The iPod Touch makes up one-third of Apple’s total device sales, according to a filing as part of its lawsuit against Samsung, indicating the importance of the music player in the iOS ecosystem.
Apple has never before released numbers on iPod sales, but thanks to its pending suit against Samsung, a public filing by the Cupertino, Calif.-based company indicates it has sold over 60 million of the devices since 2007.
In this last quarter alone it sold 10 million, lending credence to CEO Steve Jobs’ assertion that the music players are one of Apple’s most popular products.
Compared to the 108 million iPhones purchased to date, the iPod Touch ranks a close second in Apple’s list of devices, while iPads come in third at 19 million sold. Apple regularly releases its phone and tablet sales, but it has never separated those figures out from iPods, which are similarly capable of running iOS apps.
The figures offer a fuller picture of Apple’s ecosystem of devices, as well as the interesting role that the iPod plays in the larger iOS platform. Much more than a music device, the iPod is a crucial driver of app sales — iPod Touch owners tend to buy more apps than even iPhone or iPad users.
Among popular features for iPod Touch users are Facetime, which lets iPod Touch 4G users video chat with friends, and gaming, as well the ability to download movies and TV shows. This takes the device beyond its original marketing as a music-playing gadget, adding smartphone-like functionalities — multimedia, connectivity, apps — but without the phone.
In this sense, the device is almost in a class by itself, although Samsung’s Galaxy Player may challenge that. It may also show a market opportunity for other device makers, looking to connect with consumers who are looking for mobile functionality on devices beyond phones.
Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung over copyright issues prompted the revelation, requiring the company to file public statements on aspects of its business. Apple and Samsung are currently suing each other for violating intellectual property rights, though they depend upon each other as customer and supplier and intend to maintain good relations despite the court battle.