Apple unveiled the newest set of iPhones a few weeks ago to much fanfare but made no mention of the product it was retiring: the original click wheel iPod. Sure, Apple will continue to sell the iPod Touch, but the legendary product that built the foundations of the ubiquitous company we know today will no longer be sold in stores.
I still remember the day I brought my iPod to school. It was the first week of third grade, and I had just spent all my savings on an iPod. This was one of the originals. Four buttons along the top, a width measured in inches instead of millimeters, and a song capacity in the low four digits. I remember the day well because my friends all made fun of me for having an iPod filled with music that they said “old people” listened to. My music may have been a tad old-fashioned — it was mostly a mix of Elvis Presley, Van Halen and a dash of the Beatles. But rather than feel embarrassed, I was giddy with excitement. I spent the whole day telling my friends how I spent the weekend bothering my dad with questions as I sorted through his CD collection. Any album he recommended went straight onto my iPod.
In the simplest sense my iPod really was a connection with my dad before it became a connection to the world of music. Every time we got into the car we took turns playing songs that we really liked. Some we agreed upon, like The Kinks’ version of “You Really Got Me” being better than Van Halen's cover. On others, our opinions could not have been further apart; I loved The Silver Bullet Band, a group my dad could care less for.
Over the years I branched out from those traditional music roots. I grew to like all sorts of different music and became hooked on live shows. As the size of my collection expanded, I had to replace my iPod with increasingly bigger models. But the principle was always the same: Use music to connect with people. Playing music in the car with my dad turned into playing tunes for my friends as we cruised around in our parents’ cars. Those moments, music blasting, warm air blowing through the window, are what really makes music great. Some songs just have the ability to completely bring you back to another place and time — to another mood. So it was with a heavy heart I read the news of the end of the iPod Classic, but its retirement will do nothing to take away from those memories, and for that I am eternally grateful.