There's no arguing that the iPhone is Apple's cash cow and that iPod sales have fallen dramatically over the past several years. Does that mean the iPod is a goner?
A Friday report from French site iGen, which has had credible leaks in the past, says next week Apple will update some of its iPod products, including the iPod touch. There has been other recent evidence suggesting the same: The newest version of iTunes has code and images showing that at the very least, Apple will offer iPods in new colors.
That's not much of a change though and the current iPod touch is almost unchanged since 2012 when it gained a Retina Display and got a processor boost to a dual-core chip. Even so, that processor is the older Apple A5, which is several generations behind what current iPhones and iPads use.
iGen's sources suggest that the iPod touch will get a chip boost that will bring 64-bit support to the portable device. Given that Apple has told developers in October to move their apps to 64-bit, that makes sense, assuming Apple wants to keep selling iPod touch devices.
And I think it does, but not just for the music player revenues.
Instead, the iPod touch represents a low-cost entry point to the world of iOS.
That's perfect for kids who aren't yet ready for phones because it gets them into Apple's world without breaking a huge initial investment and without monthly fees that a phone would require.
Once this segment gets a taste of iOS, it's a natural progression to strongly consider an iPhone when the time comes for a handset. It would also generate more opportunities for app and media sales for the company.
The updates would also further emphasize Apple's commitment to music right after launching its new Apple Music streaming service, which works fine on an iPod.
I use a three-year old iPod touch all day long for Apple Music in my home office with no issues. I'd consider replacing it if the new iPod touch gained the performance of an iPhone 5s -- the first iPhone with a 64-bit chip -- as I use my iPod touch when my SIM card is an Android phone.
iGen expects the iPod refresh next week, on July 14, although there isn't a planned Apple event for that day.
I'm not sure a change to the iPod line by itself would actually warrant one, either. Even so, it could generate a few billion dollars for Apple while getting a whole new generation hooked on iOS before they're ready for an iPhone.