Aided by a series of infectious television commercials and armed with enough gigabytes to hold thousands of songs, the iPod has had a great run since its introduction in 2001. But clearly its best days are behind it.
Apple sold only 6 million iPods during the last three-month holiday season, according to the company's latest earnings report. That's a 52 percent decline from last Christmas, the steepest year-to-year drop in holiday sales that the iPod has ever had.
Meanwhile, the company broke sales records for both the iPhone and the iPad during the same period. And the success of those two products has everything to do with the death of the iPod.
As seen in the chart above, the decline in iPods purchased has been steady and noticeable since 2009, two years after the iPhone was launched and started cannibalizing its cousin's sales. With these new devices capable of holding a massive number of music files in addition to doing everything else that smartphones do, the iPod's usefulness began to wane. Despite some efforts at reinvention with the iPod Touch, essentially an iPhone that can't make phone calls, the iPod has been in an irreversible spiral. Even Steve Jobs understood this, saying in 2007 that the iPhone was the "best iPod we've ever made."
But wasn't it great while it lasted? Let's take a minute to remember all the iPods: From the bulky to the tiny, from the all-white to the colorful.
First generation iPod, 2001
Second generation iPod, 2002
Third generation iPod, 2003
Fourth generation iPod (iPod Color), 2004/2005
Sixth generation iPod, 2007
First generation iPod Mini, 2004
Second generation iPod Mini, 2005
First generation iPod Nano, 2005
Second generation iPod Nano, 2005
Third generation iPod Nano, 2007
Fourth generation iPod Nano, 2008
Fifth generation iPod Nano, 2009
Sixth generation iPod Nano, 2010
Seventh generation iPod Nano, 2012
First generation iPod Shuffle, 2005
Second generation iPod Shuffle, 2006
Third generation iPod Shuffle, 2009
Fourth generation iPod Shuffle, 2010
First generation iPod Touch, 2007
Second generation iPod Touch, 2008
Third generation iPod Touch, 2009
Fourth generation iPod Touch, 2010
Fifth generation iPod Touch, 2012
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