It'll be interesting to see if these crazy rumors are true!
I KNEW this couldn't possibly be the shuffle. It seems like everyone who's been shouting "it's the new shuffle" has failed to understand the meaning of the shuffle's very name. "shuffle" implies bare minimalist functionality. with gen 1 & 2, all you could really do is play a single playlist sequentially or "shuffled". that's all really. (save for sitting there and clicking fwd fwd fwd, back back back til you find a certain song/beginning of an album). single-playlist sequential or shuffled play. (and i'm guessing "iPod sequential" was never considered as a name, lol). I suppose that changed a bit with the buttonless shuffle, using voice commands to choose a playlist (I don't have one, but that's how they work right?), but practically speaking, the shuffle is still uber-minimalist. once you have a screen and "features" and the ability to conveniently browse through your collection it is no longer a "shuffle", but rather an "iPod ???"... some other kind of iPod. (my 2 cents on that).
but the notion that this is the NEW/replacement for the clickwheel nano... ugh! i'm curious to see how awesome and wonderful it is, if i will be blown away and my mind changed. but i thought for sure this was a new breed! maybe the rumor-mongers are confused, and this will be CALLED the nano... but the current-style nano will stick around as simply "iPod" or "iPod classic". i'd love to see that. it seems risky to kill the iconic nano, even if this new thing is freakin' amazing.
when Apple announced the 3rd-gen shuffle, i remember thinking EWWWWWW...yuck! thankfully, they kept the 2nd-gen shuffles for sale for quite some time. and i remember as soon as i heard rumors that they would stop selling 2nd-gen shuffles, i ordered 2, one for myself, one for a friend, engraved. and am glad i did. they are great little shuffles.
although i've never used a 3rd-gen shuffle, i have since gotten an iPhone 3GS and find myself using the headphone clicker as a play/pause/fwd/back interface almost constantly. so perhaps the 3rd-gen shuffle isn't as bad a concept as i initially suspected it would be. (whether or not it is selling, however, i've no idea).
anyhow, the moral of this story is 2-fold...
1. if this is a REPLACEMENT for the current nano, i suspect/hope Apple will continue to sell the current-gen nanos side-by-side with the new "nano nanos" at least into early 2011, like they did with the 2nd/3rd-gen shuffle transition... to A) mitigate the shock and B) capitalize on the shock...
2. i'm guessing 2nd-gen shuffles sold rather well alongside the 3rd-gen shuffles, until they finally discontinued them for good. i doubt i was the only one who bought one out of extinction-panic. even though i may someday (perhaps even tomorrow) warm up to the concept (whatever it may be) of the new "nano nano"... something tells me a current-gen clickwheel nano may be on my list of purchases in the very near future, because i'm getting that "OMG they're killing a great product that i've always wanted" feeling ALL OVER AGAIN.
you are nothing if not the SHREWEDIST of marketeers,
Apple! =) bastards are doing it to me again! =)
all that being said, still hope the rumors are wrong. if i were Steve, i'd keep the shuffle (unless it isn't profitable), introduce this "new thing", up the current-style nano to 32 GB & 64 GB, offer a high-end 128 GB touch, and--if anything oughta be axed--retire they tired-looking old classic.
most people don't need more than 64 GB or 128 GB choices anyway. audiophiles who need to carry everything around with them... i'm sorry, that is not the future. make choices. playlists. take what you need. change it up when you need to. my music collection wouldn't even fit on a 160 GB classic anymore. and the types of folks who are in the "classic niche", i suspect no size will ever be enough... 250 GB... 320 GB...? your collection will continue to outgrow it. make choices and re-sync.
not goonin' on the classic, even though that might sound harsh. i'm sure they are nice. but the classic just seems like a relic to me. the last 2 gens of nanos, on the otherhand (i say last two gens, b/c i don't think the video camera is a deal-breaker), are to me the "new classic iPod". the clickwheel is iconic. they are beautiful little devices. and to me they just scream, "the classic, fun, Apple-quality MP3 player... i.e. iPod". i guess i assumed the average consumer sees them the same way, but either i'm dead wrong or Apple is taking a HUGE risk... (or the rumors are wrong).