iPod shuffle supply mysteriously dwindles

“If you’re trying to buy Apple’s cheapest iPod, the $49 screen-less Shuffle, you may be in for a difficult shopping trip,” Mark Gurman reports for 9to5Mac.

“According to multiple sources, supplies of the iPod Shuffle are dwindling across Apple’s physical retail and online channels,” Gurman reports. “In fact, Apple has warned its retail employees that Shuffle supplies will be short for an unspecified period of time and that customers seeking to buy a Shuffle via a retail store should be directed to Apple’s online store.”

Gurman reports, “It is unclear what this nearly-unprecendented supply shortage means for the iPod Shuffle.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Some sort of component issue in the supply chain? An unexpected surge in demand for Christmas stocking stuffers? Or is the end nigh for iPod shuffle?

27 Comments

  1. The entire line of iPods is due for either a refresh or a revamp. My guess is that the Shuffle shortage is just the first sign of an upcoming new iPod line reveal this spring. Or: Maybe Apple has better things to worry about right now. [Hint: Watch]

    1. I think Apple’s probably planning on moving their media players to the Beats brand. And maybe even integrating iPod shuffle like features directly into the headphones.

        1. Wireless headsets have had volume and track controls and a microphone for several years, even going back to 2008 with the Motorola SD-08. I can make phone calls (via Siri) and answer them on my wireless headset if I want to and this is a common feature on wireless headsets today. I’d be really surprised if the Beats wireless headsets didn’t already have all of these features.

  2. I’ve used iPod Nanos of various generations to take off 75 pounds and keep it off so I have a fond feeling for the line. I have the latest generation, courtesy of a recall which gave me the newest model for a swap with my iPod Generation 1 model. I also use the iPod Nano for listening to podcasts. I never saw the point of the shuffle – I guess that it was for people that only ran and listened to music. I need to directly access some of the things that I listen to. I do not care to get one of those arm bands and strap my iPhone to it – those things look awful and advertise to the world that you’re carrying $500 worth of stuff on your arm. The iPod Nano tucks into a running pocket on your running shorts and you can use it wirelessly or wired. I prefer to go wireless.

    1. I prefer the shuffle for cycling (I have two), as they clip to my jersey, weigh virtually nothing, have great battery life, and allow easy access to the volume and play controls.

      1. I use a Bluetooth headset so I don’t have to deal with wires and the headset has volume and play controls. A lot of wired headsets have inline volume and play controls too. You could easily mount the phone on the bicycle and use a wireless headset. I don’t use a headset for bicycling or running outside unless it’s on a track as I like to listen for traffic, animals, etc.

          1. I had a look at a site with our bicycling laws and they list a few specifics but in general, bicycles are consider vehicles under the law with some specific exceptions. I would guess that you are correct as you can’t drive with headphones on. Later this year, a new distracted driver law will go into effect and it means that you can’t use a handheld phone while driving (I see huge numbers of people doing this on the road and I don’t think that they’re going to stop doing it unless there’s a lot of enforcement of the law). In NYC, I think that they have or had a law where you couldn’t use them as a pedestrian.

          2. I recommend listening to podcast or audio books (people talking) rather than music when bicycling. It makes it easer to hear cars and people around you.

            Also Apple’s EarPods are NOT noise canceling. A good thing when bicycling.

  3. I thought Apple was killing off the entire iPod lineup because people keep claiming that its redundant, meaning every iPhone is already an iPod. I was thinking Apple is going to put all of its energy and effort into the AppleWatch because that’s where it’s going to make its money. The iPod Touch, although adequate for music, seems to have fallen behind the technical curve for games. Apple probably won’t be building any high-end media players so I got the feeling Apple was calling the iPod lineup quits.

    I had hoped that Apple would put a fingerprint reader, NFC and Secure Enclave chip into a new iPod Touch and allow it to do mobile payments but that’s unlikely since Apple desperately needs to sell iPhones, so it can’t afford overlapping product feature conflicts.

    1. As I posted above, I think the “music” players will be moved to Beats. But as for the iPod touch line… I think we’ll see upgraded models this Fall; 4.7″ display, plastic case, and A8 SoC.

      This is when we’ll also finally get an updated AppleTV. From then on out, they’ll both share the same internals to help cut costs.

      And the new AppleTV will support gaming and other types of entertainment apps – separate from current models of the AppleTV.

  4. My wife recently purchased a 6 Plus, and it’s waaaaay too big to wear for working out, so we bought a Shuffle for the gym. I had been wondering if there would be a surge in purchases. Maybe…?

  5. There should be one iPod, the iPod Touch. It should come in 16, 64, 128 and 256gb storage capacities. I held off buying a replacement iPod Classic and instead opted for the iPhone 6+ with 128gb. It is great not having to sync multiple libraries. I would buy an iPod Touch 256gb so I have a complete backup of my digital music. I really see little need for the Shuffle (I have one) or Nano (I don’t have one).

    1. I disagree. The iPod touch is a great device, but it is basically an iPhone without the phone, more of an iPad nano than anything.

      Apple definitely needs to keep the Shuffle and update it to work with HealthKit and such. A lot of people use Shuffles at the gym and while biking and running.

      I am not sure about the iPod nano. They were fantastic when they were released and for several years afterwards. But, now, they don’t seem to fit in quite as well. They are not touch screen (yet), so they are not iPad femtos. They are basically Shuffles with displays and more storage.

      I want Apple to keep their product lineups relatively simple. But I would prefer that they avoid killing off products just because they don’t sell in the tens of millions or earn $1B each year. They need to keep these products up-to-date so that they remain a viable part of the Apple ecosystem and a gateway for people to gain an appreciation for Apple. But that does not have to take a great deal of engineering time or resources, and a more complete ecosystem keeps its customers happier.

        1. Thanks, I had not looked at the newer models. So I guess they now qualify as iPad femtos. I am still not sure where they fit in with iPhones and the iPod touch.

          My point remains the same – I do not believe that Apple should kill off products just because they do not earn billions. These product have roles in the overall Apple ecosystem.

  6. The information we do not have is how many shuffles are Apple selling annually and what margins do they have. From what I can remember Apple are selling ~5M iPods per quarter. 50% of those are iTouch. So my guess is that 5M shuffles are being sold yearly with revenue of around $0.25BB per year.
    So for a revenue and profit stand point the shuffle may be not useful to the company. In the past it was used as an entry point to get users into iTunes and Apple in general. I don’t think that applies anymore and Apple could well be cutting that out of the product line.

    1. Bluetooth is a significant battery drain for the iPod Nano and it cuts runtime by at least 50%. The iPod Nano has battery life of 30 hours and the iPod Shuffle has 15 hours so cut those both in half and it the iPod Shuffle may not be as attractive an option if you do a lot of long workouts.

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