It’s been one year since Apple killed off the last two dedicated MP3 players. I still miss them.

Here’s Jordan Pearson, writing for Motherboard last July:

On Thursday, Apple killed off the iPod Shuffle and Nano, the last of its MP3 players without apps or a WiFi connection. This is a goddamn shame, and reminds of when I said goodbye to the last “dumb” music device I ever owned, and probably ever will.

It was an 160GB iPod Classic that let me carry my entire music collection around with me, providing a selection of songs for every possible mood. It was built like a tank and didn’t have apps or WiFi capability. I could listen to an entire album without even the possibility of being interrupted by a Twitter DM. It was pure bliss.

I miss this too. Smartphones have access to music, of course, but they also have access to everything else, which means I hardly ever user my phone to just listen to music. If I do, I inevitably become distracted.

Interestingly I’m noticing another dedicated purpose device everywhere I go now: the e-reader. It’s perfectly possible to read books on your phone, but I’m seeing Kindles everywhere when I travel. The e-ink screen explains part of this, but I think the sentiments Pearson outlined above are also related: youur Kindle doesn’t offer push notifications, and that makes it a better tool for reading.

It’s unlikely the dedicated, offline music player will ever make a comeback, if only because streaming services have all but killed off local music collections. But I kind of miss how much having a single-purpose device allowed me focus on music, and I bet I’m not alone.

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Justin Pot has been writing about technology for over a decade, with work appearing in Digital Trends, The Next Web, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf, and the Zapier Blog. He also runs the Hillsboro Signal, a volunteer-driven local news outlet he founded.
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