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Handhelds Music Hardware

Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die 269

Nerval's Lobster writes A funny thing happened to the iPod Classic on its way to the dustbin of history: people seemed unwilling to actually give it up. Apple quietly removed the iPod Classic from its online storefront in early September, on the same day CEO Tim Cook revealed the latest iPhones and the upcoming Apple Watch. At 12 years old, the device was ancient by technology-industry standards, but its design was iconic, and a subset of diehard music fans seemed to appreciate its considerable storage capacity. At least some of those diehard fans are now paying four times the iPod Classic's original selling price for units still in the box. The blog 9to5Mac mentions Amazon selling some last-generation iPod Classics for $500 and above. Clearly, some people haven't gotten the memo that touch-screens and streaming music were supposed to be the way of the future.
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Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die

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  • Wrong conclusion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by O('_')O_Bush ( 1162487 ) on Friday December 12, 2014 @08:54PM (#48586883)
    What will end up happening is that those $500 iPod Classics will stay in their boxes and be sold for $3k a few years down the road. Same kind of thing happened with old NES/Gameboy Games, etc. If they wanted a music player without a touch-screen, well, there are hundreds of those not made by Apple. The people that want these are hoarders and price manipulators.
    • by hondo77 ( 324058 )
      Nah. I bought mine when I noticed Apple had discontinued it but before the Media caught on (thus avoiding the high prices). I bought it because I have more than twice this iPod's 160GB of music and wanted the elbow room that my iPhone couldn't give me. I figure my iPod Classic will give up the ghost around the time I get my new 512GB iPhone X.
      • by anagama ( 611277 )

        I did the same thing. I had been waiting for my 80gb model to die before getting the 160gb model, but the news made me go out pick up one of the last boxed iPods in my area at the normal price.

        What I particularly like about the classic is that it has physical buttons. That means I can change things while driving without averting my eyes. People don't think about the danger of driving, but when you aren't looking at the road, the chance of being in or causing some life changingly horrendous accident is so

    • I've had a few non-Apple mp3 players, and they pretty much fell apart, things stopped working, etc. I've had my 80GB Classic since 2007, and aside from replacing the headphone jack a few times, no issues. I don't want to bother with a non-Apple device really, and I'm no fanboy. If anything I have 5 ThinkPads of various vintages and no Apple laptops. These people might be investors , but not so sure about hoarders.

      • My 4GB iRiver Clix is still working fine as the day I got it back in 2007. Been meeting my needs for music when I am on the road, and I am still a long long way from filling its memory up.

        And when I am selling this sort of stuff on the 'bay or on Amazon, non Apple players seem to do quite well for me, especially various flavors of the SanDisk Sansa line (they need to make a player called the Arya, I think). Then again, Walkmen, Discmen, and some of their Panasonic and RCA counterparts have pretty much bec

    • From the look of things, this is already happening:

      http://www.terapeak.com/blog/2... [terapeak.com]

  • Ignored Niches (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The reason is simple. It's an ignored niche.

    I have 1tb of music. I want to most of this on one mp3 player. Yet nearly every mp3 maker has moved to flash memory or sd cards. To slim down my music collection to 8gb is absurd. So people like me have to stick to their old spinny disc mp3 players. 80gb is better than 8...

    Majority of people stream their music these days. But there are still a few of us audiophiles that rather listen to higher quality junk directly from their file trees.
    Call me old fashion, but ge

    • Re:Ignored Niches (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ScooterComputer ( 10306 ) on Friday December 12, 2014 @10:02PM (#48587169)

      I agree. Many of the people I know who have hacked their classic iPods put in substantially larger HDs (or even SSDs), because they were available in sizes greater than Apple bothered to ship.

