The iPod or the Bondi Blue iMac. It would be hard to argue which was product was more important in the early days of Apple's surge to becoming the world's most valuable company. It was iPod that put Apple n the fast track to the big time, but it was iMac saved Apple's bacon and gave the company room to develop the iPod, and then iTunes.
They both have their place in history.
But speaking of history, there is no company less inclined towards nostalgia than Apple. We got another example of that this week when the company pulled "iPod" from its main menu bar, as noted by AppleInsider. In its place is "Music," a link to the company's newly announced Apple Music service.
Apple's Current Home Page
Apple is unique in corporate America—and probably more like corporate Earth—in so many ways. The company eschews market share, releases very few products, and is more likely to kill a product that's not ready for prime time than rush it to market.
But Apple's most important super power may well be its ability to give zero $*#@'s about products and services once they have outlived their usefulness. When Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1997, the sacred cows were tossed out on their behinds, and were quickly followed by such things as Mac OS, floppy drives, ADB, SCSI, FireWire, 30-Pin Docks. Today, even such mainstays as hard drives are merely counting down their final days in Apple's products.
Whole products and services get similar treatment, too. The iPod, which was then Apple's cash cow and the thing that analysts used to focus on, has gone through many disruptions. The iPod mini was Apple's best selling device ever. Out it went for the iPod nano. Then the whole product line was sacrificed on the altar of the iPhone. iPad? Who cares, here's a cheaper iPad mini. And an iPad mini with Retina display. Buy whichever one you want. Apple doesn't care.
And now the iPod has been summarily dismissed from Apple's home page, even though it was the device that made Apple's home page one of the busiest destinations on the Internet. Apple couldn't care less. Out with the old and in with Apple Music, a service that hasn't even launched yet.
This sets Apple apart from almost all of its competitors. Take Microsoft, for instance. That company spent years trying to force the world to still care about Windows while everyone was moving on to mobile computing.
But Microsoft isn't alone. Clinging to legacy cash cows is much, much easier than pushing it aside and betting on something new and different. This is especially true when sales and marketing teams take over a company, something Steve Jobs was adamant not happen at Apple.
With that in mind, I offer my thanks to the iPod for helping to remake Apple into a global consumer electronics brand with a range that far exceeded the company's computer roots. Now, get out of the way so we can talk about all these new products and services.