iPods were once commercial successes. Today, they are only a shadow of their past fame. However, there is still a restricted group of recipients that can be used by them
I was a child when the first iPod Touch made its debut in 2007. A child for whom Apple equipment was then a pure abstraction, a totally inaccessible gadget. Cupertino’s timeless shape and atmosphere had that certain something. Then I promised myself that maybe not in a month, maybe not in a year, but one day I will definitely own this iconic technology. Unfortunately, the time I started making my first money was also the time iPods started to slowly become a thing of the past. The following generations were less and less popular and it is not surprising. Apple shifted all of its care to iPhones. Since I have the same and more on my phone, why buy an external music player for so much money. This assumption was made by most users, and for iPods it meant a direct path to the tech attic. Nevertheless, Apple continues to officially market the latest model. Why? Let’s try to find a justification.
The precursor to iPhones
Although it might be hard to believe today, iPods were once one of the company’s highest-earning products. Apple has repeatedly combined with the visual form of players. The first line of iPods looked like an air conditioning remote, there was also a USB flash drive like Shuffle, until eventually the shape started to look more and more like iPhones. And that’s what it really stopped. That stopped, because Apple, of course, no longer produces iPods. The latest model is from 2019. The 7th generation iPod Touch – because that’s what we’re talking about – is the last iPod sold through Apple’s official distribution channels.
It’s powered by the A10 Fusion chip (exactly the one in the iPhone 7) and its shape resembles a slimmed-down iPhone 5s. I had the chance to spend some time with it recently and I have to admit that it is a very nice piece of technology. The four-inch screen looks pretty fun by today’s standards, but its lightness and thinness make it really comfortable to hold. In terms of responsiveness, there is also nothing to complain about. Apps open quickly and efficiently. You don’t feel the animation dropping even with many background tabs. Well, after all, the same can be said for the iPhone 7, which is still supported by Apple and used by a large number of people. The difference, however, is that the iPod is still an iPod. There’s no SIM card slot here, so the only form of contact is iMessage or online messaging. And again, we come to the wall at this point, which is the question, why is Apple still selling iPods in 2022, if you can buy an iPhone for a similar price? Exactly, since we are talking about money.
The basic version of the 7th generation iPod Touch (32 GB version) costs 1099 PLN. Apple gives you the option to choose larger capacities, 128 GB and 256 GB for PLN 1579 and PLN 2059 respectively. Do you know what is interesting? These prices have not changed since the release of the player. Three years have passed and Apple does not think of any change on this. The fact that the iPod is still hanging in the Apple Store seems like a complete misunderstanding. Sometimes I feel like Tim Cook and company don’t really know what to do with it. On the one hand, it is a completely forgotten device used by a very limited group of recipients, but on the other hand, it receives the latest updates. The latest iPod got iOS 15 and this system works pretty well on it. Then someone has to buy them. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know who and in what amounts. After 2014, Apple stopped sharing iPod sales information. At the time, iPods accounted for just over 1% of Apple’s revenue. Looking at the table below, prepared by the Statista website, you can easily conclude that the process of fading out iPods began with the release of the first iPhone.
We already know that iPods don’t have it easy these days, but there are still people who eat them every day. Here are some examples of how useful Apple’s media player is in 2022.
A prelude to the world of smartphones
I know of cases where parents have decided to buy (or give away their model) children who are old enough to feel the need for a smartphone, but immature enough not to allow them to use a smartphone. Agree, I know that a toy for 1099 PLN may seem exaggerated and for such an amount you can hook up a really decent phone, but I repeat, I know such cases. The latest iPod has virtually everything a child entering the world of technology could possibly need. It will play most games, take decent photos, and have no problem with YouTube cartoons. It won’t answer a stranger’s phone, because the iPod has no such functions, and if necessary, you can connect it to parental controls on the parent’s iPhone. In addition, its small size will fit perfectly in children’s hands, so (perhaps) the device will land on the ground less often.
Taking your iPhone to the gym is always a risk. Lots of heavy objects, running, jumping and other activities that could result in a very ugly spider on the screen. The lightweight structure and durable aluminum backs are a good combination. As a secondary music player for someone who is extremely preoccupied with their phone, this can be a simple solution. Of course, you can also listen to music from the Apple Watch, but that requires wireless headphones which aren’t for everyone. Speaking of music…
For cable fans
It may seem surprising, but the iPod still has a 3.5 mm jack connection. I know there are people for whom this is an absolutely necessary feature and its disappearance in newer smartphones is giving that audience a hard time. The iPod can therefore act as an external media player for people who, on the one hand, want to operate within the Apple ecosystem, but on the other hand, use their favorite wired headphones.
Some clothing brands equip their employees with iPods. Such a practice occurs, for example, at Zara, and its staff uses players to check the inventory of a given product or order items that are unavailable in the stationery. This is perhaps the most interesting form of active iPod use I have encountered so far. Relatively inexpensive for business, compact, and with many years of manufacturer support. What more could you want? Once, I exchanged a few sentences with an employee of this chain, who was just scanning the code of the product I was interested in to check the size I needed. His statements show that iPods are great devices for this type of solution, because they just always run smoothly and don’t stutter like the competing solutions they had to use in the past.
What’s next for iPods?
It goes without saying that iPods are a thing of the past and I doubt Apple will ever release a new edition. Perhaps in the form of a jubilee or a collector’s model, although this remains unlikely. The 7th generation iPod will probably be available in the official store until the end of iPhone 7 system support. In my subjective opinion, the latest iOS update for iPhone 7 will be the last breath of the ” latest” iPod. Of course, for a good few years it will be a usable piece of equipment without problems, but its availability will be limited to the latest parts from external dealers.
iPods hit a stalemate with the launch of the iPhone which simply did more and better. From then on, Apple gradually lost ideas for the development of this segment until it became a lesser clone. Nevertheless, when you pick up your iPod, you can feel the atmosphere of the olden days, when music streaming services were just a concept and a huge database of MP3 players was a source of pride. It’s a device that hasn’t stood the test of time, but is aging gracefully, and is still used by a select group of customers. If it weren’t for that price, I’d love to add it to my collection before it ends up in the dustbin of tech history.