| Cult of Mac

R.I.P. iPod: Apple discontinues its tiny music player

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R.I.P., iPod. Apple discontinues iPod touch. It's the end of the iPod product line.
R.I.P., iPod.
Photo: Apple

It’s the end of an era — Apple has stopped making the once-iconic iPod. The little music player helped save Apple, and made the company a powerhouse in the music industry, but its day is over.

The last model is the iPod touch, which “will be available while supplies last,” Apple said Tuesday in a press release.

An illustrated history of the iPod and its massive impact [Updated]

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Steve Jobs on the cover of NewsWeek
Steve Jobs and the iPod make the cover of NewsWeek.
Photo: NewsWeek

Editor’s note: We originally published this illustrated history of the iPod to celebrate the device’s 10th anniversary on Oct. 22, 2011 (and updated it a decade later). We republished it on May 10, 2022, when Apple finally pulled the plug on the iPod.

The iPod grew out of Steve Jobs’ digital hub strategy. Life was going digital. People were plugging all kinds of devices into their computers: digital cameras, camcorders, MP3 players.

The computer was the central device, the “digital hub,” that could be used to edit photos and movies or manage a large music library. Jobs tasked Apple’s programmers with making software for editing photos, movies and managing digital music. While they were doing this, they discovered that all the early MP3 players were horrible. Jobs asked his top hardware guy, Jon Rubinstein, to see if Apple could do better.

Today in Apple history: iPod shuffle randomizes our music

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The iPod shuffle did away with the display (and celebrated randomness).
The iPod shuffle did away with the music player's display -- and celebrated randomness.
Photo: Apple

January 11: Today in Apple history: iPod shuffle randomizes our music January 11, 2005: Steve Jobs introduces the world to iPod shuffle, an entry-level music player that lacks a display. The device randomly shuffles the audio files it holds, but lets users easily skip songs they don’t like.

The first iPod to use flash memory, the iPod shuffle plugs directly into a computer using USB 2.0 and comes in 512MB and 1GB configurations. Oh, and it’s smaller than a pack of gum — and weighs less than an ounce!

The ‘iPod shuffle of Spotify’ is back and better than ever

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Mighty Vibe 1
The Mighty Vibe is the iPod Shuffle but... well, not.
Photo: Mighty Vibe

It’s been a few years since the iPod shuffle was last updated, but there are still plenty of fans out there with fond memories of Apple’s tiniest iPod music player.

If you fall into that camp, you might want to check out the Mighty, a music player that’s basically an iPod shuffle for Spotify. The latest version, called the Mighty Vibe, brings increased battery life and an improved Bluetooth antenna. (It also boasts a refreshed companion app.)

Apple discontinues iPod nano and iPod shuffle

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iPod nano
Apple pulls the plug on its old-school music players.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple pulled the iPod nano and iPod shuffle from its website today, confirming that the models have been discontinued.

The iPod touch, which just received a storage boost, remains as the company’s only dedicated music player.

RED or dead? Apple’s best and worst PRODUCT(RED) devices

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Which Apple PRODUCT(RED) product has us seeing red?
Which Apple PRODUCT(RED) products have you seeing red?
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The new PRODUCT(RED) iPhone is the latest limited-edition Apple product to turn a crimson paint job into a pile of green, all for a worthy charity.

Apple got involved 11 years ago with The Global Fund to benefit AIDS programs in Africa. In that time, Apple has raised millions of dollars for the charity — and released some pretty sweet special-edition products to boot.

Here are our picks for the best Apple PRODUCT(RED) products (plus, the absolute worst of all time).

The value of old iPods could be music to your ears

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Tony Hawk, Madonna and No Doubt are just a few of the names whose signatures graced Special Edition models of the iPod Classic.
Tony Hawk, Madonna and No Doubt are just a few of the names whose signatures graced Special Edition models of the iPod Classic.
Photo: Ivan Chernov

Cult of Mac 2.0 bug Nick Wellings listens to music on his iPhone, preferring not to disturb any one of his 108 iPods.

He figures his collection would hold 231,000 songs, but only one has ever been touched or seen the light of day. They remain factory-sealed in their boxes.

The iPod’s status as an icon was brief but seismic, a sleek and at-times-colorful trigger of upheaval to the music industry in the middle of the century’s first decade. Soon the iPhone, which grew more powerful with each generation, relegated the iPod to junk drawers, closets and boxes, next to that cassette-tape-playing Sony Walkman.

Beloved iPod shuffle is reborn for the Spotify era

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Mighty Clipped and plugged in
The new Mighty wants to bring Spotify to those with an active lifestyle.
Photo: Mighty Audio

Today, the iPod shuffle you’ve been hoping for is getting a shot at life — no thanks to Apple. Mighty Audio is launching its Kickstarter campaign for the new Mighty streaming music player, a small clip-on device that can stream Spotify wherever you go without having to use your smartphone. A portable, affordable music player with streaming capabilities? Yes please.

Apple unveils new iPods in six colors

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iPod, therefore I am.
iPod, therefore I am.
Photo: Apple

After a short amount of time offline, the Apple Online Store is back up and running — selling a refreshed line of iPods, featuring some feature upgrades, and a nifty new gold color option.

Apple has released new iPod shuffle, nano, and touch devices, representing the first major upgrade for the product lines since way back in 2012. While the shuffle and nano both get the new gold color — alongside five other color options — the biggest upgrade is reserved for the iPod touch.