What happened to the iPod?

440px-Various_iPodsThe wave of technology improvements means the ipod has to bite the dust. Interestingly, killed off by its own brother, the iPhone as Apple said on Thursday, 27 July that it was discontinuing the iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano, leaving the iOS-equipped iPod Touch as the only model left in Apple’s venerable line of portable music players.

Though the move may be sad for the nostalgic among us, it’s completely unsurprising from a business perspective. As this chart from Statista shows, the iPod has gone from Apple’s primary cash cow to something it stopped bothering to count as a separate sales category by 2015.

597b68f2b50ab162018b466b.jpg

The first version of the Ipod was released on October 23, 2001, about  8 1⁄2 months after the Macintosh version of iTunes was released. That’s makes it over 10 years old to this day. The most recent iPod redesigns were announced on July 15, 2015. As of July 27, 2017, only the iPod Touch is available.

Like other digital music players, iPods can serve as external data storage devices. Apple’s iTunes software (and other alternative software) can be used to transfer music, photos, videos, games, contact information, e-mail settings, Web bookmarks, and calendars, to the devices supporting these features from computers using certain versions of Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

 

Though the iPod was released in 2001, its price and Mac-only compatibility caused sales to be relatively slow until 2004. The iPod line came from Apple’s “digital hub” category, when the company began creating software for the growing market of personal digital devices. Digital cameras, camcorders and organizers had well-established mainstream markets, but the company found existing digital music players “big and clunky or small and useless” with user interfaces that were “unbelievably awful,” so Apple decided to develop its own. As ordered by CEO Steve Jobs, Apple’s hardware engineering chief Jon Rubinstein assembled a team of engineers to design the iPod line, including hardware engineers Tony Fadell and Michael Dhuey, and design engineer Sir Jonathan Ive.

The key enhancement was that darn wheel that greatly facilities the selection of music. The aesthetic was inspired by the 1958 Braun T3 transistor radio designed by Dieter Rams, while the wheel-based user interface was prompted by Bang & Olufsen’s BeoCom 6000 telephone.The product (“the Walkman of the twenty-first century”) was developed in less than one year and unveiled on October 23, 2001. Jobs announced it as a Mac-compatible product with a 5 GB hard drive that put “1,000 songs in your pocket.”

 

The name iPod was proposed by Vinnie Chieco, a freelance copywriter, who (with others) was called by Apple to figure out how to introduce the new player to the public. After Chieco saw a prototype, he thought of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and the phrase “Open the pod bay door, Hal!”, which refers to the white EVA Pods of the Discovery One spaceship. Chieco saw an analogy to the relationship between the spaceship and the smaller independent pods in the relationship between a personal computer and the music player. Apple researched the trademark and found that it was already in use. Joseph N. Grasso of New Jersey had originally listed an “iPod” trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in July 2000 for Internet kiosks.

On July 27, 2017, Apple removed the iPod Nano and Shuffle from its stores, marking the end of Apple producing standalone music players.[23] The iPod Touch is still produced, but it is a stripped down iPhone.

The second Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone as, in part, “a widescreen iPod with touch controls,” the writing was on the wall. The rise of streaming servicesApple Music included, has only cemented the iPod’s obsolescence. And it’s hard to say Apple subsuming its most popular product wasn’t a wise move: The iPhone has made it the world’s most valuable company, and there’ve been more iPhone sales in the past two years than iPod sales in history.

In the end, Apple saw greener pastures. It can look back at its old standby with fondness, but now it’s simply time to move on. Have a look at the various models below that bring back a great example of the change in design of the aesthetics, software and hardware.

Goodbye Ipod and thanks for the music!

