A Final Farewell to the iPod

Omar Zahran
6 min readMay 18, 2022

The device that saved Apple and made the company what it is today is now officially part of the company’s past

One of the most memorable advertising campaigns that I can remember for a tech product came back in the mid-2000s. It was a commercial filled with colors and silhouettes of people dancing to music that was coming from their white headphones. The message was so simple but drove home the point that this device was the best way to enjoy your music. This was of course an advertisement for Apple’s fabled MP3 player: the iPod. A week ago, Apple released a statement officially killing off the product. This was not a surprise as the relevance and existence of the iPod had come to feel redundant as more people adopted smartphones. But the iPod was the device that saved Apple. There is no iPhone without the success of the iPod. It changed so much about the tech industry in how we consume content, how we approach music and bringing music back into the collective culture.

The Device That Saved Apple

When you consider Steve Jobs returning to Apple to save the company, there are often two products that come to mind. The first is the colorful and iconic iMac, and the second is the iPod. Where the iMac saved Apple the computer company, the iPod took the company to new heights. It was a game-changer of a device. In the late 1990s, MP3 players were starting to pop up everywhere but they were clunky and ran unintuitive software.

Then the first iPod came with a new method of navigation on the front of the device which ultimately became the iconic click wheel. The iPod felt like a different sort of device, one that was thoughtfully designed with the user in mind. The device became an instant hit alongside the iTunes Music Store that quickly became the standard for purchasing music in the age of Napster and pirated music apps. For many, this marriage of device and storefront ultimately saved the music industry as many started to pivot away from physical media.

More than anything, the iPod gave Apple an identity again and set the company up to be looked at as a leader in the digital music industry. That…