      My vision is an "iPod" that would effectively house wireless, some kind of storage, whether SSD (perhaps for longer battery life and ruggedness) or HD (size), and a battery. Then the software would seamlessly integrate with Apple's OSes and the various media libraries. Effectively a portable "Home Sharing" library, a "local iCloud clone". Better yet, it would sync to iCloud and fill itself when availed an internet connection. iOS 8 brought several new APIs to facilitate just such a thing. Then we could merely stick the thing in gloveboxes or center consoles, and, using the iPhones/iPads we have, play our 500GB music/movie/podcast libraries anywhere without consuming costly cellular data or even NEEDING a cell/wifi connection. Why Apple hasn't seen the analog to old-school multi-CD changes and the entertainment systems in minivans, I'll never know. In the age of 16GB iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touchesit just makes sense.

      • What are the chances something like you said has not already been discussed in the Infinite Loop? Apple does not want you to own and store your own music/media. It wants you to rent and stream all your media. It wants a cut from streaming service providers, and content providers.
        • by Bogtha ( 906264 )

          Apple does not want you to own and store your own music/media.

          Take off your Apple blinders and think about this rationally. What you are saying doesn't resemble reality in the slightest. Apple have been the world's largest music retailer for years. They have been selling DRM-free music for years. They make billions of dollars a year doing this. They are clearly very, very happy to sell you music and they make a hell of a lot of money doing what you claim they don't want to do.

          • When they first broke into the music selling market, the entire music market was open, and the fastest way to make money is to sell music. A decade later most people who want to buy music, middle aged people nostalgic for their teenage music with money to burn, etc etc have been tapped out. They still have to show similar revenue, and revenue growth to satisfy the Wall St bean counters. When you have over 75% market share already, maintaining revenue and growth becomes increasingly difficult. At this point
    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      This is a niche that nothing fills. In the past, there were a number of players (Archos, Creative, etc.) which filled this place. However, some players required special software, others would not allow copying music from the device (as it encrypted the files, not just renamed them), and some had poor build quality (one brand of player failed to deburr the metal case, and after two returns due to obvious machining fails, I gave up.)

      Eventually, the third parties moved to "media" players, so if one wanted so

    • Flash storage devices aren't the problem; the problem is that the prevailing "removable" flash storage tech tops out at 64gb, which is SDHC. SDXC can go into hundreds of gigabytes, but it costs a fortune, is not usable in SDHC slots, the slots require ICs that are more expensive.. yadda yadda yadda.

      The classic ipod has a micro IDE interface inside. It is completely possible to drop an IDESATA bridge inside there, and stick a slim SATA SSD inside that original ipod classic. Now you can have hundreds of gig

    • 80gb is better than 8...

      You can get 128GB micro SD cards.

  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Friday December 12, 2014 @09:02PM (#48586931) Homepage Journal

    nostalgia only goes so far; you can't make a mass market product on nostalgia alone. They sell what, 50 million iphones every 3 months? A few thousand nostalgia seekers wouldn't even be pocket change inside the pants of a rounding error.

    Plus the people seeking the mini hard drive storage capacity will be mollified in a couple years when iphone flash memory capacity reaches 256 - 500 GB.

    • nostalgia only goes so far;

      It isn't nostalgia: there is a market for people who aren't tech people and need something simply. Apple is ignoring those people as Blackberry did right up until just now [blackberry.com]. I understand the need to have a simple smartphone with a keyboard as well as the simple mp3 player with just a few controls.

    • Well, if somebody's paying $500 for dead cats, I'm willing to bounce my dead cat for that kind of money.

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday December 12, 2014 @10:33PM (#48587289) Homepage

      It has nothing at all to do with nostalgia. Not even a little. It has to do with a simple, clean device with a lot of storage, that just works.

      I updated the OS on my iPod touch .. and three apps broke.

      My iPod Classic? It doesn't run iOS, doesn't have apps to break, has huge battery life. Which means until it physically dies, it's going to keep doing the exact same thing.

      I wish I'd realized they were getting rid of them , because I'd have bought another one.

      For a simple travel player which lets me bring tons of stuff and all that ... I really would rather have that than my Touch. Because I could bring a crap ton of music and movies, and play them through the TV with a simple cable.

