Apple has officially announced the discontinuation of the last iPod Touch model, effectively ending its iconic iPod line that began with the release of the original iPod in October 2001. Although Apple didn’t create the portable music player market, it captured the imagination of the world at the time with its unique scroll wheel and convenient shape and size. In addition to various iterations of the original iPod, Apple has also sold the hugely popular iPod mini, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, and iPod Touch lines in recent years.
The company eventually trimmed the portfolio, discontinuing the iPod (later renamed iPod Classic), iPod nano, and iPod shuffle in recent years. The series hadn’t been updated since the launch of the 7th generation iPod Touch in mid-2019, which came four years after the previous update and was the only remaining model on sale. Even its presence on Apple’s official website has been reduced as other products, notably the iPhone, have replaced it.
Apple’s iPod became a pop culture sensation, with several iconic commercials highlighting the white headphones that came bundled with it. The excitement was great every time a new model was to come onto the market. The original iPod, with its 5GB capacity and FireWire connection, was only compatible with Macs, but Apple capitalized on the line’s popularity in 2003 and announced a Windows version of the iTunes app, which was then used to manage music on iPods was required. This move would be credited to Apple for establishing its brand identity in the Steve Jobs era.
Over the past 20 years, Apple has introduced new features like the touch-surface click wheel with built-in buttons and flash memory, starting with the iPod nano line. The iTunes Music Store allowed users to buy and sync music before streaming became dominant and Apple replaced it with Apple Music. When the iPhone was first introduced in 2007, it was billed as an iPod with touch controls, as well as an internet-connected device and mobile phone.
With the growing popularity of the iPhone as well as streaming services, Apple has narrowed its focus to the iPod line, and the lack of updates beyond the 7th generation iPod Touch has hinted at the eventual discontinuation of the line for years.
While at one point the iPod Touch was highlighted as a gaming device or a more affordable internet-enabled device for kids, it’s now less relevant in the age of streaming content. Apple is now saying this model will remain available while supplies last, but is proposing its various other products, including iPhones, the Apple Watch and the HomePod mini, for listening to music on the go and at home.