Quietly, and almost without notice, a chapter in Apple's history may have started to close today. As reported by MacRumors from a Twitter user, Apple removed the link for the iPod classic from the sidebar for its online store for refurbished units in the U.S. and Canada. The disappearance may mean that Apple is preparing to phase out the device altogether soon.
The page for the device itself still remains, and you can still find the link in Apple's refurbished stores catering to other countries. But even there, it's grayed out, suggesting that Apple has no more of the refurbished models in stock. With the removal, it seems clear that the Cupertino company no longer plans to sell them.
It's a significant chapter in the long, slow death of the iPod, which has declined in popularity since buyers started gravitating to the one-stop-shop design of the iPhone and similar devices. The iPod classic was the only model still on the online store to feature the old hard drive design, which allowed music lovers to carry much more data than allowed with the smaller storage capacities of the iPhone and the more recent iPod models.
As of this year, as evidenced by Apple's last quarterly earnings report, sales of iPods only make up 1 percent of Apple's total income. (Compare that to the staggering 57 percent for the iPhone).