The iPod touch 6th generation release date is not coming in 2014 according to a new analyst report. The report suggests Apple will skip a new iPod touch in 2014 to deliver the iWatch to consumers in the fourth quarter, which starts in October.
Shoppers are eager for the iPod touch 6th generation release to arrive, especially those that still own the aging iPod touch 4th generation. Apple updated the iPod touch in September 2012 to the current iPod touch 5th generation which is very similar to the iPhone 5 with a 4-inch display and an Apple A5 processor.
The iWatch is a nickname given to an Apple smartwatch that many rumors suggest Apple is planning to deliver this year with connectivity to the iPhone and iPad for notifications and to track health and fitness with a variety of sensors. If released this year the iWatch would be Apple’s first real wearable. The iPod Nano proved popular as a quasi smart watch for users, but it did not offer notifications or other features that now define a smartwatch such as apps and connectivity.
Apple announced in early 2013 that we would not see improved iPod sales in the start of the year, which pointed to a late 2014 iPod touch 6th generation release as a possibility, but a recent roadmap from another prominent analyst and this new report suggest Apple is not ready to deliver a new iPod touch 6th generation at this time.
Christopher Caso, analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group tells Barrons that Apple could skip the iPod touch 6th generation update this year to focus on the iWatch. Caso explains that the iWatch could replace the iPod as a consumer device, which means no new iPods in 2014. Caso shares,
“We, however, aren’t assuming a material impact to earnings from iWatch, since the iWatch would essentially replace the iPod in the consumer portion of AAPL’s product lineup. While we don’t expect AAPL to discontinue iPod for some time, we also don’t expect an iPod refresh this year, and believe iPod could post Y/Y unit declines as a result as consumers purchasing iWatch as a substitute.”
In his report Caso claims Apple is planning two iWatch models, which lines up with the latest iWatch rumors from Ming-Chi Kuo who predicts that at least one iWatch will be a fashionable device with a price of thousands. This report is based on information from Asian Supply chain checks performed by Caso and Susquehanna. Kuo’s Apple 2014 roadmap does not show an iPod touch 6th generation release alongside many other products.
This report does not point to the end of the iPod touch this year, but it does point to another holiday shopping season with a old iPod touch on store shelves.
While it is possible that Apple plans to push the iPod touch 6th generation and any other new iPod models into 2015 to make it easier for consumers to spend money on an iWatch this rationale does not address the users that buy an iPod touch as a device for a child or for an adult that needs connectivity without any type of contract. This user base will not likely be able to replace an iPod with an iWatch unless they also upgrade to an iPhone 6 or some other Apple device that the watch can connect to.
Several Gotta Be Mobile readers shared that they purchased iPod touch devices for the holidays to give to their children instead of a cell phone. Another reader wrote in asking when the iPod touch 6th generation release would be so she could upgrade her old iPod touch 4th generation for something newer. She did not want to buy an iPhone and get a contract and did not want something as big as an iPad mini. For many users that are still on a flip phone the iPod touch is a popular device that brings many of the benefits of a smartphone without the added cost. It can also act as a springboard to buying an iPhone or smartphone when that individual’s contract is up.
iPod sales are down more than 50% year over year and sales are minuscule compared to the iPhone and iPad, but Apple still posted 973 million in iPod revenue last quarter. This may only be 2% of Apple’s revenue but it is still a significant amount of money for many companies.
Apple is set to announce the earnings information later today which will include the iPod sales for the last three months. This is the same period that Apple warned sales would not pick up in. MacWorld reports that analysts expect iPod sales to barely break 3 million units, down from over 6 million during last quarter.
Declining sales, even due to an aging product, are not a good sign for a new iPod this year. If Apple is planning a new iPod touch 6th generation release for 2014 it would make sense to see the new iPod arrive after Apple shows off iOS 8 and the rumored new iPhone 6 models in the fall.