The Death of the Click Wheel

Discussion in 'iPod' started by DavidMarks, Jun 9, 2013.

  1. DavidMarks macrumors member


    Mar 6, 2013
    I'm a big iPod lover. I've owned a 2nd gen nano, a 6th gen classic, then a 5th gen nano, then a 4th gen touch. The touch was stolen, I sold the classic and the 5th gen nano a while ago, and now I have the 2nd gen nano and was on the market for a new nano, but decided eventually to buy a 16GB 5th gen nano again.

    I love the click wheel. And I think multi-touch should be exclusive to iOS devices. To, me, the 5th gen nano was the last really great iPod (touch aside), that's why I came back to it. The click wheel is what makes the iPod nano and classic likeable, and by that i mean the only people who buy the new nano are probably the ones who can't afford an iPod touch. I don't see any other reason.

    The classic is off to an everlasting limbo. If and when they kill it off, the click wheel is gone, and so is the iconic, revolutionary iPod UI and shape that redefined the 2000's.

    I know this probably reads more like a ******, philosophical blog post than an actual thread, but the bottom line is simple, and I'd like to hear your thoughts:

    What do you think about the extinction of the click wheel?

    - Is it really a necessary evolutionary step, or does Apple think it's time to move on, focus on iOS and stick on the nano (now a stripped-down touch) as a 'budget' player?

    - Do you think there will come the time when they can pack a 128GB ssd on the nano, kill off the classic and the nano will have both a 16GB and a 128GB model?
  2. hogger129, Jun 9, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013

    hogger129 macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2013
    iPod Classic needs more capacity. That is its selling point. 160GB is not enough. Especially when people have a lot of lossless music.

    I think they should ditch the HDD and use an SSD in it. 256GB. I know a lot of people who would buy one. It's too bad Apple never built something into them to make use of microSD cards like Sansa and Cowon players can.

    Speaking of capacity, I am also wondering why Apple never came out with 128GB versions of the iPod Touch like they did with the iPad.

    I think the trend we're going to see though is that the Classic will be discontinued soon and Apple will change the iTunes model to streaming rather than purchasing a song and putting it on your device. I would never pay a subscription to stream music (that's why I have a radio in my car), but if they're going to do that, it would be nice if the iPod Classic was kept for people who don't want to stream.
  3. DavidMarks thread starter macrumors member


    Mar 6, 2013
    Yes, that and a lightning connector. And the screen could be improved too, à la nano 5th Gen. Artwork looks stunning on it, unlike the classic.
    SD cards were never of Apple's interest. I kinda understand their point.
    Yes! They should do that, but since it's a huge space saver, I don't think the classic would retain its thickness. They'd much easily stick the memory in the nano than redesign the classic. Although I'd prefer it the other way around.
    Let's pray they don't. Can you imagine not being able to listen to music when you have no internet connection??? I believe it's going to be optional. I also believe it's going to be much deeply integrated with iTunes than a simple 'iRadio' button. We'll find out tomorrow, hopefully!
  4. hogger129 macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2013
    Yeah but the Classic is supposed to be a plain Jane basic music player.

    Apple just signed a deal with Warner for a streaming music service. So I would assume that's the direction they're going.

    Kinda stinks because then they'll just chop the music down further in quality in order to help it stream better. I don't want to go back to 128kbps.
  5. DavidMarks thread starter macrumors member


    Mar 6, 2013
    I don't believe it will. Spotify already offers MP3 @ 320kbps streaming and the quality is dead on. Music libraries still have a lot to live. My two cents: Apple already has a huge advantage with the Genius feature. But it's currently limited to your library.

    Can you imagine if their 'radio' is just a Genius button? Select a song from your library or from the iTunes store, click Genius: Boom, an endless radio based on the genre, artist or song. The algorithm is already there! My guess is they'll make the Genius button more prominent across iTunes, and you get to choose if you want a streamed radio, or just a local playlist. On top of that, they make their entire catalogue available for streaming with a subscription model. But the 1-click purchasing is still there. People like to own their music, they've said many times. They won't s...t can one of the most lucrative and widely used stores on the web like that.

    EDIT: they'll probably stream at AAC 256kbps, which is the same as the iTunes store.
  6. RAPTORSKI macrumors regular


    Jan 24, 2013
    British Columbia
    I've never used the click wheel that much (got an iPod touch pretty quick) so I don't miss it no. It should just die in my opinion as I find a screen more useful and the click wheel not representing the modern Apple any longer. I did own an iPod shuffle for months and was okay but that was about it.
  7. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I think the jog wheel was the best navigation device. It got the skeuomorphic design perfect because it was a wheel. Even the click wheel was "missing" something, and the all-touch screen just completely lack any personality.
  8. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2007
    Midwest America.
    They did make a much slimmer Classic. I don't think it used SSD, but it was noticeably slimmer. I skipped the 5th gen Nano because of the muddled design of the thing. It had a camera and mic. I never could understand why. And the outline of it too, the tapered edges. It seemed more like a 'proof of concept' device, rather than a serious iPod. The 6th gen was interesting. A precursor to an 'iWatch'? The 7th gen is a hit too, I love the Bluetooth feature probably a heck of a lot more than I'd like a camera. Just sayin'...
  9. Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    May 13, 2013
    I imagine it would have functionality similar to Spotify's offering where you can enable "offline listening" via the Mac/PC application, which then syncs your streaming playlists to your iOS device for listening when off the grid. The downside is you're not able to add music or use the radio feature when off the grid but that is to be expected. From what I understand the royalties paid are pennies (fraction of a penny?) based on each play, so there is probably some background tracking that logs each track's playcount and then syncs back up once you're back online.
  10. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    I have both the Touch (64GB) and the classic (80GB). While I am impressed by the versatility and 'cool' form factor of the Touch (and the SSD), I am - and remain - one of those who likes to have all of my music in one portable device solely for music, which means that I am a huge admirer of the classic in its pure, stripped down, capacious form.

