There was no announcement, no solemn ceremony to mark its passing, but Apple has finally killed off its longest-serving gadget, the iPod Classic, just seven years after it was launched but what seems a lifetime since it made the Walkman obsolete.

Tech aficionados, who loved the iPod’s once-revolutionary design, were among the first to notice that the webpage for the Classic version had quietly disappeared and now simply pointed to a site for the iPod Touch. Diehard music fans, who loved a storage capacity of 160GB, which meant they could carry as many as 40,000 songs in their pocket, appeared to go into mourning at the decision, put into effect on Tuesday when Apple launched its new smartwatch. The first version of the iPod appeared in 2001. Patrick Ness, author of The Crane Wife and other books, said on Twitter: “Apple introduced a phone with the same crappy battery, a wristwatch no one wants and killed the iPod Classic. Why do you like them again?” Christina Warren, senior tech analyst at Mashable, said: “The iPod classic is finally dead. RIP little iPod. You remade Apple, changed the way we listen to music, and are one of my top five gadgets.”

And Pitchfork, an internet magazine about independent music, tweeted simply: “Goodnight, sweet click-wheel.” The iPod Classic was the last Apple device to use the click-wheel, first seen on the iPod Mini, launched in 2004.

 The simplicity of the feature – replacing an array of different buttons with a track wheel that incorporated four different buttons – became an instant hit. Though no one realised, Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, paid tribute to the device as he introduced the Apple Watch on Tuesday. “It turns out, with every revolutionary product that Apple has created, a breakthrough in user-interface was required,” he said. “With the Mac, we introduced the mouse.

The click-wheel on the iPod.