Last updated on June 14th, 2023
It’s the end of an era for Apple’s iconic MP3 player, the iPod. After over 20 years, Apple announced last week that it’s ending production and sales of the final iPod model still sold, the iPhone-like iPod Touch. Remaining iPod Touch units will be sold while supplies last.
I looked at the iPod’s history on its 20th anniversary last October, so I don’t need to repeat myself here. I did note in the post that the iPod’s demise was inevitable:
At $200 for a 32GB iPod Touch, someone wanting an iOS device would be better off saving up for an iPad (starting at $330, or less if refurbished/on sale). As such, I wouldn’t be surprised if by 2026 (the iPod’s 25th anniversary), Apple discontinues the iPod Touch.
I didn’t think it’d be this soon (seven months after writing the above), but it’s finally happened.
The iPod’s legacy
You will find more infographics at Statista
Again, the iPod hasn’t been a prominent part of Apple’s revenue in years. As a percentage of revenue, sales peaked in 2006 (at around 40%); by 2014, the last year Apple tracked iPod sales as its own category, iPod’s revenue percentage had fallen to 1%. The launch of the iPhone in 2007, of course, spelled doom for the iPod. At this point, anyone who needs a stand-alone MP3 player or iPod Touch-like device will either buy one of the few MP3 players still available, or buy an iPad.
The Verge notes the iPod’s legacy lives on in forms such as the source of the word “podcast,” dating from back when one listened to such mainly on MP3 players. Otherwise, I suppose the iPod will be deemed a piece of 2000s nostalgia, akin to the cassette Walkman being tied to the 1980s and 1990s. Even I’ve used the iPod for nostalgia purposes; my post on 2000s TV cartoons uses an iPod for the featured image.
My iPod experience
I’ve only owned one iPod, the third-generation “fat” iPod Nano. It worked well for years, though using it with a Linux desktop computer was sometimes a finicky experience. However, once I got a smartphone, I didn’t have much use for an MP3 player anymore. I did buy a cheap Sandisk MP3 player for a previous job a few years ago, but only because said job didn’t allow the use of smartphones at our desks (for security reasons). That MP3 player, like the old iPod, is now sitting in storage somewhere. Nowadays, I listen to music and podcasts either on my computer or on my iPhone.
Do you have any memories of the iPod?