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Apple says goodbye to the iPod, the music player that changed the world

Apple iPod
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has announced that its revolutionary iPod is to be discontinued. The final model, the seventh-generation iPod touch, will remain on sale, but only while supplies last.

Launched in 2001, Apple’s iPod was a genuine gamechanger for the music industry. It quickly led to mass adoption of MP3 players and, at a time when file-sharing was dominant, helped to demonstrate that digital music could be monetised.

It was heavily marketed using a series of now iconic ‘silhouette ads’, which were soundtracked by the likes of Black Eyed Peas, Caesars, Daft Punk and The Ting Tings.

There were numerous different models along the way - Mini, Nano, Shuffle etc - with each enabling you to carry a chunk (or possibly all) of your music collection in your pocket.

The writing has been on the wall for the iPod ever since Apple launched the iPhone in 2007; why buy a dedicated music player when you already have one built into your mobile? However, some models - the high-capacity Classic in particular - retained a loyal following among people who still wanted a device that didn’t really on internet connectivity and just did one thing really well.

With streaming now the dominant force in music consumption, however, the iPod’s days were always numbered. Its legacy will live on, though, not least in the term ‘podcast’, which was coined when spoken-word ‘audioblogs’ started to be created for people to listen to on their Apple devices.

The iPod Classic was discontinued in 2014, while the nano and Shuffle models were retired in 2017. The iPod touch - the last remaining model - runs iOS, and is effectively an iPhone without cellular connectivity.

Commenting on the end of the iPod, Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said: “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 iPod touch is available to buy via the Apple website. Prices start at $199/£199 for the 32GB version, rising to $399/£399 for the 256GB model.

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I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology. 

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