how are you supposed to do that if you aren’t home or at work? Should you even be playing games while you’re at work, on their Wi-Fi connection?  Of course you could bring a Hotspot along with you, but considering the added weight, mass and monthly bill, shouldn’t you just take your phone?

WiFi image courtesy of Shutterstock

3. Limited Capability (Redundant Device)


There is absolutely no shortage of Mp3 players in the world. There was a time when the only trustworthy Mp3 players on the market were the Creative Nomad Jukebox, Microsoft Zune and the iPod, but that time is long gone. So many devices offer Mp3 playback now that spending money on a standalone device explicitly for playing music is absurd, especially if you plan on purchasing better headphones to use with it. Why not instead spend the same money you would on a Nano and get these awesome headphones instead? They’re Bluetooth compatible and even have 4GB of storage for Mp3 playback.

4. Android Displacement and its Market Share

hugo barra android

As Android is now dominating iOS in smartphone Operating Systems market share, it’s very apparent that fewer people are opting to spend the extra money on iPhones. Considering this, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we soon see Apple consolidating their available mobile products down to simply the most successful. What is the benefit to them of paying the costs to manufacture devices that aren’t being sold? As more people carry around smartphones with Mp3 playback, iOS or Android, the demand for standalone Mp3 players decreases correspondingly.

5. Logical Evolution of Products


As the Mp3 player, Pocket PC, digital camera and cell phone evolved into the modern smartphone, so shall the smartphone evolve into something else. Think about it. Google’s already making their first attempt at smartphone evolution by releasing Glass. Add to that the several companies working on devices to compete with Glass and you have a forthcoming movement. Multi-purpose devices are quickly becoming a standard in the tech market, just look at the increasing availability and decreasing cost of Smart TV’s. We now have a societal requirement for our TV’s to do more than just display videos, how long do you think the appeal of an Mp3 player will persist?

6. Family Data Plans Becoming More Affordable


Let’s face it, the primary market of the iPod Touch is/was parents that didn’t/don’t want to give their kids smartphones. In most examples of this that I’ve encountered centered around the cost of voice and data plans. Sorry folks, that excuse is going to be going out the window soon. Each of the three major wireless providers, (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint) now offer very affordable “Family” Plans with reasonable Data caps. Some of them are even cheaper than standalone plans. If a parent can easily afford to, if not save more by adding another line to their plan, why wouldn’t they? Once again, if you’ve got a smartphone, you don’t need an Mp3 player.

7. Cheaper Smartphones

Moto G Announcement

In addition to voice and data plans becoming progressively more affordable, so are the devices that utilize them. Even if the idea of a wireless contract is impracticable, there are many pay as you go plans and devices available such as the Nexus 5, Moto G and the Droid Maxx. Know what’s not special about these devices? They all offer Mp3 playback!

8. Who Doesn’t Have a Mobile Phone?


Pop-Quiz hot shot; how many people do you know that do not own a mobile or smartphone? If you could name anyone, I would bet that the number is less than five. Even the number of Middle School students without mobile phones is rapidly decreasing. The few people without them are mostly in a demographic that won’t exist for much longer. When was the last time you saw a mobile phone, smart or otherwise, without Mp3 playback? That capability’s been available in mobile phones since before the first RAZR. How many people are left to even crave iPod ownership?

I can’t stress enough how impractical and obsolete standalone Mp3 players are. I’ve only listed eight of the various and innumerable reasons that you should reconsider purchasing one and I’m sure there are many more that will be posted to the comments below. Apple has yet to make any announcements about discontinuing the above mentioned iPod products, but if you had millions of them in stock, would you? You don’t want to end up mirroring the person who bought a Saturn right before the company collapsed in the recession, do ya?

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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  1. I hope they go broke… Again I visited one of your stores. The young gentleman said my ipod was vintage and gave me an example… If your power to your house changes to a new more efficient style.. You will need to upgrade all your appliances and such. This is what has happened with your ipod.

    First of all, I was insulted for this example … I have 4 Electricians in my family and I’m an Electronic Engineering Technician.. So the dynamics of this scenario ever happening is way.. way out there.

    I came back with the example.. Your car is from 2005 and now emits too many emissions. As a responsible car company, I’ll just disable all the computer electronics remotely, call it vintage and needs to be replaced. Ohhh.. and I won’t tell you I’m doing this.

    I had 2 experiences with Telus mobile in the past.. Once my phone was obsolete they gave me the option of a free phone replacement or a significant discount to others.

    A phonograph is vintage. Digital media available to the public is 40 years old. This is music.. Not computers. Music purchase should be able to be played on the player the company made for it.

