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Goodbye, iPod – discontinued after 21 years

Apple’s iconic music player helped kickstart the company into the behemoth it is today, almost single-handedly ushering in an era of digital music. But now, after more than two decades, Apple has discontinued the iPod.

The original iPod was the size of a deck of playing cards and operated by a unique click wheel. It could hold 1,000 songs, which at the time was a marvel of the modern world.

By comparison, the latest iteration of the product (2019’s iPod touch) can not only hold many times more songs, but can browse the internet, take photos, and play games. At the time of writing, it’s still for sale – but Apple won’t be making more, and we suspect the remaining stock won’t last long.

It’s hard to overstate the impact that iPod, along with iTunes, had on the music industry. But over the past decade, the reasons for buying one over an iPhone or iPad have dwindled. iPod touch has always made a good low-budget alternative to the iPhone for certain use cases, but it doesn’t offer anything unique over simply buying an older iPhone for a similar price.

And so, Apple has decided it’s no longer worth keeping the iPod line going. Here’s what Apple’s Greg Joswiak had to say in a press release:

“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. 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.”

Rest in peace, iPod. You had a good run.