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What just happened? The iPod is one of the most iconic devices of the 21st century and arguably the product that put Apple on the road to its current behemoth market position. However, it's also arguable that the era of the standalone mp3 player has passed.
On Tuesday, Apple announced that the seventh generation iPod Touch, released in 2019, will be the final iPod model. The company will keep selling the device while supplies last, implying it has discontinued production. The reason is apparent --users can find the iPod's functionality in any of Apple's products that followed it.
Today's users don't view mp3 players as hardware. Instead, it is more like software that can run on many portable devices. Initially, iPods held an edge against the iPhone when it came to storage space. However, this advantage eventually disappeared. The iPod's final iteration, the iPod Touch, is essentially an iPhone without the cellular.
While Apple still wants users to play music on the go with an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods, it also said its other products are better for playing music at home. The iPad is more powerful, and the HomePod is a cheaper alternative.
Apple introduced the first iPod in October 2001, and while it was far from the first portable mp3 player, it most definitely popularized them. The device saw multiple redesigns over its lifespan, including the iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle, and iPod Touch.