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.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.

Discussion

5 Thoughts on "The End of the iPod"

I still use my iPod classic in my car as well and also on long airplane trips, even though I have an iPhone. I’ve copied loads of my audio CDs (yes, I still have those, too!) onto my trusty iPod and don’t have to deal with streaming issues. I know that one day, I won’t be able to get a replacement charging cord for it so the inevitable retirement is looming, but for now, I’ll keep using it!

oh this totally bums me out!!! (you can tell my age from that statement) I L O V E my iPod nano and I hate having to carry around a heavy, big iPhone instead. I went without soda pop for an entire year to save up money to buy my first iPod, second generation. Still have it. Still works sitting on the docking station. Also love my nano, fourth generation. Damn you Apple! You made me love it and now it’s gone.

I am glad to see the back of them. I never liked the idea of an algorithm always classifying the type of music I was listening to by decade. Good music is music and the listener doesn’t need to be informed constantly of the era each track was made in, to enjoy it. Neither did I want to be able shuffle my playlist by tracks which ruins the whole concept of albums. The ipod broke my heart. I got one as a present from my brother in 2004 and spent hours loading 80 cds on to it. I got to enjoy a few plays of it, before my young son accidentally misplaced it , and was never to be found again. All that hard labour for very little reward. I’ll stick with cds thank you very much, they may scratch but at least they are tangible. Their sound is more authentic than digital music.

My husband and I had a 14-year commuter stretch in our marriage with a 2.5 to 3 hour one-way drive to see each other on weekends. The iPod was a godsend, especially for my husband, who usually drove back late at night. His first iPod was about the size and shape of a cigarette pack. We have since switched all of our media over to personal iPhones, but it’s not as easy to share locked personal phones. I had thought about getting my workplace student assistants an iPod Touch, so that they don’t have to load an app for work onto their personal phones. That ship has sailed, or rather that song has been played out.

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