Apple today announced that it has ended production of the iPod Touch, the last remaining model of the portable music player that served as the precursor to the iPhone and, therefore, smartphones. Apple gently buried the led in its announcementpointing to the way music players have been integrated into phones and watches, while noting that the iPod Touch will be available “while supplies last”.
The iPod had a good run. The first model came out in 2001, when you had to code the song titles yourself, and aux cables were still prized party utilities. Of course, portable mp3 players existed before the iPod, but Apple has made them dramatically better. You could argue that Apple’s penchant for taking an existing idea and making it viable for a mass market is exemplified by the iPod.
It was a really impressive kit, back then. The UI made sense, the batteries lasted up to 10 hours, and the storage was generous for the time. The first generation offered 5GB and 10GB variants; the latest Touch model offered up to 256GB, meaning you could store Metallica and Lou Reed underrated lulu LP 1000 times. If you wanted.
The fourth generation of the iPod was when it really became a phenomenon. The click wheel control was a revelation, the screen took on color and, uh, let’s not beat around the bush: the pack-in Brick game ruled, though. Vortex easily surpassed it when it launched in 2006. That generation of the iPod Classic – the one with the click wheel – was discontinued in 2014. Since then, the Touch has prevailed, which basically resembles a smartphone, but without the phone.
The writing has been on the wall for some time. Discreet music players tend to be the domain of audiophiles these days, and the idea of storing actual music files on a device is probably unthinkable for the vast majority of people who use streaming services. It probably hasn’t helped much for PC users who, unlike in the early days, escaping iPod dependence on iTunes has become more and more of a nuisance with each passing year. If you want a good and affordable mp3 player, these are very good.