Cook blames death of iPod classic on parts availability, no replacement planned

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited November 2014
During his panel at the WSJD live conference on Monday, Apple chief Tim Cook explained the reasoning behind the discontinuation of the iPod classic, which remained largely unchanged for six years until last month.

iPod lineup


Speaking with Wall Street Journal editor Gerry Baker, Cook said Apple was no longer able to source parts for the capacious iPod, which was the last of its kind to integrate a spinning hard drive for storing up to 160GB worth of music. He confirmed that development of a replacement model would not be pursued, reports Engadget

"We would have to make a whole new product," Cook said. "The engineering work to do that would be massive. The number of people who wanted it is very small."

While Apple did not officially announce it would be discontinuing production of the iPod classic, the company quietly removed the device from its website and online store shortly after September's iPhone event.

The iPod classic was a design carryover from the music player's heyday and was most recently modified in 2009. Aside from a few aesthetic tweaks, however, the functional bits remained untouched for more than six years.

With the iPod classic's demise, Apple now fields a total of three iPod models -- iPod shuffle, iPod nano and iPod touch -- all flash-based devices with storage capacities maxing out at 64GB.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 85

    Wasn't the iPod Classic still a strong seller, even just a few years ago due to it's large capacity and classic click wheel interface? Although I understand iPod sales have been on a steady decline due to cannibalization by iPhone.

  • Reply 2 of 85
    simtubsimtub Posts: 277member
    iPod Touches should come with optional capacities of 32Gb, 64Gb, 128Gb, 256Gb, 512Gb..hell even 1Tb. I would pay top dollar for a 1Tb iPod Touch!
  • Reply 3 of 85

    This doesn't surprise me. Even though the article did not specifically call out which component had the most sourcing difficulties, for years Apple has been the last remaining OEM customer for the 1.8" hard drive format, and Toshiba was the last manufacturer. The 1.8" hard drive had seen no improvements or new R&D for at least three years, and with sales on the decline I'm actually surprised that the iPod classic lasted as long as it did. We've had rumors of its pending demise for about three years, so it's been on borrowed time for a while now.

  • Reply 4 of 85
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post

     

    This doesn't surprise me. Even though the article did not specifically call out which component had the most sourcing difficulties, for years Apple has been the last remaining OEM customer for the 1.8" hard drive format, and Toshiba was the last manufacturer. The 1.8" hard drive had seen no improvements or new R&D for at least three years, and with sales on the decline I'm actually surprised that the iPod classic lasted as long as it did. We've had rumors of its pending demise for about three years, so it's been on borrowed time for a while now.




    Apple must have simply bought a huge batch a few years ago, and made Classics till they ran out. 

  • Reply 5 of 85
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    "We would have to make a whole new product," Cook said.

     

    You DID make a whole new product. It’s called the iPod touch.

     

    "The engineering work to do that would be massive. The number of people who wanted it is very small."


     

    This is true. Does anyone really keep their iPod classic around because they like the click wheel? Or just because they like 160 gigs?

     

     ...with storage capacities maxing out at 64GB.


     

    And this is a serious problem. It should have been fixed YEARS ago. I don’t care what investment it should have taken; Apple should be investing not only into denser NAND, but faster NAND. Should have begun years ago, since it affects all their computers now.

     

    Note that the iPod classic could have received a simple update to 240 gigabytes. FIVE YEARS AGO. It would have meant returning to the old new thick case (as opposed to the current, now old, new thin case from the last model they made), but it would have been possible. It also would have given the iPod classic complete, unquestioned, unassailable dominance in the mobile music capacity department (as well as the immobile, plug it into my kick-awesome stationary house stereo for ALAC playback department) for even the foreseeable future today. Apple probably could have made a single order of 240 gig drives back then and still not be out of them today. But then it’s a question of margins and userbase.

  • Reply 6 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

     

    Wasn't the iPod Classic still a strong seller, even just a few years ago due to it's large capacity and classic click wheel interface? Although I understand iPod sales have been on a steady decline due to cannibalization by iPhone.


    A strong seller yes, but probably not enough to sustain the 1.8" hard drive production line by itself. In earlier years, the majority of the iPod lineup used 1.8" HDs, and those components were used on multiple devices from multiple OEMs, and available from multiple suppliers. Eventually it dwindled down to Toshiba selling a 3+ year old design to just one customer. The economies of scale just aren't there anymore for the iPod line.

  • Reply 7 of 85
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Some guy said he had 40,000 tracks in his music collection. This has to be the exception not the norm. Outside of the MacPro Apple doesn't really design and sell products that only appeal to a niche market.
  • Reply 8 of 85
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Some guy said he had 40,000 tracks in his music collection. This has to be the exception not the norm. Outside of the MacPro Apple doesn't really design and sell products that only appeal to a niche market.

    My collection is just over 10,000 tracks. However, I also use high bitrate conversions and uncompressed tracks, so storing my entire collection without any downsampling would require 140 GB.

