Apple's discontinued iPod classic commands hefty premium on the secondary market

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited December 2014
Three months after its official demise, Apple's iPod Classic --?the last model to come packing a high-capacity spinning drive --?remains popular on marketplace sites like eBay, with buyers willing to pay hundreds of dollars extra to get one.




The 160-gigabyte variant is on offer for $495.99 from third-party sellers Amazon, for instance, nearly double its original retail price of $260. The premium pricing was first noted by The Guardian.

More than 3,000 iPod Classic units are said to have been sold on eBay since October, while nearly 2,000 are currently listed for sale.

The 160-gigabyte iPod Classic remains the highest-capacity portable device Apple has ever produced, useful for those who prefer high-resolution audio or simply choose to carry their entire music collection with them. The current-generation iPod touch maxes out at 64 gigabytes, while the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPad Air 2 are available in 128-gigabyte configurations.

At the time it was pulled from shelves, the iPod Classic had gone five years without an update. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company was no longer able to source parts to build the device, and its sales numbers were not worth re-engineering with new components.

"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."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,099member

    This is going to mess up the iPod lawsuit. Now those crazy lawyers will be able to use these prices as justification that Apple always intended on locking people into their ecosystem and raised their prices accordingly. I'm sure people who buy these iPods will demand that Apple let them install Real DRM-based music on them. /s

  • Reply 2 of 37
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    I'm not second guessing Apple's decision (much), but to say

    "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."

    is disingenious at best. Massive? There are Kickstarter projects more complicated than this. The real answer is that this is a niche product with a limited life (iPhones will have this much capacity soon), so Apple doesn't want to "lose focus" by devoting any resources to it.

    Disclaimer: I have an 80 gig iPod classic sitting in a drawer than I haven't touched in years.
  • Reply 3 of 37

    I have an older one (has the classic white face on it), but I doubt it's worth anything.

  • Reply 4 of 37
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,099member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by malax View Post



    I'm not second guessing Apple's decision (much), but to say



    "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."



    is disingenious at best. Massive? There are Kickstarter projects more complicated than this. The real answer is that this is a niche product with a limited life (iPhones will have this much capacity soon), so Apple doesn't want to "lose focus" by devoting any resources to it.



    Disclaimer: I have an 80 gig iPod classic sitting in a drawer than I haven't touched in years.

    I have a 3rd gen iPod classic that I don't even remember how to turn on. With 16GB, it still has more storage than most base iPhones. The problem with building a new iPod classic is what form factor do you use? The iPod Touch could be altered to include more memory but do users want all the capabilities of the Touch on a simply iPod? If no, then you're back to the Nano form factor and I don't think that could be re-engineered to hold 10-20x more RAM. If people only want simple iPod tasks, then customizing a Touch with a smaller screen and more RAM shouldn't be that hard but simply adding a SD slot might be easier. The problem with that, however, is that everyone would want an SD slot for their iPhones, and I don't see that happening. 

     

    As usual Apple doesn't regularly produce products for a market it sees as small. I fought that for years wanting a diskless iMac and Apple would only allow it to be done by an Apple authorized dealer after it was shipped, they wouldn't alter the assembly line to not include an internal drive, microphone or camera. Apple is the second coming of Henry Ford: you can have any color of car you want as long as it's black. 

  • Reply 5 of 37
    The reengineering argument is just nonsense. If the hard drives were discontinued, Apple could fit the classic with flash storage. It's not that Classic owners demand a hard drive, they want the great sound quality and a lot of storage (and perhaps the simplicity too).
  • Reply 6 of 37
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by williamh View Post



    The reengineering argument is just nonsense. If the hard drives were discontinued, Apple could fit the classic with flash storage. It's not that Classic owners demand a hard drive, they want the great sound quality and a lot of storage (and perhaps the simplicity too).



    There's also the fact that they'd have to re-engineer it to support a Lightning connector, and there were other parts like the Click Wheel that were exclusive to the Classic. Actually, pretty much all the parts were exclusive to that model. Not a good recipe for longevity.

  • Reply 7 of 37
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,432member

    Perhaps Cook is using a bit of hyperbole, but the iPod classic would have to be re-engineered because there are no 1.8" NAND flash HDDs.

