Here’s how the Apple iPod changed the world in 21 years
MP3 players have been available since the mid-’90s, but they were massive and could only store a few songs on cassettes and later CDs. They were big, bulky, and sometimes heavy to carry around. Apple wasn’t happy with the state of MP3 players and walkmans back in the day, and it thought it could do better.
Apple introduced the first generation iPod all the way back on October 23, 2001. It was an instant hit, and Apple convinced people that listening to music can be as simple as carrying a tiny device in our pockets. In fact, it marketed the iPod as a device that could store “1,000 songs in your pocket”, which was a breakthrough number at the time.
The iPod changed everything. Apple managed to sell more than 450 million devices up until May 2022. Apple is estimated to have sold just three million iPods last year, which is a fraction of the 250 million iPhones it reportedly managed to sell (via The New York Times, Loup Ventures).
The original iPod had an iconic clickwheel, and 10-hour battery life in a then-compact 6.5-ounce package. It was slim and lightweight at the time, given that it could store up to 1,000 songs. The iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, and later the iPod touch were all successful devices, and the iPod touch was also a lot of people’s first smart device that introduced them later to smartphones and the iPhone.
It may sound surprising to hear that the iPod is no more, but the portable music players haven’t been popular for over a decade. Ever since the first iPhone was announced back in 2007, which was dubbed as a “widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and breakthrough Internet communicator device.” Three things, an iPod, a Phone, and an Internet device. The iconic scene drew a lot of attention. It changed the mobile industry, alongside the music industry, as it made songs widely available on everyday devices.
iPod motivated Apple to do better on the iPhone. Other companies such as Google, Samsung, HTC, LG, and especially Sony wanted a pie of the market, hence why they started competing against each other around 2010 and earlier. The iPod was a game-changer for the mobile industry. It persuaded smartphone manufacturers to focus on entertainment features like never before, allowing users to play graphics-intensive games, store thousands of books, music, photos, and videos, and do other things thanks to the internet.
The rise of smartphones ultimately led to the iPod’s downfall
The rise of smartphones ultimately led to the iPod’s downfall. Thanks to the new enhancements on modern smartphones, there was no longer any demand for a dedicated music listening device. Today, users can either stream everything from the cloud and access millions of songs in a matter of a few seconds, or store tens of thousands of songs. Phones and tablets are also capable of holding 4K cinema movies. In this day and age, our entire library syncs automatically across multiple devices, and we can enjoy our favorite tracks everywhere, on all platforms.
Apple appears to be on the same page, and said that the “spirit of iPod lives on”, although in different formats and on different devices. iTunes still lets users sync their purchased music and other content across Apple devices, and Apple Music lets users listen to their favorite artists and create their own playlists. Fun fact, Apple Music has more than 90 million songs and over 30,000 playlists available, that’s not something that you could do on a classic iPod that could store only a few thousand songs.
“Today, 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.”
Apple rightly mentions that it offers other excellent devices in its lineup to let you listen to your favorite tracks everywhere you go. The iPhone SE 2022 is now the company’s cheapest and most affordable device, and even the Apple Watch lets users control and listen to music. Apple has also become a service-focused company in recent years, and it took over the audio market with its AirPods wireless earbuds and the Beats audio products.
We’ve got a list of the best Apple devices that let you listen to your favorite songs on the go, and at home. If you want some nostalgia, it may be a good time to take a look at eBay, Craigslist, or Swappa to buy the iPod that introduced you to the world of music.
iPod Touch (7th Generation)
While supplies last
The last generation and the latest edition of iPod touch. It comes in six colors, and 32GB of base storage that lets you store your favorite apps and thousands of songs. It’s available “while supplies last”, so grab one before it goes out of stock forever.
Apple is still selling the latest 7th generation of iPod touch on its website and on Amazon “while supplies last.” Before we wrap this up, you might want to go down memory lane with these classic iPod advertisements.
Some of the best Apple devices to listen to music
Apple AirPods Pro
AirPods Pro offers Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode to hear the world around you, and Adaptive EQ to fine-tune audio to your ears. The earbuds are sweat and water-resistant and last up to 6-hours on a single charge.
Apple AirPods 3
AirPods 3 are the latest generation wireless earbuds from Apple. It supports Spatial Audio, Adaptive EQ, and it has force sensors that let you easily control the earbuds while listening to music, watching movies, or taking a call. The earbuds are sweat and water resistant, and can last up to 6-hours on a single charge, or 30-hours provided by the MagSafe charging case.
Apple AirPods 2
The Apple AirPods second generation comes with “Hey Siri”, and it provides a total of 24 hours of listening time with the charging case. It provides a seamless connection with Apple devices, and it’s the cheapest wireless earbuds from Apple.
The Apple HomePod mini comes with Siri, and it provides a crisp and 360-degree audio surround sound system.
Apple Watch Series 7
It’s available in 41mm and 45mm models, and it has GPS and cellular versions. The cellular is best recommended for those who want to take calls while out and about, and those who want to connect to the internet, make calls while away from their devices.
Apple iPhone 13 mini
The iPhone 13 mini is a smaller version of the standard iPhone 13. It comes with the same powerful chipset, excellent dual camera on the back, and it has a much improved battery life over the iPhone 12 mini.
Apple iPhone 13
The iPhone 13 is the default smartphone from Apple for 2021. If you’re looking for an experience that remains fast and fluid over years to come and not lacking on any hardware front, this is the device to get.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro
If you’re looking for a device that ticks all the boxes and has an excellent battery life, high-refresh-rate display, and it can capture breathtaking photos, this is the best iPhone that money can buy.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
If you’re looking for an even bigger display than the standard iPhone 13 and 13 Pro, the 13 Pro Max has everything you’re looking for, and it can even last longer thanks to the larger battery.