It's hard to imagine Apple without the iPod. In the Steve Jobs era, the iPod was the device that took them from "doing okay" to becoming a monumental success of a company. Even if you weren't (or aren't) an Apple fan, you had or were surrounded by iPods in the early aughts. And now that era is over.
On May 10th Apple put out a press release stating what we all knew was coming at some point: the iPod Touch was being fully discontinued.
Since its introduction over 20 years ago, iPod has captivated users all over the world who love the ability to take their music with them on the go. Today, the experience of taking one’s music library out into the world has been integrated across Apple’s product line — from iPhone and Apple Watch to iPad and Mac — along with access to more than 90 million songs and over 30,000 playlists available via Apple Music.Apple Newsroom
Apple's reveal of the iPod in 2001 was muddied by 9/11. The device was unveiled on October 23rd with the genius tagline "A thousand songs in your pocket". In today's streaming era, that is laughable. In 2001 that was akin to black magic. Until that point, people were lugging around cumbersome portable CD players or MP3 players that held maybe an hour's worth of music. Then out of nowhere, Apple brought the iPod to the world and it all changed.
We all know the story by now. White earbuds were synonymous with the device, dancing silhouette commercials all over the place, and iTunes coming to Windows. Apple would not be what it is today without the iPod. The iPhone would not be what it is today without the iPod. With approximately 450 million iPods sold over the course of its life, it's safe to say it was a success beyond imagination.
Apple's tribute to the iPod Touch's news is heartfelt with some of the more popular models getting images in a gallery. In some ways, it is sad to see the dedicated MP3 player king be put out to pasture. But the march of time waits for no one. Once dominating pieces of technology all see their inevitable end.
While the Music app within the iPhone (or the Music app on macOS) will never replace the experience of an iPod, the modern streaming times we live in certainly make discovery a lot easier. To me, the only other perfect single-purpose device to achieve success besides the iPod is Amazon's Kindle. Nailing a product is that hard. And for the iPod to last 20 years is a testament to how much we all loved it.