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Apple discontinues the iPod

By | Published on Wednesday 11 May 2022

iPod Touch

Apple has announced that it is discontinuing the iPod. I will wait while you express disbelief that the iPod hadn’t already been discontinued. The company said that it was ceasing development of the digital music devices because, for fuck’s sake, just get an iPhone already.

“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”, says Greg Joswiak, Apple’s SVP Worldwide Marketing.

“Today, the spirit of iPod lives on”, he insists. “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”.

Apple last launched a new iPod – the seventh generation iPod Touch – in 2019, having stopped making the classic iPod in 2014. The iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano both had production ended in 2017. Still, with remaining stocks of the iPod Touch still on sale, that means that iPod hardware has managed to reach the grand old age of 21. It also outlasted the Microsoft Zune by more than a decade, which I think is the main achievement here.

Launched in 2001, the iPod was followed by Apple’s iTunes digital music store in 2003, which played a large part in dragging the record industry into the digital age and showing that the digital revolution was as much an opportunity as a threat. And while it was really streaming that took the record industry back into growth, the iTunes boom in the late 2000s definitely mitigated to an extent the impact of the collapse in CD sales.

So, the iPod and its accompanying music store was a pretty big deal in its day, then. Meaning today’s news probably constitutes the end of an era. Although, given that pretty much everyone has at least one – if not several – sources of digital music in their pockets and around their homes at all times, it was arguably an era that ended some time ago.