Steve's official lack of response to my question about the iPod Classic

Discussion in 'iPod' started by Asu, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. Asu macrumors member

    Asu

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    #1
    Some reprobate stole my 32 GB old iPod so wanted to buy a new one. I waited until the September updates but as we all know the Classic did not get updates.

    I toyed with the idea of a Touch but I never really found it interesting. The iPhone does communications better since it is a phone also, the iPAD does everything else better. So then what is the point. I already have an iPhone, it just makes no sense to duplicate all features (except the phone) just so I can play my music.

    I was actually hoping for a Nano 32 GB but that did not happen either.

    Now, I know that our beloved Steve sometimes answers questions posed by mere users with a simple Yes or No so I decided to send him an email. It went thusly:


    Below is Steve's response:

    So it must be ofishul: the Classic is now Pass-ic
     
  2. Googlyhead macrumors 6502

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    #2
    Well; not only would your email have to be one of the ones lucky enough to get noticed, but it would also probably need ask a question to which the answer would not be a secret, or about an unannounced product.
    And so, the response is exactly what would be expected.
     
  3. LoganT macrumors 68020

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    #3
    You have a major sense of an entitlement if you think that question deserves to be answered when he probably gets a thousand emails like this everyday.
     
  4. kolax macrumors G3

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  5. Fuchal macrumors 68020

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    #5
    I really feel sorry for Steve and his email account.
     
  6. anabellag7 macrumors newbie

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    #6
    It's a shame Apple will no longer sell the Classic...

    I still own and use my 80GB black iPod, I love it!
     
  7. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

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  8. DisneyRicky macrumors regular

    DisneyRicky

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    #8
    When you get an iMac, he is in your AddressBook as Steve@Apple.com
     
  9. NathanA macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Well, color me confused.

    I'm no Apple apologist (check out my posting history if you doubt me), but this seems like a rather...strange complaint.

    You say you want a dedicated, high-capacity music player without all of the fancy extras. Okay, then...buy the current iPod Classic. It fits your requirements exactly. What more do you want them to do to update it? They haven't discontinued it; it's still for sale, it's exactly what you are asking for, and it hasn't become less useful as a result of not being updated. So what's the problem?

    Considering it's called the "Classic," if they made any drastic changes to it, hordes of people would probably end up complaining if Apple *did* update it, so they're darned if they do, darned if they don't. Personally, my guess is that Apple will keep it around at least until the Touch goes to 128GB, at which point the capacity gap will be narrow enough to justify reconsidering its continued existence.

    -- Nathan
     
  10. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    #10
    That sounds reasonable, but I respectfully disagree with you. Even with a 128GB SSD in an iPod Touch, the cost will be FAR more than an iPod Classic. I know there are other people like myself that are interested in a very high capacity music player, but without all the other "fluff" features of an iPod Touch that do nothing but add to the cost.

    Here's to hoping that the iPod Classic has a long life ahead of it! :)
     
  11. NathanA macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    For your sake, I hope you're right! :) I certainly couldn't care less, but it doesn't affect me one way or the other, so more power to you. :cool:

    To explain my reasoning a little bit more, though, the way I see it, based both on what people are buying these days as well as what new products Apple *and* other manufacturers are coming out with, hard-drive-based players are on their way out. Nobody really wants one (which by "nobody" I mean your average everyday Joe Consumer). HDD technology as a *whole* is on the way out, even. And just like the floppy drive before it, Apple (along with the rest of the industry, I'm sure) is slated to ditch mechanical and failure-prone magnetically-charged spinning discs and wholeheartedly embrace solid-state storage across their entire product line as soon as it is practical to do so (cost comes down, etc.)

    It will take a while for this to happen in desktops and laptops since capacity is still king in both of those markets. But as we are already seeing to a great extent, this will happen in portable/hand-held devices first, where flash memory simply makes way more sense (power consumption, durability against physical shock, and so on, all at the cost of capacity in the near-term which most people deem to be an acceptable compromise for hand-held devices). The only reason that the iPod Classic line used hard drives originally is because it has only been fairly recently that flash memory has become anywhere close to an economically-viable design choice for consumer products.

