May 30, 2013: Apple marks the sale of the 100 millionth iPod touch by launching a new, stripped-down model with a budget price of $229.
The 16GB music player lacks some features of its high-end siblings. However, the smaller price tag makes it appealing to new customers.
100 million iPod touch sales
By 2013, the iPhone had long overtaken the iPod, which went on sale in 2007. Nonetheless, Apple’s 100 million milestone proved significant. It demonstrated clearly that a loyal customer base remained for the iPod touch.
The new model released in May 2013 couldn’t really be called a sixth-generation iPod touch. (Apple released a proper sixth-gen iPod touch in 2015.) Instead, it was a minor variant of the 2012 iPod touch, only without that model’s color options, storage capacity and 5-megapixel main iSight camera.
What customers did get was the same 4-inch Retina display, dual-core A5 chip, EarPods and two-way Lightning connector as the 2012 model, but at a lower price. The new model also came with a front-facing 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera for selfies, able to shoot stills at 1,280×960 and video at 1,280×720.
A savvy selfie camera
The cheaper iPod touch arrived just as Oxford Dictionaries dubbed “selfie” the Word of the Year. Focusing on the new device’s selfie camera was a clever way of turning a negative — the missing iSight cam — into a positive on Apple’s part.
The device’s dual-core A5 processor made it ideal for mobile gaming. Owners of this iPod touch could take advantage of the ever-growing catalog of cheap games in the App Store.
While certainly not a major iPod release, the silver-and-black 2013 iPod touch upgrade nonetheless did its job. It offered younger customers a more affordable entry point into the Apple ecosystem. After all, as Steve Jobs once said, the iPod touch was intended to be “training wheels for the iPhone.”
iPod touch hangs on
The iPod touch’s influence continued to be felt for several more years. In 2019, Apple surprised us all with a new iPod touch. It looked the same but packed a speedy A10 Fusion processor, making it perfect for gaming and immersive AR experiences on the go. Apple made it more affordable, too, with prices starting at just $199.
However, Apple finally discontinued the iPod touch on May 10, 2022. Over more than two decades, the digital music player made a massive impact on both Apple and the culture at large. (Read all about it in our recently updated illustrated history of the iPod.)
Music fans shouldn’t be too upset by the device’s demise, though. The iPod’s DNA lives on in the Apple ecosystem.
“Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry — it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to, and shared,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, in a press release marking the iPod’s death. “Today, the spirit of iPod lives on. We’ve integrated an incredible music experience across all of our products, from the iPhone to the Apple Watch to HomePod mini, and across Mac, iPad, and Apple TV. And Apple Music delivers industry-leading sound quality with support for spatial audio — there’s no better way to enjoy, discover, and experience music.”
What was your first iPod? Leave your comments below.