R.I.P. iPod

iPod Cache

A veritable treasure trove of iPods collected at the Baker household. It’s quite possible there are a still a couple more hidden somewhere. Photo by Mark Baker.

First, the headline grabbed me: On Death and iPods: A Requiem. Then this well written article hooked me, its larger message a reflection on something I try to bring to the table every day. We often have surface conversations about the shiny new hardware (or in Apple’s case, the media fawning over the Apple announcements and the “just one more thing” shtick). However, focusing on the hardware often misses a crucial point. Hardware has features, but what we value are the benefits. The benefits are wrapped up in how we can do new things, how things become easier, or at the highest level, how we alter behavior in response to new capabilities.

 The iPod fundamentally changed how we learn about, purchase, organize, share and consume music. Parents could no longer yell at their kids to turn the radio down. Kids didn’t have to share the stereo or tote around a massive boom box. Portable MP3 players drove the rapid expansion of new categories of accessories, such as docking stations, $400 stylized and branded headphones and Bluetooth speakers. And how can we forget the iconic white headphones?

In the end, like all technology, it’s not about the hardware. It’s about how it changes what we do. RIP iPod. You’ll be staying in my device museum to remind me of the good old days!

For more information on the history of the iPod and iTunes, this interesting timeline shows how far we’ve come.

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