Apple has cleared the hurdle holding up the iPod touch 6th generation, meaning its release date is just around the corner – but the company must now deal with a growing number of SKU models which could create inventory havoc for what is considered one of its non-core products. The so called “iPod 6” will likely debut in two physical sizes in accordance with recent changes to the iPhone lineup, but that’s just the start.
Each of the two iPod touch 6th generation sizes could come in three different storage capacities, including the 16GB, 64GB and 128GB currently available on Apple smartphones. Multiply that by five different color choices for each size and capacity, and suddenly Apple is looking at thirty different SKUs in total. For comparison the iPhone 6 and Plus, which are also separated out by character, have a total of 72 SKUs. But Apple makes far more revenue from an iPhone sale than from that of an iPod touch, and so is willing to take on more of an inventory and manufacturing hassle.
If Apple opts to trim the number of iPod touch 6 SKUs, it may do so by only offering it in two capacities, or by offering each of the two different sized models in differing capacities in order to further differentiate them and justify the higher price of the bigger-screen model. But the simpler move may be to scale back on the number of colors involved, as Apple currently offers the 5th generation iPod touch in more color choices than the iPad or iPhone. These decisions must be finalized quickly, however.
The primary holdup of the iPod 6 launch has been the fact that it will share several key hardware components with the new iPhone, which up to now Apple has struggled to meet overwhelming demand. But with that disparity just now having come under control in the past few weeks, Apple is now free to put the iPod touch 6th generation into production and deliver its release date thereafter.