Our iPod memories

It’s official: the iPod is over. After 20 years, Apple announced this week that it was discontinuing the final product in the brand that defined music players in the mid-2000s and helped catapult Apple to mainstream success. A lot of us at The Verge have fond memories of our days spent using the music players…

It’s official, the iPod is dead. After 20 years, Apple announced this week that it was discontinuing the final product in the brand that defined music players in the mid-2000s and helped catapult Apple to mainstream success.

Many of us at The verge cherish our memories of the music players we used over the past two decades. We decided to record some of these to reflect on the importance of the device in our lives and to highlight its greatness. We’ve also had to deal with the “missing .”

” of these devices.

Here’s a collection of our memories: Buying iPods, Rediscovering and Bringing them Back to Life, Sometimes Losing them.

I have two iPod stories: one about the first one I ever got and another about the last one I purchased new.

My first MP3 player was actually a 2GB Walkman, but as soon as I saw the “Nano-chromatic” ad for the fourth-gen iPod Nano, I decided I was going to buy it. The main problem was that I was 12, and $149 was a lot of money for me — so I spent months scraping together allowances, money from mowing lawns, and gift cards. I was finally fed up and went to Toys R Us to pick out a blue one. I was finally about to buy my first iPod.

I hadn’t thought about sales tax and was short some dollars. I think the cashier realized how broken I was and offered to pay the remainder in what was probably the most generous act of kindness I had ever experienced in my life. Even though the battery has died, I still have my iPod.

Fast forward a few years, and I was a stereotypical techy teen with a jailbroken and modded iPod Touch fourth gen. At one point, I uninstalled something that was apparently essential using the jailbreaking tool Cydia and was completely unable to restore the iPod back to working condition. After a while, I finally decided to pull the device from my closet and try restoring it. It worked miraculously and my iPod ran stock iOS 5.

The next day, as I was getting out of my very cool minivan, it slid out of my pocket and fell onto the concrete driveway, shattering the screen. RIP to a real one. – Mitchell Clark

The iPod was the first “cool” gadget I ever owned. After a few crappy MP3 players like a Diamond Rio or an Archos Jukebox I purchased a gold iPod mini. Although it could hold four gigs of music (which was less than other MP3 players back then), the iPod Mini was small and portable. It felt like magic. It didn’t skip when the car hit a bump, unlike other hard drive-based players.

The Mini went everywhere with me for years until it was stolen out of my car in my high school parking lot. I can still remember exactly where it was parked, what the weather was like that day and the exact moment when it disappeared. I couldn’t afford another, so I returned to my other devices. All of them now felt shabby, even though they held quite a lot more music. The white headphones were my favorite because it felt like I had an iPod. The thing slowed down when I hit a pothole. – David Pierce

A fifth-generation iPod.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

My first iPod was the fifth-gen iPod Video. My freshman year in high school was the first time an iPod had been released. I watched in envy as other rich students showed off theirs between classes. My junior year was my first attempt at a PowerPoint presentation for my father. It detailed my high school grades and other silly achievements. My dad did not say anything and I just sulked, accepting my fate.

I was completely surprised when, a few weeks later, a package from Apple arrived at our door. My dad smiled. He also saw the black version of me, as he was aware that I was a goth teenager. This was despite the fact that he wanted me to stop being a goth. My dad was a very stoic man so he rarely said much beyond “enjoy.” Needless, I filled that baby with as many songs and movies as I could. It was my companion during late-night study sessions or for long commutes to school. It was my companion when I had to muddle through a messy divorce with my parents.

You could probably say something about sulky teens listening to emo music as their parents split up in explosive fashion. It was a great comfort to just slip on my headphones, listen to my music and not be interrupted by apps and notifications.

My iPod Video lasted me about three years, until one day, I dropped it on the sidewalk and it split open. Its buggy interface and click wheel that wouldn’t cooperate any longer were enough to get me over it. I wanted an iPod Touch. I was moved by the sight of my faithful iPod Video broken on a sidewalk.

I took it home and kept it in a box for years. It was too heavy to throw out. I then forgot about it for almost a decade and, strangely, found it when cleaning out my junk in 2018. It was a precious gift that my dad gave me when he had just passed away. Maybe that was my dad comforting and guiding me beyond the grave. – Victoria Song

My “first iPod” story is a lot like David’s. My first MP3 player was a Rio. It could only hold a few songs and I remember very clearly that one of those songs was a James Bond theme. The iPod Mini, in its beautiful baby blue color, was a huge upgrade. It was able to hold more songs than my Rio and was fun to use. The scroll wheel is still a favorite of mine. (I don’t remember if I put the James Bond song on it. It’s one my favourite devices, and I wish it was still mine. – Jay Peters

Apple Ipod Mini at the Apple Computer store in Soho.,

An iPod mini.
Photo by Andrew Savulich/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

The iPod Mini was my first iPod, and I’m pretty sure that it aided in some minor hearing loss. It was my first iPod and I still use it daily. I tucked it into my waistband to jam to my favorite music while I learn how to play. My iPod was also a companion on the tractor that I used to mow my lawn each week. This is another chore that contributed to my hearing loss. Other than the fact that it was my iPod, I don’t have any amazing stories to share about it. It went everywhere with me and did its job as a music player. – Cameron Faulkner

My first iPod was the very first iPod — and it was bought in a sweet attempt by my mom to cheer me up. It was a great experience to have so many storage and an MP3 player that could be used with iTunes. It was used constantly, sometimes connected to one of those awful tape decks or into an FM transmitter. The tunes carried me along 12-hour drives back and forth from college, and having all my music in one place took the sting out of the loss of my favorite sleeve of mix CDs in a Dillard’s parking lot in Tullahoma, Tennessee.

A screenshot of a conversation from iMessage. The sender asks: “Peter, it’s been 20 years, did you take my first gen iPod and sit on that secret for decades?” Peter responds with an SNL gif of Stefon saying “Yes,” then later replies “lol no.”

Investigating a disappearance.
Screenshot: Alex Cranz

Then, one day, it vanished. It was not in any of my purses. It was not in my car. It was not in my bedroom. It was not in my bedroom because I was on summer break from college. It was gone. To replace it, I bought a cheaper iPod Shuffle and it was not nearly as good. My curiosity has been growing for years about whether my younger brother took it to make him look cool to other high schoolers.

I recently attempted to investigate this long lingering mystery, but the results of my investigation have been inconclusive. – Alex Cranz

My first iPod was the 40GB click wheel model. I bought it in like-new condition off eBay in 2005. It was not the huge storage space or the shiny finish I covered it in a Griffin clear bag, but the cool factor. The top-mounted FM radio transmitter accessory, iTrip, was my favorite part of it. Although it looked like a water tank, it could be plugged into the iPod’s headphone jack. It also seemed like an extension of the iPod. Since it ran off the iPod battery, I could jump into a friend’s car and just have them tune to 87.9, which was great since many cars did not have an aux jack or Bluetooth yet.

When the iPod with video came out

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