• Thu. Jun 23rd, 2022

Farewell, Apple iPod — the music player and trendsetter that revolutionized listening

ByTina R. Wimmer

May 15, 2022

New Delhi: At the age of 10, all that mattered to Bengaluru marketing manager Vikrant Mehra was an Apple iPod that came into his life as a birthday present.

“For a very long time, my love for music lived inside this 80GB iPod,” Mehra, now 25, told ThePrint.

The portable media player was nothing short of magical to him. This gave him the first “formal introduction” to the world of music – different genres, albums, as well as album covers.

“I started to be really obsessed with music after I got the iPod as a birthday present when I was 10. It also had a feature that allowed a user to scroll through music while watching the album cover, which made me obsessed with the art along with the music,” he added.

Although Mehra hasn’t proven himself to be a professional musician, he is effortless with the guitar and is happiest picking up strings or strumming with his friends.

With the advent of the iPod in the early 2000s, millennials went from a generation of CD burners to those cool kids with hands-free music.

“It’s the most culturally significant invention of our time,” noted Aman Misra, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri. “It changed everything. I felt a knot in my stomach when it was announced that Apple was discontinuing it,” Aman lamented.

After more than two decades, Apple announced on Tuesday that it is discontinuing the latest model of the iconic music player.

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The iconic iPod

The iPod was launched by Apple in 2001. It wasn’t the first MP3 player on the market — the equally iconic Sony Walkman was still very much in vogue.

However, as an article in The quintet noted, larger storage allowing users to store up to 1,000 songs on a small device, along with longer battery life, made the iPod an instant hit.

Apple revolutionized the music industry with its hands-free iPods. In 2003, the tech giant introduced iPods with 120GB of storage, allowing up to 10,000 songs to be stored at one time.

“We used to compete with friends at school over song videos we had on our gadgets. And post videos we discovered after school hours,” Misra added.

Now that smart phones have made devices like iPods obsolete, it might be hard for a young reader to imagine the excitement and emotional value these MP3 players have had for an entire generation of music lovers. At the height of its popularity, iPods garnered 40% of Apple’s revenue.

Some of the other more recent revolutions in music consumption can be attributed to streaming sites like Spotify, Apple Music and others that allow listening to music online.

Different Types of iPods

Over the two decades of its run, the iPod has come in different shapes and sizes. At first it was a small screen with four navigation buttons. This look was also continued for Generation 2 and 3 iPods.

A makeover for iPods came in 2004, featuring a touch-sensitive playback wheel and unique color panels. In 2005, iPods arrived with screens as large as smartphones and a video playback function, offering up to 80 GB of storage.

Apart from the classic range, iPod Minis were also introduced and remained on the market from 2004 to 2005. These were replaced by the iPod Nano, introduced in September 2006, which had no screen. Steve Jobs called it “a complete iPod in an incredibly small size”. At the time the Nano was discontinued in 2017, it was a fully touchscreen device and also offered FM radio functionality.

Meanwhile, there was the iPod Shuffle which could hold up to 240 songs. There was also the iPod Touch which looked like the iPhone. The iPod Touch was launched in 2007, just like the iPhone.

In 2009, the iPhone replaced iPods to become the king of all Apple devices. With iPhones having built-in Apple Music that can store songs, the iPod has slowly become redundant and faded from people’s lives.

The iPod Touch was last updated in 2019 and now, in 2022, we are saying our final goodbyes to this flagship that made our lives better by plugging in a pair of headphones.

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