Apple abandonne l’iPod, son baladeur audio légendaire

Apple abandons the iPod, its legendary audio player

Many remember him, of course. In October 2001, more than twenty years ago, Apple introduced its first iPod, a portable music player capable of storing 1,000 songs that would change both the world of portable music and Apple as a whole. The company had already experienced an early renaissance when founder Steve Jobs returned to the helm in 1997, with the launch of the first highly colorful iMacs. But it is the iPod and all its variants that have taken Apple out of its status as a computer company and into the field of consumer electronics and online services. While, of course, preparing for the arrival of the iPhone. And on May 10, 2022, Apple announced in a press release that the latest iPod Touch model, already dating from 2019, would remain on sale while supplies last.

 Apple’s new Walkman had dethroned Sony’s Walkman. Bigstock Photos

During his launch conference in 2001, Steve Jobs was not wrong. To announce the arrival of a new category of products with the Apple logo, this is how he explained his choice: “We decided that our next activity would be about music. Why the music? First, because we love music. But also and above all because music is part of everyone’s daily life. And in the presentation slide behind we see in parentheses the mention “great market”. Much of Steve Jobs’ iPod ad can now be seen on YouTube.

At that time, the walkman market was in its infancy. We understand that, as is often the case, Apple is not the inventor of the concept: Creative Labs in Singapore had launched a large hard drive model inspired by CD players and the French Archos were already marketing an MP3 player, but it is good that the Apple firm has found the right recipe to popularize it beyond all estimation. It must be said that the iPod had more than one asset in its bag to replace the existing options. In his presentation, Steve Jobs lists them: you can buy a portable CD player, an MP3 player based on flash memory, but without much capacity at the time and with an unfathomable interface, a CD player that stores MP3 files or finally moves to an MP3. player equipped with a hard drive. In 2001, hard drives were quite large, thick, and heavy. And this is the first revolution of the iPod, which was based on the first and only 1.8-inch diameter mechanical hard drive. C’est en apprenant l’existence de ce disque dur produit par Toshiba that the person in charge of Apple material at the time, Jon Rubinstein, thought of an MP3 baladeur bien plus pratique que ceux quiexistent jusqu’ then. For the record, even Toshiba, the manufacturer of the hard drive, had no idea what he could do with it.

We already know the rest: the iPod replaced the word “Walkman” as a synonym for a portable player. It quickly became the market leader, if not its only player, so strong was its control. Domination is so powerful that the name of an entire industry attests to it: the word podcast is a contraction of iPod and broadcast.

Several models have succeeded or completed the first iPod. First came the iPod Mini, in 2004, which advantageously replaced the mechanical hard drive of the first iPod with flash memory, faster and more resistant to shocks. Then the iPod Nano in 2006 that takes up the concept in a more compact format.

An iPod Nano and a standard audio cassette side by side. Bigstock Photos

The arrival of the touch screen

In September 2007, the first iPod Touch replaced the control wheel for the first time with a touch screen. The image is very striking in hindsight so we recognize the look of the iPhone.

In September 2012, the seventh generation iPod Nano claimed the title of thinnest iPod ever produced with a rather unconvincing design. It is followed in 2015 by another even less convincing model, the iPod Shuffle, which offers no screen to be as small as possible. As a result, we listen to their songs in order or in a random order (this is the meaning of the English word “shuffle”). You could also use a voice command, with results quite coincidental.

The latest model in the catalog was, therefore, an iPod Touch with an appearance very similar to the iPhone 6 and its rounded sides. Its last revision was in 2019 and again it only brought a chip change.

Thus ends the story of the iPod. This is quite normal since for several years it has been advantageously replaced by smartphones, iPhones, or Android. If only thanks to its permanent connection to the Internet via 4G or 5G that also allows you to listen or watch live broadcasts anywhere and anytime, what iPods are limited to wi-fi they could not offer.

Despite everything, there is still a very small market for portable music players for those who still prefer to use a device-independent of their smartphone or who want to enjoy optimal sound quality, superior to that offered by the good old MP3. That said, the arrival of so-called “lossless” files in the Apple Music catalog and soon others like Spotify will probably have the effect of making them all but disappear, save for a few. last hardliners.

Sources: editorial and web

Many remember him, of course. In October 2001, more than twenty years ago, Apple introduced its first iPod, a portable music player capable of storing 1,000 songs that would change both the world of portable music and Apple as a whole. The company had already experienced the first rebirth when it returned to the controls of its…


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