The iPod Classic: Still The Best MP3 Player For Music Lovers [Opinion]

ipodclassic   The iPod Classic: Still The Best MP3 Player For Music Lovers [Opinion]Back in 2001, the release of Apple’s iTunes brought me back to listening to jazz, and a little of rap and R&B music. A few years before then, I was reluctant to shell out $15 for music CDs only to get a couple of great songs. And above all I wanted iTunes go with me wherever I went. Toting around CDs in the trunk of my car wasn’t my idea of music appreciation.

But then a few years later, the iPod changed everything. It broke every barrier between me and my music. And now though I can’t go anywhere without my iPhone 4, the iPod Classic still remains my favorite and most used MP3 player. In my humble opinion, Apple should maintain and continually update the Classic until it can replace it with something even better.

Back in its heyday, the original iPod and its six generations that followed made Apple the coolest, hippest, and most forward thinking tech company on the planet. “What’s on your iPod?” entered the American cultural lexicon because it meant that for the first time in history, music lovers could have most, if not all, of their music library on a single, thin 3×5 portable device. For those of us who grew up listening and dancing our way through songs on vinyl records, 8-track cassettes, miniature cassettes, and countless CDs, the release of the iPod on October 23rd 2001 was in fact a revolution in how we accessed and listen to music in the 21st century.

iPod Classic Vs. iPhone

But since the advent and popularity of the iPhone, Apple has largely abandoned the iPod Classic. While the Classic is still being sold, Apple has not updated the music player in over a year. So will Apple soon discontinue its game changing portable player? I’m not sure. Can the iPhone or iPod touch replace the Classic? For serious music listeners with say over 5,000 songs in their music library, I say no.

ipodvsiphone   The iPod Classic: Still The Best MP3 Player For Music Lovers [Opinion]

Unlike the iPhone, the iPod Classic can hold, according to Apple, up to 140,000 tracks on the 160GB hard drive. I recently purchased the latest model of the Classic because my 5th Generation iPod was damaged. As much as I tried using the Music app on my iPhone, all the tapping and the meager storage space of the iDevice just doesn’t serve up the music experience of the Classic.

If you ever owned a version of the iPod Classic, you might agree that the Click Wheel is the heart of the player. You literally dial up the songs you want and click to start listening. There’s no need to turn the device side-ways to browse albums Cover Flow style, or tap a few screens to locate a song or album. On the Classic you can easily dial between your entire Music library, or by song, album, artist, and genre categories. There’s no apps and notifications to get in your way.

iPodClassic 5   The iPod Classic: Still The Best MP3 Player For Music Lovers [Opinion]

The click wheel is still also good for quickly rating current playing songs, and in the latest version of Classic you can press and hold that middle button to add a song to an On-the-Go list, browse the song’s other album selections, or start up a Genius playlist of related songs. These features are also on the iPhone, but to me the navigation is not the same. The iPhone feels like what it is – a smartphone, not a music player.

Shuffle Songs

The other reason the iPod Classic remains in my car at all times is not only because of its portability, but because of a little feature called Shuffle Songs. With Shuffle there’s no big or mundane decisions to make about what music to listen to next. Shuffle is your personal DJ.

iPodClassic 2   The iPod Classic: Still The Best MP3 Player For Music Lovers [Opinion]

When you can’t decide between Miles Davis, John Coltrane, or “Good Girl Gone Bad,” Shuffle serves up your least played songs alongside your musical favorites. Shuffle is limited only by the size of your library. And when the library grows into thousands of tracks, it will serve you well.

Your Entire Library

The iPod Classic is also one of three external drives on which I back up my entire music library and family photos. Even ’til this day I’m amazed that I can fit all my music on one device. Sure Apple now offers a way to back up your library to the cloud, but the iTunes Match service costs you $25 per year to keep and access your library there. And ultimately Apple wants you to keep buying songs from its iTunes Music Store.

But I don’t want portable access to my music library limited to a Wi-Fi or 3G connection, especially when I’m traveling by car or plane.

iPodClassic 1   The iPod Classic: Still The Best MP3 Player For Music Lovers [Opinion]

Sure there are many advantages to accessing your music on the iPhone or other iOS device. They have perhaps more reliable flash memory with no moving (HDD) parts to break down; wireless syncing, a bigger display, and the ability to run other music related apps – most notably very affordable streaming music sites like Rdio and Spotify. But these advantages don’t make up for the storage capacity of the iPod Classic and its easier navigation features.