    Now, let's talk about iPod Touch for a moment. For the iPod Touch line, Apple has demonstrated that they prefer, for the sake of simplicity, to keep all current offered models at $400 and below, and to offer 3 different capacities at roughly $100 apart; so there are (roughly) $200, $300, and $400 price points for 8, 32, and 64GB respectively. Remember, though, that when the iPod Touch was first introduced in 2007, the three models were priced at $300, $400, and $500 for 8, 16, and 32GB! Within the span of 3 years, the top model has vastly increased both in feature count and in raw computing power, has doubled in storage capacity, and has had its price DROP BY $100! That's only in 3 years' time!!

    Like I said in the other thread that you quoted yourself in, ;) Apple is not the type of company which takes pride in past accomplishments. They are not a company of nostalgia. In fact, if anything, they are anti-nostalgia. All they care about is what they can make succeed going forward. And once a product has outlived its usefulness, they are going to ditch it, sure as the sky is blue. Again, we've seen them do it before to products that were a core part of their business or that they had a hand in innovating: the Apple II (you think I'm kidding here, but that line got upgraded many times after the introduction of Macintosh, and there were many who didn't want it discontinued; it was a staple in many businesses and in the education sector, even throughout the 90s), floppy disc technology, translucent candy-colored all-in-ones, MacOS Classic, and the PowerPC, just to name a few. I'd argue that mechanical hard drives are on their way out, and with them, classic iPods. Apple already ditched the iconic iPod shape and controls on the most recent Nano, which I think tells you something.

    Now, it is possible that they *could* decide to keep the iPod Classic alive by outfitting it with flash memory instead of hard drives. But if they did that, and tried to keep it at its current capacity level, it would surely (at this point) increase the cost of the device to the consumer from its current $300 price point, so on top of the change from HDD to flash, Apple would need to then expend additional resources to distinguish the iPod "classic" from the previous model in ways other than storage technology, in order to justify the higher price...I would argue, from observing how they tend to go about product revs, that from Apple's point-of-view, the customer needs to be able to see and discern a *tangible* and *practical* difference from the old to the new; they won't limit the set of changes to something as abstract (to the consumer) as internal storage technology.

    Keep in mind that my argument was that the Classic will get axed *when* the Touch finally hits 128GB, and not that this would happen in a year. I didn't say that it will be next year; it might not be. What I will claim is that the Touch will *not* hit 128GB *until* Apple can offer the 128GB model at the same price point (or less; remember, there have been price drops) as the current top-of-the-line 64GB Touch. Once this happens, that means that there will be, at MOST, a $100 price difference between the iPod Classic and the latest iPod Touch at 128GB. Given this fact, dollars-to-donuts Apple will drop the Classic and spin it as "yeah, it costs $100 more. But look at all that you get for that extra $100! It has a HUGE screen, which is WAY better to watch video on than the Classic. It's a powerful, wireless pocket computer! It has the best iPod experience to-date with its multitouch display controls, it's a super-hot gaming platform, it's an e-book reader, it's got the App Store, and gives you a fully-compliant HTML5-spec web browser wherever there is Wi-Fi!" Not to mention that, because the storage is solid-state, it will be infinitely more rugged. Apple will use all of this to claim that the Classic is "dead-end technology" and that a multifunction iPod pocket computer doesn't cost much more but is able to DO a whole lot more.

    You know I'm right. :p

    -- Nathan

    EDIT: I stand corrected on the current iPod Classic price point; I just looked it up, and it retails for $250, not $300. Hmm. That might change things a little, but long-term I don't think it does much to weaken my hypothesis.

    First, flash storage prices can only continue to go down from here, especially as it becomes a mass-market phenomenon. So I don't see any price hikes for future iPod Touch models (Apple wouldn't do that to themselves, especially since any price hikes would reduce the price gap between the largest iPod Touch and the cheapest iPad even more, which wouldn't look good), and there is a great deal to make me hope that more price cuts could be on the way in the future (in part because of point #2 below).

    Second, flash storage is continually getting larger, faster, and cheaper, while I would wager that virtually NO research and development money is being applied toward iPod-sized hard drives in the same way. That's not to say that hard drives as a whole are not currently enjoying advances in technology; on the contrary, we see that they are. I mean, good grief: 2TB+ is ridiculously cheap these days! But the iPod Classic employs a special, tiny 1.8" drive that really doesn't get used in any other industry; in fact, I'm pretty sure that Apple is Toshiba's (the manufacturer of the Classic's HDD) biggest customer for the things. I highly doubt that we are going to see capacity advancements in these kinds of specialty hard drives, because what would be the incentive? The only company buying them is Apple, and once flash gets to the point where it is as cheap as those drives for the same amount of storage capacity, then it's over.
     