    I was offered a 10% discount on a trade in. My ipod still works great. I can get a 20% employee discount at the store my wife works at on a new ipod. So this discount was insulting as well.

    Bait and Switch.. Apple sold me a product and baited me to buy it.. I did.. Then decided to disable it 12 years later with no warning or suggestion upgrade.. So I would buy a new one? Is this what your company is about? Bad Apples.

    Not fair selling practices.

    I would like to resolve this issue to come up with a solution to my situation.

    I’m open to ideas or suggestions.. I personally would like to hear my purchased music on my purchased player purchased in 2005.. “All Purchased at Apple” Or.. Supply me with a player that works today.


  2. That was August 2015. Guess what… Jordan was wrong. Here we are February 2017, and the iPod lineup is still available and for sale. That said, the writing is surely on the wall. Not only are most people consuming music on their phones as their primary portable device, but most are using some sort of streaming service to get it. And Apple is happy to join that market with iPhone and Apple Music service. But even though sales of iPod are on the decline, and will continue to slide, they’re still selling. Apple never misses an opportunity to make a dollar… and if that means keeping older hardware on the market (which they do with iPad and iPhone), then there’s no reason yet to stop selling iPod. For as hot as the iPhone may be, there’s an even larger market for phones and devices way below the latest iPhone’s $700-$800 price point. I can get a cheap android phone and an iPod Touch for half that cost. Are iPod’s days numbered? Clearly. But as you can see, reports of iPod’s death are still premature.

  3. First of all, I hate online articles that fail to post their publish date. What’s up with that?

    Secondly, I disagree with the author profoundly. I enjoy listening to music much of the day but not enough to use up the battery on my phone.

    Thirdly, I prefer to carry a smaller compact device for my music than my iPhone when outside or exercising.

    You’re just wrong, Mr. author…yep, you’re simply wrong. Please stop making excuses to every comment that disagrees with you.

  4. For me this just doesn’t hold true. I love music and like carrying around a large as possible portion of it. On the other hand, I have zero interest in phones or smart phones…. I just don’t see the appeal. In fact I find them rather unhealthy, the whole act of being “available” and “connected” 24/7 just doesn’t seem natural to me…. I want to be unreachable at times, I don’t care how important a business issue may be, on my free time I want zero internet/email access.
    With that said, I did own an iPhone for two years so I could see what the fuss was all about. I hated the thing… I’d be listening to music and be constantly interrupted by the chime of a text or a call, it was nearly twice the bulk of an iPod touch and for the gigantic bill I paid every month all I ever did was make phone calls and text on it, which I could do on a regular old cell phone for a fraction of the price.

    An other important point is about the whole evolution of products. As products merge together, the quality tends to go down dramatically. Ask any real audiophile about the sound quality of listening to music through a smart phone and prepare to be lectured. There are some awesome stand-alone players out there with amazing built in sound-card (or sound-card bypass) and that will play FLAC as well as nearly every audio file type….. and there’s a reason they aren’t jacks of all trades and masters of none.

  5. I think you are missing the battery life issue. If I use my iphone to listen to music all day while I’m running around, or for a few hours on a plane, the battery is DEAD. Then I can’t make calls I need to make. Apple, in its INFINITE wisdom does not allow me to change the battery, because I’m clearly too stupid to be able to do that. So, I have a Touch for my music and a phone for everything else. Only because at the time I bought them they were UNFORTUNATELY the best options. Rest assured that my next purchase on BOTH categories will not be Apple products. Sick to death of Apple Jail and general arrogance of the company.

  6. Jordan, what’s your take on how future usage of smart devices will expand into more than one device (I.e. phone, watch, wristband, glasses)? Do you think we are experiencing more of an expansion of smart products or an evolution (or maybe both until some genius innovator comes along and combines all these products, both handheld and wearable, into a single product that we all will eventually need)?

  7. I would argue the opposite…as wifi becomes even more ubiquitous I would expect the demand for wifi-only devices to increase. I agree with you regarding the nano (especially with an iWatch coming) but the ipod touch is more than an MP3 player. Considering the availability of wifi in large cities, I can see a declining need for LTE devices.

  8. The article suggests that there is inadequate demand for the iPod Touch for the reasons it mentions. Could be. If I was carrying a do-everything-smartpone, I’d probably agree. For personal reasons I hope he’s wrong though. I’m self employed and work at home, and just use a Trac-style phone for the small amount of calling I do away from the house. My cell bill is about $4 a month. The iPod Touch 5 is a very capable device with an ocean of apps available for it. My favorite use for it is taking pictures, and I’ve gotten some very nice ones with it. It’s so nice to have the spontaneous ability to take pictures, with a camera that does a nice job and is so thin and light you don’t even notice it in your pocket (most iPhones I see people using look like bricks in comparison).

