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Are the stars aligning towards the retirement of the faithful iPod classic?

The iPod classic; loved the world over by folks who have the overwhelming desire to keep their whole music collection in their pockets. But how long is it for this world? iMore community member sdreelin asked himself the same question, to the point where he ended up buying another while he still can:

"I love my iPod classic so much that despite having an 80GB model for years now, and it not being entirely full yet, I purchased a new 160GB version just last month. The reason? I have a feeling that since this is the last of Apple's 30 dock connector devices it's going to go away soon and there just is no other dedicated player on the market with all that storage. I realize that cloud streaming in the way to go nowadays (And I do that on my phone quite often), but there is no substitute for dedicated music player that can hold all your music at once and lasts for 40 hours on on charge. So I future proofed myself for some time."

He hit a pretty solid point there, too. Along with the iPhone 4 and 4S, the iPod classic is the last of the 30-pin devices, Even the iPod touch range has now been completely upgraded to Lightning. The much rumored 'budget' iPhone if a legitimate product could spell the end of the 4S – that's assuming the 4S would have been reduced to the role of 'budget' option as the 4 and 3GS both have been before it. This along with the expected retirement of the iPhone 4 would leave the classic as the last of the dying breed. If it even stayed alive at all.

Also, as much as those who love the classic, love it a lot and for very specific reasons, Apple is moving away from this 'old' way of doing things. With iTunes Match and iTunes in the cloud – even the forthcoming iTunes Radio – we're seeing where the future of Apple's music offerings lie – somewhere the classic can't join in. There's still a lot to be said for having an iPod that just plays music, and lots of it, but the chances of it receiving a Lightning upgrade like the rest of the range are pretty slim at best.

Hopefully we'll see other high capacity options in the future; 128GB iPod touch and iPhone models would be great. But to some, there will be no replacing the old 160GB iPod classic. If you're going to ever want one though, it's maybe not a horrible idea to think about picking one up sooner rather than later.

What do you think about the iPod classic? Think it'll stick around for another term, or be put out to pasture at the next batch of product refreshes?

Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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There are 39 comments. Add yours.

brooklyndon2911 says:

I can see a redesign with the new connector. Don't see why apple would kill it of entirely.

Wizzy says:

You do realize that 'of' and 'off' are completely different words that are spelled and pronounced differently?

lovely_geek says:

He probably forgot the extra f. Geez, don't be a dick.

CORYK333 says:

I've seen grammar nazis before & tbh I've been guilty of a few correction replies myself.........but you're just a douche for that.

Chris Kerrigan says:

You do realize there is such a thing as a typo, right?

Don't be a dick about it. If you have nothing useful to the conversation to add, then don't say anything at all. Move along.

Rob White says:

I can't see ever getting rid of my 160gb Classic. It's just rock solid reliable & has all my music & digital movies with more than 40gb to spare. If for only the timeless look & feel of the device that brought Apple back from deaths door it's a keeper.

sangs says:

You can take my iPod Classic when you pry it from my cold dead hands. I might take sdreelin's advice.

Gsarfin says:

I agree the classic is probably done for. Get em while you can if you want one. I think iPod touch with 128 or 256gb is going to be the new high capacity king.

Sent from the iMore App

Galley says:

A 256GB iPod would barely hold all of my music, at 128Kbps.

Gsarfin says:

But it's still more capacity than the 160gb classic.

Sent from the iMore App

Gazoobee says:

Nothing personal, but to me the users of iPod classics are mostly music snobs. The oft-quoted line that begins this article pretty much asserts this. "People who like to take their *entire* music collection with them."

Newsflash! I take my entire music collection with me also even though I don't need a giant heavy classic in my pocket. The main reason for using the classic has always been the belief that "lossless" (which takes up literally twice the storage space), is better than the standard MP4 format and the associated fantasy, that the user can tell the difference with their ears. Years of testing has shown quite definitively that unless you are have a genetic abnormality, a person cannot really tell the difference between high quality, high bit-rate MP4 and lossless. The facts have been in on that for a long time.

The classic is basically a product for the few percent of the population who believe, and want to try and convince themselves that they are actually a part of that much smaller 0.0001% of the population that can actually tell the difference.

