It has finally happened. Apple has formally discontinued the era-defining music player-iPod. Not all versions of the iPod are being pulled. Apple will still be selling the iPod touch, but let’s face it, it is more like a junior iPhone than an iPod. It is a genre-defining moment for many as they literally grew up with their iPod.
The iPod made its debut just as peer-to-peer sharing was taking off. While Metallica’s ‘I disappear’ was a semi-hit, it is more memorable as the song that brought down Napster.
However, that failed to shutter the music lovers’ enthusiasm, and at such a time, in came Apple with a device on which you could store thousands of songs, which came without any DRMs and which was highly portable.
This was also a time when people tended to download songs and store them on a handy drive. Streaming had not arrived yet, and CDs and vinyl were simply not portable enough.
Internet was in its adolescent stage with speeds that many from today’s generation will laugh at. Little wonder then that the iPod caught the fancy of an entire generation.
Ah…the nostalgia. This author got his first iPod from his father as a gift. I soon discovered I could listen to all the music I could without anybody else getting disturbed. Of course, lending it to anyone was a big risk.
All my friends were either into hard metal or Indian classical, so I had a hard time explaining to them about how a Backstreet Boys song started playing immediately after some really beautiful music by Pandit Kumar Gandharva.
But that was another beauty. By switching to shuffle mode, you could also expect the unexpected, and that was fun. It is an Apple product, which also added to your coolness quotient. But all good things eventually came to an end. In this case, it was the smartphone.
The smartphone provides an all-in-one experience. You can make or receive phone calls, you can use to shoot short movies or photos, and you can also use it to listen to music.
Admittedly, it is harder on the battery life, but it works. Advances in internet speeds and the emergence of streaming were one of the other final nails in the iPod’s coffin.
After all, why would you want to store music and possibly run the risk of corrupting it, apart from the space issue, when it is easier to just listen to what you want online at any time? So we can safely say that the iPod is the latest casualty of the emergence of the smartphone.
It will be gone, but it will never be forgotten.