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(Credit: Apple)

Music

Apple officially discontinues the iPod

@TylerGolsen

Back in 2001, Steve Jobs and Apple introduced the world to the iPod, a mobile media player that allowed users to hold up to 1,000 distinct songs on them. The product was a major leap into the future, and when paired with the recently-introduced iTunes platform, the iPod wound up spearheading the digital era of music consumption.

Two decades later, Apple has announced that they are officially discontinuing the iPod. The most recent model to be manufactured and released was the 7th Generation iPod Touch, which was first put out in May of 2019. For over a decade, most of the iPod’s features have been included in the company’s other products.

“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.”

Over the course of 20 years, Apple continued to manufacture new models of the iPod, including the Mini, video-capable classic iPods, the Nano, and the iPod Shuffle. When Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, it contained a music app that essentially filled the function of the iPod. iPhone sales overtook those of the iPod in 2010, and sales for new generations of iPods have plummetted.

Despite now having long been integrated into the company’s signature product, the iPhone, iPods were revolutionary to both the tech industry and the music industry. During the resurgence of Apple in the new millennium, the iPod quickly became the company’s signature product. Commercials and advertisements quickly entered pop culture, and as the internet became a much larger connector for people around the world, Apple lead the charge.

iPods were also indicative of the corporate world embracing digital media in a legitimate and legal way. Physical sales of albums, including vinyl, cassettes, and CDs, saw massive drops once the original iPod was introduced. Apple worked with record labels and artists to create legal MP3 sharing networks, although the proliferation of illegal downloading sites like Napster was still prevalent. Soon, buying physical media became a rarity, as music, films, and television shows could all be watched on an iPod.

iPod Touches, the final remaining model in production, will remain on sale through the company’s website and in Apple stores “while supplies last.”