July 28, 2017 Last Updated 12:45 pm

Apple ends its non-iOS iPod line, discontinuing the iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano

Launched in 2001, the iPod rode the digital music wave, transforming the music industry — and Apple, as well, as it led the company to eventually create its replacement, the iPhone

The end of the line has been reached for the iPod… or, at least, those iPods that were purely music devices, not running the iOS mobile operating system. It could be called, I suppose, the end of an era, and surely there will be tech writers calling it such.

“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,” an Apple representative told Business Insider yesterday.

Apple released its first version of the iPod in 2001, its innovation being its mechanical scroll wheel. It still used a hard drive, the first models with a 45.7 mm drive made by Toshiba. Later it moved to Flash storage when the smaller Mini was launched in 2005.

What a lot of people forget is just how damn expensive the iPod was, $399 for just 5 GB of storage. But then again, one didn’t need as much storage as most people encoded their MP3s at a mere 128 kbps back then.

What the iPod really did was help create a greater demand for digital music, and hence boost piracy.

Napster had been launched in 1999, and peaked at 26.4 million users by the time the first iPod was released in 2001. BitTorrent also premiered in 2001. In other words, there was a lot of momentum being built up.

I was not too thrilled to find Apple in this market, though, concerned as I was then (as now) that it would not be innovating its Mac line-up. I still felt this way when the iPhone was first launched, but quickly realized that this was the direction Apple was taking, and they were right to do so.

Do you recall, though, what Steve Jobs said when teasing the introduction to the iPhone. Before unveiling it, he said Apple was releasing three revolutionary products that day, the first being a widescreen iPod. Of course, he meant that the iPhone was three new things in one. But it was the thought of the iPhone being a widescreen iPod that has some really excited.

But if you bought an iPhone why would you ever need an iPod? It is to Apple’s credit that they realized that cannibalizing their own product is not a bad thing, better to be the company replacing a product, and hence get the sales, than to see those sales go elsewhere.

Today’s new iPod Touch models now come with 32 GB of storage for $199 and 128 GB for $299 — six times the storage for half the price.

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