What humans hear is as much a product of their expectations as it is of the actual vibrations coming out of the device and the exact arrangement of hairs inside your cochlea. The classic is for those that still "believe" or those who want to pose as if they know more about and can get more out of music than the rest of us.

afiles says:

First of all, you don't really seem to know what you're talking about if you're referring to "MP4", as that is a video codec.
Secondly, The sound produces from a better-than-default set of cans, especially when using maybe an external amp or DAC, is very clearly different to listening to an ipod normally.
There are many variations you can make to the way a song sounds, and some people may do it for personal listening preference, others for high fidelity music, but there is no denying there is a difference, and a reason to store lossless music files on something like an iPod.

sangs says:

Um, OK. I just like to have a huge portable disk to carry around all my music and many other things - like pictures or videos - if I want. Works as a nice little backup too. If that makes me a "music snob" then I guess I can generalize also and say that comments like yours make you a d-bag.

CORYK333 says:

And that generalization would be correct. It's like a 160gb Classic killed his puppy or something!!

DJHalle says:

"the belief that "lossless" (which takes up literally twice the storage space), is better than the standard MP4 format and the associated fantasy, that the user can tell the difference with their ears."

You're obviously not one of us music "snobs" that cares about that way our files sound. I have been DJing and producing music for years and I started with 320 kbps mp3 files, which are higher quality than the 256 kbps (or even as low as 128 kbps) aac files that iTunes allows you to download. I can tell you first hand it is no belief, and it is no fantasy. No mp3 files has the punch or fullness I needed with my tracks because it is lossy a compressed format. I have since made the switch to lossless (AIFF) format. Every song I purchase now is through a third party music provider (iTunes sucks) and I'm never turning back because listening to your music in lossless format allows you to experience the music the way the artist intended. You hear the sounds that get lost when you compress them to other lossy formats like aac and mp3. If you're going to be talking about something and other "snobs" like that, you should at least know what you're talking about. Just my 2¢

pstmd says:

@Gazoobee: You are guilty of being just as big a music snob as those you accuse (and you are a douche to boot!) You have a certain viewpoint about your music and you assume anyone who thinks differently is a snob. What does that make you? A big fat pretentious SNOB! You vaguely claim research to prove your point ("...years of testing has [SIC] shows..."). No doubt if challenged you could produce a few obscure references and those with a different viewpoint could produce and equal number elsewhere. So what! You go on to admit that those who claim to hear differences between MP4 [SIC] (you no doubt meant MP3) are deluded or posers. Again, so what! If someone gets pleasure from believing something, whether true or not, who are you to judge the for it? Do you believe you are somehow superior because your beliefs? Guess what - you are not. You are just a bigoted d*****bag. Your "reality" is just your opinion. Do us all a favor and keep them to yourself!

FYI: My 256 AAC music library is 375GB large. I'd love to carry the whole thing with me but currently I'm limited to my 160GB Classic.

woody88 says:

You lost me at mp4; good try though, and thanks for the laugh.

thechemE#CB says:

I leave all my songs in mp3 format. However I have about 90 gb of music on it with probably another 10 that need to be put on. So until another device comes out that can hold that much or more I am sticking with the classic... I could care less about lossless

therealnirv says:

My stereo system is worth about 4 thousand dollars. I can assure that lossless sounds WAY better than anything around. I RIP my CDs using XLD and paranoia. If you can't tell the difference then something is wrong.

RicharDeanAreMe says:

The iPod classic is the best device for music, period. It's easily my favorite apple product ever made. I'd get rid of my MacBook Air first. I'd get rid of my 27 inch iMac before my iPod classic, too. My whole library fits on it, and I goes from my dock attached my stereo, to my car, to my pocket when I walk around. For Apple to get rid of it makes no sense. The quality of this device is incredible. It fits my whole music library. My iPhone can't. My wife's iPod touch can't. The iPod is even more solidly built than the iPhone. Still looks hip. As a dedicated media device, nothing matches it, nothing. The iPod made apple. It should be produced and supported forever in my opinion.

GOPphil81 says:

I don't understand how people keep thinking that cloud based steaming is the way to go. Since Verizon and AT&T got rid of unlimited data I have been using less slacker and pandora. In fact it is the reason I got a 64gb iPhone 5 this last time around. Big storage devises will still have a place as long as cell phone company's limit our data usage.

mad_iphone4 says:

Still have my 5th gen iPod from '05. 32gb still not full.

Sent from the iMore App

mackidockie says:

For those who want to perform basic iPod functions without having to take the machine out of one's pocket or off one's belt, the classic iPod is intuitive and straightforward. It does the job without suffering from Swiss-Army-Knife syndrome. It's perfect for those with poor eyesight or big hands.

