Ten years ago, like millions of others, I bought a very small (for its time), new-fangled gadget that could play thousands of songs and that I could carry in my pocket or purse. It kicked my Walkman to the curb, and I never looked back. Apple's iPod, with its handy click wheel for navigating through all that music, became a classic. Now it's a classic that may be set out to pasture, just like the Walkman.
That's what some experts are saying, although Apple hasn't commented. "I don’t see Apple investing any more into the iPod Classic, even just to upgrade the connector," Forrester analyst Charles Golvin told Wired.
Apple hasn't updated the iPod Classic in several years, and with the move to the company's new Lightning connectors, the old 30-pin USB connectors are still the only ones that work with the click-wheel device. And it's true that many of us have moved on to smartphones to listen to music.
I'm one of those, but I still have my most recent iPod, purchased about eight years ago, before it was dubbed "classic." The battery still works, as does the click wheel, one of the features I'm still very fond of. I also have a subsequent-issue click-wheel iPod Mini. It's metallic orange and it makes me happy, as does all the music it holds. But I also realize while it's an iconic device, "iconic" all too often comes to mean "obsolete" over time.
You can still order an iPod Classic for $249, but some probably feel that's a waste of money when you can get the least expensive version of the slimmer iPod Touch for 20 bucks less. And even more foolish if you use your iPhone to stream tunes over the cloud. And why bother with it at all, I mean, it doesn't even have the newest connectors?
Here's why: Maybe because it's still the only way to carry 160 gigs of music in your pocket, no wireless connection necessary; it's still the simplest interface for people who just want their own tunes; and it remains one of the defining devices of the new era, an era of safe, easy — and legal — music downloads, all available at the click of a wheel.