The classic iPod died peacefully at his home in Cupertino on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, a scant month-and-a-half before his 13th birthday.
At the request of his adoptive father, Apple CEO Tim Cook, no services will be held.
Classic iPod (née “iPod”) was born October 23, 2001, in California at a healthy weight of five gigabytes. His mechanical scroll wheel and blindingly white appearance caused quite the stir in the delivery room. “A thousand songs in your pocket!” declared proud papa, Steve Jobs, who some might say was something of a helicopter parent in those first formative years, only allowing young iPod play with his cousin, Mac.
Almost immediately, consumers of other digital music players were overheard to say, “Why can’t you be more like iPod?” But with his distinctive white earbuds and elegant menu-based navigation, it was clear that no one was quite like iPod.
Over the following years, iPod grew and developed before an adoring fan base, adding both storage space (now a beefy 40 GB) and a new, sexy “click-wheel.” Even over-protective father Steve was eventually convinced by a forward-thinking uncle to let iPod play with Windows, too.
It seemed that iPod had the future by the horns. Irish supergroup U2 even showed up to perform at iPod’s third birthday, and all four members tattooed their signatures on his back. BusinessWeek wrote a feature on the li’l guy: “How Apple Spells Future: i-P-O-D.” But to quote papa Steve’s favourite minstrel, Bob Dylan, “The times they are a-changin’,” and later that same year, iPod was joined by his first sibling: a baby sister, Mini.
Mini was small, cute as a button and came in pink. She was instantly popular.
iPod headed off to school and came home with a new colour display that let him show off the photos he’d taken while travelling. Soon after, he turned his passion for photography into a love for video and added a wider screen for displaying movies.
Not everything was rosy, however. iPod was rattled by Mini’s sudden death in 2005. Her passing profoundly affected him and some say he never really got over the loss. He largely ignored his new baby brother, Nano, who, coincidentally, was born the day Mini’s died.
iPod entered into a deep depression. Despite a steady stream of admirers and papa Steve’s attempts to improve his spirits by buying him a sleek new aluminum skin, iPod rarely showed up at family events, prompting brother Nano – fresh from his third round of plastic surgery – to dub him “Classic,” in the fall of 2007. The name stuck.
It was around this time that the Apple family welcomed two brand new additions: iPhone and iPod Touch. For iPod Classic, these newcomers proved to be painful reminders that he was no longer the family favourite, and as his depression deepened, he continued to pile on the weight, ballooning to an astonishing 160 GB. He became a recluse, surfacing only occasionally and disappearing again after an especially cruel taunt from his brash cousin, iPod Touch: “Hey, Classic! What, no touch screen? I guess there’s no app for that!! Ha-ha!”
Like a modern day Brian Wilson, iPod Classic spent his days in bed, his health slowly failing him until his death.
His legacy, however, lives on. iPod Classic will forever be recognized as a trailblazer and the individual that saved the Apple family from destitution. His influence can be felt in the monster music store known as iTunes, while his DNA can be found throughout the Apple family, even in its newest addition, Apple Watch, whose digital crown owes an enormous debt to iPod’s scroll-wheel.
“I’m never gonna forget my brother Classic,” said a teary-eyed Nano, who recently underwent another surgery to more closely resemble his cousin iPod Touch. “He always stayed true to who he was, right up ’til the end.”
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please make a donation in his name to the Apple Store or iTunes.