Talking tech since 2003

Even though Apple is a successful and growing company right now, there is no denying that the business went through a rough patch a while back; before the iPhone, iPad, and even Macintosh computer became popular fixtures in our modern society.  Sure, Apple was wildly successful when it was first formed, but there was definitely a period of time where the company’s future looked dim at best.  But this all started to change in 2001 when Apple unveiled the iPod, a hard-drive based music player that allowed users to transport and listen to a library of music from an entirely digital device.  The Walkman of its day, if you will, the iPod caught on pretty quickly with consumers and became a flagship product for Apple.  And arguably the success of the iPod was both directly and indirectly responsible for Apple’s success today by not only funding the company but by opening the eyes of consumers to Apple’s other products (predominantly the Macintosh) as well.

Having been on the market for nearly ten years now, the iPod has progressed quite a bit.  First we saw Apple create different iPod products for a wider array of users when they branched into the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle lines, and more recently we have seen a huge take-off with the iPod Touch which uses the same technology that is in the Apple iPhone to give users what used to be an unheard of entertainment experience.  With all of the attention that the iPod Touch (and its lesser expensive iPod Nano) get, it has become quite evident over the last few years that the iPod Classic – the 160GB block-shaped music player – isn’t a huge priority for Apple.  After all, the firmware hasn’t been updated since late 2009.  Looking at this, the inevitable question comes to mind.  Should Apple discontinue the iPod Classic?

Now, I must say that I purchased an iPod Touch a couple of years ago (second generation) and never really fell in love with it.  Sure, the iPhone-like interface, slim design, and touch-screen interface were nice (all things that I’m aware have been even more improved with the newer versions), but when it boiled down to it the device just didn’t seem right to me.  Call me old school, but I really liked the interface, simplicity, and mass storage offered by the iPod Classic; so much so that I recently bought one a couple of months back.

Really.  It tickles my heart to know that wherever I go I am carrying my entire music library with me and have a perfect song on hand regardless of the situation or mood I am in.  My mouth really waters knowing that I could go on a cross-country road trip on a moment’s notice and be able to listen to music the entire way there (and back) without repeating a song once.  But do many other people feel the same way?

As it stands now, Apple has a 64GB iPod Touch.  And while it doesn’t offer but less than half of the storage available with the iPod Classic, I think it’s safe to say that it definitely offers enough storage for most people; all whilst offering more features that I had ever fathomed to see in a palm-sized device.

But even while Apple has their bases covered with high storage capacity with the iPod Touch, many believe that the company’s future direction will flat-out eliminate the storage worry altogether by allowing users to stream a virtually unlimited amount of music over the Internet, blowing the libraries held by any one individual out of the water completely.  With this in mind, does (or will) it really make any sense for Apple to produce, market, and sell the iPod Classic any more?

When it boils down to it, the iPod Classic is really a niche product.  The number of users who have a real need for such drastic capacities of storage is indeed low, and the number of users who are willing to sacrifice the latest and greatest features in order to gain such volumes of storage are even lower.  So sure, I’d be disappointed to see such a prominent product get flushed down the toilet, and I’m sure Apple would hear some fussing and moaning from users, but at this point I really wouldn’t blame Apple if they were to phase-out the iPod Classic.

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