Apple discontinues the iPod after 20 years

Apple has revealed that it’s discontinuing the iPod Touch, the last remaining model in its lineup of portable music entertainers. In a news bar on Tuesday, the company states that it will sell the current Touch “while supplies last.”

While Apple may be done with creating dedicated music players, the company says that “the spirit of iPod lives on” in all of its devices that play music, such as the iPhone, iPad, and HomePod Mini.

The iPod Touch going away marks the end of an era. As Apple notes, it introduced the first iPod “over 20 years ago.” The original FireWire-equipped model acted as just a portable music player, and Apple made models exclusively for listening to audio until 2017, when it discontinued the iPod Nano and Shuffle. While some iPod enthusiasts have embraced the iPod Touch as the new classic music player, it also discovered a following for those who desired an iPhone-like experience but didn’t require a phone.

While the iPod Touch has had its fans, the writing’s been on the wall for a while. The model was discontinued on Tuesday, and the seventh-gen iPod Touch was introduced in 2019, alongside the iPhone 7. The sixth-gen model was launched in 2015. So despite people like me calling for a simplistic music player designed for the age of streaming, it was clear that Apple wasn’t scrutinizing spending much time on the iPod.

It’s hard to blame the company for that. Most people aren’t particularly interested in carrying a second device that does something their smartphone is capable of (see also: the drying up of the point-and-shoot camera market). Tony Fadell, one of the developers of the original iPod, mentioned in an interview with The Verge that the iPod team knew that the iPhone could end up overtaking music players. “It became obvious that there was a real threat from mobile phones, feature phones. So they were starting to add music, MP3 playing, to the cell phones that they were shipping at the time,” he said.

Apple didn’t see that as a problem, according to Fadell. “At Apple, everything that was tried — at least under Steve — needed to ship because it was existential. You couldn’t make the iPhone successful because you cannibalized the iPod business.”

The seventh generation iPod Touch (stylized and marketed as the iPod touch, colloquially understood as the iPod touch 7G, iPod touch 7, or iPod touch (2019) is a discontinued mobile device designed and marketed by Apple Inc with a touchscreen-based user interface. It was the successor to the iPod Touch (6th generation), becoming the first significant update to the iPod Touch since 2015. The final update to the iPod Touch was unleashed on the online Apple Store on May 28, 2019, and was discontinued on May 10, 2022.

The seventh-generation iPod touch was introduced on May 28, 2019, running iOS version 12.3. It can play music, movies, television shows, audiobooks, and podcasts and classify its media library by albums, videos, songs, artists, playlists, genres, composers, podcasts, audiobooks, and compilations. Scrolling is achieved by swiping a finger across the screen. Alternatively, headset controls can pause, play, skip, and repeat tracks. However, the EarPods with the seventh-generation iPod touch does not include a remote or microphone.

The Apple A10 system-on-chip in the seventh-generation iPod touch allows more advanced features than its predecessors. For example, it includes ARKit applications and the Group FaceTime functionality.

The seventh-generation iPod touch features the Apple A10 processor and M10 motion coprocessor. The same processor is used in the Apple iPhone 7 and the Apple iPad (2018). However, it is underclocked to 1.64 GHz from 2.34 GHz, making the iPod Touch weaker than the other devices with the same chip. The seventh-generation iPod touch features the same front and rear camera systems as the sixth-generation device. It includes an 8MP rear-facing camera, capable of recording video in 1080p resolution at 30fps and slow-motion video in 720p at 120 fps. The camera also supports different photo features, such as burst photos, HDR photos, and panoramic photos. The front-facing camera is a FaceTime HD camera capable of taking pictures at 1.2 MP and recording video in 720p at 30 fps. This camera also features auto HDR for video recordings and burst photo capabilities. This device is the first iPod touch to come in a 256 GB storage option—the highest capacity ever offered on an iPod, surpassing the 160 GB capacity of the sixth generation iPod Classic, discontinued in 2014. This was also the first iPod Touch model to view the battery percentage natively.