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Apple confirmed that after 21 years, it will discontinue the iPod portable music player –...

Apple confirmed that after 21 years, it will discontinue the iPod portable music player – a device that kick-started the firm’s return to the tech big league.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Apple said the last remaining iPod (the iPod touch) will only be available while supplies last.

The iPod will remain synonymous with Apple, after it was launched way back on 23 October 2001. Some credit the iPod as the device that saved Apple as a company. The iPod certainly cemented Apple’s return to the big time.

Historic iPod

Designed by Apple’s legendary former chief designer, Sir Jony Ive, the iPod was designed to help people enjoy their music whilst they were out and about, and took on a number of rival devices, beating them to become the leading music player in the world.

That was until Apple launched its first ever iPhone smartphone on 9 January 2007. Since that time, the need for a dedicated music player began to wane.

Indeed, Apple stopped reporting iPod sales in 2015, and had not updated the iPod touch since 2019.

The original iPod was the first MP3 player at the time that could store 1,000 songs, and Apple sequentially released larger capacity iPods and models, including the iPod Classic, iPod mini, iPod Nano, and iPod Shuffle.

It is estimated that more than 400 million iPods have been sold to date.

Apple stopped selling the iPod Nano and Shuffle in 2017, and the writing was on the wall for the iPod touch ever since then.

The iPod touch (considered by purists as not a real iPod but rather an iPhone-lite) remained the last dedicated music player for Apple for the past five years.

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While stocks last

“Since its introduction over 20 years ago, iPod has captivated users all over the world who love the ability to take their music with them on the go,” said Apple in the blog post, in which it pointed out that a person’s music library is now integrated across Apple’s product line.

“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 VP of Worldwide Marketing.

“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,” said Joswiak

“And Apple Music delivers industry-leading sound quality with support for spatial audio – there’s no better way to enjoy, discover, and experience music,” he said.

Apple said that customers can still purchase iPod touch through apple.com, Apple Store locations, and Apple Authorised Resellers ‘while supplies last.’