Saturday, December 3, 2022

iPod Touch Officially Discontinued, Ending iPod Line After 20 Years

Apple has officially announced the discontinuation of the last iPod Touch model, effectively ending its iconic iPod product line, which began with the launch of the original iPod in October 2001. While Apple did not create the market for portable music players, it captured the imagination of the world at the time, with its unique scroll wheel and convenient shape and size. In addition to various iterations of the original iPod, Apple also sold the extremely popular iPod mini, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, and iPod Touch series over the past several years.

The company eventually reduced the portfolio, discontinuing the iPod (later renamed iPod Classic), iPod nano, and iPod shuffle over the past several years. The series had not been updated since the launch of the 7th Gen iPod Touch in mid-2019, which came four years after the previous refresh and was the sole remaining model on sale. Even its presence on Apple’s official website had been diminished, as other products, most notably the iPhone, replaced it.

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Apple’s iPod became a pop culture sensation, with several iconic advertisements highlighting the white earphones that were bundled with it. Excitement ran high each time a new model was expected to be launched. The original iPod, with its 5GB capacity and FireWire connection, was exclusively compatible with Macs, but Apple in 2003 capitalised on the line’s popularity and announced a Windows version of the iTunes app required to manage music on iPods at the time. That move would be credited with helping Apple establish its brand identity in the Steve Jobs era.

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Over the past 20 years, Apple introduced new features such as the click wheel with a touch surface and integrated buttons and flash memory beginning with the iPod nano line. The iTunes Music Store allowed users to purchase and sync music, before streaming became dominant and Apple replaced it with Apple Music. When the iPhone was first unveiled in 2007, it was billed as an iPod with touch controls as well as an Internet-connected device and a mobile phone.

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With the growing popularity of the iPhone as well as streaming services, Apple cut down its focus on the iPod line, and the lack of updates beyond the 7th Gen iPod Touch has indicated the eventual discontinuation of the line for years now.

While the iPod Touch was at times highlighted as a gaming device, or a more affordable Internet-connected device for children, it is less relevant now in the age of streaming content. Apple now says this model will remain available while stocks last, but suggests its various other products including iPhones, the Apple Watch, and HomePod mini as ways to listen to music on the go and at home.  

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