Last week, Apple quietly pulled the iPod from its physical and online stores. While the iPod Touch still lives on, it doesn’t really count considering it’s basically a discount iPhone minus cellular connectivity. And so, the era of Apple’s music players has ended.
In fairness, it’s been years since iPods were relevant. While they accounted for as much as 40% of the company’s revenue in 2006 (just before the iPhone was released), the increasing popularity & capabilities of smartphones saw the iPod sales start to decline from 2009. It’s no wonder Apple pulled the plug on the iPod when in 2014 they accounted for just 1.25% of Apple’s revenue.
With iPhones becoming more and more capable and rounded as the years go on, and programs like Spotify and Apple Music ruling the music consumption industry, iPods just aren’t necessary anymore.
Regardless, the dismissal of the iPod is a poignant moment. I remember when my younger sister got her first iPod and the only song she had on it was Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’. I am personally guilty of having a playlist for everything: a work playlist, a commute to work playlist, long journey playlists, having people over playlists, writing playlists, exercise playlists, songs for the shower playlists… But now I can make playlists for free with music streaming apps – my go to is Spotify.
iPods were Apple’s salvation, putting Apple on the map when their only products had previously been computers (iPhones weren’t around yet), and they were renowned for being able to put “1,000 songs in your pocket.” As well as that, iTunes revolutionised the music industry, taking music online and digital rather than being sold in physical stores as CDs.
Now, the future of the music players is to exist on eBay being sold as “vintage” mp3 devices. They’ll probably sell for about as much as we paid for them in 20 years when they’re officially antiques!
Who knows, though, maybe the iPod will make a comeback, like when people decided vinyl was cool again.