‘I was totally smitten’: readers share their memories of the iPod

When the incredible but short-lived iPod Mini was released in 2004, it wasn’t available in the UK at first. I had to ask friends in Florida to bring one over for my son’s 12th birthday. He loved showing his friends this device that looked like it belonged in the future.

Our family has had plenty of iPods over the years; an early iPod with a click wheel, a mini, three Nanos, two Shuffles, and a Classic. My wife still takes her 2007 “fat iPod nano” on holiday as she doesn’t like taking her iPhone to the pool. As a music player, an iPod has none of the potential distractions of a phone. No emails, no messages, and no notifications. It’s a shame there will be no more iPods as there’s still a place for a distraction-free music player.

My 2007 black iPhone Classic is still permanently attached to the hi-fi in my car. It’s a 160Gb model and contains my entire music collection – ripped from CDs – as it was a few years ago. The battery doesn’t last, but that doesn’t matter as it’s constantly connected to USB power in my car. Andy Clarke, software designer, Wales, UK

I bought my first iPod in 2004 in Singapore. It was a 40GB iPod and came with so many accessories – a docking port charger, headphones, a protective carry case, you name it. I had all my music digitised and on my iPod – it was so easy back then. The wheel on the original iPods used to drive me a bit crazy as it was sensitive to the slightest touch; you’d try to move forwards on a playlist and you’d skip too many songs, so you’d try to go back but would go too far the other way.

I still have my first iPod, and it still worked the last time I tried it. The biggest problem I have is finding a charger as Apple have changed them so many times. Sadly, I got rid of my docking port – more fool me. But I won’t get rid of the iPod as it works and a museum might want it one day. I still use my iPod Shuffle – it’s so much easier at the gym than a phone. I use my phone everywhere else, but I’ve found quite a lot of what I listen to is not available on Spotify. I’m sorry to see the iPod go simply because I can’t afford what Apple charge for an iPhone with memory large enough to get all of my music and playlists on to. Elizabeth Dennett, 58, New Zealand

The iPod arrived in that teenage sweet spot where music is everything. In the same way people venerate vinyl now, this was my format. I’d load up on CDs at Selectadisc in Nottingham, rip them to iTunes, shelve them and mooch off into college or town with the latest stuff blasting out. It’s the device on which I formed memories with Radiohead, Wilco, REM, Bloc Party, Blur, Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, Beck, Gorillaz and loads of other bands that now seem really ancient.

Shuffle was there for the quick five-minute blast between lessons or work shifts where you just needed to fill your brain with music, but I was almost always a snob about listening to albums from back to front. And always dreamed of someone picking up my iPod and commenting on how great my music taste was and asking me to marry them.

Times change and it’s a miracle to have essentially every song streamable in my pocket, with wireless headphones. But I’m also an old git now with responsibilities – and I miss the iPod days. Nothing will quite touch that feeling of powering around town filling my brain with endless new music on a distraction-free, dedicated, insanely cool, easy-to-use piece of overpriced tech that wasn’t also a portal to social media hell. Matt, 33, reporter, Nottingham, UK

In the second week of January 2005 my father took me to John Lewis in Reading for the sole purpose of trying to find the elusive fourth generation 40 GB model. It had sold out everywhere before Christmas and I was desperate to finally get my first ever iPod. I’d been using a CD Walkman for years, but the iPod was tiny (for the time), sleek, intuitive to use, and looked like one of those futuristic devices from a 50s sci-fi comic. It went everywhere with me – carrying songs ripped from all my parents’ CDs; Queen, Erik Satie, Bob Dylan, Weezer, the Rocky soundtrack, and eventually thousands of other tracks ripped from friends’ computers using a rather cheeky piece of free software called MyTunes Redux.

The following year, it got crushed in a bike accident, but I woke up in hospital with it still playing next to me, screen cracked and the body split down the seam – my first taste of heartbreak. Seventeen years later, I still can’t bring myself to throw the old 40GB away, so I use it to store camera memory cards in the cable drawer. I’m surprisingly heavy-hearted about it, and probably feel very similar to how people felt when the original Game Boy was discontinued in 2003, which marked the end of an era for iconic gaming devices. When the news broke about Apple dropping it, I admit, I went straight to the site and ordered a new Touch to keep in the cable drawer as back-up for when my ageing iPod Video finally calls it a day. I’m just not ready to switch systems. Alexander Lerche, 34, photojournalist, Doha, Qatar

I first saw an iPod in a client’s office in 2002. I was totally smitten. My wife bought me my first iPod (20GB) for Christmas that year. It took me an entire weekend to upload all my CDs into iTunes to transfer to the iPod. Having lugged about cases of LPs as a teenager, I couldn’t believe I had all my music in my pocket, available to play at will.

I remember the thrill of opening the box – beautiful, smooth cardboard with the strap line “Designed in California”. And then the gorgeous white iPod, which felt so good in the palm of my hand. I also remember paying a small fortune to have a car kit installed so I could play anything from my music collection while driving.

When I first took my iPod to the beach, I enclosed it in a waterproof, shockproof case – I was paranoid about not damaging it in any way. The iPod was a real breakthrough, and thanks to technology I can now listen to anything at anytime via my iPhone or MacBook. I no longer use mine now – the battery can’t be charged. But I will always keep my original iPod. Nigel Wilson, 66, yoga teacher, Kent, UK

My dad went to the States in 2004 and came back with a third generation iPod for my brother and I was outraged. He wasn’t ever kind enough to lend it to me, but instead I would steal his spare set of headphones and just put the plug end into my pocket so I would look cool going to school. I had a friend around that same time and she had an iPod Shuffle which she was kind enough to lend, and I recall her love for Eminem. Even to this day, when I hear Eminem the memories of that Shuffle come back.

When I eventually got my own third gen in 2006 I started to really find my own music taste for the first time. I used to spend hours uploading music from CDs and making sure every song had all the info perfectly recorded so I could handpick each one and put it cleanly into its appropriate playlist. I made lifelong friends in those early days as we swapped music and bonded over certain songs or artists. I still have all the music I ever loaded on to it on a special hard drive at home. My first album was Aladdin, the soundtrack. Susie Krieble, 30, project manager, Tokyo, Japan

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