Apple’s Iconic iPod Hits the End of the Road, But Its ‘Spirit Lives On’

The seventh and final generation Apple iPod Touch

By Jonathan Spira on 16 May 2022
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The Apple iPod – first introduced in October 2001 – is the forefather of the Apple iPhone and a device that changed the Cupertino, California company’s trajectory from computer manufacturer to more personal devices and an entry into the music industry, where it revolutionized the sale of music.

Compared to the then-prevalent ways of listening to music, which included far more cumbersome MP3 players, not to mention CDs and CD players, the iPod made it far easier to listen to copious amounts of music.

Two years later – in 2003 – Apple introduced what it aptly termed the “revolutionary” iTunes store, which let users quickly find, purchase, and download music for just 99 cents per song.  Services such as Pandora, launched in 2005, Amazon Music, launched in 2007, and Spotify, launched in 2008, eventually made downloading individual songs onto one’s device irrelevant.

Needless to say, the iPod was a success, hitting $1.3 billion in revenue for the company in 2004, a three-fold increase over the prior fiscal year.  In fiscal 2006, the iPod represented 40% of Apple’s revenue, with $7.7 billion in sales. The company’s net sales from the iPod peaked in fiscal 2008 with $9.2 billion, just around the time iPhone sales were beginning.

Of course, what happened on January 7, 2007, changed everything.  Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world. “iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone,” he said at the launch.  It allowed people to place and receive phone calls, listen to music, and message one another, all from one device.

The iPhone wasn’t the world’s first smartphone, or the first phone with a built-in camera, the first phone to have a touchscreen, or even the first phone to allow the downloading of apps.

What it did do is something that, to date, remains unparalleled history: It tied dozens of disparate features together in a cohesive, well-designed whole — and kickstarted a mobile revolution that went on to transform the world.

The first iPod Touch came out in 2007 and looked like a thin version of the iPhone.

The current – and last – iPod model is the iPod Touch – is the seventh generation iPod, introduced on May 28, 2019 with iOS 12.3.  Powered by Apple’s A10 processor that first appeared in the 2016 iPhone 7, the device could play music, movies, television shows audiobooks, and podcasts, and included a media library, the Apple Music app, that could sort by songs, artists, albums, playlists, genres, composers, and videos, among other categories.

Indeed, the iPhone and iPod essentially have the same music player capabilities.  Sales of the iPhone overtook those of the iPod in mid 2010.  The Touch uses the same versions of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS, that the iPhone uses.

In many respects, the final iPod Touch and its immediate predecessors strongly resembled the iPhone sans the ability to connect with the public switched telephone network, or PTSN.  The Touch does have support for Facetime calling including Group Facetime.

At launch, Steve Jobs introduced it saying that its 5 GB of storage could “put 1,000 songs in your pocket,” given its weight of only 6.5 ounces (184 g),  The seventh generation Touch came with up to 256 GB of storage, a 51-fold increase over that original model.

Current iPod Touch models, which Apple will sell until supplies run out,  have between 32 and 256 GB of storage and use the same mobile operating system (iOS) that the iPhone uses.

The final iPod Touch was perfect for travel, running, and working out given that it weighs a mere 3.1 ounces (88 grams) and – at 0.24” (6.1 mm)  is almost as thin as a metal credit card.  Contrast that with the smallest iPhone 13, the mini, which weighs 6.14 ounces (174 g) with a depth of 0.3” (7.65 mm).

In a statement announcing the discontinuation, Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice-president of worldwide marketing, said the “spirit of iPod lives on”.

“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,” he said.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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