      My iPod touch has made a lot of business trips in hotels a lot more pleasant.

      The old fashioned iPod classic with a spinning HD might be relatively low-tech these days. But it did what it did really damned well.

      • Smartphone updates are a pain, but you can turn off updates if you need rock-solid reliability. If you use simple battery-saving methods an iPhone or Android will play music for longer than any iPod ever did. And as for AV output, modern devices are more capable than ever, but composite video has gone out of fashion (though they were available for a while).

        I guess my point is that apart from the physical buttons most of the functionality is easy to replicate. And the remaining niches like composite video an

    • by zlogic ( 892404 )

      "Modern" solutions like syncing only a handful of songs you expect to listen or streaming everything is much more difficult than carrying a complete audio library with you.
      My current music library is something like 120 gigs. That includes
      * regular 256-320kb/s MP3 albums
      * FLAC albums
      * soundtracks from games
      * "bonus" stuff like remixes, instrumentals
      * random compilations grouped into hierarchical folders
      * stuff shared by friends which is yet to be listened to be deleted or saved
      * "souvenir" CDs bought from ob

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Friday December 12, 2014 @09:02PM (#48586933) Journal

    I have a Gen 3 (firewire, not usb) that I've repaired twice (replaced battery and headphone jack) and I'm about to repair for a third time (another battery and a hard drive). It does what I need, holds a massive amount of music, and I find the interface quicker and more intuitive than my daughter's Touch.

    Could it be that Apple is having its "Windows XP" moment? That the Classic design was good enough that people just didn't see the reason to upgrade? (And doesn't this run counter to the Apple culture of "abandon your gadget when the next incremental improvement comes out"?)

    • and I find the interface quicker and more intuitive than my daughter's Touch.

      They Touch (or iPhone) are awful as portable music players. There are a lot of people who still want a dedicated little device that will hold a ton of music and fit in their pocket.

      There are lots of old technologies like this. Hell, I still have a little portable AM/FM radio for when I walk the dog and want to listen to the Blackhawks or Bulls game. Like I'll be doing in just a few minutes when the 3rd quarter starts.

      • by ZipK ( 1051658 )

        Hell, I still have a little portable AM/FM radio for when I walk the dog and want to listen to the Blackhawks or Bulls game.

        The Sangean DT-200X [amazon.com] is a sweet pocket radio. 19 presets, physical buttons that can be operated without lookig, and it can pull broadcasts out of the ether with no net.

        • I use the DT-400W. Have owned Sangean for years. It's got a little speaker for when I'm shaving and it's tough as nails. I've dropped it countless times, it lasts forever on a pair of AA batteries and pulls in the stations like a boss.

          For some reason, mobile phone apps like iHeartRadio or TuneInRadio don't carry the local sports teams' games, but my radio gets them no problem. Sometimes, I even prefer listening to games on the radio to TV, when the announcers are really good like the team that does the B

    • Pfft, I've replaced the headphone jack on my 80gb classic probably more than half a dozen times :) Drive still pulling strong. The LCD is starting to go, after I dropped it the umpteenth time.

      But I like how people say the classic is antiquated, meanwhile, I don't have to take mine out of the pocket to go between tracks or change volume. Yeah, I guess I can be stuck with a set of earbuds that have the necessary buttons for play/pause/next, and I can try to hit those tiny rocker volume buttons on the side.

  • by osu-neko ( 2604 ) on Friday December 12, 2014 @09:03PM (#48586935)
    ...and that was great when I got it, but it's gotten a bit on the small side actually. Apple wants me to upgrade, they need to produce a bigger unit. Current store only has them up to 64MB. I'm certainly not going to downgrade just to get a newer unit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      WHAT? That's less than one album. What kind of crap is apple selling?
    • Look on eBay for parts; you can upgrade your device to 240GB. It's pretty easy to do, for the most part.

