After its release in 2001, the iPod helped to transform the music industry. The company’s last portable music player is now being phased out.
The iPod Touch, Apple’s less popular cousin, is making its final appearance just as the iPhone approaches its 15th anniversary. Apple announced on Tuesday that the iPhone-iPod hybrid device, which was released in 2007, will be discontinued once all supplies are depleted.
The move marks the end of the iPod product line, as well as the handheld device that helped reshape the entertainment industry two decades ago.
Apple has announced that it will continue to sell remaining iPod Touch devices on its website for $199 each until supplies run out. The device is available in six colors: silver, pink, blue, and gold, with 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB of storage.
The iPod touch is the final device in the iPod lineup, and it hasn’t been updated in three years, since May 2019. Apple’s marketing chief Greg Joswiak said in a statement that the iPod’s “spirit lives on” in other Apple products.
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.
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.— Greg Joswiak, Apple marketing chief
iPod and iTunes
The iPod music player and its accompanying iTunes music software helped to popularize digital music purchases in 2003, a controversial concept at a time when the entertainment industry was fighting widespread music sharing via apps like Napster. In 2005, Apple began selling digital movies and television shows.
The first iPod, released just over a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was seen as a significant risk for Apple. The company was struggling to gain back its financial footing at the time, after nearly going bankrupt a few years before.
The company was still known as Apple Computer Inc. at the time, and it had staked some of its biggest bets on entirely new product categories like the iMac all-in-one computer, which debuted in 1998, and the iBook laptop for consumers, which debuted a year later.
Apple’s iLife software for organizing photos and movies, as well as iWork to compete with Microsoft Office, were released shortly after. The iPod and iTunes music software, however, were arguably the company’s biggest success.
In addition to the classic iPod, the iPod lineup has grown to include the iPod Mini, iPod Nano, and iPod Shuffle. Between 2014 and 2017, Apple stopped selling those iPods.
The iPhone has since surpassed the iPod in popularity. The iPod Touch was launched before the holiday shopping season of 2007, and was dubbed an iPhone without the phone — a device for people who didn’t subscribe to Apple’s exclusive partner AT&T or live in the US, UK, France, or Germany.