iPod nano may not be as important as it was in the past, but it's still relevant

The same week that Apple announced that the iPod nano and Shuffle would no longer be available for sale, I coincidentally came across my old nano at the bottom of a box. Before the announcement, I pulled my postage stamp sized nano out and took a small trip down memory lane. The iPod was my first step into tech gadget waters, which would eventually lead me to the career I have today.

I remember my first iPod

I was late to the digital music game. I thought the idea of a small but expensive device that only played digital versions of music was silly and inconvenient. I had my large collection of vinyl for listening to music in the house, and a Discman or Walkman for listening to CDs and tapes. Sure, I had to tote a book of heavy CDs or a lunchbox sized case of tapes everywhere I went, but I actually thought that was more convenient than having to load all my music onto a computer before transferring that music to a portable music device. Silly, right?

I finally took the plunge sometime in 2005 when I bought an iPod mini. I think I found it on sale. Even though I turned my nose up at the idea of MP3 players, I was secretly excited about this strange device. How does it work? How do I turn my vinyl, tapes, and CDs into something I can listen to on this tiny little box? I was excited to discover everything this new-fangled gadget could do.

It didn't take long for me to fall completely in love with the iPod. Less than a year later, I had moved on to the iPod nano, of which I bought two more. It became my favorite music listening device until I eventually upgraded to the iPhone.

The iPod nano will always be loved

iPod Nano

Some people have a dedicated nano just for listening to podcasts while others use them exclusively for listening to audio books. If you search #iPodnano on Twitter and go back before Apple announced the end of this era (July 26, 2017), you'll see that lots of people still use it, even if it's somewhat ironically.

The nano is a memory. It's something most of us remember getting for the first time. I'll bet you can still remember the color of your first iPod nano and who got it for you. We've grown up and moved on to better technology and easier ways to sync our media, but we still love the nano the way we love the first stuffed animal we got as a child, or the first book we remember reading by ourselves (Mine was Sunshine Porcupine by Diane Gess (opens in new tab))

That's why it truly seems like Apple is closing a chapter on its technological past. Sure, the iPhone is more convenient (you don't have to bring more than one device with you on the go), but the iPod nano is still a viable device for storing and listening to music, audio books, and podcasts.

It's time to move on

iPod Nano

I admit I haven't used any of my iPods, not my nano, or my Shuffle, or my touch for a very, very long time. Ever since I got my first iPhone, it's been my main source for listening to music. I think I'm an example of why Apple made the decision to put that horse to pasture.

While the nano and Shuffle are probably still being used by a lot of people, it's not the most convenient way to take advantage of everything Apple has to offer. You can't download songs from Apple Music (I tried, you can't). You have to connect it to your computer and sync it with iTunes. You can't pair it with Bluetooth speakers or headphones. There is no way to get anything iCloud-related on it. In comparison, the iPod touch, which is essentially an iPhone without cellular capability, does everything the iPod nano did, but a lot easier, and with a lot more features.

It was the right move on Apple's part. We don't need to hold on to the past so tightly, especially when it comes to technology, which progresses so fast we can barely keep up with it. Instead, Apple is now free to dedicate more time, resources, and research to getting on with the future.

Maybe we'll get that Apple Car someday yet — or at least a new version of the Apple TV.

Do you remember your first iPod nano or Shuffle? What version and color was it?

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

16 Comments
  • My first and only iPod nano was the 2nd gen, 4GB one, in green. It had a moment when it scared me and died for a few days but then it came back and all was good. I haven't used it in years but after ordering a new cable, I like the idea of using it to listen to all of the music that was on my CDs. Good article!
  • Still have my nano and use it from time to time.
  • 1st iPod was an iPod Mini, and that corrupted my entire family...I bought my wife & children multiple nanos & shuffles, of all generations. One daughters favorite was the fat nano (in green) while my other daughter actually grew to favor the 2nd generation shuffle (physical buttons and no screen, with the little clip). My mini was replaced by a 32gb Touch that used the heck out of until my iPhone 3GS replaced my iPhone 3, the GS finally had enough memory to be a true iPod replacement. A couple years ago, Apple shipped me a shiny new 16gb "clip" nano like the Stranger Things one in the article. Apparently one of the many Nanos I purchased had some sort of battery issue and the solution was for Apple to replace it. So I got a near new Nano to sit in the drawer next to the others....
  • I have a 4th gen iPod Touch and a 6th gen iPod Nano - the Nano needs work because the power button is messed up. I love that iPod so much and want to get it fixed. Can anyone help me out?
  • What to use now to sub for my iPod attached to my car using auto's built-in plug?
  • " I'll bet you can still remember the color of your first iPod nano and who got it for you.' Um, no. I was not a child getting iPods for Christmas 10 years ago. However, I do have several iPods around, and all still work fine. Of course, I have replaced the batteries, and converted a few to 64GB and 128GB SSD storage. They are still easier to deal with than a phone, particularly in a car. Plus I won't break into tears if I drop one. You would be surprised by how many of these still sell on eBay. You can get brand new 256GB and 512 GB iPod classics (click wheel) with much larger batteries, that play for 150 hours between charges. Or you can buy the parts and upgrade them yourself, which is what I did.
  • One correction for the story. The last iPod Nano has Bluetooth support.
  • I remember my first iPod nano. It was the first gen and my mom won it from a raffle during a local golf tournament and it was the coolest gadget I have ever seen. Two years later, my mom won another raffle and gave me the 3rd gen nano. I wish I still had mine.
  • I had the first generation iPod nano loved it that was the first apple product I ever got. I think it's ok the nano is gone it's been replaced by the Apple Watch. You can find get a series on sale for $199 or less. I think the Watch is a great replacement. Especially if you add AirPods with it you can listen to music without your iPhone. It's not really gone it's been put in the Apple Watch.
  • I still have my Nano Product Red and like it mainly since it has a radio in it, so still very handy since my iPhone doesn't. Glad I still have the current shuffle also since I would be even more sad not being able to get one now. I've had every shuffle over the years, also iPod classic except for the very first one. Still makes me sad to see them go.
  • "I'll bet you can still remember the color of your first iPod nano and who got it for you." Man, how old (and lucky) were you guys? I didn't have my first Apple product (an iPod, 5th Gen, purchased in 2005) until I could save up and afford to buy my own. My parents laughed when I asked them to buy it, lol. That was my first Apple product and I've purchased my own ever since. Never had a Nano, admittedly. I loved my iPod though! Still have one.
  • Same. I used part of my graduation gift money to buy one for myself. My parents didn't see the point in it.
  • apple could of update the ipod just for running and so. however they want to focus on the watch.
  • My first and only actual iPod was the first gen iPod Shuffle. The silver/grey 4GB version. It worked well for a while, but then I ended up loosing it somewhere.
  • I remember my very first iPod was the original iPod. It cost $500, connected via FireWire, held 5GB of tunes, had a mechanical scroll wheel and only worked with Macs. Still got it, maybe I should fire that sucker up and see if it still works :)
  • Why Apple Why?