Elegy for the iPod, the device that transformed Apple

413440_g1-100358886-large.jpgIn my latest Macworld article, I look back at the history of the iPod, but also the history of the portable music player. As the iPod’s sales are decreasing, new devices are replacing it: iPhones, iPads, and even, perhaps, the mythical iWatch.

I hold a small metal device in my hands and twirl my finger on a circular controller, navigating the menus on my iPod classic. I haven’t done this in a long time. I have a full range of iPod models, and this one, bought back in 2008, doesn’t get much use any more. That click-wheel controller was never a great idea–it’s clunky and inefficient–but it’s emblematic of the early iPod line, before tapping on a tactile screen became the norm.

In a way, there’s something nostalgic about listening to music on a device that does little more than play music. (Yes, it can play videos and display photos, but with its tiny display, I’ve never used it for either of those things.) It reminds me of the early days of the iPod, when music listeners marveled at the ability to store so much music on a pocket-sized device, to listen to any of it with a few spins of the click-wheel, to play music in shuffle mode instead of one CD at a time.

The story of the iPod is, in many ways, the story of Apple’s comeback.

Read the rest of the article on the Macworld website.

4 thoughts on “Elegy for the iPod, the device that transformed Apple

  1. Thanks for the article. I have 2000 CDs, which I am transferring bit by bit to a computer. I’m using 256 kps … anyway, if iPods (and I use the 160) are on their way out, how should I listen to iTunes through my stereo? Through a dedicated computer? Apple TV? Thanks…

    • You can either connect your computer directly to a stereo, or stream from iTunes to, say, an Apple TV. The latter lets you control playback either from the TV screen using the Apple TV interface, or via Apple’s Remote app on an iOS device.

  2. Thanks for the article. I have 2000 CDs, which I am transferring bit by bit to a computer. I’m using 256 kps … anyway, if iPods (and I use the 160) are on their way out, how should I listen to iTunes through my stereo? Through a dedicated computer? Apple TV? Thanks…

    • You can either connect your computer directly to a stereo, or stream from iTunes to, say, an Apple TV. The latter lets you control playback either from the TV screen using the Apple TV interface, or via Apple’s Remote app on an iOS device.

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