Apple Killed the iPod Classic Because It ‘Couldn’t Get the Parts Anymore’

AFP
Flickr/Freimut After the dust settled down from the Apple event earlier this month, people noticed something quite sad: Apple quietly killed the iPod Classic, the only iPod to still use the “click wheel.” The largest size was 160GB, and could hold 40,000 songs. And fans of the device took the news pretty hard.  But this wasn’t the first time that Apple quietly killed older products when new products were announced.  Original Apple earbuds iPod and iPhone owners can be most easily spotted by the white cords coming out of their ears. The iconic white earbuds have been shipping with the company’s portable devices since the very first iPod was released in 2001.  The earbuds were updated through the years with slight modifications and additions, such as an inline remote that came with the third-gen Shuffle and an inline remote and mic, which shipped starting with the iPhone 3GS. But in 2012, with the release of the iPhone 5, Apple completely changed the design, as well as the name with the introduction of the Apple EarPod.  Square-shaped iPod Nano Apple introduced the iPod Nano in 2005, when Steve Jobs pointed to the watch pocket in his jeans and asked, “Ever wonder what this pocket is for?” The Nano went through many iterations, but the sixth-generation version, which was released in 2010, was something special. It featured a 1.55-inch touchscreen and, when coupled with a watchband accessory, could be used as a pretty awesome watch.  In 2012, Apple announced the seventh-generation Nano, chucking the square design, going back to the rectangle shape of yesteryear, and leaving all those awesome watchbands in the dust.  30-pin charger Apple’s proprietary 30-pin connector cable was used to charge Apple’s products, until the Lightning cable was introduced in 2012.  The coolest part about the Lightning cable is that it can fit in the device in any direction, so you don’t have to fiddle around with a cord when you need a quick power boost. But with a new proprietary cable, people had to scramble to replace all their accessories that used the 30-pin connector. Not to mention hotels everywhere that provide alarm clocks with built-in 30-pin docks.  iWeb The iLife suite of apps available for Apple computers includes iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand. With iLife ’06, Apple introduced iWeb, an easy-t0-use website- and blog-building app. iWeb included many Apple-made themes and background designs, and offered users templates and ways to integrate with other apps in the iLife suite.  It had a good run, but in 2012, Apple transitioned into iCloud, killing of iWeb in the process. And support for a million Apple-looking websites and blogs were killed in the process. 32GB iPhones The iPhone 3GS was the first phone to include the 32GB storage capacity, joining its 8GB and 16GB brethren. The iPhone 4S came in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, and so did the iPhone 5 and 5S (the iPhone 5C came in only 16GB and 32GB versions).  But with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple skipped 32GB, and instead offers the phone in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB. And some people are not happy about this at all.  iPhone 5 When the iPhone 5S and 5C were announced in 2013, Apple discontinued the iPhone 5. This was an interesting move because in the past, Apple had used its previous-generation phones to fill a lower price point, usually $99. But in this case, the company kept the iPhone 4S as the lower-price-point filler, and got rid of the iPhone 5 altogether.  It didn’t matter to most people, however, since the iPhone 5C was basically the same phone as the 5, with some minor tweaks (a few better specs), as well as some major differences (the iPhone 5C comes in a range of colors and a polycarbonate shell, compared with the iPhone 5′s metal design).  Non-Retina Display iPad 2 The iPad 2 was released in 2011, and was a huge redesign from the first-generation iPad. It came in black and white, was compatible with the magnetic Smart Cover, and was the first iPad to feature a front-facing camera.  But after three years (which, let’s face it, is a lifetime in the world of gadgets), Apple found that more people were buying the iPad Mini with the higher-resolution Retina Display, which was offered at the same $399 price point, and put the non-Retina iPad 2 out to pasture.  iPad 3 (the ‘new’ iPad) Speaking of iPads: The iPad 3 (or, as Apple called it, the “new” iPad) was released in March 2012, and promptly discontinued in October of the same year with the release of the iPad 4 (as well as the iPad Mini).  And people were not very happy about it.  White MacBook Ah, the white MacBook. It launched in 2006 and was on the low end of the family of MacBooks, behind the MacBook Pro and later the MacBook Air. It was aimed at consumer and education markets.  When Apple launched the Air in 2011, it discontinued the white MacBook, but still sold the computer to schools. It then truly discontinued the laptop in 2012.  Aperture and iPhoto After its developer conference this year, Apple said that it was shuttering iPhoto and there would be “no new development” of Aperture. Instead the company would put its focus on an all-encompassing photo solution, simply called Photos. And imaging pros were not happy.  iPod Classic The Classic debuted a few months after the first iPhone in 2007, and was the only iPod to still use the “click wheel.” The largest size, at 160GB, could hold 40,000 songs.  But after the iPhone 6 event, eagle-eyed fans noticed that the Classic was no longer available for purchase.  Let’s stop looking at the past … What we want in the iPhone 7>> Read more stories on Business Insider, Malaysian edition of the world’s fastest-growing business and technology news website.

Despite there still being a demand for the iconic MP3 player, in September, Apple quietly discontinued the iPod Classic, removing it from its website and retail stores. 

The move, just six weeks before what would have been its 13th birthday was seen as an admission that physical and even digital albums are dead and that music streaming is the future.

However, during his headline interview at the WSJD Live Conference on Monday evening, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the decision to ax the click wheel iPod was down to parts.

“We couldn’t get the parts anymore. They don’t make them anymore,” said Cook, according to Engadget. “We would have to make a whole new product … the engineering work to do that would be massive … The number of people who wanted it is very small.”

The iPod Classic offered owners 160 GB of disk space for their music, video and photo collections, and what made it so innovative at the time was the combination of the click wheel for easy searching and operation and the use of a spinning physical hard disk for storage which enabled the device to hold a huge amount of data without breaking the bank.

Although the iPod’s days have been numbered since the launch of the first iPhone back in 2007 the device is loved by many, particularly those with large record collections and those who spend a lot of time traveling.

However times change and even Apple, which pioneered the digital music market with the iTunes Store is finding that it has to adapt.

In its annual report, officially filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week, it admits what a number of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, have been claiming for some time, that sales of digital downloads are falling rapidly.

The Journal claims that sales have fallen by as much as 14 percent over the past year, and while Apple doesn’t offer specific figures, it notes in the filing that “Growth in net sales from the iTunes Store was driven by increases in revenue from app sales reflecting continued growth in the installed base of iOS devices and the expanded offerings of iOS Apps and related in-App purchases. This was partially offset by a decline in sales of digital music.”

To combat this fall in demand, the company is expected to incorporate the Beats music streaming service into a seriously revamped iTunes Store that is expected to launch in early 2015.

In an August report, Futuresource Consulting claimed that revenues from the premium tier of existing music streaming services from the likes of Spotify are already generating $3 billion annually from U.S. and European consumers. It forecasts that by the end of this year there will be 20 million paying subscribers in the Western world, meaning that in the past 24 months demand has more than doubled.

The Recording Industry Association of America also notes that over the first six months of 2014, revenues from music streaming services collected in the country were up 28 percent.