     

    Simply not worth it based on the limited demand. That's really the key issue.

     

    At some point replacement batteries will vanish from the third-party iPod repair stores. I'll use my two iPod classics (80GB and 160GB) until the drives die.

  • Reply 8 of 37
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

     

    I have a 3rd gen iPod classic that I don't even remember how to turn on. With 16GB, it still has more storage than most base iPhones. The problem with building a new iPod classic is what form factor do you use? The iPod Touch could be altered to include more memory but do users want all the capabilities of the Touch on a simply iPod? If no, then you're back to the Nano form factor and I don't think that could be re-engineered to hold 10-20x more RAM. If people only want simple iPod tasks, then customizing a Touch with a smaller screen and more RAM shouldn't be that hard but simply adding a SD slot might be easier. The problem with that, however, is that everyone would want an SD slot for their iPhones, and I don't see that happening. 

     

    As usual Apple doesn't regularly produce products for a market it sees as small. I fought that for years wanting a diskless iMac and Apple would only allow it to be done by an Apple authorized dealer after it was shipped, they wouldn't alter the assembly line to not include an internal drive, microphone or camera. Apple is the second coming of Henry Ford: you can have any color of car you want as long as it's black. 


     

    I don't see why you couldn't have a nano form factor with at least 160 Gb.  I have a 64 Gb micro SD card in my camera that is tiny and you could easily get four of the chips out of that into a nano sized device.

  • Reply 9 of 37
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,452member

    There's also the fact that they'd have to re-engineer it to support a Lightning connector, and there were other parts like the Click Wheel that were exclusive to the Classic. Actually, pretty much all the parts were exclusive to that model. Not a good recipe for longevity.
    You both make good points. However, I think what this suggests is that Apple could easily market a premium iPod Touch and probably an iPhone with 256GB, and make it worth their while. Maybe a BTO option, where Apple takes orders over a two week period and then does a limited run with 256GB.

    That's all these people want, the ability to carry a lot of music. The Touch is attractive because it doesn't cost as much as an iPhone, and like the Classic, if a person takes it on a trip where ubiquitous internet connectivity does not exist to access iCloud and other streaming services, and lose or damage it, it's not as big a loss as an iPhone. And this is all the more reason to keep the 4" screen in a smaller form factor.

    In a year, Apple will probably start offering 256GB, and in two years this will be a standard option on all iProducts, and people won't be able to give away the Classic iPod.
  • Reply 10 of 37

    My 160GB Classic has been an outstanding music system for my car. When it finally gives up, I'll truly miss it (unless CarPlay comes with massive storage -- I am thoroughly frustrated by the bugginess and syncing issues of iTunes Match on my iOS devices; I am using iTM less and less).

  • Reply 11 of 37
    Larger iPods and iOS devices please %u2014 much larger. (Explanation below)

    I know I am an edge case, but I have almost all my music re-ripped lossless (expect that purchased online pre-BandCamp & HDTracks), and have over 660GB of music (over 25 years of CDs accumulated & I worked at a record store in college). If can%u2019t fit everything into my old iPod 160GB (Gen6?) even converted to lossy 256AAC. So, I pick and choose. I wish Apple would come out with a 256GB iPod or 512GB-1TB iPad. I would be pretty happy with a 256GB iPad or even a 128GB iPhone that was the size of the 5S.

    I know a lot of people consider this overkill, but before you judge: I am a trained audio engineer that DJs from my MBP (using Traktor at the moment but looking at other DJ Apps). Anything lower in bit rate and the difference is clear %u2014 or should I say muddy (to me and other discerning listeners). So, at clubs I try to only play lossless audio files. Plus, even on modest/decent headphones I can hear the lack of fidelity of lossy formats. In a pinch I have DJed off my iPad, but the sound was so-so since those were lossy. When amplified to fill a medium sized venue the sound lacked the clarity and %u201Cumph%u201D that lossless gives.

    (In fact I wish I could get it all at higher than CD res %u2014 not just what is offered on HDTracks because the fidelity is even better. I have seen the psychological difference that high fidelity makes on the dance floor many times when I see other DJs (or myself) playing lossy tracks vs. lossless or better. People often do not realize how much clarity influences how they perceive the music and the added %u201Cenergy%u201D the lossless versions have.)

