Apple: This is how the iPod revolutionized the music market | Technology
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Apple has just announced the end of an era. The apple company will stop manufacturing the iPod, after more than 20 years on sale and millions of units sold worldwide. This iconic player, in addition to marking a before and after in the music industry, laid the foundations for the development of some of the best-selling devices on the planet, such as the iPhone or the iPad.
“Music is part of everyone’s life. It has always existed and always will exist. This is not a speculative market”, stated the co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, at the presentation of the first iPod on October 23, 2001. The company thus boasted of the great capacity of the device: “1,000 songs in your pocket”. The device, which weighed 185 grams and came with headphones, had a 10-hour battery life and cost $399. In addition to standing out for its minimalist design, it incorporated a wheel to control the player.
Although the apple company was not the first to enter the MP3 player market, the design and possibilities of the iPod attracted thousands of users. If the device is characterized by something, it is because “it redefined how music is discovered, listened to and shared”, as stated by Greg Joswiak, Apple’s global vice president of marketing. In 2003, in the midst of the digital piracy crisis, Apple launched the iTunes Music Store, a store on-line with an initial catalog of 200,000 songs that revolutionized the music business. The user could download songs for 99 cents to listen to them on the iPod or up to three different Mac computers. In the first week alone, the technology company sold more than a million songs.
Over time, Apple released new and improved iPod models. In addition to reducing its size, it improved the design, the battery and the capacity. For example, the iPod mini (2004) weighed about 100 grams—compared to 185 grams for the original model—and the second-generation iPod nano (2006) had a 24-hour battery life and the capacity to store up to 2,000 songs. The fifth generation iPod (2006) was the first to support video.
a death foretold
The iPod, in addition to expanding Apple’s reach in the music and consumer electronics industries, served as the inspiration for the creation of the iPhone. In 2007 Jobs boasted of having “reinvented the phone” and presented the first version of what is now the best-selling mobile phone in the world. This milestone was the beginning of the end for the tech giant’s players. His popularity plummeted. If in 2008 54.8 million iPods were sold, in 2011 this figure fell to 42.6 million and in 2014, to 14.3 million, according to Statista.
In the last quarter of that year, iPod sales accounted for about 1% of Apple’s total revenue. At that time, the iPhone already represented more than 50% of the company’s revenue and there were several phones on the market with similar music functions. Carrying around a second device that actually does something that a smartphone it can also make it not particularly attractive. Added to this is the fact that mobile phones, in addition to allowing music to be played on streamingthey have powerful cameras and maps with GPS navigation, among other functions.
Apple was aware that the iPhone could end up surpassing music players, according to Tony Fadell, one of the iPod’s developers, in an interview in the specialized technology media TheVerge: “It became very clear to us that there was a real threat from mobile phones. Music, MP3 playback, was beginning to be added to the phones that were being marketed at the time.”
The iPhone sales debacle led the Cupertino company to dispense with some models: in 2014 it stopped manufacturing the iPod classic and in 2017, the iPod nano and the iPod shuffle. Until finally what has been rumored for years has happened. Apple has officially said goodbye to the iPod Touch, putting an end to this product line that has transformed the music industry. “While stocks last”, can be read on the Spanish technology website when going to buy the device.
In the age of smartphones and streaming music services, streaming, it can be difficult to assess how revolutionary the promise of 1,000 songs in your pocket was in 2001 and the innovations that the first iPod brought with it. But even today the spirit of this iconic device lives on in many other products such as the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Apple Music, according to Joswiak. More and more users are turning to this type of online music services. streaminginstead of portable storage devices. If in 2015 there were about 76.8 million subscribers to these services, at the beginning of 2021 the figure reached 487 million.
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