A Love Letter to the iPod

iPod Classic

Apple officially murdered the iPod yesterday and they didn’t even care how I’d feel about it.

The first iPod was released on October 23, 2001. It was a complete game-changer. All of a sudden, you could fit thousands of songs in your pocket. Gone were the bulky CD players that never fit anywhere. Gone were having to burn CDs to make a perfect playlist for yourself. It was all right there for you.

My first iPod was the iPod Nano 2nd generation. I was in 8th grade when I got that beautiful, little machine. It was life-changing. 8th grade was when adolescence was truly starting. I was “dating” girls. Then they’d break my heart, I’d get sad, rinse and repeat.

iPod Nano 2nd Generation

And what better way to get over a girl than to ride around the neighborhood on your electric scooter while listening to My Chemical Romance? When Gerard Way sang “I’m Not Okay,” I felt that shit (I still sometimes do if we’re being honest).

I started high school the next year and that iPod came in handy quite a bit. It was a rough transition at first. I had classes with all new people. The friends I had in middle school were all spread out in other classes. I eventually made new friends, and it was great. But in those lonely moments, the iPod was my savior.

Slowly but surely, the 2 GB iPod Nano was running out of memory. I was having to delete songs to make room for new ones. I knew I’d have to upgrade. Apple came out with the next generation of Nano, which I then upgraded to. That was the start of 10th grade when that one came out. I got the 4 GB one then, thinking that would hold me.

It didn’t.

But once again, it was my savior. There were sad bus rides to school in the morning from time to time. Typically all female-related issues. So, I’d throw on Nirvana, My Chemical Romance, AFI, and The Used. Those bands saved me during some rough times.

I was starting to download full albums rather than individual songs, so the 4 GB iPod Nano was filling up quicker than the 2 GB one.

Steve Jobs with the iPod

So the year after that, I got the 4th generation iPod Nano. This time 8 GB.

You might ask, why the hell didn’t you just get an iPod Classic which would’ve had a minimum of 80 GB? I was too cool for that, obviously. I loved the Nano because it was so small and I could just keep my headphones wrapped around it and I could barely tell it was there.

Back then, you thought about every little thing, and if it made you look “cool” or “lame” and I never wanted to be anything but cool (I was a fucking idiot if you couldn’t tell).

Eventually, when I stopped caring, I did get that beautiful iPod Classic. I kept that thing well after I had a smartphone. But that was still all before Spotify and Apple Music. So I was still getting all my music through other ways. That iPod Classic lasted me years. I gave it to my dad eventually because his iPod broke and he wasn’t hip to the music streaming services yet. Then he broke that one. Typical dads.

The iPod was great because at any point in the day, I could just pull it out and listen to music. It was there for me during crucial development points. Whatever mood I was feeling, I could pull it out and listen to something.

Original iPod

If I needed something to pump me up, I threw on some Tupac. If I needed to scream and shout, I threw on Nirvana. If I needed to feel sorry for myself, I threw on the numerous emo bands that were big at the time. It was perfect.

The iPod was what helped get me excited about music. It made me want to discover more. I grew up in a music-heavy household. I listened to everything from Motown to classic rock. But I didn’t start discovering my own taste until I had an iPod.

I find myself doing this even today. It’s just now through different methods. I don’t think we’d be where we are today with iPhones and everything else if it wasn’t for the iPod.

The iPod is still my favorite piece of technology from my youth. It beats out any cell phone I had, any video game console, or any computer. None of those had the impact that music had on me.

Ontop of the Nano and Classic, Apple also had the iPod Touch, Mini and Shuffle. That Shuffle was something else, I tell you. It was really cool at the time. One of the Shuffle models had a clip that you could just clip on to your shirt. And you never knew what you were gonna hear next.

iPod shuffle (with the clip)

I’m such a music enthusiast, that if they came out with a new iPod Classic where it was updated and had Bluetooth and all the music apps, I would buy it. I loved having my music separated from all the distractions a phone brings. And I miss the iPod click wheel more than anything in this world.

Sadly, that will never happen. This is the death of the iPod. And I will have to mourn it and go through the five stages of grief. RIP iPod — 2001–2022. You will always be in our hearts.

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J.T. Miller

J.T. Miller

I like to write.

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