Things are going to get deep here for a minute, because the subject of this article likely touches the memories of many of our readers in a strange, nostalgic way - I know it does for me. Before Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry (as we know it today), and Apple’s iPhone, a different invention was taking the world by storm: the Apple iPod, later known as the “iPod Classic”.
Many of us can recall the swift transition from people walking around streets carrying CD players and even cassette players to carrying these strange little boxes that could hold more music and a longer charge than our other gadgets could ever do. No longer did we have to tote around binders full of albums just to have a decent selection of music with us on the go - it was all just right there. Not only that, but with the iPod came iTunes, which allowed us to focus less on enjoying an entire album and gave us the freedom to pick and choose our favorite tracks and purchase just those. The iPod and iTunes were truly, for lack of a less cliche term, innovative for its time.
They say every birth is accompanied by a death, and while the world was engrossed with the “birth” of Apple’s newest iPhone, the iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus), the death of the iPod Classic was quietly occurring behind the scenes. That is to say, Apple has made the decision to discontinue making the iPod Classic.
At first I wasn’t phased, because I haven’t had the urge to purchase an iPod in a very long time. I carry my music in my phone, like a lot of people do nowadays. However, I only do this out of convenience. The amount of storage available in my phone is a far cry from the amount of music I have in my “Music Library” on my computer, which is something that the iPod never seemed to struggle with. Instead of loading my Music Library onto my phone, I use streaming apps like Spotify and Pandora to save space for other apps and media (namely photos and videos). I have an iPod Classic on standby that I use for days when my phone battery is low, or simply when I just want to listen to music and not mess with my phone; but even though I haven’t even thought about buying an iPod Classic in a few years at this point, it still feels like there was a place for them in the world. I never thought about buying one because I already had one, and it didn’t need to be replaced every two years like a smartphone does.
There are two things that make an iPod Classic worth purchasing in today’s world where smartphones can do anything from making phone calls to face-to-face video conversations: battery life and storage capacity. The most recent generation of iPod Classic, which was released in 2009, has 160GB of storage capacity available. It could play 40 hours of music and 7 hours of video. The iPhone 5s has the same amount of battery life and playback time, but most people don’t use their smartphones for an entire day solely for music playback, and that was also likely under the assumption that the music playback was using an internally stored Music Library, not a streaming app, which has become somewhat of the norm in smartphones these days. The iPod Classic, which had no WiFi capabilities or anything too fancy, would be a better choice for a long day of leisurely listening - a more realistic 40 hour usage window. And, up until this year, the iPod Classic was also a much better choice for maximum storage capacity. 160GB of storage was more than double what the highest iPhone 5s capacity could hold.
This was probably why the iPod Classic was still technically in production, albeit untouched when it came to upgrades, after the iPhone 5s and 5c releases last year. Apple had the means to pull the product this year because the iPhone 6 has a maximum capacity of 128GB - still short by 32GB, but enough to make it comparable, and enough to push the iPod Classic out of the picture.
It’s pretty clear that if the iPod Classic was still making remotely the same impression that it did 13 years ago, Apple would still sell the device. Realistically, they’ll probably be able to make more money by pulling it. If somebody is dissatisfied with the amount of storage for music on their iPhone 5s (or older), they might just forgo upgrading their entire phone and go with the iPod Classic instead. After all, music is all they’re looking to add. But if Apple eliminates that option (at least when it comes to new products, which many people want so that they at least have a manufacturer’s warranty) then the person may reconsider and might spring for the iPhone 6 instead.
It’s not a completely unforeseen event as the iPhone (and the iPod Touch) are two of Apple’s modern day pride and joy and main focuses, but it is a little sad. As little influence as the iPod Classic has in today’s world, I still feel that it did have a slight edge over smartphones in those two specific aspects I already mentioned. I’m glad to have my iPod Classic, but I’m a little sad to know that when my Classic does eventually goes caput on me, it’s going to be harder to find a solid replacement since the entire concept of a standalone mp3 player with copious amounts of storage is fading away (Zunes, anybody?). But I imagine by then phones might have similarly sized, or greater, storage capacity. I hope.
With that being said, when it comes to the iPod Classic’s death, do you feel that this will help boost sales of the iPhone 6? Or do you feel that it will have little influence on the sales of Apple’s newest phone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!