Apple's iPod Touch Is Discontinued, Ending the Music Player's Legacy
The iPod helped to change the music industry after it was announced in 2001. Now the last of the company's portable music players is coming to an end.
Ian SherrFormer Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. At CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Just as Apple's preparing to enter the iPhone's 15th year since release, the iPod Touch, its less popular cousin, is taking its final bow. Apple announced Tuesday that the iPhone-iPod hybrid device released in 2007 will no longer be available after all its supplies run out. The move marks an end not just for the handheld device but also an end to the iPod product line, which helped reshape the entertainment industry two decades ago.
Apple said it will continue selling remaining iPod Touch devices through its website starting at $199 apiece until supplies are gone. The company offers the device in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models, and in six colors including silver, pink, blue and gold.
"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," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, in a statement.
Apple's move marks an end to one of the most influential devices from the tech industry. In 2003, the iPod music player and its iTunes music software helped introduce people to digital music purchases, themselves a controversial idea at a time when the entertainment industry was fighting widespread music sharing through apps like Napster. Apple expanded into digital movie and TV purchases in 2005.
The first iPod, which was announced a little more than a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was considered a big risk for Apple. At the time, the company was struggling to regain its financial footing after nearly going bankrupt a couple years earlier. Back then, the company was still Apple Computer Inc., and it had placed some of its biggest bets on whole new product categories like the iMac all-in-one computer, first released in 1998, and iBook laptop for consumers, which arrived a year later. Many other i-products arrived shortly afterward, including Apple's iLife software for organizing photos and movies, and iWork to compete with Microsoft Office. But arguably the company's biggest success was the iPod and its iTunes music software.
The lineup expanded over the years to include the iPod Mini, iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle, in addition to the classic iPod. Apple stopped selling those iPods between 2014 and 2017.