RIP the iPod – Apple is discontinuing its pop culture icon

2 mins
11 May 2022
RIP the iPod – Apple is discontinuing its pop culture icon

After 21 years, Apple is pulling the plug and discontinuing the MP3 player that revolutionised our music experience

Whether you’re a Nano apologist or a Shuffle stan, the iPod has held unknowable power over the way we’ve listened to music for 21 years. But now, Apple has announced it is discontinuing the iPod for good.

All the way back in 2001, the iPod was pretty revolutionary. It first arrived at a tense time for the music, when illegal file-sharing (TBT to Limewire) was ripping tunes and leaving artists and labels short. Launching iTunes and the iPod in quick succession, legit purchases helped an industry in crisis bolster some cashflow.

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It was the first MP3 player that could store 1,000 songs (think about how much Britney and Oasis that was). The nifty click wheel function which became a familiar image worldwide was designed by Tony Fadell, who later invented the iPhone. More than 400 million iPods have been sold worldwide over the last two decades – though the Touch is the only generation of iPod that has remained in production until now, other versions included the Nano, Shuffle, and Mini.

But the Touch hasn’t been updated since 2019, and pretty much all of its features are available on other Apple products.

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice-president of worldwide marketing for Apple, said in a statement: “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.”

“The spirit of iPod lives on,” he said.

Apple says it will remain available to buy “while stocks last”, if you’re considering a nostalgic cop.

People have taken to social media to mourn the technological loss, and reminisce about the early days of the iPod. It’s been a pop culture artefact, featuring in music videos like 50 Cent’s, had a storyline on the Kardashians, and been promoted by everyone from Kanye to Calvin Harris. Remember those multicoloured ads with the silhouette dancers, or painstakingly downloading each new tune for your Nano and arranging the playlists one-by-one? Or TBT to buying iTunes voucher cards in Argos?

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