Model Generation Image Capacity Connection Original release date Minimum OS to sync Rated battery life (hours)
Classic 1st 1st generation iPod 5, 10 GB FireWire October 23, 2001 Mac: 910.1 audio: 10
First model, with mechanical scroll wheel. 10 GB model released later.
2nd 2nd generation iPod (2002). 10, 20 GB FireWire July 17, 2002 Mac: 10.1
Win: 2000
audio: 10
Touch-sensitive wheel. FireWire port had a cover. Hold switch revised. Windows compatibility through Musicmatch.
3rd 3rd generation iPod 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 GB FireWire (USB for syncing only) April 28, 2003 Mac: 10.1
Win: 2000
audio: 8
First complete redesign with all-touch interface, dock connector, and slimmer case. Musicmatch support dropped with later release of iTunes 4.1 for Windows.
4th
(Photo)
(Color)
4th generation iPod. 20, 40 GB FireWire or USB July 19, 2004 Mac: 10.2
Win: 2000
audio: 12
Adopted Click Wheel from iPod Mini, hold switch redesigned.
4th generation iPod With Color Display. photo:
30, 40, 60 GB
FireWire or USB October 26, 2004 Mac: 10.2
Win: 2000
audio: 15
slideshow: 5
color:
20, 60 GB
June 28, 2005
Premium spin-off of 4th generation iPod With Color Screen, plus picture viewing. Later reintegrated into main iPod line.
5th 5th generation iPod. 30, 60, 80 GB USB (FireWire for charging only) October 12, 2005 Mac: 10.3
Win: 2000
30 GB
audio: 14
video: 2
(later 3.5)
60/80 GB
audio: 20
video: 3/6.5
Second full redesign with a slimmer case, and larger screen with video playback. Offered in black or white. Hardware and firmware updated with 60 GB model replaced with 80 GB model on September 12, 2006.
6th 6th generation iPod. 80, 120, 160 GB USB (FireWire for charging only) September 5, 2007 Mac: 10.4
Win: XP
80 GB
audio: 30
video: 5
120 GB
audio: 36
video: 6
160 GB
2007 model
audio: 40
video: 7
2009 model
audio: 36
video: 6
Introduced the “Classic” suffix. New interface and anodized aluminum front plate. Silver replaces white. In September 2008 the hardware and firmware was updated with a 120 GB model replacing the 80 GB model and the 160 GB model was discontinued. In September 2009, the 120 GB model was replaced with a 160 GB model. Discontinued on September 9, 2014.
Mini 1st 1st generation iPod Mini. 4 GB USB or FireWire January 6, 2004 Mac: 10.1
Win: 2000
audio: 8
New smaller model, available in 5 colors. Introduced the “Click Wheel”.
2nd 2nd generation iPod Mini. 4, 6 GB USB or FireWire February 22, 2005 Mac: 10.2
Win: 2000
audio: 18
Brighter color variants with longer battery life. Click Wheel lettering matched body color. Gold color discontinued. Later replaced by iPod Nano.
Nano 1st 1st generation iPod Nano. 1, 2, 4 GB USB (FireWire for charging only) September 7, 2005 Mac: 10.3
Win: 2000
audio: 14
slideshow: 4
Replaced Mini. Available in black or white and used flash memory. Color screen for picture viewing. 1 GB version released later.
2nd 4 GB silver iPod Nano 2, 4, 8 GB USB (FireWire for charging only) September 12, 2006 Mac: 10.3
Win: 2000
audio: 24
slideshow: 5
Anodized aluminum casing and 6 colors available.
3rd 4 GB 3rd generation iPod Nano. 4, 8 GB USB (FireWire for charging only) September 5, 2007 Mac: 10.4
Win: XP
audio: 24
video: 5
2″ QVGA screen, colors refreshed with chrome back, new interface, video capability, smaller Click Wheel.
4th 16 GB Flash Drive 4th generation iPod Nano. 4, 8, 16 GB USB September 9, 2008 Mac: 10.4
Win: XP
audio: 24
video: 4
Revert to tall form and all-aluminum enclosure with nine color choices, added accelerometer for shake and horizontal viewing. 4 GB model limited release in select markets.
5th 16 GB Flash Drive 5th generation iPod Nano with camera. 8, 16 GB USB September 9, 2009 Mac: 10.4
Win: XP
audio: 24
video: 5
First iPod to include a video camera; also included a larger screen, FM radio, speaker, pedometer, and a polished exterior case while retaining the similar colors as the 4th generation model.
6th Silver 6th generation iPod Nano 8, 16 GB USB September 1, 2010 Mac: 10.5