    1. You make a valid argument and your concerns are valid. Unfortunately, I don’t think that there are enough people in your situation to validate Apple continuing to produce soon to be obsolete devices. Remember, Apple came back not by catering to those with low incomes, but by selling secure, capable and over priced hardware.

    2. I agree I’m an iPod 5th gen. owner & love it, I use it as a camera to post photo’s on Facebook built in,no computer needed anymore. I use Google’s free VOIP service called Google Voice,it’s a great Free Wifi Phone after installing Talkatone( includes free SMS messages) to normal cellphones. Also yes Free Tango for Video conferencing. Also Facebook APP, Face Time (free to all Apple users for video conferencing to other Apple devices),IP Camera Viewer to see outside house from my IP camera, YouTube, Hulu+, Zillow, Google Maps, TV Guide, Weather,and of coarse SIRI which is easy by holding the Home button down, free Chess and more Game Apps old iPods could’nt run.

  9. This article is wrong, just as the pc in everything didn’t work out, nor will all my portable devices need yo be a phone. When I’m at the gym, all I need is a nano, phones are to big end clunky got that stuff

    1. Read the whole list Andrew. Other devices will take the place of stand alone Mp3 players.Product evolution.

  10. While I agree, in large measure, this article fails to consider the more limited capacity of smartphones (for now and the near-terms) when compared to HDD iPods of 80, 120 and 160GB capacity. This is critical for those with large music collections or who listen to other types of long-form content on the go.

    1. Marc, you’re right. I did skip over those with large collections. I personally have well over 200GB of music, but I think those of us with collections of this size are few in number and aren’t a large enough market to affect Apples decisions.

    2. Marc – I don’t think that those of us with a large music collection would be affected at all. This article is talking about the iPod Touch and Nano becoming obsolete – not *all* iPods. Both the Touch (64GB) and Nano (16GB) have limited capacity, just like your mention of the smartphones.

      The iPods you mention – of the 80, 120 and 160GB capacities – should still be around for quite some time yet, specifically *because* of their larger capacities. I think that an iPad or tablet/notebook would be the more likely future replacement of our high capacity iPods; especially with the iPad now having a 128GB capacity. As that type of more portable device reaches a larger capacity, then we should start worrying about our standard iPods. :)

  11. This article assumes that everybody wants their only portable audio playback to be their phone…

    Picture your backyard… Now picture a bbq with your friends… How many of those douchebags AREN’T tooling around on their iPhones during half their visit?… are you content having your phone remain stationary while plugged into a device or worse chewing through battery while connected via bluetooth?

    …and if you do end up using your mphone3player while entertaining guests we all know you haven’t disabled the keystroke slapback tones (like most apple users), so you’ll be broadcasting that along with your cliched retro bicycle bell notification and countless selfie shutter.wav’s…

    Man I hate this world you’ve painted for me…

    It’s too bad we’re not instead pushing the next great cross-platform, file sharing, high fidelity portable media player…

    Sadly, in search of said device is how I ended up here.

    1. Check out #5 Mocha, these devices evolve. There was almost a solid decade in which I waited for my Handspring Visor, Nomad Jukebox and Cell Phone to become one device with video playback. We’ll get there sooner than later, and when we do, GR will be here to tell you about it.

  12. I enjoyed this article but I certainly disagree regarding the iPod touch. I have yet to see a smartphone adequately serve as an always available hotspot device. At present, I prefer using an unlocked mifi device as a central access point for LTE access. With this configuration, LTE chips are not needed in each device & an iPod touch is suitable as a handset – essentially a $250-$300 iphone4s w/out LTE/GPS).

      1. It is actually really interesting to me how Mifi devices get overlooked. T-Mobile for example currently charges $20 for the first 500Mb of LTE data & subsequently $5/GB. Skype offers unlimited US/Canada calls + a phone# for $5.50/month. With this configuration, a majority of mobile devices are capable of fulfilling the role as a ‘phone’, devices are always connected & locally networked, & the need to purchase hardware from the telcoms disappears. You also already have a wifi network in your car – which manufacturers are slowly trying to rollout today w/ their own monthly charges. These devices are already pocketable, last all day, can serve as a NAS or battery pack, & have numerous antennas for swapping SIM cards abroad. Mine even has LTE-A, which I can’t find service for. Once I can, all devices will run & the upgraded speeds since I’m not relying on antennas in each device.
        In other words, where is the wearable Mifi? It would be a huge hit! Did I sell you on one Jordan? :P

        1. Almost Mike, almost. I can see myself purchasing something like that in the future, but it isn’t here yet. I tend to use other methods, which I can’t mention here to perform similar actions to what you listed.

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