Farewell, iPod: Apple Discontinues iPod After 21 Years

Apple has announced it’s discontinuing the iPod brand, the portable line of pocket-sized devices that revolutionised how music was distributed and consumed back in the day.

7th-gen iPod Touch. Credit: Apple

The Cupertino company is now ending the production of the 7th-generation iPod Touch, the last iteration of the device that would later set the table for the iPhone. This is the only surviving model of the iPod brand, with the Nano and Shuffle being killed off in 2017.


In case you’re feeling nostalgic, the iPod Touch will still be available in store shelves while supplies last. So if you’re thinking about getting one, now is probably the best time to do so.


“Today, the spirit of iPod lives on," said Greg Joswiak, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Apple. "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."

The original iPod. Credit: Apple

For those who don’t remember, Apple’s very first iPod was introduced almost 21 years ago. The company at that time touted that the device could store and play over a thousand songs. That number might seem small today, with streaming giving us access to millions upon millions of songs in a few taps, but during the early 2000s – a time when MP3 players were slow and disc-based walkmans were still available – the iPod’s capabilities felt like a huge technological leap.


What’s more, the debut iPod had a very unique design and interface compared to other music players available during that era. It sported a small rectangular screen and a circular click wheel with a button at the centre. Also, it featured an intuitive interface that connected to the Macintosh. And with broadband slowly replacing dial-up, many people were able to easily buy and download songs off of iTunes and sync them to their iPods for on-the-go listening.


Apple would release new iterations of the original iPod as well as entirely new models in the years that followed. In 2007, however, the line would finally drop the now-iconic click wheel in favour of the modern touchscreen we’re used to today, with the launch of the iPod Touch and the iPhone. The device, as mentioned earlier, was considered by many as a stripped-down version of the iPhone – essentially an iPhone without the phone features.

Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone at Macworld Expo in 2007. Credit: David Paul Morris via Getty Images

The company would stop releasing significant updates to iPods in the 2010s, focusing instead on the better-selling iPhones and iPads. The last iPod Touch, the aforementioned 7th-generation model, was released in 2019, housing 256GB of internal storage and an A10 Fusion chipset.


The popularity of music streaming and the advancement of mobile phone technology has led the iPod and MP3 players in general to become obsolete. After all, why would you want to have another device to play music when you can do it from your phone? Despite this, the iPod line had a very good run, with Apple selling over 450 million devices as of this year. For more than a decade, it became the must-have device for music and podcast lovers and was ubiquitous in on-the-go entertainment. While technology has since evolved, the legacy of the iPod will live on.


Farewell, iPod.

 
  • Apple has announced it’s discontinuing the iPod brand, the portable line of pocket-sized devices that revolutionised how music was distributed and consumed back in the day.

  • The Cupertino company is now ending the production of the 7th-generation iPod Touch, the last iteration of the device that would later set the table for the iPhone.

  • The last model of the iPod Touch will still be available for purchase while supplies last.

Side