Apple discontinues its last iPod model, marking the end of a tech era


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For a generation of men and women who lived, labored, and grew up in the 2000s, the term “iPod” was synonymous with audio. Escaping the sight of those people white ear buds was almost unachievable. And in spite of the speed with which smartphones took in excess of our lives, Apple kept earning its digital media gamers without significantly fuss.

In a statement Tuesday, the enterprise explained it would carry on marketing the seventh-technology iPod touch “while provides last” — a quiet affirmation that the age of the iPod could ultimately be more than.

The go, while bittersweet for techies of a particular age, didn’t occur totally by surprise. For several years, Apple has gradually culled its line of transportable media machines: the previous iPod with the classic click-wheel was discontinued in 2014, and the as soon as-well known iPod nano followed-match 3 several years later.

“Today, the spirit of iPod life on,” Apple’s senior vice president of all over the world advertising, Greg Joswiak, stated. “We’ve built-in an outstanding music experience throughout all of our products and solutions, from the Apple iphone to the Apple Watch to HomePod mini, and throughout Mac, iPad, and Apple Television.”

Proper now, the considered of a one-reason unit like the iPod can experience hopelessly passe. To an extent, Apple felt the very same. The authentic styles only played songs we ordered, ripped and pirated, but they had been adopted by variations that performed video clips and, eventually, the contact-display screen models that persisted up to this 7 days. But even although iPods were inevitably (and entirely) overshadowed by the Iphone, it’s challenging to understate the influence they experienced on the enterprise — and the individuals who used them.

These times, Apple is truly worth in excess of $2 trillion and directs its interest to almost everything from computer system-processor design and style to Oscar-deserving movie generation. In the decades top up to the original iPod’s launch, nonetheless, Apple was only just emerging from what iPod creator Tony Fadell termed a “death spiral” in his new guide.

Soon after a string of not-fairly-correct leaders, prodigal CEO Steve Work opportunities returned to the corporation and shook up its computer lineup with a slew of inexpensive, colorful iMacs in 1998. Then arrived likewise cheery iBooks a yr later. But it was arguably the very first iPod, unveiled in October 2001, that set a revived Apple down a distinctive path — one that cemented its spot in people’s pockets, not just on their desks.

In the previous, Apple had dabbled with other tremendous portable gadgets, like some sick-fated digital cameras and the early PDA whose long lasting legacy was a throwaway joke on “The Simpsons.” But according to Leander Kahney, author of the book “The Cult of iPod,” the company’s initial MP3 participant was distinct.

“It seriously was a great gadget,” he instructed The Washington Put up. “So simple to use and the source of so considerably pleasure and enjoyment — since of the new music it contained, of training course. And it was the item that thoroughly transformed Apple, laid the groundwork for the Iphone and kick-started off significant progress.”

In excess of the two a long time that followed, Apple collectively produced far more than two dozen iPod styles, not which includes the variants with unique amounts of storage place. And all through the iPod’s tenure, numerous tech tendencies have appear and long gone — here’s seeking at you, netbooks and 3D TVs. That is just how it goes in an marketplace wherever a company is only as good as its upcoming product.

But even nevertheless the very last iPods Apple at any time strategies to make are on sale now, it seems unlikely all those units will entirely vanish from the cultural consciousness whenever shortly.

“I didn’t have an iPod expanding up,” reported Bee Shipinski, a 19-year-aged college student in Boise, Idaho, born soon after Apple’s initial iPod announcement. “They were being genuinely high priced.” But a tendency toward tinkering — in addition recurrent childhood exposure to those people dancing silhouette commercials — aided flip Shipinski into a enthusiast of dedicated tunes equipment.

“With an iPod, all it does is engage in songs. It does not care about an World wide web relationship, it doesn’t treatment about a license,” Shipinski, who utilizes they/them pronouns, said. “It seems for the files, reads them, and it’s like, ‘Okay, here’s what we’re likely to do. We’re likely to enjoy your new music, and we’re going to enjoy it genuinely d— very well.’ ”

Rather than undertaking into the calculated slickness of an Apple retail store, Shipinski purchased their initial iPods in a thrift store in 2019 and at some point made a decision to crack open the more recent just one for enjoyment. With enable from a maintenance tutorial from a YouTuber known as DankPods — who has amassed a following of additional than 1 million subscribers interested in iPods and other early 2000s tunes gamers — Shipinski designed their to start with modifications, or “mods.”

Shipinski isn’t alone. They’re one of a increasing flock of folks who have begun repairing and, in some circumstances, upgrading aged iPods to perform improved than they ever could ahead of. Fairly than previous, rather delicate tough drives, these tweaked products have been modified to read music off low cost, roomy SD playing cards. And according to a 17-12 months-old Irish Discord user named Leek Soup, men and women usually set up even larger batteries into the space those people tough drives used to acquire up.

“Other mods include personalizing the exterior of the iPod with various colored faceplates, click wheels and rear scenarios,” Leek Soup stated. “People have also set up taptic engines from iPhones into [old iPods], to give a little bit of tactile feed-back.”

So, sure, Apple’s announcement does officially mark the conclusion of an period. But judging by the a lot of types on sale on eBay, it could be a though — if ever — before folks lastly have to move on from their treasured iPods.


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