It’s utterly unsurprising that Apple made this move — after all, they discontinued the iPod classic back in 2014. There’s just not a need for these devices anymore. With the dawn of the streaming music era, why would you need to carry a physical version of your music collection?
The Nano and the Shuffle were the smaller versions of their original big brother. The larger iPod (remember the days before it even had a click wheel?) was to carry your entire music library — the Nano and Shuffle were just for a taste, the amuse bouche of your tunes. Whether you were listening with those trademark white earbuds or through an unwieldy FM transmitter in your car, with your iPod snugly in its sock, for a bright moment the way we listened to music was at the center of our culture.
It’s almost funny, then, that Apple itself is responsible for making its own devices obsolete. When they first introduced the iPod, and later the iTunes Store, they triggered a sea change in the way my generation interacted with music. It wasn’t just something we listened to, it was something we experienced. But slowly, as our sights shifted from buying digitally to streaming, iPods became less important. Apple pivoted the music industry towards streaming. It’s the natural end to a shift that happened almost two decades ago, and it sowed the seeds for the obsolescence of the iPod.
And yet, for those of us who remember binders upon binders of CDs, this is a sad day. The end of the iPod as we know it is more than just the discontinuation a device. It’s an acceptance that the heady days of my youth, when I agonized over music selection, are over.
I used to painstakingly curate my library; it was something I shared with pride. There was a song for every occasion, whether to describe my current emotions or for a deeper peek into my very identity. Music spoke to me; it defined me. But as I came into adulthood, with all the responsibilities that went along with…