Apple Stops Production of iPods, After Nearly 22 Years

The iPod started with a simple goal: to create a music product that would make people want to buy more Macintosh computers. In a few years, it will transform the consumer electronics and music industry and make Apple the most valuable company in the world.

Arriving in October 2001, the pocket-sized rectangle with white face and polished steel frame weighed 6.5 ounces. It was packed with custom color, white earbuds in lunar gray and contained 1,000 songs.

It exploded in popularity in later years, becoming known as the iPod Generation. In the 2000’s, people were wandering around the world with headphones hanging from their ears. The iPod was ubiquitous.

On Tuesday, Apple officially said goodbye to all of them. The company announced that it had phased out production of its iPod Touch, ending a two-decade run of product lines that inspired the creation of the iPhone and helped make Silicon Valley the center of global capitalism.

Since the introduction of the iPod in 2001, Apple has sold approximately 450 million units, according to Loop Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in tech research. Last year it sold an estimated three million iPods, a fraction of the estimated 250 million iPhones it sold.

Apple assured customers that the music would live on, mostly through the iPhone, which it introduced in 2007, and Apple Music, a seven-year-old service that testifies to consumers’ modern preferences. The days of buying and owning 99-cent songs on the iPod have largely given way to monthly subscription offers that provide access to extensive catalogs of music.

The iPod has provided blueprints to Apple for decades through its unique industrial design, hardware engineering, software development and packaging services. It also showed how the company was first sold in the market with a new product but often won.

The first digital music players appeared in the late 1990’s. Early versions may contain several dozen songs, which people who were in the early days of copying CDs on their computer can transfer those songs into their pockets.

Steve Jobs, who was ousted more than a decade after his return to Apple in 1997, saw the emerging series as an opportunity to give Apple’s legacy computer business a modern appeal. A die-hard music fan who named the Beatles and Bob Dylan among his favorite artists, Mr. Jobs thought tapping into people’s love of music would help persuade them to switch from Microsoft-powered personal computers to Macintosh, which has more than 90 percent market share.

“You didn’t have to do any market research,” said John Rubinstein, who heads Apple’s engineering department at the time. “Everyone loved the music.”

Mr. During his trip to Japan, Rubinstein helped accelerate product development by inventing a new hard disk drive made by Toshiba. The 1.8-inch drive had the capacity to store 1,000 songs. In essence, it made possible a Sony Walkman-sized digital player with more capabilities than what exists on the market.

The development of the iPod coincided with Apple’s acquisition of a company with MP3 software that would become the basis for iTunes, a digital jukebox that organized people’s music libraries so they could quickly create playlists and transfer songs. It is managed by Mr. Jobs’ vision for how people will buy music in the digital age.

“We think people want to buy downloads and buy their music on the internet, like they bought LPs, like they bought cassettes, like they bought CDs,” he said in a 2003 story.

At the time, a service called Napster was plaguing the music industry, making it possible for people around the world to share any song for free. Mr. By marketing the new Mac’s ability to mimic CDs with a commercial motto, Jobs got into the troubles of the music industry: “Rip. Mix. Burn it. “According to Albie Galuten, executive of Universal Music Group at the time, the campaign put the music industry in Apple’s corner.

Mr. Gelluten said the labels eventually agreed to allow Apple to sell songs on iTunes for 99 cents. Mr. Said Gelluten. “The easiest way to fight piracy was with convenience.”

The ઢ 399 first-generation iPod dropped demand, limiting the company to less than 400,000 units sold in its first year. Three years later, Apple introduced the iPod Mini, a 3.6-ounce aluminum case that came in silver, gold, pink, blue, and green. It cost 249 and contained 1,000 songs. Sales exploded. By the end of its fiscal year in September 2005, it had sold 22.5 million iPods.

Apple expanded the power of the iPod Mini by making iTunes available for Windows computers, allowing Apple to introduce its brand to millions of new customers. Although the maneuver will later be referred to as the Business Brilliance Stroke, Mr. Jobs resisted at the time, the former executive said.

Soon, iPods were everywhere. “It flew like a rocket,” Mr. Said Rubinstein.

However, Mr. Jobs pushed Apple to make the iPod smaller and more powerful. Mr. Rubinstein said the company has discontinued production of its most popular product ever – the iPod Mini – to replace it with a slimmer version called the Nano, which starts at $ 200. The Nano helped the company nearly double its unit sales to 40 million next year.

Perhaps the most important contribution of the iPod was its role as a catalyst for the iPhone. As mobile phone makers began to introduce devices that could play music, Apple executives were concerned about leapfrog by better technology. Mr. Jobs decided that if that happened then Apple should do it.

The iPhone continued to draw on the combination of software and services that made the iPod a success. The success with iTunes, which allowed customers to back up their iPhones and put music on the device, was reflected in the development of the App Store, which allowed people to download and pay for software and services.

In 2007, the company launched its longest-running corporate moniker – Apple Computer Inc. – and just became Apple, an electronics juggernaut six years in the making.

“They showed the world that they have a nuclear bomb, and five years later they have a nuclear arsenal,” said Talal Shamoon, chief executive of InterTrust Technologies, a digital rights management company working with the music industry at the time. “After that, there was no doubt that Apple owned everyone.”

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