The Decline Of The iPod Generation

The iPod was once a must-have, with Apple making devices sleeker to deal with our busy lives. Today, it seems there is little need to own one.
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Apple’s iPod was a revolutionary device forever changing the music industry as well as changing the way we listened to and purchased music. No longer did record labels control the way we consumed music, that power was now firmly in the hands of a tech company. In 2016, the iPod is no longer the revolutionary, disruptive that it once was. While still a go-to device for music consumption, iPods (and MP3 players in general) have lost a fair amount of ground to smartphones. Thanks to their swiss army knife abilities, smartphones can now play music, take photographs, send emails and do a host of other things which were never possible on a single device before. The past weekend found me on yet another treadmill running along to my latest power playlist. As I was huffing and puffing along, my arm got tangled in my earpod cables which resulted in my iPod Nano being ripped from my pocket and onto the treadmill. Before I could blink or even register what had happened, I heard a sickening crunch as my much-loved iPod got caught in the treadmill’s machinery and cracked. After a few heart-wrenching moments, I picked up my iPod and discovered that it was still working, barely. Clearly, this was the end of its existence. As I trudged along, sans my power playlist, I contemplated whether or not I should purchase another iPod. After all, I have a smartphone which I could load music onto, so really, what would the point be? This is not a new thought to many people, once upon a time we wouldn’t have hesitated to buy Apple’s newest music-centric device, but in 2016, that’s no longer the case. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, back in 2009, Apple’s then CFO, Peter Oppenheimer, admitted that cannibalising iPod sales was always part of the company’s plans : “For traditional MP3 players, which includes Shuffle, Nano, and Classic, we saw a year-over-year decline which we internally had forecasted to occur. This is one of the original reasons we developed the iPhone and the iPod Touch. We expect our traditional MP3 players to decline over time as we cannibalise ourselves with the iPod Touch and the iPhone.” Note that he says, "... cannibalise ourselves," clearly referring to Apple. The company had predicted the slow death of music-centric devices and therefore put more focus into their smartphone line. There’s very little reason to justify the purchase of a stand-alone MP3 player when your phone is able to play the same files, tends to have more storage and is always with you. In 2016, even Apple has recognised the declining importance of the iPod and moved it off of their homepage. Should you still buy a standalone MP3 player? Probably not. There are many devices which give you the same functionality and more.