Remembering Apple’s iconic iPod: Gadget gone, but not forgotten

Like a lot of things on social media, the term ‘end of an era’ is used rather loosely. However, when Apple announced that it will stop selling the iPod — will be on shelf till stocks last — then it really felt like the end of an era. Why? Because for a lot of people the iPod was perhaps the beginning of having a deep connect with a gadget. For those who were part of the Walkman generation, the iPod was a revelation when it arrived.

The Discman came into our lives — although fleetingly — but never really made a mark for multiple reasons. You never really connected with it as you did — first with the Walkman and then with the iPod. The iPod was the coolest gadget one had ever come across back in 2001. And it remained that till the iPhone and other swish smartphones were launched. It was a technological marvel much ahead of its time in the way it combined design aesthetics and functionality. The best thing about it was that it stored thousands of songs – divided into playlists, artists and genres.

Whether you were feeling happy or despondent, you had a song for the mood at the click of a button. Millennials and Gen Z might not relate to this phenomenon, but in the early 2000s, this was really a big deal. You felt possessive because an iPod was extremely personal and every iPod in that sense was different – it uniquely reflected the musical sensibilities of the user. The way the iPod lent a personal touch, no other device did. From the Classic iPod to the Nano to the Touch, each model cultivated a new generation of fans. Some might even argue that the Apple cult began with the birth of the iPod.

The iPod changed the way people interacted with their devices. “A thousand songs in your pocket” was how Apple cofounder Steve Jobs described it when he introduced the iPod to the world. There was a sense of attachment with the iPod which perhaps hasn’t been replicated. Yes, smartphones are an integral part of people’s lives and many can’t function without them. But that’s more out of need — the iPod was an object of desire. You either had one or you wanted one. The iPod, in that sense, was really unique. But over the last few years, the iPod’s aura had started to fade. Yet, its impact and legacy will live for years to come. The iPod is gone but for those who used it, it is one device that will never be forgotten.