iPod Touch: Apple Patent Indicates New Features for iPod to Increase Sales

A new Apple patent indicates the iPod could go through an overhaul to make the mp3 player more alluring to consumers.

The patent revealed that Apple could be adding a small speaker dome to the clip of the iPod shuffle or iPod nano.

The speaker could be a "natural evolutionary step for their media players," according to the patent.

NPD analyst Ross Rubin said the speaker combined with the iPod nano's integration of Nike+ exercise software makes Apple more competitive with retailers in the fitness market.

"One thing it might point to is the nano being used to interface with an iOS device," said Rubin, similar the way the Motoactv can sync with an Android, and be used to show the arrival of calls or text messages on it's small screen.

The new iPod nano can be put around a wrist, and can show messages received on an iPad that is nestled away in your bag, according to Rubin. He also said consumers will be able to activate Siri requests on the small screen on their wrist and have answers sent through the speaker.

The new features could be added as an attempt to bring up iPod sales that have been down recently. Apple sold 6.6 million iPods last quarter, a 27 percent decrease from the same quarter in 2010, according to a CNN report. However, the products have remained mostly unchanged through the years, according to the report.

Apple claimed the iPod is still an important product despite the popularity of the iPhone and iPad.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the iPod is still "large and important" at a 2011 iPod event. The company also lowered the price of some iPod models to make them more competitive and available in a larger market.