So, the iPod classic…

Today brought us the news of the removal of the iPod click wheel games from the iTunes Store. Even casual observers ask themselves whether that’s another clue of the beleaguered music player heading to the technology graveyard. Last week, reports indicated that both the iPod classic and the nano are heading out to pasture. The current sixth-generation iPod classic has certainly seen better days. It was last refreshed two years ago and Apple had totally ignored it with last Fall’s redesign of the iPod family. They didn’t even bother upgrading the classic to Toshiba’s latest 1.8-inch 220GB hard drive so it could carry 55,000 songs in your pocket.

Worse, iPod sales as a whole have been declining due to some cannibalization from the iPhone and because everyone has an iPod now (see chart below). More than anything, the click wheel-based iPod is a dinosaur, a relic from the past. Apple launched its first iPod on October 23, 2001. It featured a 5GB hard-drive that held “a thousand songs in your pocket” (surely you remember that tagline?) and came enclosed in the signature snow-white casing.

Everyone from Bono Vox to teenagers drooled over its sexy metal back which caught grease and scratches all too easily, literally as soon as you picked it up or laid it on a table. Ten years later, the iPod’s once revolutionary click wheel is so last century and we aren’t lusting after the design neither. It’s OK to be sad. You probably have fond memories of the iPod classic – we do. And you likely don’t want to see it discontinued.

Be that as it may, the fact is the iPod classic doesn’t fit in anymore. It can’t live in an iCloud world. Heck, it’s not even an iOS device. We’re living in a post-PC world where all-flash storage takes center stage in ultra-portable gadgets. Would Apple really do away with its most spacious music player? Read on…

You bet! Remember, this is a company that hadn’t blinked retiring the iPod mini at the height of its popularity to replace it with the iPod nano. What’s stopping them from discontinuing a hard-drive based iPod? It’s pretty inevitable at this stage of the game. So, which product might fill the void in the above-100GB storage range? Given that 9to5Mac heard from manufacturing sources that Apple has been researching 64GB versions of the new iPhone, it’s quite plausible that a 128GB iPod touch is in the works. A 128GB all-flash iPod touch would be a perfect replacement for the aging 160GB hard drive-based iPod classic.

To be perfectly honest, some people probably hate the idea of paying more for the 128GB iPod touch if all they need is a big enough hard drive to carry their music library in their pocket rather than run App Store apps. And with that in mind, it’s also easily conceivable that the iPod shuffle and the iPod nano may fall prey of the iCloud/post-PC world, too – perhaps morphing into wearable/iWatches. If anything, Bluetooth 4.0 technology holds huge potential to breathe new life into those tiny iPod designs. What’s your call? Is it a high time for iPod classic to head out to pasture? Share your opinion with the 9to5 crowd in the comment section below.

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