    • Each to their own I guess but I have a 16GB nano and don't really see the need for more. I get about 2 days straight of battery life and about the same amount of music on the device. I'm never very far from a computer so swapping out the songs isn't a big deal. I'd trade battery life and size or the small amount of convenience of having most/all my music on the device all the time. I suspect that is what is doing in the classic: If people are going to go for a bigger heavy device they'll just use their smar

  • I get it, I did the same thing and bought 2 refurbished Sansa devices for more than the retail price of a new one. Why? Because they work great with Rockbox. Not to mention there's no stupid touch-screen interface! I can control these blindly while driving.

  • As long as there are still rockbox updates for the iPod Classic, they are viable.

    I have a collection of music that is unavailable from streaming services or iTunes, and I'm not going to just give them up. Stuff that I ripped from CDs or vinyl. Not everything is available for streaming.

  • by steak ( 145650 ) on Friday December 12, 2014 @09:18PM (#48587025) Homepage Journal

    with physical buttons, you dont have to look at it to know where your inputer is on the device.

    • This is why I like the old Shuffle, the little square one with actual buttons. I stick my hand in my pocket, I know exactly how it's oriented and what button is where. No display, no problem. Low capacity, who cares, I randomize my playlist every time I go out. It's always been my favourite iPod.
  • There is a lot of stuff out there (cars, gym equipment, for example) with connectors for the original iPods. Apple, being the %$#! they are, of course, changed those connectors, so newer Apple devices don't work with the existing ecosystem. There's an adapter for my 2004 car that works quite well with an older iPod, but nothing new. If I want to bring my library to that car, it must be in an older iPod (no USB port).

  • One of the key features keeping the classic alive is also potentially its use in cars. For the longest time, even when I had an iPhone, I maintained an iPod Classic, because its UI was much move navigable one-handed while driving, to drill down to find a particular playlist, or artist, or whatever. You could, by feel alone, figure out what you were doing in many cases, only glancing at the unit to determine when to hit the select button, etc.

    It wasn't until I had a car which actually integrated my iPod into

  • by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Friday December 12, 2014 @10:08PM (#48587195) Homepage

    Yes, it's very trendy to get a new phone every year. And yes, it's fun to laugh at those neanderthals and troglodytes who have *gasp* last generation's iPod.

    Now trace all those discarded electronics to their end-of-life graves and see how we're poisoning the environment with arsenic, plastics, cadmium and other toxic chemicals, all just to satisfy our craving for shiny things.

    I would be proud to own a 12-year-old piece of electronic gear that still functions and does what I need. I have a five-year-old phone (Nokia N900) and bought my daughter's iPod third-hand for $30; it plays my music just fine. No plans to replace the phone or the iPod any time soon.

    • agreed; this is why I keep harping on how lousy my google nexus one phone is (buggy as hell, totally abandoned by google in a very short time, too) - but it is physically in good shape and has not broken down, at least electrically. the software is crap, there are no real upgrades and google's attention span is like a child's. but I just CANNOT throw out working hardware that has no reason to be thrown out (other than shitty firmware; but I work around it by rebooting it often).

      the 20something culture of

      • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Friday December 12, 2014 @11:40PM (#48587505)

        As an old(er) fart, I would respectfully disagree. Shitty firmware and an abandoned or poorly supported product is a perfectly good reason to throw something out and get new hardware. If you're dissatisfied enough with your phone to complain about it to other people, don't then turn around and grumble that people are telling you to get a better one. What else are they supposed to suggest? Just don't make the same mistake and buy a product that doesn't work well out of the box, or buy from the same company, thus rewarding their poor after-sales service.

        The way I figure it, my time and satisfaction level are both valuable to me, and I'm willing to pay for a product that performs to my satisfaction. Of course, once I find a device that's working well for me, I'll hold onto it for a long time - typically long into obsolescence. I'm not into the "replace my gadget every year or two" race, but I don't see the point in putting up with unnecessary annoyances when better alternatives exist for a very modest price.

      • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

        well duh.. if you're complaining about your old phone, it's natural for someone to suggest upgrading it.

      • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

        The N1 isn't lousy, it's old, it has a tiny internal flash memory by todays standards and may have trouble running the latest apps but beside this, it should run perfectly fine. The crashes are not normal. Wipe, install a good, stable ROM, don't try to do more than the hardware is capable of and you should be OK, unless you have hardware problems of course.

        And if people tell you to upgrade, it's not just because of the throw-away culture, it's because they see that you are not satisfied with your phone. Pro

    • I wouldn't worry too much about the "throwaway" culture and the desire to get a new phone every year. The real reason this has been happening is because the technology is advancing so bloody fast. Phones will eventually reach a quality level and degree of market saturation so that it's no longer necessary or even desirable to upgrade so rapidly.

      Look at what's happened with PCs. I feel people misunderstood the "decline" of the PC market significantly, declaring the era of PCs over, PCs are dead, blah, bla

    • But the sound particles degrade over time!
    • I bought my 160 GB iPod Classic six years ago, and yes, I'm quite pleased it's still going strong, despite being dropped who-knows-how-many times and spending most of its life in my cars (often in somewhat extreme temperatures for a consumer electronics device).

      I much prefer it to an iPod Touch or iPhone for playing music because of the much larger capacity, the simple interface, great battery life (even after all this time), and the physical buttons that are easy to use while driving (I can skip, pause, or

    • Would you call keeping old hardware a "counterculture" then? Because I certainly see a lot of this behaviour around.
    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      Here we are not talking about keeping devices for many years, we are talking about people who buy outdated technology for inflated prices.
      Keeping a N900 for 5 years = smart, buying a N900 in 2014 for $1000 = stupid
      Buying an iPod third-hand for $30 = smart, buying the same iPod for $500 = stupid
      There are exceptions of course, like when the old product has a niche feature you really need that isn't present in the newer models. Or in a professional setting, where the device is part of a system and you just wan

  • Wouldn't it make more sense to buy a non-hard drive based player that takes SD cards, now that SD cards are available with larger capacities?

    • Wouldn't it make more sense to buy a non-hard drive based player that takes SD cards, now that SD cards are available with larger capacities?

      I have the iPod Classic 7th Gen. It has a 160GB hard drive, fast USB 2.0 chipset, and a hard-drive interface. This means that loading songs is quick, rebuilding the music library is quick, and there is little lag between changing playlists, etc.

      The non hard-drive based mp3 players tend to have a slower USB chipset or a slower processor. This makes loading songs take 5x as long, rebuilding or refreshing the music library takes 30 minutes or more, etc. For example, I have a Sansa Clip+ and just bought a n

  • I am not surprised by this at all.

    My music collection alone is 78GB (and, yes, it's all ripped from CDs I own). The digital copies of movies I've collected over the years is 200GB.

    With a Classic with 160GB of storage, I can have my entire CD collection, and a bunch of movies.

    Killing the product was shortsighted, because finding something with that much capacity is pretty difficult.

    Unfortunately, my Classic is no longer with me, which is annoying. No fancy touch, no apps, no OS to update (and probably bre

  • by Ragica ( 552891 ) on Friday December 12, 2014 @10:40PM (#48587321) Homepage

    Despite having had a phone and tablet, I still use my sandisk sansa e200-series [wikipedia.org] mp3 player daily. I've owned the newer sansa clip, fuse and fuse+, but I just keep going back to an e-series... the perfect device for me, with rockbox installed. It's small, and tactile, and has fantastic battery life, and microSD slot. The design is a sort of clunkier miniature iPod classic. I can operate it completely (rockbox has voice menus) in my pocket without looking, or from a lanyard hanging around my neck. I also use the sleep timer, and variable speed play back (for audio books) a lot.

    And there were years when you could get these things pretty cheap on ebay, because in the ipod/ipod touch frenzy, only an enlightened few seemed to want these things. Well, the enlightened few (mostly rockbox [rockbox.org] users) still cling to this device, but they are getting harder to find... and in recent years the price is going up. Though they are still usually well under $100; sometimes even under $50. I have a couple of them hoarded for myself. I fear the day when they break down (i've gone through a few of them) and I can find no more sources.

