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Apple Powers Down the iPod
20 years ago, it revolutionized the music industry.
Last week, Apple announced it will discontinue production on the iPod Touch.
It’s tempting to look back on the iPod as a very one-dimensional iPhone. In reality, it jumpstarted the mobile device industry along with Apple’s ascension and brand dominance.
Marketing pros will forever remember the iPod for its powerful tagline:
“1,000 songs. In your pocket.”
Apple could have highlighted the iPod’s industry-leading 10-hour battery life, it’s 6.5-ounce compact size, or the revolutionary MP3 technology behind it.
It didn’t. No product descriptions or features, no touting the tech. Just tight, provocative copy focused squarely on its audience.
Legend has it the tagline was first crafted to convince Steve Jobs to go for the equally iconic TV advertisements featuring silhouettes dancing against bright backgrounds with iPods and headphones.
Amplify the Why
The iPod had such a profound impact, it’s amazing to consider it was originally designed to sell more computers and hook people into the Apple ecosystem.
Jobs and company saw the potential in the power of music to expand its user base. Here’s how an Apple engineer put it:
“You didn’t have to do any market research. Everyone loved music.”
Jon Rubinstein, Apple Engineer
Just as the GIF compressed visuals into the internet age, the advent of the MP3 made downloading and transferring music a real possibility. But early on, a vast majority of those downloads were of the illegal sort via platforms like Napster.
The iPod, and the iTunes software that supported it, came at a time when a music industry was under siege – which made record labels more open to the disruptive nature of Apple’s $0.99 cent songs sold through its proprietary interface.
From iOS to Apple Music, that integrated interface laid the groundwork for everything Apple has done since.
But it was how Jobs and company positioned the iPod that really connected it with its audience.