    To me, the classic is one of the most wonderful devices ever invented - I travel a lot, to strange, inhospitable countries, and having vast quantities of music to hand is not merely a pleasant diversion, but a necessity.

    To be honest, I would be in the market for a larger capacity classic, preferably with a SSD; I'd happily pay for a 256GB SSD in the classic. I'm not interested in streaming, and nor does cloud computing (a separate topic, I know) hold much attraction for me.

    Re the actual question posed by the OP, yes, I love the sheer simplicity and ease of use of the click wheel, and I would be very sorry to see this device phased out.
  11. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2006
    The click wheel was amazing, will be a shame to see it go completely.
  12. .Asa macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2013
    I love the click wheel. It is such an iconic design - it just can't die. I hope apple updates the iPod classic to ssd and lightning connector so the click wheel can stay around.
  13. sick z33 macrumors 6502

    Sep 20, 2008
  14. Pakaku macrumors 68000


    Aug 29, 2009
    It was pretty neat for its time, but I think it's time to move on. I personally prefer directly manipulating what's on the screen.

    If they could design an iPod Touch with a huge SSD, and dedicate it to nothing but music, I would be a very happy person. Bonus points if they include a virtual click-wheel for you lot :p
  15. Shmoham macrumors newbie

    Jun 2, 2012
    I wish i could see two models of the iPod classic in the future. With these features while maintaining the same old iPod classic look and form factor.

    - 128 & 256 Flash storage capacities.
    - Slimmer design.
    - Lightning cable port for charging.
    - All aluminum design similar to the iPod touch.
    - Bluetooth for streaming music on car stereo wirelessly.
    - More fluid software but also maintain the same UI.

    AND PLEASE! No games. This is a music player.

    Sent from my iPhone 5 using Tapatalk 2
  16. Beeplance macrumors 68000


    Jul 29, 2012
    I really wonder what's with the hiatus of updates for the iPod Classic. The company seems to think that people aren't that interested in a dedicated music player in this day and age, and would rather divert their efforts and time to improving the iPhone, iPad and the iPod Touch. Hope one day they'll update the classic; I'll be waiting! :)

    What I'd like for the next generation Classic:

    -Better battery life - more than the current 36 hours.
    -Slimmer design (Who doesn't want this?)
    -Retains the click wheel (or else I'm not buying!)
    -Current storage of 160GB should be more than enough for me, but if they
    increase it, I'm all good as well.

    If Apple announces anything about killing off the iPod Classic line, I'm rushing down to the nearest Apple Store immediately and purchasing one.
  17. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    I admit that I'm... well, completely and entirely out of the loop on iOS devices, so I may be spouting nonsense, but why hasn't someone done this? Even if not on the official app store, you would think somebody would have devised a modification to the music player/produced their own music player with an on-screen click wheel. It wouldn't be the same as the real thing for certain, but it does baffle me a bit as to why such a thing (for all I know) doesn't exist. :confused:
  18. someoldguy, Jun 17, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013

    someoldguy macrumors 68000

    Aug 2, 2009
    The demise of the click wheel is probably inevitable , but maybe not just yet . It's an iconic design that just works really well . What would be nice would be a 128/256 ssd in a new , thinner classic , and a new nano with maybe a 32/64 gig ssd and a click wheel/screen maybe like the 3rd or 5th gen. ones. There's been a bunch of iPod's in the family , seems like the click wheel ones are the one's that everyone hangs onto.
  19. jozero macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2009
    By far one of the most annoying things about Apple. The clickwheel is an incredible input device, you can use it without looking and served an incredible array of purposes intuitively :
    - skip track
    - scrub through a track
    - scrub through a list of tracks
    - volume up
    - volume down
    - reverse
    - ffwd
    - play pause

    Because Apple only focuses on a few products however, and for whatever reason the powers that be decided scroll wheels are out of vogue, it gets ditched. If this was any other company we would still have a scroll wheel nano, and the current wackadoodle change-every-iteration-it-doesnt-know-what-it-is-nano would be another product.
  20. APlotdevice macrumors 68040


    Sep 3, 2011
    The cost of the iPod Classic would skyrocket if they switched to a 128/256GB SSD!
  21. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    Ahh, the click wheel...

    While I admit I don't use my iPod classic as much anymore, I will be very sad when it dies and Apple has no replacement available. It was great in my last car where I had an aux cable for the stereo. My current car is newer but has the stock radio with no aux or USB so I've been reduced to itrips :p. And I like my iPhone, but I have more than 16 gb of music. I really do need to find my first gen Shuffle for nostalgia though...

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