    A lot of friends counter: you can DL from the web %u2014 not everywhere has internet access, nor can my data plan handle always having to DL tracks. Also that would mean setting up a server with them since Apple converts anything uploaded to 256AAC %u2014 which sucks. Also, streams can be interrupted which would kill an event. Then they counter: shuffle them around! Then I counter with: yes but at least once a month I am trying to play a track only to find it is not on the device.

    So, only having it all local will do for my needs. Unless someone comes out with an unlimited iPad plan, that%u2019s how it will stay.
  • Reply 12 of 37
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

     

    Perhaps Cook is using a bit of hyperbole, but the iPod classic would have to be re-engineered because there are no 1.8" NAND flash HDDs.

     

    Simply not worth it based on the limited demand. That's really the key issue.

     

    At some point replacement batteries will vanish from the third-party iPod repair stores. I'll use my two iPod classics (80GB and 160GB) until the drives die.




    You can still get iPod Mini batteries from iFixit, I think the Classic will continue to get battery replacements for quite a while.

  • Reply 13 of 37
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by noivad View Post



    Anything lower in bit rate and the difference is clear %u2014 or should I say muddy (to me and other discerning listeners). So, at clubs I try to only play lossless audio files. Plus, even on modest/decent headphones I can hear the lack of fidelity of lossy formats.


    ...


    ...Apple converts anything uploaded to 256AAC %u2014 which sucks.

    No it isn't, no you cant so no it doesn't

  • Reply 14 of 37
    I am interested to see how Apple will respond to another niche area, high-quality music playback like that being developed by the "Pono" effort (http://ponomusic.force.com). It will playback at 192k or FLAC formats. If you watch the Pono video, there are apparently audible differences in the nuances of music that make all the difference in the world. An Apple device would not only need the large capacity of the Classic, but the ability play back at the higher data rate. The new Apple device could be called the "IPod Class!"
    I'm going to reload my 60gig classic with fewer songs in a lossless format to see if I can hear the difference in quality from the current 128 (256 on my phone) on my stock Bose car system. If I can't hear or know the difference, shame on me!
  • Reply 15 of 37
    Simplest solution is to offer an iPod touch with a much larger capacity like 256 gb that would satisfy almost everyone. Almost all classic purchasers are doing so for the capacity not the form factor.
  • Reply 16 of 37
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kellya74u View Post



    I am interested to see how Apple will respond to another niche area, high-quality music playback like that being developed by the "Pono" effort (http://ponomusic.force.com). It will playback at 192k or FLAC formats. If you watch the Pono video, there are apparently audible differences in the nuances of music that make all the difference in the world. An Apple device would not only need the large capacity of the Classic, but the ability play back at the higher data rate. The new Apple device could be called the "IPod Class!"

    I'm going to reload my 60gig classic with fewer songs in a lossless format to see if I can hear the difference in quality from the current 128 (256 on my phone) on my stock Bose car system. If I can't hear or know the difference, shame on me!



    I created a file which has 223 kbps AAC interleaved with the lossless original.  If you like I could upload it somewhere so you can have a listen.  If you can distinguish between the sections then it might be worth your while going to the trouble.  If you can't, like me, you could save yourself the hassle and take all the claims of Hi-Res with a pinch of salt.

  • Reply 17 of 37
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,432member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kellya74u View Post



    I am interested to see how Apple will respond to another niche area, high-quality music playback like that being developed by the "Pono" effort (http://ponomusic.force.com). It will playback at 192k or FLAC formats. If you watch the Pono video, there are apparently audible differences in the nuances of music that make all the difference in the world. An Apple device would not only need the large capacity of the Classic, but the ability play back at the higher data rate. The new Apple device could be called the "IPod Class!"

    I'm going to reload my 60gig classic with fewer songs in a lossless format to see if I can hear the difference in quality from the current 128 (256 on my phone) on my stock Bose car system. If I can't hear or know the difference, shame on me!



    There is an audible difference between 256Kbps AACs and 48kHz/24-bit ALACs. I have an 80GB iPod classic full of the former, and a 160GB classic with the latter.

