: All signs point to the end of the iPod shuffle
as we know it, according to a TheStreet.com columnist: "Apple Computer may be about to phase out -- or replace -- one of its low-end iPods, if the availability of the device on the company's Web site - and through its retail partners -- is any indication. Customers can no longer buy the one-gigabyte iPod shuffle through Apple's Web store or through those of such leading online retailers as Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Circuit City. Apple's Web store has been out of stock on the 1GB shuffle since mid-December, according to enthusiast site AppleInsider.com... In addition, a survey of 12 Apple retail stores chosen at random found that seven of them -- including a store in Los Angeles and one in New York's SoHo district -- did not have the 1GB shuffle in stock and didn't know when they would receive it." The column notes that the Nano, which was expected to be available in limited quantities through the holiday season, were more available. Dwindling inventory is often a sign that company will replace the product.
"The company typically sells down inventory of models it plans to replace well in advance of actually introducing replacement models. Prior to introducing the flash-based nano in September, the company bled down its inventory of iPod minis, the model the nano supplanted. The strategy resulted in disappointing iPod shipments in the company's fiscal fourth quarter."
Apple's website, which says that it will have stock in mid-December, may also provide some color on the future plans of the company maker. "That would come just after Macworld, the annual gathering of Apple product developers and enthusiasts. Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the Shuffle at Macworld last January."copyright © Mac News Network 2005