Rest in Peace, iPod Classic

Photo courtesy of Steve Jobs with the first iPod Classic.

Angela Chuang, Photojournalist

On October 23, 2001, Apple released the world’s first iPod, the iPod Classic.  At the time, the Classic had 5-10 GB of storage, but within 7 years, it increased to 160 GB.  On September 9, 2014,  Apple quietly discontinued the 12 year-old iPod Classic.

Instead of announcing the discontinuation of the iconic iPod Classic, Apple secretly took the iPod Classic off its website.  Apple has shown a tendency to discontinue products in secret, but, because it’s Apple, people notice it quickly.  After the iPod Classic was removed from the website, loyal followers of Apple were baffled.  Through social media, devout loyalists began saying their farewells to the invention that has been the base for many other MP3 players and smart phones.

With new technology like the iPhone 6 and the iPad Mini, it’s understandable why the 4-click-control-wheel iPod was discontinued.  Unlike iPhones and iPads, it’s not touch screen or capable of holding apps.  However, apps and touch screens could never compare to the 160 GB of music the iPod Classic could hold.  With that amount of storage, the iPod Classic had the most storage capacity compared to the other Apple products.  According to Apple, the latest version of the iPod Classic can hold up to 40,000 songs.  But with iCloud, a free cloud service provided by Apple, the importance of the device capacity decreased.

In 2009, Apple CFO, Peter Oppenheimer, said that Apple has been expecting a decline in the popularity of MP3 players.  As the years progressed, the MP3 era slowly faded, and the new era of iPod Touches and iPhones rushed in.  The MP3 era itself ended the cassette/CD player era and eventually led to the development of iPhones and iPod Touches.  The iPod was the technological advancement that would define “MP3” for the decade to come.

According to CNN, the signs of this news were there, but we never noticed them.  After the latest version of the iPod Classic came out in 2009, Apple gradually stopped mentioning the Classic at events.  Not only did Apple stop mentioning it, Apple also stopped trying to create a newer model for the iPod Classic.

In 2001, Steve Jobs stood on stage and described the new invention by saying, “You can fit your whole music library in your pocket.  Never before possible.”  Twelve years later, we are saying goodbye to what we know as the four-click-wheel iPod, the iPod Classic, that has created a whole new generation of technological advancement for Apple.  Rest in peace, Classic.  You will be missed.