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The original iPod music player debuted on October 23, 2001, about eight and a half months after iTunes for OS X was released. The inaugural model was the size of a standard deck of cards, measuring 2.4 inches wide, four inches tall and 0.78 inches thick.

The music player had a tiny hard drive with only five gigabytes of storage, a monochromatic LCD screen, a mechanical click wheel interface for going through your music and a price tag of $399.

It took some time, but the iPod and the iTunes Music Store eventually went on to change the entire music industry and rebrand Apple as a music company. And now, after thirteen years, 400 million units sold and $65 billion in cumulative revenue, the iPod has quietly disappeared from Apple’s public reports.

For clarity, as Juli Clover pointed out to me on Twitter, company executives did say in October 2014 they’d be putting the iPod in the ‘Other Products’ section going forward.

Still, that doesn’t change the fact Apple is no longer reporting iPod unit sales, and that’s saying a lot. Here’s the product revenue breakdown from Apple’s holiday quarter earnings report.

The iPod is nowhere to be seen.

Apple Q42014 no iPod

Three months earlier, quarterly earnings included the iPod section.

Apple Q32014 iPod included

Fun fact: Apple sold more Macs than iPods, despite the fact that an average selling price of Macs is far higher than that of iPods.

Back in the old days, so powerful was the so-called iPod hallo effect that Apple used to have the iPod branding for the media player app included with the iPhone and iPad, until iOS 5.

Check out the very first iPod television commercial that Steve Jobs himself unveiled during the 2001 Special Apple Event held on Apple’s Town Hall campus. Though not as cool as the “silhouette” campaign, it did help make the device famous by focusing on ease of use.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gS8iHrNpc2I

Those were fun times, eh?

As soon as the iPhone was introduced in January 2007, things quickly went downhill for the standalone music player. During the middle of 2010, iPhone sales overtook those of the iPod.

Still, it outlived Sony’s Walkman.

iPod vs Walkman lifetime

And here’s Steve Jobs unveiling the original iPod which with the promise of putting “a thousand songs in your pocket”. It spearheaded a new era in consumer electronics, but you’d be hard pressed to tell that at the time judging by journalists’ mild reaction.

The iPod is still listed at the top navigation bar on Apple.com and the company continues selling various models, ranging from the $49 iPod shuffle, to the $199 iPod nano, to the $199-$299 iPod touch, which is basically an older-generation iPhone without the phone part (cellular radios).

But even the iPod touch, which Apple loves to position as a handheld gaming device, has seen little action and is marred by outdated hardware, like the crappy front-facing camera and the A5 chip, which debuted in the iPad 2 back in March 2011.

iPod sales

At any rate, Apple must be weighing the pros and cons of continuing iPod development. With iPod sales falling dramatically over the past few years, I’m not convinced at all that Apple can justify for much longer pouring resources into developing a standalone music player.

iPod nano tall colors

Sebastien, on the other hand, thinks that rumors of the iPod’s demise are greatly exaggerated as there may still be life left in the category. Indeed, the thin and portable iPod nano and shuffle continue to be popular with the active types who love to wear them when jogging, working out in the gym and so forth.

But the market for that is shrinking so fast thanks as the likes of Nike, Misfit, RunKeeper and others who make wearable fitness trackers take over.

iPod shuffle lifestyle 001

And with the Apple Watch coming into full view soon and the prevalence and ubiquitousness of smartphones, the vast majority of normals, I suspect, won’t, or already don’t, see the need for a standalone music player in their lives.

What do you guys think?

Is the iPod next on the chopping block?

Charts via Asymco and Benedict Evans.

  • Guest

    Most kids probably got their old mom or dads iphone as apple was marketing the ipods at kids with all the games and stuff

  • A’s Network

    The iPad Air 2 definitely didn’t debut in 2011 or I must probably be 4 years older by now!

  • sosarozay300

    i havent seen anyone with a ipod the past 2 years

  • White Michael Jackson

    I actually remember when sony was king of high end, feature filled mp3 players

    • NeftyCorrea

      Till iPods came in with the steal! But not no more iPod haha

  • nonchalont

    That market is gone. It had its time when Apple had the market. Now it’s all in our phones and the way of online radio subscriptions, there’s hardly any need to download any songs. What’s going to be the next big thing in the world?

    • George

      I blame apple and parents for buying their 11 year olds smart phones, smh.

  • Chris Wagers

    Apple shouldn’t be concerned to much with pouring resources into the iPod since as you mentioned it’s basically an iPhone without the phone parts. So at least for a few more years they will keep it up but after that I doubt it because as mentioned in comments the kids will have their parents smartphones be it apple or another brand and they all at music. I do think they will get rid of the iPods that aren’t iPod touches. For example the shuffle and nano which I’m surprised they still manufacture.

  • Guest

    lala

  • NeftyCorrea

    The reason why Apple isn’t selling iPods anymore is because iPhones has everything a iPod does and even more so why get an iPod when you can get a brand new phone where you can store music and more .

    • Ángel Javier Esquivel

      Trust me when I say that I know people that buy iPhone for phone only, and iPod for music only.

    • coLin

      the iPod is lighter and people buy it for fitness, but now it will be replaced with the Apple Watch

  • The reason the iPods don’t sell many anymore is because of a lack of updates. :

    • coLin

      because Apple Watch is on the way

      • Sébastien Grégoire

        No lol the lack updates!/innovations ,lack of motivation from  ,they’re still a market for this ,iPod is for music and gaming and iPhone phone !by the way the watch is slow,and you have to rely to an iPhone,I doubt that Steve Jobs would approve it.