The father of the iPod, Tony Fadell, mourns the death of the iPod Classic


Tony Fadell, the father of the iPod, says Apple saw the death of the iPod coming.
Tony Fadell, the father of the iPod, says Apple saw the death of the iPod coming.

In 2004, at the height of the original iPod’s success, Apple started asking itself internally what would eventually kill the iPod. Whatever it was, Cupertino wanted to make sure they stayed ahead of the curve.

What did Apple think would doom the iPod? According to ex-iPod-chief Tony Fadell, Cupertino called it correctly: Music streaming would eventually kill the iPod. But Apple didn’t call it streaming, or even music in the cloud. They called it the “celestial music jukebox.”

That’s just one of the many fun details the Father of the iPod dropped in an interview I conducted with him over at Fast Company, asking Fadell how he felt to see the iPod classic die after 13 years.

Here’s a snippet of the full interview, in which Fadell talks about what he thinks the next frontier in digital music will be, now that the iPod is dead and streaming services like Spotify and Beats Music rule.

“I’ll miss the iPod. I loved it,” says Fadell. “But you know, that’s just how it is. I also loved my Apple II, and also saw it come and go. You can’t get too nostalgic. I mean, there are people out there who still want the Commodore 64 or the Amiga to come back. That’s cute, but time marches on. It’s better to be excited for the future.”

As for the future of music: It’s not iPods, iPhones, or iPads. It’s apps that read your mind. “Now that we all have access to all the music we could ever want, discoverability is the new Holy Grail,” Fadell says. “Using machine learning and AI to figure out context, so that the celestial jukebox knows the perfect song for every occasion.”

Read my full interview with Tony Fadell.


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