As a lover of music I’m not even sure I need or want the iPhone to have the capabilities of the iPod Classic (can it ever?) Maybe in the same way the iPhone can’t ever be a fully fledged digital camera, it perhaps also can’t be a fully fledged music player. But on the other hand Apple could do the right thing by the iPod Classic and increase its storage capacity to 250GB for those with even larger music libraries, and if possible, add wireless syncing ability with iTunes.

So is all this wishful thinking on my part? With emergence of cloud data storage, has the iPod Classic become outdated? Should this article be a eulogy instead of a love letter for a great device? Let me know what you think. Should Apple keep the Classic for at least another decade or two?

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75 Comments -

0 votes

Jacob Neff

Still not better than my old Zune 120. Same capacity but uses Zune Pass service. Can’t beat $10 a month for as much downloadable music as I want and no crappy iTunes.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Hmm, will check it out.

0 votes

Davin Peterson

No, the Creative Zen Vision:M is the best MP3 Player. The iPod is a stolen product, that Apple/Steve Jobs stole from Creative. Creative owns the GUI patent and sued Apple. Apple paid Creative back, but still Creative has been losing money because of Apple since no one recognizes Creative anymore.

Why the Zen Vision:M is better than the iPod Classic:
- higher resolution screen
- built in FM Radio/recorder
- built in Microphone for recording
- supports WMA & WAV music files
- supports more photo formats
- works with several online music stores.

The iPod has none of the features

0 votes

Tina

I love Creative! I had one of the first Creative Zens. My primary mp3 player still is a years old MuVo, which has such an ingenious and smart design.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Okay, another Creative user. I’ll check it out.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Hmmm, I’ve never checked out the Creative Zen. You got me curious, though I probably will never abandon iTunes. Too lazy.

0 votes

Pankaj Singh

 Although I am definitely impressed by the specs, I couldn’t find a Creative model with as high capacity as I need.  So, I shall stick to the ipod classic.

0 votes

Ruairí

You are right about all that except the last point. Ipods work with several music stores, you just buy files compatible with Ipods, for example mp3, it doesn’t only work with Itunes.

I have an Ipod Classic now, both me and my brother had Creative Zen Vision M, and both died after a few years use. Gapless playback is a very basic feature and isn’t included on Zens, pauses inbetween songs which is annoying, they also have far less capacity. Biggest Zen is 60gb you will find, Ipod 160gb. No competition. Zens are also thicker than Ipods are. Zens don’t support last.fm and what about the lack of support for Zens with music players?

I much prefer the Ipod to be honest.

0 votes

StoyanDeckoff

The best thing about ipod is that is it is 120 GB! I love to have thw whole collection with me when on the road.
I dont think the wheel is that cool, though. itunes is awful. Cannot sync this thing with linux reliably…

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

I find the click wheel easier to use in the car than all the tapping on my iPhone. 

0 votes

TheApoc

Yeah, it really only has one benefit, the capacity.  There is nothing else that makes it special.  Especially for people smart enough to avoid iTunes.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Hmm, I don’t know of anything better than iTunes. I really don’t have any problems with it. What features do you find missing in the player?

0 votes

Muthu

If you want to send emails you need the Wi-Fi. I adlraey own an iPod classic. The iPod Touch is great for Web browsing; you could go on Facebook while you eat at a food court or a cafe. My husband and I plan to share one iPod Touch.If it is the music that interests you, get the classic. The lighter Nano is more practical if you want to use it at the gym.

0 votes

Stezstyx

iTunes is a pain in the ass, not sure what version it’s on now but it’s still awful, Windows media player may not be perfect but it’s much better than iTunes. I store all my music on an external hard drive, woe betide you if you launch iTunes and don’t have the drive connected, you’ll have to sort you library again, I have over 90gb of audio you can imagine how long it takes to sort that out, I’ve had to do it more than once. As far as the iPod classic 160 is concerned I quite like it the storage is the main reason I bought it, what it’s missing is a crossfade function. I am constantly checking the market for an alternative to the iPod as soon as I find one thats reliable I will dispell Apple from my life iTunes has caused me so much pain and suffering I only use it because i have an Pod. and before all you mac users say you have no problems because you have a mac do a little google search about problems with iTunes and external storage lots od die hard mac users have had the same problems. Final work I organise my music the way I like to not the way Apple programmer say I should.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

You’ve made a good case, Bakari. But not only did I opt for a Creative player rather than an iPod (mainly to avoid iTunes) the combo of a smartphone and Spotify now means it never leaves my house.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Well, I can kind of agree with you about Spotify. I stream music using Rdio, and have often thought about paying an extra $5.00 per month for streaming to my iPhone. But what holds me back is that the Rdio player doesn’t have smart playlists which is what I still like on my iPod, and iTunes.

