On this day (May 10, 2022), Apple discontinued the last standing product in the iPod lineup – the seventh-generation iPod touch, which marked the end of an era for Apple. The iPod was a revolutionary product that helped Apple become a more successful company, and it reshaped the music industry when it comes to finding, sharing, and listening to music. Despite its success, why did Apple discontinue the iPod?
As the iPod became more capable when it came to adding new features besides listening to music such as syncing contacts, there was a lot of saturation in the market of MP3 players. With the iPod dominating the market and competitors catching up to it, Apple would need to create the next big thing that would replace the iPod; otherwise, their competition would. As Steve Jobs once said, “If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will.”
Enter the iPhone, introduced on January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs wowed the audience with that revolutionary product as it shook the smartphone industry. He even dubbed the iPhone as “a widescreen iPod with touch controls.” With all of the core features that the iPhone offered, it effectively made the iPod obsolete. Eventually, with iPhone sales dominating those of the iPod in 2010, Apple would discontinue every iPod model starting with the iPod classic in 2014. The iPod shuffle and nano followed suit in 2017, with the iPod touch being the last one standing until 2022.
By discontinuing the iPod lineup, Apple would enjoy gaining more profit from the iPhone than ever before as the iPhone had a much higher profit margin than an iPod would. Additionally, Apple can invest in its iPhone ecosystem even further by making its lineup of iPhones more advanced than ever before through hardware, software, and accessories. The iPhone has greatly enjoyed market saturation for years, but who knows we could see Apple introducing its next big thing to go after another market as soon as WWDC.
The iPod has held a special place in my heart as the iPod nano (2nd generation, 2006) was the first Apple product that I ever used. I even used a different iPod model this past weekend (shown above). There’s always something special when it comes to using your iPod as you can always listen deeply into your music without any distractions or interruptions. You can even find some of the obsolete iPod models that were rescued at Elite Obsolete Electronics. The owner, Austin, even took the commitment to reviving those devices. If you’re thinking about buying an iPod as a true music enthusiast who bought thousands of albums, you should check out this Buyer’s Guide from ThisDoesNotCompute.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with using an iPod for the first time. If you like to share, sound off in the comments below.