Win: XP
audio: 24
First iPod Nano to include multi-touch screen; clip from iPod Shuffle added. Video playback, speakers and camera removed.
7th Black 7th generation iPod Nano. 16 GB USB September 12, 2012 Mac: 10.6
Win: XP
audio: 30
video: 3.5
Revert to tall form factor with larger 2.5″ multi-touch screen. Clip removed. Video playback restored and Bluetooth added.
Shuffle 1st 1st generation iPod Shuffle. 512 MB, 1 GB USB
(no adaptor required)
January 11, 2005 Mac: 10.2
Win: 2000
audio: 12
New entry-level model. Uses flash memory and has no screen.
2nd 2nd generation iPod Shuffle 1, 2 GB USB September 12, 2006 Mac: 10.3
Win: 2000
audio: 12
Smaller clip design with anodized aluminum casing. 4 color options added later. Colors were later refreshed twice.
3rd 3rd generation iPod Shuffle 2, 4 GB USB March 11, 2009 Mac: 10.4
Win: XP
audio: 10
Smaller design with controls relocated to right earbud cable. Introduced with two colors, and features VoiceOver. More colors and 2 GB model added in September 2009.
4th 4th generation iPod Shuffle. 2 GB USB September 1, 2010 Mac: 10.5
Win: XP
audio: 15
Controls returned to the body of the iPod. Introduced with five colors, and features VoiceOver.
Touch 1st 1st generation iPod Touch. 8, 16, 32 GB USB (FireWire for charging only)[67] September 5, 2007 Mac: 10.4
Win: XP
audio: 22
video: 5
First iPod with Wi-Fi and a Multi-touch interface. Features Safari browser and wireless access to the iTunes Store and YouTube. 32 GB model later added. iOS 2.0 and App Store access requires an upgrade fee.
2nd 2nd & 3rd generation iPod Touches. 8, 16, 32 GB USB September 9, 2008 Mac: 10.4
Win: XP
audio: 36
video: 6
New tapered chrome back with Nike+ functionality, volume buttons, and built-in speaker added. iOS 2.0 and App Store access standard. Bluetooth support added but not made active until iOS 3.0, which requires an upgrade fee.
3rd 32, 64 GB USB September 9, 2009 Mac: 10.4
Win: XP
audio: 30
video: 6
Updated to include the upgraded internals from the iPhone 3GS; includes Voice Control support and bundled remote earphones.
4th 4th generation iPod Touch. 8, 16, 32, 64 GB USB September 1, 2010 Mac: 10.5
Win: XP
audio: 40
video: 7
New thinner design including two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording, hold button moved to top right corner, Retina Display similar to iPhone 4, Apple A4 chip. White-colored version added on October 4, 2011.
5th 5th generation iPod Touch. 16, 32, 64 GB USB September 12, 2012 Mac: 10.6
Win: XP
audio: 40
video: 8
New aluminum design with colored case options. Features improved cameras along with A5 processor, Siri, and longer 4″ Retina Display. First 16 GB models released have no color choices and have no iSight camera, In early 2014 16 GB models were released that have iSight cameras and color choices.
6th 6th generation iPod Touch. 16, 32, 64, 128 GB USB July 15, 2015 Mac: 10.10
Win: 7
audio: 40
video: 8
Updated with a new lineup of six colors, a new 128 GB model, and improved internals. The improved internals feature new cameras and the A8 processor with M8 motion coprocessor.[68]

Interesting reads:

https://www.wired.com/story/goodbye-ipod-and-thanks-for-all-the-tunes/

http://money.cnn.com/2017/07/27/technology/ipod-nano-discontinued-shuffle/index.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPod

http://www.businessinsider.sg/apple-ipod-rise-fall-chart-2017-7/

https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/28/16058474/vergecast-podcast-267-guidebook-ipod-nano-next-level-apple-foxconn-zuckerberg

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3 thoughts on “What happened to the iPod?

  1. Recently clearing my drawer that I realised I still keep my 4th generation iPod. Gone are the days of using a gadget like iPod for listening music. Nowadays I use my smartphone for everything like music, photos and games. Thanks for this article.

    Like

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