Apple loses the source of great success with the iPod after 21 years

Tuesday, October 23, 2001 was the day Apple introduced the iPod to the world. Apple’s “other rescue” that 21 years later can be seen as the source of its great success. A music player that gave the American company the perfect start for the introduction of the iPhone.

It’s the week in which Apple officially pulls the plug on the iPod. The week in which we say goodbye to an iconic product after 7504 days. The perfect week to look back at the extraordinary life of this gigantic success.

A big step after the iMac

At a time when CD and MP3 players dominated the market, Apple first introduced the iPod. “We lured you here with the promise of a breakthrough digital product,” Steve Jobs told a room full of journalists. “And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.” It was actually exactly what Apple did.

Was that in line with expectations? No definitely not. Apple Computer was saved from ruin with the introduction of the iMac, and few people at the time expected Steve Jobs to pull the joke again. Yet these critical people were witnesses of a memorable moment on that Tuesday in question. The moment when the product was unveiled that made Apple a commercial hit.

The iPod changed the game

Was the iPod the first MP3 player to appear? No definitely not. Yet Apple managed to completely change the game with its music player. CDs carried fifteen songs and MP3 players sometimes carried 150. Apple’s small music player not only fit easily in your pocket, but also laughed over that number. The very first iPod had a storage capacity of 5GB, allowing consumers to carry 1,000 songs with them. “The coolest thing about the iPod is that your entire music library fits in your pocket,” Steve Jobs said during the introduction.

Initially, the iPod could only be used with Mac software, but on the advice of Apple’s Tony Fadell and journalist Walt Mossberg, the company decided to launch a Windows version in July 2002. A great decision, because that’s when the success story started. The second-generation iPod (including Windows support) was followed by a third-generation in 2003 and a fourth in 2004. A strategy that proved to be working on all sides.

Where in 2022 you see almost everyone walking around with AirPods, people in the 00s walked around en masse with an iPod. It didn’t matter whether it was the first model, the mini variant or the nano: Apple’s music player was indispensable.

Steve Jobs shows first iPod
Steve Jobs shows the first iPod (click/tap for larger) (Image: Apple)

iPhone didn’t mean the end of the iPod yet

Nevertheless, the iPod has finally disappeared from view and we say goodbye this week. Many people think that the arrival of the iPhone in 2007 is the main cause, but that is not immediately the case. The arrival of the smartphone was not immediately the end of the iPod. On the contrary.

In September 2007, a few months after the introduction of the iPhone, Apple released the iPod touch. It was a cheaper option on Apple’s phone that catered to mostly young consumers. Armed with the App Store, it was not only possible to enjoy music, but also plenty of games to play. It is not for nothing that the iPod lasted fifteen years after the arrival of the iPhone.

The problem, however, was that many consumers, over the years, forgot the presence of the music player. Besides the iPhone and the Apple Watch, few people still had room for an iPod. The nano and shuffle lasted until mid-2017 and the most recent iPod touch is from 2019.

iPod Touch
touch (Image: Apple)

The end of an era

However, the rise of streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music has ensured that the market no longer has room for such a device. The last-generation touch sold poorly and Apple eventually decided to pull the plug.

After 21 years, the iPod is coming to an end. The end of an era. What have we enjoyed.

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