Death of the iPod Classic

IpodIt may not have had a camera or a touch screen, but did it ever hold a ton of tunes.

When introducing the revolutionary music player in October of 2001, Steve Jobs said in this keynote address that “the coolest thing about the iPod is that your whole music library fits in your pocket.”

This idea of keeping your music library in your pocket has managed to survive with the iPod Classic for the past 13 years. But after Apple unveiled their new iPhone 6 models, as well as the Apple Watch, earlier this month, the Classic was discontinued and removed from their website.

With the Classic now discontinued, so to is having your music library in your pocket.

Journalism professor Mark Tunney was an early adopter.

“My wife got me one for my birthday not long after they were introduced. As someone old enough to have a room full of vinyl and CDs and cassettes, it felt so cool to be walking around with 1,000 songs.”

Early impressions of the first iPod were overwhelmingly positive. Chris Duffie, owner of Terra Consultants Ltd., a former retailer for Apple, said it was an immediate hit at retail. Along with the quality of the design, he attributed the iPod’s success to “the cult-like following for Apple products, (their) marketing and iTunes”.

The competition at the time consisted of portable CD players and other MP3 players that were as much as 30 times slower than the iPod in transfer speeds.

The classic survived because it had a gigantic hard drive dedicated solely to music. For any music lover who has a giant back catalogue, this was the obvious choice when it came time to buy a MP3 player. Secondly, the device was simple.  Still rocking that classic round wheel, it had no need for a touch screen, a camera, or anything else that was being shoved into every other iPod.  Finally, it did not have or ever need Wi-Fi.  It was Wi-Fi that completely revolutionized the iPod line in 2007 when the iPod Touch was unveiled, but the Classic kept it simple.

Smart phones and cloud technology have contributed to its untimely discontinuation, and make no mistake, a major part of music history is disappearing into that cloud. This might not matter to many people – it might seem trivial, or overly sentimental – but this device, a small rectangle the size of a deck of cards, completely changed how we listen to and purchase our music.

Some, like Tunney, don’t share the same sentiment.

“As revolutionary as it was, it’s hard for me to get sentimental about the iPod,” said Tunney. “In the end, it’s just storage – compact and well designed, but just storage.”

Although there is truth in this statement, the iPod and its storage still had a profound impact on the entire music industry.

If you are a true lover of music and have lots of it, there is no other device that can fully live up to the standard set by the iPod classic.  It will be missed by music lovers the world over.

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