FORTUNE -- It's easy to forget that only six years ago the iPod was Apple's (AAPL) biggest money maker, generating (in Q1 2007) more than 48% of the company's revenue. Now the iPod is almost an afterthought in quarterly reports dominated by the iPhone, iPad and Mac -- second-to-last among Apple's six revenue streams, below iTunes and above Accessories.
The last entry in the chart above was drawn using the median estimate of iPod unit sales (6.2 million) submitted by 54 Apple analysts -- 31 Wall Street professionals and 23 amateurs. They all expect the trend that began with the launch of the iPhone and the iPod touch to continue: More and more of the original iPod's core business absorbed by iOS devices.
It's a classic case of product disruption, except in this case a company disrupted its own cash cow.
According to disruption theory, what Apple's engineers should be doing now is inventing the product that will absorb the iPhone.
Below: The individual iPod unit sales estimates submitted so far by our panel of analysts. In this instance, the pros (with an average estimate of 6.22 million) are slightly more bullish than the amateurs (6.15 million). We'll find out who was closest to the mark when Apple reports its fiscal Q2 2013 earnings on April 23.
Thanks once again to Posts at Eventide's Robert Paul Leitao for pulling together the Braeburn Group numbers.
Ranking the best and worst Apple analysts for fiscal Q1 2013
FORTUNE (Koh Ngai, Thailand) -- As evidenced by Apple's (AAPL) sickening $55.5 (10.8%) drop in after-hour trading Wednesday, the analysts who cover the company -- both on and off Wall Street -- aren't doing it any favors.
The company didn't have a bad quarter. In fact, it posted its best quarter ever with earnings per share of $13.81 on sales of MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 23, 2013 8:16 PM ET
The former Apple VP who built 18 generations of iPods and 3 of iPhones breaks silence
FORTUNE -- We don't know what kind of legal constraints have prevented former Apple (AAPL) senior vice president Tony Fadell from speaking to the press about the circumstances that led to his departure in 2008, but apparently he felt it gave him enough wiggle room to talk to the BBC about the man who reportedly MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 29, 2012 5:46 AM ET
Both are available for streaming from apple.com
FORTUNE -- Couldn't make it to San Francisco for Wednesday's iPhone 5 special event? Not to worry. Apple (AAPL) has posted the whole thing -- from Tim Cook to the Foo Fighters -- on its website. You can get it here.
Also available, the 7-minute video that introduced the iPhone 5.Philip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 12, 2012 8:03 PM ET
Sales may be falling, but they still represent nearly 10% of the company's revenue stream
FORTUNE -- You might think that after tracking them for nearly a dozen years, the analysts who follow Apple (AAPL) would have a better handle on the company's quarterly iPod sales. But Apple analysts tend to focus on the product lines that are still growing like gangbusters -- chiefly the iPad and the iPhone -- and they offer iPod MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 17, 2012 10:23 AM ET
Why your next phone could be made in the U.S.A.; how hacker group Anonymous launches attacks.
Made in America: could your next phone be homegrown? [ENGADGET]
For the past score or so, the issue of manufacturing in America has been a prevalent one. Millions upon millions of manufacturing jobs in America have been lost in the realms of textiles and furniture. But recently, the political scope that typically dodges the world of consumer electronics MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jul 3, 2012 12:31 PM ET
To celebrate the device's fifth birthday, John Gruber puts his finger on what it disrupted
FORTUNE -- Clay Christensen, the father of disruption theory, was famously wrong about Apple's (AAPL) iPhone, telling an interviewer five years ago that the probability of its success was "limited."
"Being a low-end guy," Larissa MacFarquhar wrote in the New Yorker last month, "Christiansen saw it as a fancy cell phone; it was only later that he realized MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 3, 2012 6:48 AM ET
It's been falling ever since and is now approaching 1985's level
FORTUNE -- In a chart posted on Twitpic Monday, Asymco's Horace Dediu shows that the multiple of PCs sold to Apple (AAPL) Macs sold has been falling steadily since it peaked in 2004 and is approaching the ratio of 1985.
Brian S Hall points out in his Smartphone Wars blog that 1985 was the year Microsoft (MSFT) released Windows. "It was MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 3, 2012 5:54 AM ET
One in four U.S. iPad owners tell NPD it's their first Apple product
FORTUNE -- It used to be the iPod that got Americans started down the road to dependency. Now, according to a new NPD survey, their first Apple (AAPL) product is more likely to be an iPhone or, increasingly, an iPad.
To quote the NPD press release:
"While over 70 percent of long-standing Apple owners began their relationship with the brand by way MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 26, 2012 8:59 AM ET
In terms of revenue per sq. ft., think Tiffany's (its nearest rival) multiplied nearly threefold
Apple Stores are always busy places, but they tend to go crazy when a major new product is launched. With the arrival of the iPhone 4S, writes Needham's Charlie Wolf in his tenth annual report on the state of Apple's (AAPL) retail empire, they went absolutely nuts.
The numbers for the quarter that ended Dec. 31:
Revenue per MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 5, 2012 7:35 AM ET
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