British Columbia·Analysis

Apple kills iPod Classic: another one bites the dust

The technology world went into mourning this week for the discontinued iPod Classic, but will we miss the old click-wheel music machine for long?

Remember the Walkman? Click-wheel aside, chances are we won't mourn the iPod Classic for long

Apple announced this week it is killing the iPod Classic with its iconic thumb wheel design. ((Paul Sakuma/Associated Press))

I've got an old sports Walkman somewhere in my house. It's a few yards away from a dusty five-CD player.

Both, no doubt, eagerly await the arrival of a new exhibit in the museum of my life: the iPod Classic.

Technology lovers may mourn the loss of its circular 'click wheel' and prodigious 160GB  memory (enough to hold my entire music collection!) but if there's one thing experience teaches, it's that no amount of cool bells and whistles will save old gadgets from the junk-heap of history.

A metaphor for life?

A metaphor for life, or just testament to the fickleness of consumer culture? Who knows, but no matter how many wistful odes to the iPod Classic Gizmodo publishes, I can't go down that road again. It's just too painful.

Is the original iPod now a historical artifact or another piece of high tech debris?

I never actually threw away the mix tapes the Walkman used to play. Carefully constructed through hours of painstaking selection, running back and forth between stereos, hitting play, record and pause, they turned out to be about as deeply intuitive as the shuffle function on my iPod. With much less music, of course. Ditto for the five CD-changer.

I swore I'd never get rid of either. But technology companies have a great means for getting customers to change habits. They just stop making the thing you want. Hence my collection of identical LPs, cassettes, CDs and MP3s. Yes, I know each is an evolution of sound and functionality. But really, how many more times can they make me buy Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band?

If there's anything truly chilling about Apple's decision to discontinue the iPod Classic, it's the sudden way the product just vanished from the company's web page.

Technology's Trotsky?

One day it's there, a stolid monochromatic reminder of the past, alongside brightly coloured Nanos, Shuffles and Touches, the next, it's gone. The iPod Classic has become technology's latest Trotsky, an aging revolutionary erased from history, its usefulness outlived. But does that make Apple Stalin? And what about the iWatch?

The Apple Watch is expected to debut early next year, but there are few clear answers about whether checking it from the driver's seat constitutes distracted driving. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

​At first blush, I'm tempted to look at the Apple Watch the same way I first regarded the iPod Classic. I already have a Timex Expedition and I can't even work all of its functions. I think it has a compass, but I'm not sure.

I never wanted a cellphone; I was forced into one of those. I didn't want a smart phone. Now, I begin each day by scrolling through the one tethered to my wall. I have an iPhone, so why do I need another one on my wrist?

But this isn't really about what I need. If I slammed some batteries in that dusty Walkman, it would probably still work, as would that old mix tape. But if they're obsolete, what would that say about me?

The iPod Classic, once the king, is dead. Long live the iWatch!