0 votes

Andy Simmons

I do consider myself to be a serious music listener, and my complete music collection is well over what even the largest iPod Classic will hold.  However, my iPod now gathers dust, because I switched to my iPhone.

Let’s be honest, the battery life of an iPod Classic isn’t going to get you through more than a few hundred songs.  So what’s the point of having everything in your library on there at all times?  I’ve found that I can provide the illusion of an infinitely capacious iPhone through proper application of smart playlists.  I have several playlists (based on rating, year, genre, whatever, it doesn’t really matter) for which the secondary rule is that I haven’t listened to the song in the last 6 months.  Those playlists can be nested inside other playlists as necessary, but the overall result is that, with regular syncing (which now requires no effort, thanks to wi-fi sync, something that the iPod Classic lacks), these playlists are always fresh.

The only scenario where an iPod Classic really has one over on iPhones and iPod touches is that of the frequent traveler.  If your main music library is on a desktop at home, and you spend large stretches of time away from home, clearly you can’t sync to it.  This is where iTunes Match should come in, allowing the traveling user to pull songs that aren’t on their device out of the ether on a whim.  Granted, if you’re a serious music listener you probably have more than the 25,000 song limit that Apple has imposed on iTunes Match, but I presume that they’ll have to lift or at least increase that limit at some point.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Andy, I see what you’re saying. But iTunes Match has been mostly cumbersome for me. Some songs don’t match, and when I try to play songs on my iPhone when traveling, it has to go through the download process. Whereas with my iPod, all the music is right there, ready to go. I keep my iPod juiced at all times in the car, so the battery is rarely a problem. 

0 votes

Mark O’Neill

I have never understood where all the iTunes hating comes from. I think it’s a rather good media player (did I just destroy my street cred there?!). I thought it was fashionable to bash Microsoft’s apps, not Apple’s….

1 votes

facebook-748002951

 In the rush to not be apart of the crowd, some are willing to hate anything that is popular. I constantly see people bashing itunes on Windows, where I’ve never had any issue with it.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Thanks for your feedback. 

0 votes

Jacob Neff

 Speaking as a PC user, I find iTunes horribly unintuitive, slow, and not user-friendly at all. If I want to move a piece of media from my hard drive to iTunes, I have to go into fits of frustration trying to determine what new means of torture Apple has to prevent me accomplishing such task when ideally I would simply drag files back and forth between my Windows Explorer and iTunes.

That’s just one example. I find very little intuitive about the whole interface. But take heart. I don’t think Windows Media Player is much better, so I’m not just Apple bashing. If it takes me more than 10-15 seconds to figure out how to perform a fairly basic function, something’s wrong, in my opinion.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Hmmm, I have to admit I’ve never even seen iTunes on the PC. Maybe I’ll get my daughter to download it on her computer so I can see the differences in both versions. 

0 votes

Michael G.

I tried iTunes on the PC for a month.  It was always one of the slowest applications to launch and I barely had any music on my iTunes library (less than a hundred songs).  Maybe its just my PC?  I’m not sure because any other application seems to launch in a reasonable amount of time.

0 votes

huntar

iTunes on Windows is a horrible, slow, inefficient piece of junk – the complete opposite of what it is on OS-X. On OS-X, iTunes is fast, easy to use and enjoyable, especially on Lion as a full-screen app. It is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – the same app, but not the same app.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Mark, I think some users find the application bloated, and the songs too expensive. But I agree, iTunes as always been a good player for me, especially the Smart Folder feature.

0 votes

Doc

 The files on the device are given random names, with only the iTunes library to keep track of which file is which track – their way of making sure you don’t share your files with anyone else. The iTunes software for Windows is flawed and ugly. I also won’t support any software with DRM (and I consider tagging each file with your iTunes User ID as DRM). You need to transcode your files to whatever format(s) Apple has decided your iPod/iOS device can support (AAC, QuickTime MOV), which is a waste of time and electricity. Apple also has decided in their wisdom that none of their portable devices are allowed expansion (SD card slots) to keep people from accessing their files.

I own a media player that supports DIVX, XVID (AVI formats), RMVB (RealMedia, which I won’t use), MP3, MP4, AAC, and has a slot for up to 16GB SDHC as well as an internal 16GB capacity…all for under $50. I also have an Android tablet with 1GB internal memory and up to 32GB SDHC (any size, with adapter) I bought for $100 (and the price is dropping), which also plays anything I’ve yet to play on it, with no transcoding and no DRM or obscured filenames?

Why should I pay the Apple Tax for something I’ve learned to loathe?

