In the same way we mourn a legendary aged actor who passes away peacefully in his sleep years and years after his gloriously celebrated days adorning the silver screen, today we mourn the loss of another forgotten past legend.
The tape-based Sony Walkman, famous for enabling a generation the convenience and portability of their tunes and beats for the very first time, will no longer be manufactured by the Japanese corporation.
After selling some 220 million units since its arrival in 1979 and being one of the must-have gadgets of the 80’s and 90’s, the Walkman has for the most part long become obsolete, lost in a world in which every other child has a shiny iPod and every mobile phone doubles as a digital music player. Whilst we do now benefit from the ability to store thousands of crisp quality files on our various music devices as opposed to a dozen or so in potentially terrible quality, let us not forget some of the simple joys the Walkman did bring us during our more innocent tech years. Joys such as crafting a tape full of hits off the radio, hopeful that once you knew that hot track you’d been hanging out for was about to be played that the dj didn’t spoil it by speaking over the intro, whilst all the while masterfully working the pause button to allow a faultless transition between songs.
But now it is time for us to look forward and say goodbye. Sony has confirmed that whilst an outsourced factory in China will still produce cassette players for a short while for Asian and Middle-Eastern markets, and the name Walkman still lives on in Sony’s line of dwindling CD players and Sony Ericsson mobile phones, the old-school Walkman as we knew it for so long is dead.
Goodnight sweet prince. 1979 – 2010