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iPod: The End of a Classic Era

GlobemaniPodThe iPod is officially dead.

Wait. That’s not what I mean. Apple’s iPod line is very much alive, despite the company having finally killed off the Classic version of its dedicated MP3 player. We still can cling to the iPod touch, iPod nano, and the tiny iPod shuffle with its circular button design that is the closest physical reminder we have of the click wheel iPod.

Let me be more clear – my iPod is officially dead.

It might seem like the perfect metaphor: my classic 30GB white iPod circa 2006 is put on permanent mute around the same time as the entire Classic line. But it’s not. There’s nothing symbolic at all about the time of its death. In fact, it likely died many months or even a year ago. That’s about the last time I remember using it. The polar vortex-spiked winter we endured this past year must have been the final frozen straw for my iPod that lately had spent most of its time negligently buried in the center console of my car.

The end of an era
When the Apple Store came back online shortly after the jam-packed iPhone/Apple Watch event in early September, the iPod Classic had unceremoniously vanished without word from Tim Cook & Co. It took this sudden death of the iPod Classic to remind me that I even had a click-click-click-click wheel version of an iPod at all. So, I dug around my desk drawers and my car until I finally found it.

My iPod had long been replaced by my various smartphones over the past three or four or five years and was used on only the rarest of occasions. And now, it needed a permanent replacement because when I plugged it in and tried to turn it on, nothing happened. For me, the death marked the official end of an era. An era that had been ushered over the past few years ago by touch screens and streaming music.

I bought the doomed white iPod from a friend to replace my similarly doomed fourth generation model. I got it cheaply because the iPod market was absolutely flooded when I was in college. They were passed around like currency. You could get one free with a new Mac, or buy one from someone who got it free with their new Mac and unsurprisingly didn’t need it because they already had one. But that ubiquity didn’t ease the pain of the fact that the last iPod I will ever buy has died.

Gone, not forgotten
I won’t bore you with another re-telling of the iPod’s history. Its story has been told many, many times before. But the Classic iPod did have a great run. It nearly made it to its 13th anniversary. That’s saying something for current technology. Its final design was surprisingly true to its first – although that final design was capable of holding, oh, about 39,000 more songs than the first model.

But now – for me at least – it’s over. I still have my iPod shuffle for when I exercise, but my Classic is dead. Around 4,500 songs, one episode of Community and a handful of old Bill Simmons Podcasts are gone, but thanks to my backup, they’re not forgotten. Sort of like the iPod Classic.

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