Apple has announced the end of one of its most important contributions in history. Apple announced Tuesday (May 10) it has discontinued production of the last iPod model.
The iPod touch will only be available "while supplies last." The company also noted that customers can listen to their favorite music on a range of other Apple devices that have the "spirit of the iPod," including the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
"Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry -- it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to, and shared," Greg Joswiak, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in a statement. "Today, the spirit of iPod lives on," he added, referencing that the iPod music experience has been integrated across all of Apple's products.
The move to discontinue the iPod is bittersweet, but not a total surprise. The announcement has been expected for a long time. Apple last updated the iPod touch in 2019, and that was just to provide a faster processor in a design that hadn't really changed since 2012.
Since the product became increasingly niche with the rise of the iPhone and other devices, the iPod hasn't played an important role for Apple in years. Apple stopped production of the iPod classic in 2014, and the iPod nano and iPod shuffle in 2017. Additionally, there were other pop culture indicators the iPod was becoming less relevant - as exemplified by the iPod nano hair clip TikTok trend.
Despite its age, the iPod being discontinued is a sad moment that closes a very important 20-year chapter in history. The company introduced the first iPod in October 2001, when there was a high dependency on computers. Thanks to the iPod's usability and iconic marketing, sales began to skyrocket, leading to Apple's domination in the MP3 player market, and later, handheld devices generally.
The iPod was attractive because of its signature scroll wheel and the initial promise of holding "up to 1,000 CD-quality songs" on a device that fits in your pocket. It was revolutionary for the music listening experience. Besides its initial music capabilities, the iPod helped usher in the age of the podcast, and by mid-2007, more than 100 million iPod devices had been sold.
That same year, Apple released the highly-anticipated first iPhone. Consumers were looking for the "iPod phone." Of course, the release of the iPhone helped start the iPod's downfall. As people adopted the iPhone, they simply preferred having one device with them over two. By the early 2010s, iPod sales were in freefall, and the iPhone and other devices that followed made the iPod obsolete long before it was discontinued.
Nevertheless, the iPod's legacy remains intact. It's the device that gave Apple a second chance, and made it the household name it is today. It also helped transform the digital music landscape, and laid the groundwork for a modern era of devices. RIP, iPod! You will be missed.
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