Not to be overly dramatic, but Apple announcing that it will be discontinuing the iPod after 21 years really is the end of an era. The iPod laid the foundation for the iPhone and thereby is at least partly responsible for every single one of the smartphones that followed and went on to reshape the modern world.
When the first generation iPod was launched in 2001 it could hold 1,000 songs – it doesn’t sound like much now, but it was a mind-blowing thought for people who were used to carrying around a Sony Discman and CD wallet – and since then, Apple’s music player has adopted numerous forms. The final was the iPod Touch, which is the one that helped to establish the design language for the iPhone. Now, it seems Apple feels the iPod has lost its touch – ahem – announcing that the product has reached the end of its life.
Sad as it is, Apple’s move makes complete sense when you consider how the arrival of streaming changed the way we consume music. We still shudder thinking of the hours wasted managing files on iTunes as we tried to predict what music we’ll be in the mood for and what we could do without.
Despite this, Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, insists the iPod’s musical legacy will live on: “Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impact more than just the music industry — it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to, and shared.”
Never a company to turn down a dollar, Apple announced the iPod touch’s discontinuation by claiming devices would remain available “while stocks last.” This is almost certainly designed to drive a nostalgia-fueled buying frenzy from Apple obsessives looking to get their hands on a mint-condition relic of Apple’s music heritage.
While it’s not too late to get an iPod touch for yourself, streaming is the future, so check out The Most-Streamed Artists of 2021 or scroll down to see the impressive evolution of the iPod over the last two decades.