The iPod Classic is about to celebrate its tenth birthday. Come October 2011, it will be a decade since the Apple MP3 player which changed a generation was launched and you can bet that Apple is not going to let a milestone like that pass by unmarked, or uncelebrated. The company apparently ‘has no plans’ to discontinue the Classic, as one MacRumors reader pointed out in a Steve Jobs e-mail from September 2010. So, where will Apple go with it?
The current generation of iPod Classic was released in September 2009 at the annual iPod-centric event and allows for 160GB of storage in silver or black colors. The current generation is therefore around eighteen months old and stocks are beginning to dwindle. This week we received a comment from a reader who had been told by Best Buy that they were no longer carrying the black version of the device, only silver. Indeed, a quick look on the Best Buy website will tell you that neither model is being sold online.
However, looking at Apple’s website shows that the stocks of the iPod classic there are plentiful with both models shipping within 24 hours. Other retails have also shown major shortages of the device. Rather than being due to genuine unavailability, is the Best Buy situation therefore indicative of retailer apathy towards the Classic?
Toshiba have now released 220GB hard drives which could easily be placed inside the iPod Classic, something which will likely happen at the September iPod event this year. It is also likely that Apple will use this ten year milestone to celebrate the iPod, and why shouldn’t they? The question is, what changes can they now make to the iPod Classic to enhance its appeal in the face of the iPod Touch running iOS apps?
Storage capacity is a given. A bump to 220GB would mean that the Classic could conceivably store more than 55,000 songs. Battery life is another, but it’s not really that exciting given that the Classic can already give an enormous 36 hours of playback on a single charge. Would Apple get rid of the iconic Click Wheel in favor of a fullscreen touch screen with virtual Click Wheel? That doesn’t sound too appealing, especially since the iPod Touch runs iOS apps and offers a sizeable 64GB storage?
Thinking outside the box, bringing wireless connectivity with cloud-music integration could be an option or even AirPlay integration with the new Apple TV (imagine an Apple TV 2 streaming from your 220GB iPod Classic – 250 movies in your pocket). A new direction for a new iPod?
Apple may simply choose to focus on design rather than features for a tenth anniversary edition. The iPod Classic is iconic. What better way to celebrate that, than with an iconic new design for the next decade.