As the iPod comes up on its tenth birthday this year, the sales figures over the past few years are not quite as thrilling. Both professional and amateur analysts are in agreement on a downward trend when it comes to estimating the 2011 third quarter sales of Appleā€™s portable music players.

According to CNN Money, Apple still holds 70 percent of the MP3 player market share, but sales have significantly dropped over the past three years. The iPod touch is also seeing a drop, even though it accounts for 50 percent of all iPod sales over the past year.

The iPod hit an all time high in 2008 and then began to fall off. This probably has to do with the focus Apple has put on the iPhone and the iPad, which both support music playing capabilities.

Source: Company reports, Piper Jaffray

CNN Money also posted figures from the various analysts who have estimated the most recent quarterly earnings from Apple. The median estimate suggests that Apple iPod sales will be down at least 7.2 percent from the same quarter last year.

For the first time ever, in a back to school promotion, it’s interesting to note that that Apple isn’t offering a free iPod with any Mac purchase this year. Rather, they’re giving away a $100 Mac App Store voucher.

Even though many analysts are thinking this will be the end of the iPod, it will be interesting to see if Apple will continue to sell a small, low-end model such as the nano. With Apple holding such a significant chunk of the market share in music players, it does not seem wise to completely give that up.

The iPod shuffle would be no big loss, but the nano is still practical on many levels. It does not duplicate the full capabilities of an iPod touch or an iPhone. There are people who are still looking for simple music playback, especially for fitness or just casual music listening.

Stay tuned, it seems as though many new and exciting announcements will be coming in the next month or two!