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Could 2012 spell the end for the iPod?

The iPod is one of the defining devices of the 21st Century. It has revolutionised how we listen to music, turned an ailing company around, and paved the way for a plethora of amazing gadgets

It is hard to believe, but the original iPod was released as long ago as 2001, with then little-known Apple CEO Steve Jobs introducing the game-changing device to the world.

Featuring the ever-present scroll wheel, the first generation iPod would have set you back close to $400. It was heavy, thick, and obviously expensive.

Saviour of Apple

There were other, cheaper, mp3 players out there. But the design and simplicity of the iPod, as well as some genius marketing from Apple, ensured it was a runaway success.

“There is no market leader. No one had really found the recipe yet for digital music,” said Steve Jobs at the launch of the iPod. Within a few years, all that changed.

The iPod made it possible for Apple to venture into other areas. We now have the likes of the iPhone and iPad, as well as the highly sought-after Macbooks.

But with the growing popularity of the iPhone, not to mention the various Android devices on the market, is there room for the iPod in 2012 and beyond?

Is the iPhone an iPod killer?

The latest iPod, the 4th generation iPhone Touch, was released earlier this year and experienced decent sales. But it was always going to; it is an Apple product after all.

But the iPod Touch is just an iPhone without 3G. Those who want to surf the net while listening to music will opt for an iPhone, and those who want pure music will go for the cheaper iPod Nano.

So where do Apple go from here? What else can they add to the iPod that will make users upgrade? Your guess is as good as ours, but as Apple focuses on its next iPad and iPhone, the device that turned the company around could be left out in the cold.