Apple Discontinues Two Popular Music Players

Apple, Naperville business law attorneyNot all that long ago, if a person wanted to listen to music on the go, a held-held transistor radio was pretty much his or her only option. Nobody used the word “playlist,” except maybe the on-air DJs at the local radio station. In 1979, Sony released the first truly portable, personal cassette player, and the Walkman changed the way the world listened to music. A little over 20 years later, Apple released its first portable digital music player—the now-iconic iPod—and the music industry was revolutionized once again.

As a business law attorney, I realize that many products are designed to take advantage of a particular window of opportunity, especially in the world of technology. Even the most brilliant and revolutionary tech ideas are only sustainable until the next big thing comes along and makes the previous versions obsolete. It seems that time has come for at least two products that were once staples of Apple’s iPod lineup.

A New Musical World

When the Walkman came out almost 40 years ago, it was suddenly possible to choose the music you wanted to hear. Rather than waiting for a radio station to play your favorite artists, you popped in a cassette tape and pressed the “play” button. You could even customize your own “mix tapes” by recording a variety of songs on to a single cassette. By and large, however, the music industry relied on the sale of full albums.

With the launch of iTunes and the first iPod in 2001, Apple started changing the way that music is consumed on a large-scale basis. While “singles”—individual songs by a given artist—have been available since vinyl records, it was impossible for consumers to bring hundreds of records with them when they went for a run. Using the iTunes software, users could purchase songs one at a time and load them onto their iPod device. As with any emerging technology, the first iPods were fairly expensive with a price tag of about $400.

Reaching a Larger Audience

Four years after the release of the iPod, Apple introduced the iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle as lower cost, simpler alternatives to its flagship model. The two smaller versions made it easier for everyone to afford to a part of the new of wave of technology, but as you might expect, even that did not last too long. In January 2007, the iPhone made its debut, and suddenly, it was possible to listen to music directly from a cell phone.

As technology continued to evolve over the next ten years, the Nano and Shuffle became much lower priorities for Apple. They do not run on Apple’s iOS operating system and neither supports Apple Music—the company’s audio and video streaming service. The Shuffle is also not Bluetooth enabled, which means it will not work with Apple’s new wireless headphones. Earlier this week, Apple quietly confirmed that the two models are being discontinued. The iPod Touch is still being produced, and other products will still carry the iPod name, but the days of standalone music players appear to be over, at least for Apple.

Need Product Advice?

If you are on the verge of discontinuing a once popular product, it is important to understand how that decision could affect your company. Contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney for guidance. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at The Gierach Law Firm today.



U.S. News and World Report

The Verge