To kill an MP3 legend: the death of the iPod Classic

This felt important enough to justify its own blog post, separate from today’s other Apple news. A revision of Apple’s site reveals that the long-overdue has finally happened: Apple’s stopped selling the iPod Classic, the last of its iconic 2000s-era clickwheel iPods.

The iPod Classic was the direct descendant of the original iPod, introduced on October 23, 2001 (13 years ago next month). Since then, Apple evolved the iPod into its popular line of iPod Touch models (an iPhone without the “phone” part), as well as the smaller and cheaper Nano line (with a simplified touchscreen interface) and the iPod Shuffle (a small screenless MP3 player). Despite this, as well as the rise of music streaming, cloud storage, etc., the original model iPod, rebranded in 2007 as the “iPod Classic,” still chugged along as a little-promoted offering.

However, today’s Apple news also brought with it a revision to the online Apple store… and the revelation that Apple’s quietly killed the Classic. Why Apple sold it for even this long is debatable—to burn through old parts inventory? For those that wanted large capacity stand-alone MP3 players? A token representation of its iconic clickwheel iPod model?

Either way, the Classic is now gone. Today’s news revealed increased capacity space for the iPhone line, including 128GB models, which should help those that absolutely need something akin to the Classic’s 160GB storage capacity. (I assume the iPod Touch line will get similar spec bumps at some future point.) This now leaves the Shuffle and Nano as the only Apple devices left that requires being plugged into a computer (and iTunes) to fully manage. Given iTunes is also long overdue for an overhaul, maybe something finally being done with iTunes will be next? I’d like to at least see the store portions of iTunes moved to a web interface, similar to Google Play Music, Amazon MP3, etc.

(Updated 10/27/14) We now have an official reason why the iPod Classic is dead: Apple CEO Tim Cook says that their suppliers have stopped making parts for the iPod Classic, and its low demand isn’t worth trying to fix that.

Flickr Creative Commons photo by Yoshiki (CC BY)

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