In 2007, my parents gave me my first Apple product: the newly released iPod Nano 3rd Generation in silver with 4GB of storage. The device changed my life because I had only used a Creative MP3 with capacity for around 200 songs. Having an iPod meant I could finally put all my collection of songs into a single device.
The iPod Nano was more than a music device for holding 1000+ songs. It allowed me to experience, for the first time, the intuitive interface created by engineers and designers at Apple. To select a new song, I used the click wheel to scroll through songs organized by album, artists, and playlist with hepatic feedback. Als, I could use the same interface to change volumes easily when playing my music. The 2" QVGA screen was best of its class, and I had never seen a small screen with such vibrant color and playful interface.
Apple has always cared about the end to end user experience and its Ecosystem. Before the iPhone and App Store, iTunes was the center of the Apple universe. To sync my songs to my iPod, I had to install iTunes on my Windows PC and thus became an Apple Software user. It took me a while to understand the iTunes “sync” feature. To move my songs to my iPod, I could not just copy and paste them to a mounted folder. Instead, I needed to import them to iTunes first and later sync them to my iPod.
I soon discovered that iTunes was more than a sync tool. It was an excellent multimedia organization tool. After importing all of my songs, I edited my music metadata with perfect album arts, artist info, and descriptions. I took full advantage of the sync feature and made the same metadata magically appear on my iPod along with my favorite photos and occasionally videos (I once watched a whole episode of Prison Break on my iPod Nano and became very dizzy afterward, so I decided not to use the iPod for long-length videos again). Besides, iTunes supported full management of music from CDs. I imported songs, downloaded metadata, and album art, and burned my favorite playlists into CDs which I proudly shared with my family and friends.
After managing my media in iTunes became a necessity, I decided to try out the purchasing music, TV shows, and movies from the iTunes Store. Throughout the years, I have watched some of my favorite film using iTunes, and my first memorable experience was The Dark Knight from Christopher Nolan released in 2008.
For many years, Apple builds its foundation on the combination of hardware, software, and services. With the introduction of the iPhones, the iCloud, the iPads, and the modern Macs, Apple gradually shifted its focus from iTunes to the cloud and streaming centered ecosystem. While we debate whether or not subscribing to all is better than owning one, Apple Music subscription is replacing the iTunes purchasing model. Soon, we will have the Apple TV app for Mac to compliment the TV show and movie watching experience on Apple TVs. Apple is becoming a multimedia subscription service company, and iTunes is no longer needed or desired.
As a side note, the new iPod touch was Apple’s farewell gift to the end of a significant era. There is nothing special about the iPod touch, but that is how Apple could keep the cost low. “Fun at full speed.” The new iPod touch is the entry point to Apple’s new ecosystem, a 4-inch Retina window to endless music, apps, games, and videos.