Apple Is Right to Discontinue the iPod, Unfortunate as It Is

The news that Apple is discontinuing the iPod came as a surprise; not totally out of left field, but a surprise nonetheless. As one of Apple’s most popular products of all time, and one of the most popular music players of all time, the 20 year-old device has certainly left its mark on the world.

As the saying goes, all good things come to an end. And, as sad that it is to bid the iPod farewell, that time has come for our music-playing friend. Here, we’ll explore why Apple is right to discontinue the iPod.

Apple Officially Discontinues the iPod

You read that right, Apple is officially discontinuing the iPod. Announced by Apple in a press release on May 10, 2022, the company officially marked the end of the device.

Apple, and other retailers, will continue to sell the iPod touch while stocks last. But no future units will be produced. And once the existing devices on the market are gone, they’ll be gone for good. But please, don’t start stockpiling iPods now!

In the press release, Apple focused more on celebrating the other ways you can enjoy music using its products and services. It pointed out, “the experience of taking one’s music library out into the world has been integrated across Apple’s product line”.


And while Apple’s right, we would have liked to have seen a little more reminiscing about the iPod; a one last hurrah, if you will.

Why Apple Is Right to Discontinue the iPod

While the decision to discontinue the iPod is a sad one, it is the right one to make. In a world where we’ve advanced beyond the iPod, it doesn’t particularly fit anymore.

You Can Listen to Music on Almost Any Other (Apple) Device

As you likely already know, you can be taken your music with you on any device. Across Apple’s entire range (watches, phones, Macs), you can access music streaming services.

On these platforms, you can stream music over Wi-Fi or mobile data, and even download songs, albums, and playlists from Apple Music and the other options. And it’s not just Apple devices either, any internet-connected device can do the same.

For the traditionalists out there, you still have the option of purchasing music through the iTunes Store, and other sites that let you buy music online.

However you choose to listen to your music, streaming or purchasing, you can do it from the devices you already have. Most people use their phone to listen to music, and that’s the biggest competitor to the iPod.

iPod’s biggest selling point was being able to conveniently take music with you on the go, offline, and in a small device without the need for a CD or tape (remember those?). Along came the iPhone. And as we all know, while you can download and store music on the iPhone, you can do an awful lot more, too.

The more advanced iPhone’s music capabilities came, the more redundant iPod came. It’s almost poetic, in a way. But more of a Shakespearean tragedy way than a fun, rhyming poem one.

If you can do everything the iPod does on the iPhone you’re already carrying around in your pocket, why would you purchase the iPod? Even for the more tech-averse out there, the iPod is no longer a good recommendation, when you can purchase a semi-recent used iPhone that has twice the functionality for the same price. And people did stop purchasing the iPod.

iPod Sales Numbers Dwindling

Nostalgia and all those other pesky feelings aside, Apple is a business, and it’s here to make money. As we looked at, the iPod became increasingly redundant, and Apple stopped selling units.

According to Statista, even as early as 2014, Apple was only selling 14.4m iPods, down from the peak 54.8m in 2008. Following that, Apple hasn’t publicly recorded its sales numbers. Accounting for less than one percent of total sales, it’s not surprising to see why.

While some people are still buying iPods (albeit a small number), it’s no longer profitable for Apple to spend money on producing, stocking, and selling the iPod. Maintaining the iPod is another task Apple has to take on, wasting otherwise valuable time.

Apple Says the Music Lives On–It’s Right

As much as we love the iPod, the dancing iTunes commercials, and the nostalgic colors, iPod just doesn’t fit into our 2022 world. The devices we already carry do the same as the iPod, and more, eliminating the need for the older device. You can use your iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac, and HomePod products to listen to music just the same.

For many of us, iPod was our first route into the Apple ecosystem, or our first device that had a screen. The music player changed the shape of the tech industry at the time, and arguably paved the way forward. Would we be where we are without the iPod? Almost definitely not.

In the words of Echo & The Bunnymen, nothing ever lasts forever. And the same is true for the iPod.


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