     

    I use iTunes Match, but whenever I travel, I have to pick out the playlists and move them locally onto my phone before heading out.

  • Reply 9 of 85
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,163member
    Did they ask why the iPod touch was getting no love? I would be in the market for an A7 or A8 iPod touch, but not for an A5 or A6 version.
  • Reply 10 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Some guy said he had 40,000 tracks in his music collection. This has to be the exception not the norm. Outside of the MacPro Apple doesn't really design and sell products that only appeal to a niche market.

     

    53,347 here. Takes up half of my MBP's 1TB SSD. Still waiting for iTunes Match to allow me to pay for it. :)

  • Reply 11 of 85
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    [@]Rogifan[/@], this is something else interesting Tim Cook said.
  • Reply 12 of 85
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

     

    Does anyone really keep their iPod classic around because they like the click wheel? Or just because they like 160 gigs?


     

    I keep my classic around and use it during my commutes mainly because it has 160 gigs. The moment I finally get my iPhone 128 GB model, I'll ditch the classic.

     

    Of course, when the phone arrives is anybody's guess at this point...

  • Reply 13 of 85
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,061member
    I figure the iPod Touch is the next on to go. I mean with 4.7 & 5.5 inch iPhones, and the iPad mini, why would anyone buy a 4" iPod Touch? I figure if they keep it around it'll be a 5.5" offering only, or perhaps something even larger between the 6 Plus and the mini.
  • Reply 14 of 85
    I feel very strongly that Apple is completely blowing it by ignoring their iPods. It is not like people have stopped liking music. And with expensive headphones like their Beats, it screams for Apple to take the lead in high-def sound. So while Apple sits on the side lines, Pono ($399), FiiO X5 ($349), the very cool Cowon Plenue P1 $1,250), and the Astell & Kern's AK240 ($2,500) are going to take over this market.

    I can only hope that Apple is sitting back and waiting to perfect something really good but I heard nothing. In the meantime, other online vendors with their high-rez music stores and these awesome high-rez pocket players are THE game in town. If you've heard this kind of quality it is amazing. You'll forget all about streaming music ever again and for a brand that is all about connecting to a quality product in a personal way......Apple is not even in this game.
  • Reply 15 of 85
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    So while Apple sits on the side lines, Pono ($399), FiiO X5 ($349), the very cool Cowon Plenue P1 $1,250), and the Astell & Kern's AK240 ($2,500) are going to take over this market.

    1) Let them capitalize on the dwindling buggy whip market.

    2) What market are actually speaking, because in terms of a portable music player the iPhone trounces them all.
  • Reply 16 of 85

    This is a sad time in Apple's history. Actually allowing a device that set up their mobile device movement to die is stupid. The iPod Classic HD could have easily been replaced by an SSD. There are so many manufacturers of this technology that the reason of lack of parts is just inexcusable. Tim Cook is full of it. Lost your drive for the product is more like it. I know the iPod is not the money maker the iPhone is but at one time it was. Neglect is another reason for it's "death." There is still a place for the iPod Classic as a portable storage device. I have all my music on that device and it still works wonderfully. Maybe consider the 128GB chip you are using on the iPhone as the replacement for the iPod. It is a damn shame to have let it die such an unceremonious death.

  • Reply 17 of 85
    mac_128 wrote: »
    I figure the iPod Touch is the next on to go. I mean with 4.7 & 5.5 inch iPhones, and the iPad mini, why would anyone buy a 4" iPod Touch? I figure if they keep it around it'll be a 5.5" offering only, or perhaps something even larger between the 6 Plus and the mini.

    For my 6 year old, I don't yet want her to have an iPhone; but even the latest iPads lack an LED flash for their cameras, and my child loves to take pictures, so my wife and I are leaning towards replacing the iPad 2 with an iPod Touch. I don't imagine that every parent of a preteen wants to shell out for another phone, and the lack of a flash for the cameras of the various iPads is a flaw that Apple has yet to address.
  • Reply 18 of 85
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,509member
    I'm surprised they didn't release an iPod Touch based on the iPhone 6 . With the current demand for the high margin iPhone 6 I'm sure it makes much more financial sense to devote as much manufacturing capacity as possible to the iPhone 6 product line. The iPod has become expendable.
  • Reply 19 of 85
    I use my iPod classic 30 gigs in my 2014 Honda. It lives in the car. technology in Honda integrates so well, I control my iPod classic on the console. Album art, UI integration is awesome. I have bought a second iPod classic off eBay and it also serves the same purpose in my wife vehicle. What a workhorse.
  • Reply 20 of 85
    davdav Posts: 88member

    i think the answer is that you're not supposed to own media anymore.  just subscribe for a monthly fee, and they'll stream it for you.  software, movies, music, books - it seems like it's all going this way, and when you stop paying, it's gone.  no need for an ipod, or high capacity devices, you can just access it for $XX/month.

    unfortunately, i agree with steve, i like to own.

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