  12. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    #12
    See, this is what I don't agree with. I don't CARE about the extra "fluff" - I have an iPhone. I don't NEED an iPod Touch. I want the capacity of an iPod Classic. I don't want to pay an extra $100 for useless features and less storage. When they implement a 128GB iPod Touch, they can no doubt implement a much higher capacity Classic - let's use a completely arbitrary number, like 250GB.

    If the capacities are bumped up, let's assume this happens: a 128GB Touch becomes top of the line @ $399, and the 250GB Classic takes the current gen's place at $249. Why on EARTH would I want to spend and extra $150 for less storage and, to me, useless crap?

    I know there are other minds like mine out there, who simply want an iPod for what it was originally designed to do - play music and hold everything we own.
     
  13. NathanA macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    (Note: I added a postscript to my last reply before I saw this reply from you.)

    Well, you're a different market segment for them altogether, then, and they're not going to try to sell you an iPod Touch: if you are an iPhone user, it's all about convergence anyway. The iPhone is really just an iPod Touch with a phone app on it and a couple extra bells-and-whistles. (Or, you can think of an iPod Touch as an iPhone without a contract, as Steve himself put it.) So, yeah, you're right: if you have an iPhone, then you don't need/want an iPod Touch. But it cuts both ways: if you have an iPhone, then what are you doing with an iPod Classic? The ONLY answer to that challenge right now is storage capacity, and if flash storage technology continues at the development pace that I'm predicting, then time will take care of that problem.

    Yeah, as I acknowledged in my postscript, I goofed on the Classic price; sorry. But I would argue that your hypothetical iPod Classic capacity bump is not a realistic possibility. In order to get to 250GB, either a 250GB 1.8" hard drive is going to have to be produced (I admit that maybe one exists, I honestly don't know; I am pretty sure, though, that if it doesn't, it probably will never see the light of day because, again, I'm not sure the sales figures are strong enough for Toshiba to bother), OR the Classic is going to have to go to flash storage. And I have my doubts that Apple could produce a 256GB Classic for only $250 at the same time that the 128GB Touch comes to pass...the majority of the cost of that device is going to be in the flash chips. So either price will go UP on the Classic, narrowing the price gap even further (although perhaps for some it could be argued that it is worth having 256GB of music), or Apple won't bother.

    It used to be that people thought the same way about cell phones: just give me a phone that works as a phone, and don't add all this extra crap to it like a worthless VGA camera, or a crappy-ass WAP browser on a small 1.5" screen, or texting on a 9-key keypad. But hardly anybody thinks like that anymore...obviously you agree, since you yourself own an iPhone! The R&D has already been done and the component prices for these fancy new smartphones are spiraling downward. It doesn't make sense NOT to have a smartphone anymore when you can pay $99 (subsidized) for an entry-level iPhone 3GS these days. You'd find yourself paying MORE than that for a Motorola RAZR back in its heyday, and it did way, way less. Such is the march of progress.

    I understand that what you see is a compromise: being forced to pay more for things you don't need. I think there may be a short period of overlap where that might indeed be the case. But then again, there might not be. What I *do* know is that the days of the specialized music player device are coming to an end, and at some point (sooner, rather than later, I hope) it won't be a compromise anymore! And once that point is reached, why go for a specialized device when the multipurpose device does the same thing way better plus a whole lot more, for the same price? (Especially when you will already own said multipurpose device: an iPhone 6th-gen 256GB, heh)

    -- Nathan

    EDIT: Well, you're in luck: Toshiba makes a 250GB 1.8" form-factor drive. It's the highest-capacity 1.8" drive they manufacture: http://www.sdd.toshiba.com/main.aspx?Path=StorageSolutions/1.8-inchHardDiskDrives/MKxx29GSGSeries
     
  14. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    #14
    I think you might have missed a fairly important part (which I completely understand - it IS pretty late!)

    ... When they implement a 128GB iPod Touch, they can no doubt implement a much higher capacity Classic - let's use a completely arbitrary number, like 250GB.
    =D

    I still respectfully disagree. A specialized music player IS still relevant ... look what they just did to the Nano. They took out all the fluff to turn it back into essentially a "pure" iPod. The target market for the Nano doesn't need the extra crap, just like us with Classics. We want the capacity, not the fluff.
     
