Tuesday, May 10, 2022

iPod touch Discontinued

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News, Slashdot):

Since its introduction over 20 years ago, iPod has captivated users all over the world who love the ability to take their music with them on the go. Today, the experience of taking one’s music library out into the world has been integrated across Apple’s product line — from iPhone and Apple Watch to iPad and Mac — along with access to more than 90 million songs and over 30,000 playlists available via Apple Music.

“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,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

John Gruber:

It’s been under-remarked-upon how good the Apple Newsroom site has been. Back in the Jobs era, Apple would post things to the “Hot News” page of apple.com and when it was no longer hot or news, it would just disappear. Newsroom posts feel permanent. Apple’s post today contains a nice gallery of the best and most beloved iPod models: the 2001 original, the 2004 Mini, the 2006 Nano (which really propelled the lineup into what we then thought was the stratosphere of popularity), the 2007 Touch, the 2012 seventh generation Nano, and the Shuffle.

Dr. Drang:

End of an era at Apple. I believe this is the first time an exec has failed to refer to music as “part of Apple’s DNA.”

John Voorhees:

The way Apple handles discontinued products is interesting.

Most quietly disappear as replacements are announced. When there’s not a replacement things get interesting…

HomePod - ended with a statement to @panzer

iPod touch - a press release that never says it’s discontinued

Simone Manganelli:

The discontinuation of the iPod touch shows just how myopic Apple has become.

Apple could easily continue making it by taking an iPhone SE and removing the cell capabilities. There’s still plenty of people who’d use it.

But it just doesn’t want to sell anything low-priced.

Ross Boucher:

Imagine if, instead of cancelling the iPod touch, Apple released a new iPod touch that was cheaper than an SE and completely unlocked. It could open up so many possibilities.

For comparison, iPod touch started at $199. Of the remaining products, iPad starts at $329, and iPhone SE starts at $429. (Apple notes that Apple Watch SE starts at $279, but it is much less capable than iPod touch; it does not mention the $199 Apple Watch Series 3, which most people agree should not be purchased.)

It’s a shame that iPod touch languished so much at the end of its life. Once a peer, which was actually superior as a music player, it stopped getting the modern iPhone features and hardware. Nor did Apple make it aggressively cheaper, where it might have found a niche as a sort of Raspberry Pi for iOS. Alas, Apple’s vision for iOS has never included tinkerers.

Nick Heer:

For what it is worth, I think the true iPod era ended in either 2014, when the Classic was discontinued, or 2017 when the last Nano and Shuffle were made. But this was the last pocket-friendly Apple device you could buy that was not dependent on monthly fees. Pour one out for the last of the iPods.


Update (2022-05-11): Francisco Tolmasky:

The iPod was discontinued over a decade years ago, I don’t know why anyone is making a big deal about it today. If they came out with a Mac mini with no WiFi and called it “the new iPod,” it would be as much of an iPod as the cellular-less iPhone they’ve been selling for 10 years

I tend to agree that iPod touch was not a true iPod. Removing the physical controls made it a more versatile device but worse for playing music. I also think that the Music app, while fancier looking, is more difficult to navigate than the old iPods or the iPod app.

Steven Sinofsky:

I will be switching back to this now that Apple as simply abandoned customers.

Jim Allchin (in 2003):

Apple is just so far ahead. How can we get the IHVs to create something that is competitive with the iPOD? I looked at the DELL system and that is not close either.

Douglas Hill:

The discontinuation of the iPod touch is the discontinuation of one-handed computing for most people. I don’t know of anything else that size on the market anymore.

Joe Rossignol:

Just one day after Apple announced it is discontinuing the iPod touch, which remains available “while supplies last,” the portable music player is now listed as “sold out” in some configurations on Apple’s online store in the United States.

4 Comments RSS · Twitter

All those complaining that not comparable priced product replacement is available are missing the point. Apple doesn't want to sell products incapable of running the latest OS. iPhone SE without the Phone may have fit the bill but partner Carriers don't want a software-only kill switch to prevent accessing a mobile network. A hardware engineering effort was then deemed not worthwhile.

I have several iPods, mostly collected second hand from goodwill. While I love the plex/plexamp combo I use on my phone, there is something that is fun and stressless about using the iPods. Also fun to hook iPods up to my G4 Cube via FW400 and watch the files zip over.

It may just be my imagination, but my iPod mini pared with my AirPods Max (wired cable) sounds unbelievably juicy compared to anything else I connect the APM to.

Even though I have a nice small collection of iPods that I can use and admire, it's now clear to me how mass produced and cheaply made these devices were. They really weren't designed to live to see the two decades I'm asking them to. It's a shame that Apple couldn't find it in their heart to keep a basic 5th gen Nano device around... there's not a lot of good options for dedicated music players these days.

> It's a shame that Apple couldn't find it in their heart to keep a basic 5th gen Nano device around

Agreed. While the proto-Apple Watch 6G nano was interesting, moving to touch was a misstep. Likewise, the iPod touch was largely pointless other than perhaps (retroactively) as an even smaller iPad than the iPad mini.

Something about navigating massive music libraries with a clickwheel is still unsurpassed. Touch and flick to scroll through large lists works well on a bigger screen (and the letter-based navigation is great, too), but for something tiny like an iPod, the clickwheel is still fantastic. Part of that may be nostalgia on my end.

Give it Bluetooth so wireless headphones work (apparently, the 7G did have that), maybe even Wi-Fi so AirPlay works (I still don't understand why the Watch doesn't support playing podcasts to AirPlay?), and maybe as a rudimentary Apple Music client. Put 64 GiB flash in there because these days, why not. Gives it plenty to cache from your subscription (if any), too.

I guess they didn't find the right market slice any more. Maybe their motivation to keep maintaining that fork of Pixo was also nearing an end. (Virtually anything else at Apple has since moved on to Darwin. Maybe that was the precipice — engineers wanted the next gen to use Darwin; management decided the migration wasn't worth it.

I said this. Key takeaway: at present my shiny new iPhone SE isn't quite a substitute for my iPod Touch 7th because it doesn't yet support Continuity in the same way in the absence of a SIM.

Leave a Comment