     

    However, the ability to hear the difference depends a lot of the environment, the level of attention of the listener, and the type of music. A running car is actually too noisy of an environment to discern the difference and the driver is too focused on driving anyhow. If you park the car and turn off the engine, yes you can hear the difference. But that's not how people listen to music in cars.

     

    There's also the type of music. I can hear the sound differences most distinctly on solo acoustic instrumental music and choral singing, not with typical pop/rock music.

     

    The iPod full of 256Kbps AACs lives in my car because the listening environment doesn't gain any benefit from lossless audio. The iPod full of ALACs stays at home, plugged into a NuForce DAC (it's just classical and jazz music too).

     

    I've also listened to the same content in my car between 256K AACs and actual CDs, not discernible while driving.

  • Reply 18 of 37

    It's simply not worth Apple's time and effort for marginal financial returns.  Besides, Apple already has enough on its plate.  The company doesn't have nearly as many employees as some companies do and I'm sure their small design staff already has more than it can handle.  I'm sure Tim Cook is aware of Apple's priorities and to ask for a redesign of some older product makes very little sense.  For those with older iPods there are services that will take your older iPod and put a larger hard drive in it to increase storage.  It's really stupid to criticize Apple for discontinuing an older product where sales had been dropping for years as newer products come along.  As wonderful a product as the Classic 160 is there comes a time when a company has to decide where it's headed and clearly the iPod Classic is not a part of Apple's future.  I wonder if any iPod is part of Apple's future.

     

    Right now, consumers are in a phase of "You don't know how much you'll miss something until it's gone."  I think the Classic's fate was sealed years ago.  Almost everything Apple makes is going to be solid state storage for durability and energy savings.  It would be nice if the iPod Touch had more capacity (I personally prefer a clickwheel to touch screen) because my music library is well past 64 GB.  However, why should I expect Apple build a 128 GB Touch just for me and a few others.  Will it be worth it to Apple?  Probably not.  Do I need to carry that much music around?  Hell, no.  10 GB is more than enough for me to carry around and enjoy.  The Classic 160 GB is gone and that's that.  I wouldn't sell mine for twice the price because it's the end of the line and a terrific product to own.  Would I buy some Classic 160 GB that's been jacked up in price?  Nope.  The one I have is enough.  Am I hating on Tim Cook for being insensitive to my needs and discontinuing the iPod Classic?  Nope.  He's got bigger fish to fry and I'd rather him focus on the future, not the past.

     

    I can't believe all the articles there are about a discontinued product.  Jeez.  Products get discontinued all the time.  I'm pretty certain the Classic 160 had been offered on Apple's site for over a year and I usually check Apple's site once a week for refurbished Macs.  A year was plenty of time for anyone who wanted one to pick one up.  Now Apple is being blamed for doing dirt to iPod users.  Really sick.

  • Reply 19 of 37
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by williamh View Post



    The reengineering argument is just nonsense. If the hard drives were discontinued, Apple could fit the classic with flash storage. It's not that Classic owners demand a hard drive, they want the great sound quality and a lot of storage (and perhaps the simplicity too).



    I don't get it.  You're basically calling Tim Cook a liar if you say he's spouting nonsense.  He could easily say it's not worth it for Apple to redesign it and that would be that.  Maybe he was told that it would require more resources than were available to him at the time.  Why should Tim Cook have to lie about something like that?  Don't other people in the organization have any say about projects?  Suppose Jony Ive told him he doesn't have time to be messing around with some ancient device when he's got other projects to get done.  I'm only saying that you don't work at Apple so you can't know what's really involved in reviving some older product.  Tim Cook should probably have said he can't be bothered altering some product that hardly anyone wants because sales have been falling for years.  Then again, no excuse is good enough if you think a person is lying about something even if it's the truth.

     

    RapidRepair still offers 240 GB hard drive upgrades for iPods, so if you have an older iPod, see if you can get it upgraded to that capacity.  Even RR said they're running out those types of hard drives, so move quickly.

  • Reply 20 of 37

    From a post on MacInTouch from some time in 2014, I discovered that at least late generation classic models have a better DAC than do iPhones. Therefore, there may be an actual performance angle apart from the mass storage desirability.

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