  15. NathanA macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    :)

    I think you missed a fairly important part: you said that you think "they can no doubt implement a much higher capacity Classic." But I've been contending that this *is* in doubt because handheld-profile HDD technology simply isn't going to have R&D money thrown at it for much longer.

    It's not the number that matters -- arbitrary or no. It's whether it is technically feasible or (really more importantly) economically practical. Nobody wants to throw development money at a dead-end technology. At some point, the Classic will either die, or go to flash storage, and if it goes to flash storage, doubts remain about whether it will retain the same price or form-factor, which in turn raises other doubts about whether Apple would even bother at all.

    Maybe you would still be a Classic customer if it turned into a physically bigger version of the new multitouch Nano at a higher price point than the current Classic?

    -- Nathan

    EDIT: Hah, although I guess it couldn't really be called the Classic anymore if they did that, could it?

    Also...

    ...this is a rather intriguing point you make. It's true, they did simplify it, and some might say for the better. But what they didn't do was lower its price, or increase its capacity. Right? So from one perspective, you are now getting less for your money than you were before.
     
  16. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    #16
    EDIT:
    Bah, I reread everything and I think I "misunderstood" a few points ... or at least took them to be much more snarky than they were intended. Consider this a friendly handshake and a thank you for a decent (and rather well thought-out) conversation. Bonus points for good grammar! :)
     
  17. NathanA macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    I'm truly sorry you feel that way. I also felt it was (refreshingly) civil, and I enjoyed the discussion. I didn't feel like I was spouting conspiracy theories myself, and don't view either outcome in a negative light; I am just trying to look at it from a practical business perspective. I fully acknowledge I could be completely off-base. But if I held back on account of that, then where would the fun in speculating about the future be? :)

    No hard feelings?

    Take care,

    -- Nathan

    EDIT: I guess, for the sake of clarification (given your "conspiracy theories" comment), that I should have made the disclaimer at the outset, in case it wasn't already clear, that I don't own a Classic, and probably never will (not because I think they're "dumb" or "useless," but because I personally just don't have any need of one). I am a fan of the iPhone/iPod Touch platform, and I viewed my mad prophetic ramblings not as conspiracies against me as a consumer of iPods (although there are plenty of other places for that discussion!), but rather as being hopeful and optimistic in favor of iOS platform devices... :)
     
  18. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    #18
    Please see my edit above. No hard feelings at all. :)

    As an iPhone owner, I'll second this - if I had a beer, I'd offer to toast over it!


    In any case, no matter what happens, it boils down to something simple - give me a high capacity solution either in a low to moderate price range, or a high capacity iPhone. I'm sure one of the two will happen, and I'll be perfectly happy with that. :)
     
  19. allmIne macrumors 6502a

    allmIne

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    #19
    Goodness, you two are refreshingly civil and respectful :)
     
  20. fizzwinkus macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    two big benefits of flash storage over a hard drive is shock resistance and battery life. a couple years back, apple was selling an 80gb and 160gb ipod classic. the next year, they dropped them for a single 120gb model. i have no doubt you can get even larger capacity 1.8 inch drives today. i think this is apple's drawing a line in the sand. you will always be able to buy a bigger hd than you can flash and for much less. with the line drawn at 120/128gb, apple is saying as soon as the price difference is at $100 or less, we will stop the classic line and only sell the touch.

    ios is the future and there's only two things that can trump it - those are size (nano) and price (shuffle). the classic's storage advantage is evaporating, slowly, but surely.

    well that's my take on it, anyway :)
     
  21. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #21
    My 160GB classic has a better battery life than any flash based iPod.

    It's a bit fatter though. :D
     
  22. fizzwinkus macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    the new ipod touch lists 40 hours... i didn't know the classic was so good!
     
  23. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #23
    I've got the first 'fat' 160GB classic.

    http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/entry/apple-ipod-classic-80gb-160gb/P2

    This is from their test of the new iPod touch...

    They got nearly 43 hours from the current 160GB iPod classic.
     
  24. bartelby macrumors Core

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    #24
    So it suits you well then...
    ;):p
     
  25. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #25
    Cheeky git! :D
     

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