On Tuesday, Apple announced the discontinuation of iPod touch, the last “iPod.” Or was it? Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said in a statement, “The spirit of iPod lives on. We’ve integrated an incredible music experience across all of our products, from the iPhone to the Apple Watch to HomePod mini, and across Mac, iPad, and Apple TV. And Apple Music delivers industry-leading sound quality with support for spatial audio — there’s no better way to enjoy, discover, and experience music.”
Customers can purchase iPod touch via the Apple Store Online or the Apple store on Amazon (5% off, $189.99) while supplies last.
Branding aside, was the iPod Touch really an iPod? Back in 2005, Jobs himself told Steven Levy that an iPod “is just a great digital music player.” That was his way of explaining that the iPod Shuffle—a $99 MP3 player the size of a pack of gum that played music only in shuffle mode—was still an iPod. If any device that’s great at playing digital music can be an iPod, the Touch surely qualified—just at the opposite end of the continuum from the Shuffle.
Or did it? Far be it from me to quibble with Steve Jobs’ definition of what an iPod is. (As of today, I guess that should be “what an iPod was.”) But there’s a fundamental difference between a gadget that’s about you and your music collection, and little else, and one that is also about socializing, productivity, gaming, fitness, reading, and pretty much every other aspect of life. All those dancing silhouetted people in classic iPod commercials weren’t suffering from digital distraction. Instead, they were deeply focused in a way that’s radically different from the modern experience of using an iPhone or iPod Touch. And it was a focus that would be impossible to recreate on any device that offers the App Store.
As far as I’m concerned, the last real iPod went away in September 2014, when Apple discontinued the iPod Classic. No, I’m not arguing that the iPod Touch was a step backward compared to previous iPods—just that it was something fundamentally different.
MacDailyNews Take: We just booted up a 3rd generation iPod purchased in 2003 (battery replaced one time since then) and played a few songs. The experience is still glorious!
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