As the last iPod in Apple’s lineup, the end of the iPod touch marks the end of an era for Apple. The iPod, which debuted in 2001, played a significant role in Apple’s comeback as a company. The iPod touch was introduced in 2007, the same year as the iPhone, as a sort of phone-less iPhone that became an entry-level iOS device for kids and others who didn’t need or want the iPhone’s mobile phone functionality. Over the years, though, the touch has been updated less frequently as its role was absorbed by hand-me-down iPhones and other products.
Although the timing of Apple’s decision makes sense, it’s still a little sad to see the iPod touch go. Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Greg Joswiak, had this to say about the legacy of the entire iPod lineup:
“Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry — it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to, and shared. Today, the spirit of iPod lives on. We’ve integrated an incredible music experience across all of our products, from the iPhone to the Apple Watch to HomePod mini, and across Mac, iPad, and Apple TV. And Apple Music delivers industry-leading sound quality with support for spatial audio — there’s no better way to enjoy, discover, and experience music.
With a month to go before WWDC, now is the time that Apple often clears the decks for bigger announcements. Is the end of the touch a precursor to something bigger coming with Apple Music, the HomePod, or other products? I hope so. As Federico and I discussed on this week’s episode of AppStories, there is plenty of room for improvement with Apple Music, and the HomePod mini feels like part of an incomplete lineup after the original HomePod was discontinued. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Today Apple announced an updated version of its last remaining iPod product, the iPod touch. The device starts at the same $199 price as before, but it’s been upgraded in a couple of ways, such as adding an A10 Fusion chip to replace the previous generation’s A8, which among other things enables Group FaceTime and augmented reality features.
Lots about the new iPod remains the same. It keeps the previous generation’s basic form factor, including the same 4-inch display and headphone jack. The device is available in Pink, Silver, Space Gray, Gold, Blue, and (PRODUCT)RED finishes, just as it was before. One thing that’s new, however, besides the upgraded A10 chip, is that there’s now a higher storage capacity available. Joining the 32GB and 128GB models, you can now get an iPod touch with 256GB of storage. Pricing for the lower tiers of storage remains $199 and $299 as before, and the new model comes in at $399.
The new iPod touch is available today to order from Apple.com, and will be available in Apple Stores later this week. Apple clearly wanted to get this device into the world ahead of WWDC next week, so it will be interesting to see if, perhaps, that means new software like iOS 13 will no longer run on A8 chips, and thus Apple needed to modernize the iPod before announcing that new version of iOS.
Stephen Hackett reports on 512 Pixels that the iPod nano and iPod shuffle have both been entirely removed from Apple’s website, indicating that the products have been discontinued. In their absence, the only iPod product currently mentioned on Apple’s site and available for purchase is the iPod touch, now available in streamlined configurations of 32GB and 128GB for $199 and $299 respectively.
Those who want to get their hands on one of these missing products may still have luck visiting an Apple Store, according to MacRumors:
For now, it appears the iPod nano and iPod shuffle are still available to purchase at many Apple Stores and other resellers, but if the devices are indeed discontinued, then that may not be the case much longer. The latest iPod nano started at $149, while the iPod shuffle cost $49, in the United States.
While newer products like AirPods and HomePod carry on Apple’s music legacy, it seems likely to be only a matter of time before the iPod era comes to a complete end.
The box was striking, with a kinetic photo of Jimi Hendrix. When you opened it, the stark white device — which I’d describe as a thermostat control in a David Hockney painting — sat like a gem in a jewel box. Apple had also provided reviewers with a stack of CDs (presumably to dispel the charge that illegally downloaded music would populate the iPod’s 5-gigabyte hard drive).
In 2001, the iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player, but it combined existing technologies in a simple and stylish way that caused people to sit up and take notice. That first iPod was expensive and only worked tethered to a Mac via FireWire, which it was criticized for by some. But Levy and others saw the promise of the fledgling device.
Fifteen years later, it’s interesting to consider Levy’s interview of Steve Jobs as he legitimately questions who the iPod is for and why Apple made it. Few products reach the heights that the iPod eventually did, but it’s the possibility that one might that makes the introduction of new gadgets and technologies exciting to all but the most jaded.
I remember my first iPod well. It was a third generation model and I loved it. It was commuting salvation packed into what seemed like an impossibly small package.
The iPod was a transformative device for Apple that laid the groundwork for future devices like the iPhone. Although it synced with a computer, the iPod marked Apple’s first major foray into consumer electronics. In some ways, the introduction of the iPod seems like an impossibly long time ago, but when you look back at its evolution, it’s amazing just how far technology has come in such a short time.
Kids React is one of my favorite YouTube shows. It’s always interesting to see how new generations react to old products and technologies, commenting on aspects that they now take for granted but that actually took years of evolution and cultural changes to happen.
Their latest video is about kids reacting to the first iPod. There are many great moments in the video, but the part about touching the screen really shows how tech has changed since 2001. You can watch it below.
Over at TechCrunch, Matthew Panzarino was able to run some tests on the newly updated iPod touch. Unsurprisingly, the device appears to be underclocked when compared to the iPhone 6 but has 1 GB of RAM. I noted this morning that the iPod touch would make for a decent test device, but I wonder if performance differences in CPU could be a problem there (I don’t think so – unless there are some graphically intensive apps that really push the A8 to the very limit?).
9to5Mac points out that the iPod touch comes with Bluetooth 4.1 – a first for Apple (the iPhone 6 has Bluetooth 4.0). The updated standard will likely be adopted on new iPhones in the Fall as it has some interesting upgrades for communication between LTE and Bluetooth radios, but it also includes changes for connected “Internet of Things” devices – perhaps Zac has a point when he envisions the iPod as a smart home remote.
Last, we noted this morning that the refreshed iPod nano doesn’t feature an updated user interface to match the post-iOS 7 era of design at Apple. John Gruber has heard the reason why that might be the case, and it’s quite sad.