June 14, 2024


The Joy of Technology

Apple discontinues its last iPod model, marking the end of a tech era


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For a era of men and women who lived, labored, and grew up in the 2000s, the word “iPod” was synonymous with music. Escaping the sight of those people white ear buds was almost extremely hard. And inspite of the speed with which smartphones took above our life, Apple held producing its digital media players with no a lot fuss.

In a assertion Tuesday, the organization claimed it would go on selling the seventh-generation iPod contact “while provides last” — a quiet confirmation that the age of the iPod might finally be around.

The go, though bittersweet for techies of a sure age, did not appear entirely by surprise. For yrs, Apple has slowly and gradually culled its line of moveable media machines: the last iPod with the classic click on-wheel was discontinued in 2014, and the once-preferred iPod nano followed-fit a few decades afterwards.

“Today, the spirit of iPod lives on,” Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide advertising, Greg Joswiak, claimed. “We’ve integrated an remarkable songs working experience across all of our items, from the Apple iphone to the Apple Watch to HomePod mini, and throughout Mac, iPad, and Apple Television set.”

Appropriate now, the considered of a single-function gadget like the iPod can feel hopelessly passe. To an extent, Apple felt the very same. The original types only played music we acquired, ripped and pirated, but they have been followed by variations that performed video clips and, at some point, the touch-monitor models that persisted up to this week. But even though iPods were being inevitably (and absolutely) overshadowed by the Apple iphone, it’s tricky to understate the impact they had on the organization — and the individuals who utilised them.

These times, Apple is value above $2 trillion and directs its awareness to everything from laptop or computer-processor layout to Oscar-worthy movie manufacturing. In the a long time leading up to the initial iPod’s release, even so, Apple was only just emerging from what iPod creator Tony Fadell identified as a “death spiral” in his new e book.

Just after a string of not-really-right leaders, prodigal CEO Steve Positions returned to the firm and shook up its personal computer lineup with a slew of low-cost, vibrant iMacs in 1998. Then came likewise cheery iBooks a year later. But it was arguably the first iPod, unveiled in October 2001, that set a revived Apple down a distinct path — 1 that cemented its position in people’s pockets, not just on their desks.

In the earlier, Apple had dabbled with other super moveable devices, like some sick-fated digital cameras and the early PDA whose long lasting legacy was a throwaway joke on “The Simpsons.” But according to Leander Kahney, writer of the e book “The Cult of iPod,” the company’s very first MP3 player was distinctive.

“It definitely was a great gadget,” he advised The Washington Submit. “So quick to use and the supply of so substantially joy and satisfaction — for the reason that of the new music it contained, of system. And it was the product that thoroughly remodeled Apple, laid the groundwork for the Apple iphone and kick-commenced significant growth.”

Over the two many years that followed, Apple collectively unveiled additional than two dozen iPod versions, not which includes the variants with distinct amounts of storage space. And throughout the iPod’s tenure, a great number of tech traits have appear and gone — here’s seeking at you, netbooks and 3D TVs. That is just how it goes in an industry where by a business is only as good as its next products.

But even nevertheless the previous iPods Apple ever ideas to make are on sale now, it looks not likely individuals devices will wholly vanish from the cultural consciousness anytime before long.

“I did not have an iPod increasing up,” claimed Bee Shipinski, a 19-12 months-previous pupil in Boise, Idaho, born right after Apple’s very first iPod announcement. “They ended up really high-priced.” But a inclination towards tinkering — in addition recurrent childhood publicity to all those dancing silhouette commercials — assisted turn Shipinski into a supporter of dedicated music equipment.

“With an iPod, all it does is perform music. It doesn’t care about an Web link, it does not treatment about a license,” Shipinski, who utilizes they/them pronouns, reported. “It looks for the files, reads them, and it is like, ‘Okay, here’s what we’re likely to do. We’re likely to participate in your new music, and we’re likely to engage in it actually d— perfectly.’ ”

Fairly than enterprise into the calculated slickness of an Apple store, Shipinski acquired their initially iPods in a thrift shop in 2019 and at some point resolved to crack open the more recent 1 for fun. With support from a maintenance manual from a YouTuber referred to as DankPods — who has amassed a adhering to of additional than 1 million subscribers intrigued in iPods and other early 2000s music gamers — Shipinski built their to start with modifications, or “mods.”

Shipinski isn’t by itself. They’re a single of a rising flock of men and women who have begun repairing and, in some situations, upgrading old iPods to function superior than they ever could just before. Somewhat than outdated, rather fragile challenging drives, these tweaked types have been modified to read music off low-priced, roomy SD cards. And in accordance to a 17-12 months-old Irish Discord consumer named Leek Soup, people often put in more substantial batteries into the house individuals tricky drives applied to acquire up.

“Other mods include personalizing the exterior of the iPod with unique coloured faceplates, click wheels and rear circumstances,” Leek Soup mentioned. “People have also mounted taptic engines from iPhones into [old iPods], to give a bit of tactile suggestions.”

So, certainly, Apple’s announcement does formally mark the stop of an era. But judging by the quite a few versions on sale on eBay, it may perhaps be a though — if ever — ahead of men and women at last have to move on from their cherished iPods.


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