It's a miracle of modern gadgetry: a small device that can house untold amounts of music, sorted by album, artist, and playlist, with ease.
All of that information can be stored in something that weighs so little you hardly notice it clipped to your pocket, easily putting sound directly into our ears.
And yet, the regular old iPod Classic is already becoming obsolete.
By Apple's doing, no less. In 2009, sales of the iPod have declined for the first time. Why? Credit the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and the other advances Apple has made for the way we store and find our information. Where does that leave the old-fashioned iPod? Here are four predictions for its future.
1. The iPod will live on, but mainly through the Touch.
The iPod Touch features the music-storing ability of the regular iPod, but it can also connect wirelessly to the internet. It doesn't take an MBA to realize that this product will eventually be far more popular than the iPod itself. As Apple and other companies push the envelope for phones and music devices, customers' standards rise. We expect to be connected to the world with a push of a button now; there's no turning back.
2. You'll see greater connectivity across all technologies.
It wasn't long after the iPod that gadgets like the iPod dock allowed people to simply plug in to enhance what the iPod could do. With Apple already in the TV business, don't be surprised to see the ability to download a show from TiVo into your iPod – perhaps by plugging the iPod into the TV.
3. You'll see more communication between brands.
The hard rivalry between Apple and the Palm Pre has led to Apple trying to block Palm out of the iTunes business. In order for other companies to challenge Apple, they can't let their customers feel let out. Expect to see more communication between brands, or at least non-Apple brands coming up with their own Apple-like solutions for music downloads.
4. Your children will mock your first-generation iPod.
Think about how silly carrying around a boombox to your ear in this day and age would look. Add in the "my-parents-are-uncool" factor, and your children will probably mock your old iPod if you use it a lot. Just a warning.