Since it is very much in vogue to make hasty Apple claims, I believe Gruber refers to this as claim chowder, I thought I would throw my hat into the ring. This is mainly so that I can point to a time stamped page and say I was right or hang my head in shame.
So as the title suggest I think that in the next refresh the Ipod Shuffle is going to removed from the product line.
I have come to this via the following logic.
Apple has invested heavy marketing time into their touch interface persona and they are also making a variety of devices that all use the touch gesture based interface in one way or another with the exception of three products: The Ipod classic, Ipod Shuffle, and the Apple TV.
Now the Apple TV is meant to be remotely used and even then it can be controlled with an IOS device so I don’t think that is going to be getting its own track pad or anything.
The Ipod Classic still has a market, apparently, and I am guessing that it will continue to have a market until the price of solid state gets under memory startes getting under the 1 dollar per gigabyte range. Until then I figure it will be treated something like the Mac Pro. Something off in a corner for those that want it but rarely in the spotlight.
The Ipod Shuffle’s, on the other hand, only advantage is that it is small and it occupies the sub-100 dollar mp3 player range. If they strip out the FM transmitter, reduce the space on the Nano, and given the screen interface relying technology is probably a bit cheaper now they be able to get the price in the sub-100 range. Which is more psychologically important than practical.
Why would they do this? Simple, the touch interface is the new thing they are pushing and if they put it on their entry level device there is better chance of a Halo effect to their other devices. Beyond that when they make an advert for an Iphone or an Ipad they immediately make and advert for the cheaper device without have to make the effort.