Did Apple Kill the iPod Classic Too Soon?
Technology companies-and especially Apple-are all about staying ahead of the curve and figuring out what the next must-have item is. For proof, you need look no further than the MacBook Air, their thinnest laptop ever, thanks to the fact that it doesn't include a disc drive (because who uses discs anymore?). Another example is the recently discontinued iPod Classic.
But the company may have jumped the gun by pulling the plug, as it were, on the device that arguably both changed the music industry and saved Apple.
Since vanishing from Apple's online store earlier this year, fans have been scrambling to purchase the last few touch-screen-less iPods on the market. With most of them having sold out from retail outlets, many are taking to eBay and Amazon to buy secondhand (but unopened) iPod Classics for well over their list price.
But why are people so attached to a device that Apple itself has deemed no longer necessary?
The 160 GB Classic can hold around 40,000 songs, far more than any iPod Touch can hold, and is probably more than most people actually need. With streaming services increasing in popularity, and the near ubiquity of the iPhone, the iPod may have lost its appeal to many. However, there are no subscription or data charges with an iPod classic, you can listen to it anywhere and many users prefer to have their music player separate from their phone (how old school!).
Also, for an older generation used to 'having' music-meaning having a copy of a song on a vinyl LP, a cassette, an 8-track tape or a compact disc-owning a digital download of a song still feels like ownership; you brand yourself as a fan of an artist by purchasing their music. The streaming model of Spotify, Pandora and other online services feels unfamiliar and even confusing to many. iPods allowed people to feel current even while shedding the physical product on which music was traditionally sold. However, for many, the iPod is an artifact just as much as the long boxes in which CDs used to be sold.
Apple's reasons for deleting the personal mp3 player were merely practical: after Apple quietly pulled the Classic from its website, chief executive Tim Cook said the company no longer had access to the components and a redesign would have been too demanding, and not worth the money.
But they might be worth your money, depending on how bad you still want one, and how much you're willing to spend. Currently the 160 GB classic is selling on eBay for $549 and on Amazon for $498. Those are likely selling to people who actually want to use them, as opposed to the unopened first generation 5 GB iPod currently selling on Amazon for $30,000. If that's a bit too steep for you, eBay has one for the much more affordable price of $25,000. That item, however, has no takers yet.
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