Apple iPod through its 21 years – in pictures

Popular audio device will be discontinued once supplies of the iPod Touch run out

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For those of a certain age, the Apple iPod in 2001 felt as revolutionary as the iPhone did when it was launched a few years later.

Gone were the days of lugging about a cassette tape player — commonly known as a Walkman — with its crackly sound and big buttons. How did that clunky object fit in a pocket?

The discman — a portable way of listening to CDs — improved the quality and was needed, given tapes were on the way out, but again, how could you carry one around without it becoming a hassle?

The mini disc player solved that issue, but copying CDs on to the discs was time consuming and a disc collection had to be stored and carried around.

The iPod solved all of these problems, until Apple slowly made the iPod redundant by eclipsing its own product with the evolution of the iPhone.

Apple recently announced plans to discontinue the iPod Touch, the last of the product line, finalising its demise. It will stay on sale until supplies run out, and is available for $199.

The iPod has come in different versions over the years, with the first one sporting a grey screen resembling an Amazon Kindle before heading on a colourful journey with a variety of shapes and sizes.

To see all the different generations of the iPod, scroll through the slide show at the top

From 2007, when the iPod started to resemble the iPhone, its prospects dimmed, although Apple ploughed on with smaller, cheaper versions, such as the nano and shuffle.

“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.

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

Updated: May 15, 2023, 1:58 PM