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Friday, May 27, 2022

saying farewell to ipod

by Trip Mickle, The New York Times Company

The iPod started with a modest goal: Let’s create a music product that would make people want to buy more Macintosh computers. In just a few short years, it would transform the consumer electronics and music industry and make Apple the most valuable company in the world.

First introduced in October 2001, the pocket-sized rectangle with a white face and polished steel frame weighed 6.5 ounces. It came packaged with white earbuds in a custom color, Moon Grey, and held 1,000 songs.

It exploded in popularity in the years that followed, leading to what came to be known as the iPod generation. For much of the 2000s, people walked around the world, with headphones dangling from their ears. The iPod was ubiquitous.

On Tuesday, Apple officially said goodbye to all of them. The company announced that it was phasing out production of its iPod touch, spurring the creation of the iPhone at the end of two decades of the product line and helping to turn Silicon Valley into the epicenter of global capitalism.

Since introducing the iPod in 2001, Apple has sold an estimated 450 million of them, according to Loop Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in tech research. Last year it sold an estimated 3 million iPods, a fraction of the sales of an estimated 250 million iPhones.

Apple assured customers that music would largely play through the iPhone, which it introduced in 2007, and Apple Music, a 7-year-old service that testifies to customers’ modern preferences. The days of buying and owning 99-cent songs on iPods largely led to monthly subscriptions offering access to an extensive catalog of music.

The iPod provided a blueprint for Apple for decades by delivering unmatched industrial design, hardware engineering, software development, and packaging services. It also demonstrated how the company rarely hit the market with a new product, but often won.

In the late 1990s, the first digital music players began to appear. Early versions could contain a few dozen songs, which allowed people who were in the early days of copying CDs to their computers, to transfer those songs to their pockets.

Steve Jobs, who returned to Apple in 1997 after being ousted for more than a decade, saw the emerging category as an opportunity to give modern appeal to Apple’s aging computer business. A die-hard music fan who ranked the Beatles and Bob Dylan among his favorite artists, Jobs thought that harnessing people’s love for music would help persuade him to switch from Microsoft-powered personal computers to Macintoshes , which had more than 90% market share. share.

“You didn’t have to do any market research,” said John Rubinstein, who led Apple’s engineering at the time. “Everybody loved the music.”

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