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Apple’s iPod Line Bites the Dust After 20 Years

Apple announced today (May 10, 2022) that it will cease production of its iPod Touch, which is the final remaining product belonging to the iPod family. After the current inventory has gone, the iPod Touch line will officially be discontinued.

When Apple first launched the iPod in October 2001, it was the company's debut in the realm of consumer electronics. Boasting a 160-by-128-pixel video screen and an impressive 5GB memory, the device offered Americans and others around the world an enjoyable escape from the horrendous 9/11 events. The iPod was designed to seamlessly join with iTunes, which was introduced in January 2001 to provide an easy way for music enthusiasts to download (hopefully) from their discs and save their music. Although the iPod's CD-audio-quality claims were not as good due to the 128 kbps (kilobytes per second) sampling rate of the files downloaded by default with iTunes, it was still accessible, portable, convenient, and, most importantly, user-friendly.

The iPod wasn't the only mobile digital player that you could carry around, but it soon became the only one of note. In 2003, Apple strengthened its position by adopting the AAC audio format for files over MP3, thereby providing superior audio quality compared to MP3s–which are encoded with the same bit rate, and also the iTunes Store. Listeners can now purchase the latest music directly and then sync the songs onto their devices. Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs continued his path towards total dominance in the same year when he released an iTunes application for Windows-based PCs, a snub to Microsoft since the company's own Windows Media Player quickly became a flimsy idea.

The first sign of the end of the iPod's life was in January 2007, when the iPhone was introduced. Users embraced the iPhone's capability to perform everything that the iPod could and much more, with the exception of the iPod Touch, which could accomplish everything the iPhone was capable of except… well, making a call. The need to carry two devices was no longer necessary. In addition to this, the continuous increase in streaming services being the primary channel for popular music along with sales on the iTunes Store (recently changed to Apple Music) and the CD aspect of the business steadily declining each year contributed. The iPod is now the aging soldier of electronics, and although it isn't completely dead, it is slowly fading into the background.

However, there's an element of nostalgia connected with the iPod. It made the long commuter train rides many took in the early 2000s a lot more enjoyable. Not having to deal with the cassette on a Walkman was a pleasure. Selecting what one wanted to sync according to one’s omnipresent tinnitus could involve too much heavy metal playing far too loudly. The iPod performed the task Apple designed it to accomplish, and it did so very efficiently. It was the first step in Apple's transition from being a nerdy hangout to an internationally recognized brand. It is also a reminder that Apple hasn't launched an actual innovative product in the years since Jobs died, considering that he was the one who introduced Apple's iPod, iPhone, and iPad to life.

Goodbye, iPod. Take a rest in your broken-down home.

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