    Though, also I earnestly have hoped through the years that something better could come along. I hoped my android devices, with suitable software, would take over... but they have not managed it. The ability to operate the thing blind, it's size and battery life, (and the handy lanyard attachment spot!) just keep it in use...

    Rockbox also runs on ipod classic, and I've considered many times getting an iPod classic to run rockbox... it seems like they'd work similarly to my sansas, but they (like most apple products) are just too damned expensive. Also bigger and heavier.

  • High capacity music/video players may be too small of a business for Apple, but a huge business for the right startup. A slightly larger device with a laptop hard drive can easily hit 1TB capacity. Even horse buggies are still a profitable business. This one will be big enough to support thousands of jobs for decades to come.

  • I have heard of people using them in workplaces that do not allow personal networkable devices in the building for security reasons.

  • I was trying to build up my credit card's rewards points to get a new 80gb Classic and retire my 2007 model as my car media drive. Works well with the Sony head unit. Got up to 25k of the 33k points needed only to find out that the Classic was removed from their list.

  • Bluetooth works but it sucks for music quality and you only have rudimentary controls on the head unit. Most of it has to be controlled from the device itself, which is dangerous when driving. Plus, this drains the phone battery unless you charge it at the same time.

    Most modern cars have USB ports, but it's a little more complicated to create playlists on memory cards.

    The Apple iPod interface is a mainstay in many modern cars. You have full integration with steering wheel controls and most head units. In

    • Bluetooth audio quality is fine if you use something with A2DP support. Not everything does, but it's well worth the effort to find things that do -- then you can get regular AAC or aptX or other reasonable codecs at respectable rates.

  • by dbc ( 135354 ) on Saturday December 13, 2014 @01:24AM (#48587777)

    ... just has a warmer sound.

  • I use an old touchscreen phone - ZTE F930. Infinite amount of storage potential with its microSD slot, built in speaker, music through bluetooth option as well if I want it, 3MP camera with video, I can even still make emergency calls on it (no SIM in it). Oh, and it charges using a standard miniB USB (which I can tether for data as well) and has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Oh, and 2.4 inch screen - that plays video at VCD resolution and framerate. Not the biggest in the world, but a: it's designed as

  • I used to have an 80 GB iPod up until about a year ago. I was able to load up a whole boatload of movies, and connect it to a TV using an RCA cable that plugged into the headphone jack.
  • I never understood why they didn't allow the use of these as "portable hard drives". Apple only marks up their iPads $100 per 32 gigs. They could sell 2x the i-devices by simply adding some bluetooth support.

  • Some people over on Apple.com forums are claiming that the hard disk that went into the iPod classic isn't being made anymore and that Apple therefore was essentially was forced to discontinue the product, because they couldn't find parts for it. Obviously they could try to find another supplier, make the hard drives themselves, etc., etc., but I guess the ROI wasn't there for them to bend over backwards to keep it going.

  • I'm still using my iRiver H320. It works perfectly, has plenty of space on the mini HD and I was able to replace the battery about a year ago.

    Nice physical buttons that can be navigated without looking.
    Standard 3.5mm plugs.
    Presents as mass storage on USB.
    Handles mp3, Ogg-Vorbis, Flac, Wav and some vid formats (can't remeber which - never use them)
  • I still use an Ipod Gen5 with RockBox, because a) it works and b) I get to use an open source firmware, which means I don't have to worry about whether $BIG_VENDOR has bothered to support OGG/FLAC/etc files.

    Admittedly technology is moving on, but from the standpoint of a device that does one thing and does it well the older Ipods with RockBox do just fine. Why upgrade just for the heck of it?

    Heck, i've still got an old iRiver T30 tucked away somewhere that takes AA batteries, which I'm not inclined to get

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