The complete story of the rise and fall of an iPod

Do you remember the time when you shared MP3 CDs with your friends? Back then it was difficult to listen to your favorite music.

Then came the iPod, which changed the way we listened to music.

In 2001, Apple introduced the iPod under Steve Jobs, who transformed Apple from a company on the brink of bankruptcy into a $3 trillion company. On May 10, 2022, almost 20 years after the release of its first iPod, Apple said it would no longer produce the device. But the iPod touch will continue to be sold until stocks run out.

Why did Apple stop producing iPods?

Discover the journey from a whopping 40% revenue share in 2008 to a meager 1% revenue share in 2014 – The Success and Fall of Apple iPod.

Introducing the Apple iPod: A Love Story Between Music and Computers
iPod is revolutionizing the music industry
With the iPod, Apple takes a risk in order to succeed
What led to the fall of the iPod?

Introducing the Apple iPod: A Love Story Between Music and Computers

1999 was the best year ever for the US music industry. Two things expanded during this time. There were computers in more than 40% of households.

In addition, internet usage has multiplied.

People burned CDs and listened to their friends’ mixes. They downloaded songs from Napster and then bought MP3 players. But they were bulky – gray rectangles that weighed down your purse or bag.

Apple introduced a portable music player iPod in October 2001. The iPod MP3 player with a 5GB hard drive promised to store 1,000 songs in your pocket. It was easier to download and buy music.

Apple offered a physical portable music player compatible with the iTunes online platform. The iPod allowed users to use their thumbs to scroll through songs in a circular motion. People took notice of this easy-to-use control scheme.

Due to the high purchase price and the exclusive use on iMac computers, the device was received with mixed feelings.

As a result, Apple opened the music shop iTunes in April 2003. The Windows version appeared six months later. It allowed customers to start their music libraries for $0.99 per song.

Anyone could now use an iPod and buy music.

Evolution of Apple and its business model

Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company headquartered in California. It designs, develops and sells electronics, software and online services.

iPod is revolutionizing the music industry

When the iPod came out, it was a game changer.

The Sony Walkman was the standard portable music player before the iPod mp3 player. With Apple’s iPod product, Sony’s device became obsolete as it could only store 250 songs without expansion or other storage options. Apple’s device allowed up to 1500 songs on one device alone.

With an iPod, you can listen to just the music you want, when you want. You don’t have to buy the entire tape to hear the one song you want. You don’t have to wait until you can afford your favorite CD. You can listen to music while doing something else.

Now you have a tool that allows you to change the tape’s parameters and select only songs that you like. This in turn had an impact on the economy and the way music was produced.

With the iPod, Apple takes a risk in order to succeed

In 1999 CD sales accounted for $21 billion in US music sales. But CD players and early portable music players had many problems, including being big and clunky, skipping during playback, and holding a few songs.

Apple saw an opportunity to create something small and powerful, but needed to know what it was. Former hardware boss Jon Rubinstein met with Toshiba at a Macworld show in Tokyo, which was showing a 1.8-inch hard drive. This small but revolutionary hard drive combines portability and storage.

The first iPod was introduced on October 23, 2001.

The iPod has undergone design iterations throughout its existence. From a hard drive music player to a screenless keychain to a scaled down iPhone. It acquired several other abilities over time.

The iPod Shuffle had few controls. It’s been dubbed the “radio station” of iPods, which makes sense given its motto, “Control your radio station.” The Nano, Mini and Touch models followed. The Classic has a scroll wheel and is relatively large compared to its counterparts.

Because of the iPod’s closed environment, Apple attributed its success to its popularity. Apple became the largest company in the world thanks to this device.

What led to the fall of the iPod?

Tony Fadell - The co-creator of the iPod
Tony Fadell – The co-creator of the iPod

Apple kept the momentum going with the introduction of the iPod Mini and iPod Nano in 2005. Apple sold 22.5 million iPods in various configurations that year. It doubled its previous record from 2004 and quadrupled the volume moved in 2003.

During its peak, iPods captured 80% of the market share. The real rivalry arose when mobile phones started getting data and MP3 capabilities. iPhone co-creator Tony Fadell said that cell phones started with 2.5G and started to resemble sidekicks when they started putting MP3s on.

Before Apple introduced the iPod touch in 2007, they offered a different device. Known as the iPhone, it included a phone, an internet communicator, and an iPod music app. It’s not an iPod with an antenna. Users can use it to surf the Internet, make phone calls and play music.

The charts above show Apple iPod sales worldwide from 2006 to 2014 in millions of units
The charts above show Apple iPod sales worldwide from 2006 to 2014 in millions of units

In 2008, Apple introduced new iPod models. But sales started falling as the iPhone experienced rapid expansion. There was a gadget with all the functionality of an iPod combined with a cell phone and internet capabilities.

Apple sold 14.4 million iPods in 2014, up from 55 million in 2008. The iPod contributed just 1.25% of Apple’s sales that year (2014). Apple stopped producing the iPod classic, shuffle, and nano in 2017.

iPod touch was last updated in 2019. It remains popular with kids and app developers as an inexpensive iOS device. However, the upgrades were minor and seemed more like a feeble attempt to extend the life of the last iPod.


Apple’s iPod had a massive impact on music. It was the first device that popularized the concept of having music on the go. Although it’s no longer for sale, the iPod touch pioneered this now commonplace ability.

It’s exciting and sentimental to remember what the iPod meant to us. It was an era where music could be accessed through endless possibilities of streaming services.

frequently asked Questions

Will the iPod still exist in 2022?

Yes, the iPod still exists in 2022 as Apple still has availability of the 7th generation iPod touch which was first released in May 2019.

What has replaced the iPod?

Some of the devices that have replaced iPod are iPhone, Sony NW-A105 Walkman A Series, Aiworth, M17 Media Player etc.

iPods have been popular for a number of reasons. The best reason for its popularity was that no other company could come up with such a product before Apple integrated iPods. iPods were much easier to use and carry. The iPods were connected to iTunes stores for easy services.

Why did Apple stop selling iPods?

Apple has slowly scaled back production of iPods, largely due to the declining iPod sales rate. Another reason was the introduction of a device with better capabilities that was brought to market by Apple, leading to a shift in customer focus that eventually closed the doors to the iPod market.