0 votes

Arlene

I wholly agree with you. I don’t get where all the iTunes hating comes from. It’s very user friendly. You can use it with Mac or PC. Huge library…What’s not to love?

0 votes

Guest

And you can sync it with spotify!

0 votes

rchard2scout

I have a 5th-gen iPod Classic 160GB, and I love it. I have a large music collection (most of it acquired in not-so-legal ways…), and the Classic is the only good player it fits on. The only problem is iTunes, which takes 5 minutes to open…

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Yeah, this kinda of worries me. As iTunes gets more updates how will it react to the iPod Classic.

0 votes

Patrice Gauthier

A dedicated device is always better than a multifunctional one. So if i listen to music, then i wont drain the battery of my phone and my phone will still has it’s main utility that is, to be able to make call. To hold like 60gb of music in my ipod, gives me the choice to listen what i want and i don’t have to connect anywhere nor to keep copy/deleting songs because it’s too small. I regret only that there’s no more update.. thanks apple for caring.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Definitely good point. I keep my iPod classic in the car at all times. About once a month I sync it with iTunes on Mac so I can add all the play counts and 5 star ratings.

0 votes

Metamorph

I love my iPod classic, but I am noticing that some of the podcasts on iTune, particularly those by SHO, Warner Bros, & Sony, are not compatible with the classic.  I use to be able to download any video and now I can’t.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Yeah, this kinda worries me that the more they upgrade iTunes, the iPod will no longer be computable with it. I don’t play podcasts on my iPod, so thanks for letting us know about this.

0 votes

Pankaj Singh

I strongly agree with you, Bakari. I have owned different versions of the ipod classic since 2002, and will only change my current ipod if they create a larger capacity classic.
My 160 gigs ipod is full to the last MB, and I constantly have to delete songs to make way for newer music.
Even if Apple comes with a high capacity Touch, I shall prefer a Classic, as I love its simple interface and prefer only songs on my ipod

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Thanks for the feedback. Seems like we all should send an open letter to Apple demanding that they maintain the iPod Classic for use true music lovers.

0 votes

Michael

I have had all iPod Classic models, always upgrading, as the playlist grows. My 160 GB crashed after 4 months. I bought it in Tanzania (East Africa), where I live. Is there a quality-control in different countries, as they are “Made in China”, and maybe the junk-ones are sent to 3rd World Countries?
I tried the Reset feature on iTunes but it didn’t help.

0 votes

Nkitt Dirtybit

i totally agree, though i have never owned a classic, i found it to be very bulky and fragile as the way i handle it, but i still miss my nano 3rd gen. after it broke down i upgraded to nano 4th gen, 5th gen, iPod touch 3rd gen, and now 4th gen. but i still miss the UI of clickwheel, that feel and that mild clicking sounds, those feelings are just priceless…. i am still looking for a decent nano 3rd gen, it was a beauty n a miniature classic ;) (it won’t be able to accommodate my whole library though, but some things and feelings are worth preserving)  

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Yeah, unfortunately Apple will never bring back anything like the click wheel. It will always seem retro. But it’s still one of the best features of the iPod.

0 votes

Liezl

Could not agree more!

0 votes

amoi

An IPOD is an exclusive pduroct of Apple. It essentially is an MP3 player, but Apple exclusive. If you want to use the ITunes website, you must have the IPod. MP3 s are made by all companies, Sony, Samsung, etc The IPod is really just Apple’s version of an MP3 player.

0 votes

Kazevac Chung

I agree the Ipod classic is, well a classic; no frills music storage device, good battery and standby time and easy to use. I,m on my second having dropped my first and wrecked the hard drive after 5 years of good service. The new one is double the size HD and acts as great external HD if needed. Usually hate Apple stuff and stay clear, but this just does the job nicely.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Thanks for the feedback. Great to see another iPod user out there. Do you think you’ll completely fill up the HD?

0 votes

Ron

I think the click wheel is the best feature of my ipod (nano). It’s the only reason i bought it instead of any usual mp3 player. Every device today has touch screen. I don’t like it. I wish my cellular phone had a click wheel because i can’t navigate fast enough with the touch screen and its delay when it comes to scrolling is annoying. The click wheel responds quite fast and accurate. That’s just my opinion but i really miss that “feature” in modern devices.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Yeah, the touch screen on my iPhone is seriously troublesome when I want to browse for songs. They haven’t really put that much thought into updating or even revising the iOS music app, it seems. 

0 votes

Love Emperor

got an ipod video 120GB and i love it sooooooooo much and it’s my favorite mp4 player and always will be … since apple is not making those ipods anymore i bought 2 ipods of the same model just in case my ipod died … it’s my favorite player and always will be … RIP steve jobs and thanks for what your brought us !

