Apple has decided to discontinue the iPod Touch. The last iPod. My first touchscreen Apple device (as I waited for the first-generation iPhone to arrive in the UK). What does it mean? Does it mean anything?
When the iPod Touch came along, it was a companion device to the rest of the iPod range. At the time, they had mechanical hard drives and could store over 60GB of music, so having one that could hold 8GB was a big step backwards. That was not what the touch was about though. It could do video playback like the iPhone, you could browse your music in cover flow and you could access the internet. It wasn’t an iPod, it was the first sign of something genuinely new.
I bought my first (and only) iPod Touch in the Manchester Apple Store. I was besotted with it as soon as I picked it up. I had to have it. I remember thinking that it would make the perfect phone and, well, there’s still never been an iPhone that thin! A touch screen like no other I had ever used before, industrial design to die for. This was the new benchmark in portable music players. Until it wasn’t.
The iPod as a standalone device died the day the iPhone came out. It was at that point that Steve Job’s statements around ‘making great boxes for your software’ showed really tangible results. The iPod became a button on the iPhone. Now most people won’t remember those days as for a long time now on iOS, it’s just been called ‘music’. But as soon as the features of the iPod had been absorbed as native elements of the iPhone, the days of the iPod were numbered.
Here’s the thing about that. Technology by its very nature moves forwards. If it stands still, it’s actually going backwards (*looks at the graveyard of dead products and companies*) and Apple rarely if ever goes backwards.
So as the iPod is now more of a technology memory rather than a fixture of the digital landscape, we can thank it for its service and what it brought into the main-stream; music everywhere for everyone.