SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – Fewer than six months shy of its 21st birthday, the Apple iPod is about to be no more.
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The Cupertino-headquartered technology company announced on Tuesday that it will discontinue the last of its iPod products, the iPod touch, selling it only "while supplies last" moving forward. The iPod touch was the last one standing, after Apple stopped selling the iPod classic in 2014 and the shuffle and nano three years later.
Greg Joswiak, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said in a release on Tuesday that "the spirit of iPod lives on" in the company's other portable hardware products, all of which can play music, and its Apple Music subscription service.
"Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry," Jowsiak said, arguing the device "redefined" how people discover, listen to and share music.
Apple first introduced the iPod on Oct. 23, 2001, touting the handheld device's ability to play as many as 1,000 songs and releasing a video-capable unit four years later. When then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs first announced the iPhone in San Francisco in 2007, he called it "the best iPod we’ve ever made."
"The killer app is making calls," Jobs said at the time.
Although the iPod touch was introduced months after the iPhone, the latter quickly surpassed its predecessor in ubiquity, leading to the widespread use of all-in-one smartphones.
Apple's iPhone revenue surpassed those of the iPod in 2009, and the company announced five years later that it would no longer list iPod sales at all on its quarterly earnings. That same year, Apple discontinued the iPod classic, which was the last model to use the company's "click wheel."
On the same day Apple announced it would discontinue the iPod touch, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the company a patent that highlights how its priorities have evolved since the iPod’s introduction.
Apple’s patent for an electric vehicle charging station that operates autonomously was approved on Monday, according to patent and trademark office records. Patently Apple, which first reported the patent, said it's Apple's second for the technology.