Today Apple announced that the story of the iPod has drawn to a close. With the discontinuation of the iPod Touch, the product line that saved Apple and transformed the music industry has ended. From 1000 songs in your pocket to more than 90 million songs on your wrist. The iPod forever changed the way we discover, purchase, listen to and experience music. It revolutionised the industry and made digital music a truly accessible and enjoyable experience. And it all started with a simple idea that would ultimately go on to change the world.
“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,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Today, the spirit of iPod lives on. We’ve integrated an incredible music experience across all of our products, from the iPhone to the Apple Watch to HomePod mini, and across Mac, iPad, and Apple TV. And Apple Music delivers industry-leading sound quality with support for spatial audio — there’s no better way to enjoy, discover, and experience music.”Greg Jowiak, SVP of Marketing at Apple
Things have come a long way since 2001. With the rise of the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch and paired with Apple Music, you can access pretty much the entire world’s catalogue of music on demand. But of course the joy in the journey. For so many people, myself included, the iPod served as a gateway into the Apple ecosystem. It was premium but affordable. Iconic, fashionable even, and yet understated.
You could teach anybody how to use one within a couple of minutes and take your music collection with you with no fuss. No need to carry discs or cassettes and no need to worry about finding AA batteries. Everything you needed was in the box. You just plugged it into your computer, synced it with iTunes and the rest as they say is history.
The AppleTLDR take
It’s very sad that the iPod has been discontinued. But understandable and perhaps even inevitable. I think it’s worth pausing though to reflect on its impact. Not just on technology but on the music industry, culture and dare I say, humanity. We wouldn’t have the wonderful devices that we have today without the iPod. The device that paved the way for the iPhone (and yes Android). It was a simple idea. 1000 songs in your pocket. And that idea changed the world.
For those who like me are feeling super nostalgic today, here is a link to the original iPod press release. And I think Steve said it best so I’ll end with this quote.
I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.