RIP, iPod: Apple stops making the best music listening device ever

farewell – parting, iPod. You will always spin the clicking wheel in our hearts. apple she has officially killed The once loved MP3 player; The US Apple Store is finally run out From the latest iPod Touch on May 12th. It’s the end of an era, because the iPod was more than just a portable music box. It was a way of life. It has revolutionized the art of fandom music. He created the randomized future in which we all live. The last non-streaming musical instrument. The last one didn’t ask you to ask permission from the company to listen to your own music collection. The last device designed for you to be alone with sound. The best listening device in the history of human ears.

The lonely death of the iPod may seem long overdue. Just last week, Techradar . ran Plot With the headline, “You might not realize, but Apple still sells iPods.”

But I’m a fan of the iPod Classic, which they stopped making in 2014, although it’s easy to find again online. for me Folklovermore The playlist features “Right Where You Left Me” six times, because in a perfect world, this song would be on every Taylor Swift album at least twice. So what if the Classic is technically outdated? Trends are changing, rumors are spreading to a new sky, but I never leave the house without an iPod. If Apple wanted to take it away, it would have to get it out of my cold, dead hands. (Which was probably too cold and died from the clicking wheel.)

People talk about this device in terms of how the era of digital music began, or even how it paved the way for the smartphone. But looking back, it now appears to be the latest format designed for old-school pre-streaming trends, where music is something you “own”, not something you rent.

Listening to iPod, you’re off the grid. You are not tracked, measured, counted, rated, studied, extracted or researched. It’s nobody’s business, just you and the tunes. It keeps track of how often you play, but that’s just for your own personal amusement – it doesn’t judge you.

When the iPod arrived in 2001, it sounded too good to be true, promising “a thousand songs in your pocket.” Before that, if you take music on the go, wear a Walkman, and maybe pack a spare cassette or two. But the iPod blew those boundaries away. Hike up and down a mountain listening to nothing but the lively shoes of the Velvet Underground. (My iPod has 9 hours of “Sister Ray” alone.) Or go from hip-hop in New Orleans to opera to soukous to dub. The iPod pushed all boundaries of genre or era, creating a new breed of carnivorous pop. It was a cross-cultural, cross-generational smash, a sexy sadist that came to impress everyone, opening minds to the ecstasy of a random playspace. There was a 2006 book on the iPod titled exactly right: the perfect thing.

Most fans would say that the era of the iPod really ended with the classic – this is the “Perfect Thing” version. The Touch had wi-fi, but this made it inferior to a phone, and the beauty of the iPod was its complete immersion. You cannot check emails while listening or watching TV. You can’t scroll for what your favorites did, say, or wear today. Just their music. Hours, days, weeks of that glorious bullshit.

When Apple first released these shiny gadgets in 2001, it seemed clear that a song, even a digital one, was worth owning. (Or steal.) You had Kazaa, Limewire, Gnutella, ZShare, and eMusic – so many ways to organize your MP3 inventory. You can listen to Dawn’s ringtone system because it was your own. You were not asked for your password. The only validation factor you need is ‘I cry’ and ‘When angels deserve to die’.

You can still disable other MP3 players, sure, but there is just something about this player. It has created entirely new types of fan dedication. The iPod boom went with the rise of emo, backpack, and other cult romance genres. For some reason, it made fans feel more personally connected to their music. But it’s also been easier than ever to share the mix with your friends. To paraphrase the essence iPod albumsCarrots made where they shouldn’t go.

The iPod also made it easy to play in other musical worlds. At least once a year, I spend a working day listening to all five hours of La Monte Young good pianothe composition that I heard Just on an iPod. It’s a theater of timeless music, fitting my percussion wheel between Ladytron and Lana Del Rey.

The peak was iTunes v8.0: The High Watermark of MP3 Culture. As Jeremy D Larson wrote in pitchfork In 2018, “My music has never been more structured and accessible than it was in 2008 and 2009. If I had the power to go back in time, I wouldn’t go warn Oppenheimer about the bomb or hit a butterfly just to see what happens, I’d go back to Eight or nine years ago and I forbade myself from updating iTunes.”

TThe next iTunes then had awesome functionality and search interface. He also had – wait for it – a damned U2 album? repeatedly? Or Judas the sweet dancer, didn’t you delete that thing years ago? In classic Apple fashion, the Cupertino gang worked hard to break backwards compatibility, which required the usual mandatory “features and security settings” upgrades. (What does “safety” even mean on an iPod? Will it protect you from hearing “Helena” during a full moon in locust season? Warning you to take a deep breath with every few Bright Eyes stories?)

I love streaming playlists, but this is a different experience, because there is no claim that they belong to fans. Last fall, Spotify quietly ditched a feature that allows playlists to do one crucial job: finish. After your mix reaches the last song, it takes over autoplay and will continue indefinitely, unless you have trouble disabling it. (I first noticed when that trusty “hotel room sleep” mix kept waking me up, because it wouldn’t shut up.) In other words, the playlist no longer picks your music clock – it stops for an hour until the algorithm takes over. It’s a reminder of the demise of broadcast culture. You are allowed to listen by grudgingly agreeing to the corporate masters, only that they have not found a more graceful way to charge you for it.

The soul of the iPod lives on because it is the idea that any random piece of audio junk, of any era or any type, can be yours Just because you love him. The idea that your favorite song can be a reason to turn off the phone, not turn it on. The idea that you can connect to your music directly, without going through any cloud except for the one that Johnny sang about. The idea that music belongs to the whims of crazy love who live for it, and nothing else matters. In a way, this is how the iPod will continue to live. It gave us a music world where we can all switch to iPods.