Reports of the iPod Shuffle's demise appear to be premature. Following legitimate shortages of the pint-sized MP3 player at retail stores, the Apple press corps began speculating that it was poised to join the iPod Classic at the gadget retirement home.
Rather than being discontinued, however, sources with knowledge of the situation tell Billboard that Apple is actually going thorough component supplier changes that have interrupted production of the Shuffle.
Apple declined to comment.
According to various reports, the company has been telling its retail employees to expect a Shuffle shortage for an unspecified period. The lack of product has also led to a longer wait period when making a purchase online: whereas an iPod Touch or Nano will ship in 24 hours, a Shuffle now takes 7-10 business days.
The screen-less iPod Shuffle was introduced in 2010 and is Apple's cheapest music player, at $49. Its physical size and clip make it popular with runners and cyclists.
Shortly after Apple shelved the iPod Classic in September, CEO Tim Cook chalked it up to lacking the components needed to make it. "We couldn't get the parts any more," he said at a conference. "We would have to make a whole new product… the engineering work to do that would be massive."
Andrew Flanagan contributed reporting.