It's the end of the road for the iPod

A history that spanned two decades comes to an end.

Apple has announced that it is discontinuing the iPod Touch, the last in the line of iPods that first dropped in 2001.

According to Apple, the current iPod Touch will remain available "while stocks last".

It's no surprise that Apple is finally dropping the iPod Touch from its lineup. The device last saw an update in 2019, and estimated sales compared to the iPhone are likely a drop in the ocean.

Dropping the iPod Touch allows Apple to streamline its supply chain by freeing up production capacity while simultaneously driving the last remaining hold outs to the iPhone.

The first iPod, the iPod Classic, had a 5GB hard drive and could hold 1,000 tracks and was priced at US$399, and while it wasn't itself a new idea -- there were plenty of MP3 music players about by then -- it paved the way for Apple to become the company that it is now.

Over the years there were a number of different iPod variants, starting with the hard drive-based iPod, and the initial idea spinning off into numerous versions such as the iPod Shuffle, iPod Mini, iPod Nano, and iPod Touch.

While the iPod Classic made use of hard drive storage, the iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, and iPod Touch all made use of flash-based storage, allowing them to be shrunk down in both size and weight considerably.

But all things must come to an end, and with the continued meteoric rise of the iPhone and the change from playing stored music to cloud-based streaming, it was inevitable that the iPod line would eventually come to an end. Apple discontinued the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle in July 2017, and that left the iPod Touch as the final device to have the iPod branding. 

And now that's gone.

While the rise and fall of the iPod is a fascinating story, the technical progress that it represents is also quite amazing. Just from the point of view of storage, that initial 5GB of hard drive storage that the iPod Classic shipped with was replaced by an iPod Touch packed with 256GB of flash storage.

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