This week, Apple announced that they will no longer be manufacturing iPods. For several years now, “iPod” has meant only the iPod Touch, essentially an iPhone without the radio parts, but this marks the end of a technology era. Though not the first MP3 player on the market, the iPod brought their use to the mainstream and changed the way we listen to music. One thing I’ll miss is the tactile interface — I still use a refurbished iPod Classic in my car simply because I can adjust it without looking at it, something impossible on touchscreen devices. The increasing use of touchscreens rather than tactile buttons in automobile design, requiring the driver to look away from the road, continues to confound me.
But I was also thinking about the etymological implications here. I’m reminded of a video we ran back in 2015, where children were filmed interacting with the original iPod. All of them referred to it as a “phone”, suggesting that the word “phone” now means the small computer you carry around in your pocket, rather than something one uses to place a call. Like “phone”, the “pod” from iPod will live on in a different context in “podcast“, a word that seems nonsensical to anyone born after iPods were popular.
Regardless, find below the first commercial for the first iPod, and pour one out for the death of a beloved companion.