At the launch of the iPod Nano on September 22, 2005, in Seoul, South Korea.
Apple has quietly killed off the iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano — products you likely weren’t aware they still even made. Links to buy either device are now just redirecting to the Apple Music landing page. In a comment to Business Insider, Apple confirmed that both devices are gone for good:
“Today, we are simplifying our iPod lineup with two models of iPod Touch now with double the capacity starting at just $199 and we are discontinuing the iPod shuffle and iPod nano,” reads the statement from an Apple spokesperson.
This means the iPhone Touch is the only iPod still on the market — and its days are almost assuredly numbered. The date is rapidly approaching when Apple simply won’t make iPods anymore.
Which, of course, isn’t a huge deal — even the most basic smartphone on the market has more storage and a lot more functionality than any iPod. Before Apple removed it from its store, the 16 GB iPod Nano was still retailing for $149.99. You can get the perfectly decent 16 GB Moto G4 for $99 from Amazon right now. And Spotify and Apple Music long ago made the idea of even having a device filled up with downloaded songs seem quaint.
But it’s easy to forget just how revolutionary the first iPods were, especially for anyone who grew up with binders of CDs, or how vital they were for the reinvigoration of Apple. When the iPod was introduced in 2001, Apple was still in the midst of a painful turnaround. When Jobs announced the iPod at the tail end of the year, the response was tepid. As Slashdot put it at the time: “No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.”
By 2003, the third-generation iPod with its iconic scroll wheel was enough of a success that Apple was able to herd record labels — terrified of Napster and other file-sharing services — onto iTunes. Within its first week, the iTunes store sold over a million songs, with Apple taking a 37 percent cut of all music sold. For a period, Apple essentially controlled the digital distribution of music, and the profits it made during the iPod era allowed for moon shots like the iPhone.
Other pure music players have stepped into the space that Apple is slowly leaving, most notably including the Kickstarter success Mighty, which works effectively as a replacement for the iPod Shuffle — still a favorite of many runners and others who don’t want to strap their smartphone to their arm while working out. The iPod may be fondly remembered, but it won’t really be missed. Still, if the iPhone colonized the globe, with smartphones now far more common than iPods or MP3 players ever were, the iPod was the beachhead, getting people used to the idea that they’d carry around a whole world of information in their pocket all the time.