Farewell To The iPod

Apple has officially stopped making iPods. It didn’t invent the portable digital music player, but certainly popularized the concept.

The company said iPods were no longer necessary now that so many of its other devices, including phones and watches, have comparable audio capabilities.

By 2001, several portable music players had already taken advantage of the mp3 format to let users play music on the move without needing removable media. The main limitation was the trade-off between bulk (with models based on hard drives) and limited capacity (with flash memory models).

Apple pitched the original model with two selling points. One was capacity, with the company claiming it was the first such device that could store 1,000 songs. The other was design, with Jonny Ive masterminding the minimalist interface of a wheel that combined buttons for core functions and a finger movement for other controls.

2004’s mini edition replaced the mechanical wheel with a click-based model, quickly adopted for the “classic” range as well. Later ranges including the Nano (increasing capacity while cutting space) and the shuffle (which had no screen, with the emphasis on a random play function.)

The last survivor was the iPod Touch, which took the operating system and app support of the iPhone, but removed the cellular data and phone functions, using Wi-Fi only.

Despite smartphone handsets and mobile data becoming more affordable, the 7th and final generation model was only released in 2019. It will remain on sale while supplies last but no new units will be made.