The End Of The iPod: Exploring Its History And How It Revolutionised Music
Macs may have been the original Apple product, but many people didn’t come to know the brand until the early noughties when the first iPod was launched. Now, it’s been announced that the iPod Touch will be discontinued – the last in the series to be withdrawn.
Although it’s been expected for a while, given how the iPhone’s high functionality makes the iPod obsolete, it’s still a bittersweet goodbye. So, we thought we’d embrace nostalgia once again, and take a look back at some of the iPod’s best moments, its various versions, and what it did for music and Apple.
Apple’s big revelation
Apple launch events were taking place even back in 2001. The invite simply stated “Hint: It’s not a Mac.” – yet the iPod wasn’t well received by everyone. Steve Jobs argued it was a breakthrough device, but some saw it as too expensive and simply an MP3 player. The name ‘iPod’ was mocked, and people came up with their own acronyms including ‘idiots Price our devices’, ‘i Prefer owning disks’, and ‘i Prefer other devices’.
Well, more fool them. The iPod lasted 21 years, and seven generations. Critics were right – it wasn’t the first MP3 player, but Apple’s one-of-a-kind design prompted people to abandon their CDs and cassettes.
The role of iTunes
iTunes played a key part in the iPod’s success. As the early noughties saw the music industry battle illegal file-sharing, Jobs believed the programme’s ease of use would curtail the problem. He was right, and people began to purchase music legally from here.
Musicians and record labels had control over their music once more. This legitimacy aspect helped to save Apple too…
What the iPod did for music and Apple
Whilst MP3 players existed, they could only hold around 100 songs – whereas the iPod could hold 1,000. Plus, with high-ability features like web searching, watching videos, playing games, and purchasing and sharing music, it became a phenomenon. In fact, the iPod Touch was named the number one non-phone portable device for gaming. There were built-in iPod integration car systems too, showing the extent of its popularity.
The iPod transformed the way we discovered, listened to, and shared music. What’s more, it saved Apple from bankruptcy. They needed something other than the Mac to keep afloat, and the iPod was it. Part of its success can be attributed to how it helped to fight piracy: iTunes had a 70% market share of legal downloads in its first year.
From iPod to iPod Touch
Coming in at 6.5 ounces, 2.4 inches wide, and 4 inches tall, the first iPod held 1,000 songs, which was immense at the time. There was a mechanical scroll wheel for users to browse their music library, plus a 5GB hard drive. This model saw countless updates in its time, and was later renamed the ‘iPod Classic’, with features like video playback.
There were also various versions of the iPod over the years, including:
- iPod Mini: This had colour options and was about the size of a business card!
- Branded Special Edition iPods: There was a U2 design, plus models featuring signatures from celebrities like Madonna and Tony Hawk.
- iPod Photo: Photos had a 220×176 resolution.
- iPod Shuffle: A randomised song player that had no screen, and originally weighed less than one ounce.
- iPod Nano: Arguably, this device made the iPod Mini obsolete by being a more petite form.
- iPod Touch: Similar to the iPhone with a 3.5-inch multi-touch display, web browsing and messaging, and later, FaceTime.
These machines have all since been phased out, with the iPod Touch last in the line-up to be discontinued, marking the end of a great era.
A final goodbye to the iPod
It’s a sad end, but Apple’s press release on the matter points out how the musical spirit of the iPod lives on through all their products, including the iPhone, iPad and Mac. We couldn’t agree more.
Whilst the iPod may have been dubbed ‘too expensive’ back in 2001, it took off because, like Apple’s other devices, it’s a premium product. So, if you’d like to unleash the power of the Mac without risking your cash flow, Lease Loop can help. Talk to us today and let’s discuss the leasing solution for you.