Adn1015 says:

For those of us that want to JUST listen to our music, to plug in, hit random, and go, arguing for a higher capacity Touch is pointless as well. Price alone would be a strong deciding factor. Why pay $400-$500 for 128gb, when you can pay $250 for 160gb

gabriel3374 says:

I think 250 is already overpriced for 160gb. Toshiba came out with a 250gb 1,8'' hard drive a long time ago and i expected apple to upgrade their ipod classic but they never did :/

Orion2021 says:

I got a 30 gig iPod photo back in 05. Have used it for years as both storage for music and an external drive. Just recently charged it and it would not turn on. :(. Sad day. There is something to be said for the classic. May have to pick up a new one.

gvndeb60 says:

Not trying to give you false hope, but I had a 30GB also whose battery went bad due to age. Made an appointment at the Apple store to drop off for a replacement battery (for $60ish if my memory is correct) and they also upgraded to a newer model b/c they didn't have any 30GB. So, worst case you can fix yours for relatively cheap, and best case you could get higher capacity back. Just throwing it out there.

Orion2021 says:

Thanks, awesome advice and worth a shot. Apple is great that way.

karyney says:

My 80gb Classic is slowly dying and I was just thinking about getting the battery replaced rather than buy a new one I could never fill. I've had this one for 5 years and I don't think I've ever filled it. I like the click wheel, I don't even have to look at it to pause or skip a song, which I like.

Mariam936 says:

Redesign it!!! If it becomes retired, I will cry

pillsbur says:

The main reason I keep the Classic around is because iTunes Match will not upload or sync chapterized AAC files, and I have a lot of classical music where I've used JoinTogether (R.I.P.) to combine the individual movements/tracks of a piece into a single chapterized music file. Only iTunes on the desktop and the iPod Classic will play these files. They appear in the library list on my other devices but there isn't anything "there" to stream. Apple's Match specs don't seem to preclude chapterized AAC files from working, but they've obviously slipped through the QA cracks at some point. Hence I keep my Classic around and hope it remains available.

Ralph Bonsall says:

I keep a 16GB iPod Nano for when I travel. I load up my current favourite albums, safe in the knowledge that the battery won't die before I reach my destination.
Other than that, I sync 64GB sd cards on my phone and tablet with my entire music collection and, of course, have my collection available on Google Play Music.
This way, my music is available wherever I am, data connection or not.

rewNATION says:

I've been thinking about doing this for the last year or two. I still have an 80gb that isn't quite full yet and I'd rather be safe than sorry with another classic before they get phased out completely. I don't want my only option to be a small capacity overpriced ipod touch.

manutd7 says:

I actually looked at the classic this weekend. My car dedicated iPod touch (the original version) is acting up so I thought this might be a good replacement. I wish they would update the classic with WiFi so it could do wireless sync/transfer new music. It was very convenient to have my iPod touch sync automatically when I arrived home. No need to get it out of the glove box and hook it up to my laptop. It is not doing that as reliably lately and even having issues when directly connected to the laptop. Hence why I was looking at a replacement. I guess what really need is a 64GB nano, but perhaps the 32GB version will do.

impaler says:

Interesting timing of this article.

Since just last week, I've really been considering dropping some bucks to grab a iPod Classic. iTunes Match is okay, but the streaming is flaky and I can't always count on a data connection everywhere, all the time. There's just something awesome about having one device with my 60 days worth of music, comedy albums, and podcasts, in my hand, without an Internet connection. My entire collection won't fit on any iOS device, but compressed to 128kbps versions, everything would fit on this.

mikenyc2 says:

I will miss the iPod classic. I use it in my car. Have it connected to the car USB. I have all my music at my fingertips. Never used my CD player yet. No need. I will definitely buy a backup soon.

Matteo Rodrigo says:

I hate when I read these stories. I love my iPod. People talk about their phones and clouds and streaming yet miss the point. Most people can store all their media on a 16gb device. You can only stream if you have a data connection or wifi. Most people today don't have unlimited data plans. So if you're running, for example (or anywhere without wifi), you can use your iPod, have your entire collection (I'm at over 5000 songs.. Couldn't even store on my pgone) with you & not have to worry about going over your monthly limit. Do you know how much data 1 hour of streaming uses? The iPod is a must for me. I dont understand why others don't see that. Do they have free wifi everywhere they go? Yes I have my entire library on Google Music for free streaming 24/7 but I don't have 20GB of data

Warrzone says:

I would like to see the iPod Classic updated with a Lightning connector, more storage space, a sharper screen (more pixels), Bluetooth 4 with aptX, and WiFi for iTunes Radio and automatically downloading new purchases from iTunes/iCloud. Right now, the outdated Classic is overpriced, especially with how cheap hard drive storage is. An iPod touch with the same capacity would cost too much, so I hope they update the Classic instead of drop it completely.

P.S. I mentioned adding aptX support earlier. I hope they add that to all iPods and iPhones too. They already have it on Macs.