Apple has announced that it’s discontinuing the iPod Touch, the last remaining model in its lineup of portable music players.
While Apple may be done with making dedicated music players, the company says that “the spirit of iPod lives on” in all of its devices that play music, such as the iPhone, iPad, and HomePod Mini.
The original FireWire-equipped model acted as just a portable music player, and Apple made models that were pretty much exclusively for listening to audio up until 2017, when it discontinued the iPod Nano and Shuffle. While the iPod Touch has been embraced by some iPod enthusiasts as the new classic music player, it also found a following for those who wanted an iPhone-like experience but didn’t actually need a phone.
While the iPod Touch has had its fans, the writing’s been on the wall for a while. The seventh-gen iPod Touch Apple discontinued Tuesday was introduced in 2019 via a press release. While the iPhone 11 would be released later that year, the 2019 touch had the same A10 processor as the iPhone 7.
It’s hard to blame the company for that. Most people aren’t particularly interested in carrying a second device that does something their smartphone is perfectly capable of (see also: the drying up of the point-and-shoot camera market).
Apple didn’t see that as a problem, according to Fadell. “At Apple, every single thing that was tried — at least under Steve — needed to ship because it was existential. You couldn’t not make the iPhone successful because you were cannibalizing the iPod business.”
While the iPod may soon disappear from store shelves, it’s hard to completely do away with something so iconic. We’ll likely continue to see iPod modification projects from enthusiasts or web experiences designed to evoke nostalgia for the age of dedicated music players.