It is hard to believe that the Sony Walkman was released some 30 years ago, specifically in 1979. So it should come as no surprise that the Walkman has severed its purpose and that Sony is cutting the cord. But my first thought was that I didn’t even know that the Walkman was being sold any longer. So I took a look over at the Walmart site and sure enough the device is still being sold by the mega retailer. Even Best Buy carries the device.
In a recent article it states that:
“The Walkman will be fondly remembered as the contraption which transformed listening to music from an activity conducted principally in one’s own living room, perhaps with glass of brandy in hand, to a means of irritating other people on public transport,” notes the BBC. “Chk. Chk. Chk. Chk. Chk. Chk. Chk. Chk. Chk. Chk. That was how it sounded when you sat next to a foam-headphoned user on the bus, overlaid with the faint but recognisable vocal inflections of Pat Benatar.”
Over at NPR, Jacob Ganz pens a more appreciative eulogy for the Walkman. “Remember sitting in the backseat on car trips, foam earpads and magnetic hiss all the buffer you needed to keep family sing-alongs at bay? Remember mix tapes? Remember auto-reverse?” Ganz writes. But he acknowledges that it when it came to the Walkman, it wasn’t all good times.
“If the Walkman enabled our current thousands-of-songs-in-your-pocket way of life by making music portable, it did so by sacrificing sound quality for size and convenience. Walkman was all about smaller and cheaper: headphones were light, but breakable,” he notes. “You could hear your music on the go; so could everyone else, since the speakers in the headphones were so bad that you had to crank the volume.”
So as technology changes it is out with the old and in with the new. Someday we will look back at the Apple iPhone and laugh.