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Yeah, I’m hoping the one I have will last at least another 5 years. 

0 votes

Love Emperor

had a mistake … MP3 PLAYER :P

0 votes

Jay Maynard

I used to have an iPod mini with Rockbox installed on it. It was like hotrodding the iPod. It now could play more codecs, including .flac, so I no longer had to convert first. Also no more iTunes, just drag and drop files from HDD, or optical discs. I just wish they would come out with a version for the Classic. The main thing I dont like about iTunes, is I have to keep all those music files on my HDD. If I don’t plan on changing what is on my Classic(120GB) for some time, I would rather clear up HD real estate. Then lo and behold, I’ll acquire some new music, want to add just that, but I can’t now, because It’ll sync, so that will be ALL that is on the player. I just wish the would have made it drag and drop, instead of FORCING you to use iTunes. Hey Apple, you should have been happy enough that I spent money on one of your products that I did want, why must you make me use others that I don’t want, just to use the product?

0 votes

Daniel J

I have two 160gb iPod Classics… and they are my babies

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Awesome. I don’t think I’ll ever have that much music. But I do hope to double my current library in the next 3 or 4 years. 

0 votes

me

 I dont even like MP3 players. I cant use them ‘cos my fingers are far too big. And I have a strong dislike for MP3 … I use FLAC (I’m one of those rare people who can hear the difference).

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Cool, me, whatever works best for you. I’ve never heard of FLAC. I will look it up.

0 votes

Anna Pizevska

I totally agree!!!

0 votes

Bigguywhokills

Scroll wheel and capacity make the iPod classic my favorite audio PMP.  I manage it with WinAmp, so I don’t have to deal with iTunes other than for the occasional one-hit-wonder purchase.  Why are so many people claiming the iPod is a 120 GB device?  From what I understand, it has been at 160 GB for years.
If your PMP doesn’t have the ability to scroll infinitely like the click-wheel, then it’s competing for second place at best.  My music collection has over 700 artist, over 1000 albums, and over 14k songs.  Such numbers cannot be easily controlled with linear, segmented scrolling.  Your Zunes and Zens are too limited for those of us that have large collections.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Excellent points. Thanks for sharing.

0 votes

Dhanushka

I think basically the sound quality is great in iPod. Sometimes I use it’s earphones with the PC, because it’s stereo and clear. I can hear tiny sounds (when watching movies) that can’t hear in headphones. And I like the 5th generation iPod nano, because it has so many features and battery life is great too.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Dhanushka, thanks for sharing.

0 votes

Shashank

new iPod Classic = retina display + 160GB SSD Flash storage + more sensitive clickwheel.
This would be awesome.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Shashank, it probably won’t happen. We’re lucky that Apple is even still selling the iPod Classic. But nothing wrong with wishing.

0 votes

Stngray

Own 3 iPads and 2 iPhones, and I just bought an iPod classic to put in my truck. This product still has some life in it, just for the capacity and the interface. In a music only device the touch wheel is hard to beat IMHO.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Stngray, totally agree. Thanks for sharing.

0 votes

kone

The iPod Classic is great! The fact that it has no wireless capabilities makes it the video media player I can bring into secure areas. I could’ve gotten the current-gen nano but I wanted video playback also.

If they can transition the physical hdd to a flash-based one would be icing on the cake!

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Kone, thanks for sharing.

0 votes

Lee

Have they added bluetooth to the classic yet? I was thinking of getting a 5th gen. for the car and my radio has bluetooth so I could just hide it in the back and access it through the dash.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Nope, afraid not, Lee.

0 votes

Nick

This is a pretty ridiculous article. You claim that the iPod Classic is the best MP3 player, yet the only thing you’ve ever compared it to is a phone. Have you even tried other options such as MP3 players from Creative or the Zune?

It’s about as legitimate as saying “The macbook pro is the best computer in the world because it’s better than the ipad.”

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Lee, I don’t think Apple will ever upgrade the iPod Classic beyond where it is now, unless the market continues to grow for it.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Nick, I never used Creative or the Zune. So you’re right, they could as far I know, be better than the iPod Classic. I just know what works for me. Thanks for sharing.

0 votes

Josh

Hi, I was wondering, where did you get that plastic case for your ipod classic?

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Josh, sorry I’m just responding to this question. Yeah, I got on Amazon. Just do a search for iPod Classic cases; it should pop up.

0 votes

matt muscatella

I have three months of music stored on my computer. And my iPod classic has them all stored on there. I also have a iPhone with the iCloud. My go to device for music is my iPod classic which lets me play music instantly. Whereas i have to wait for the music to download for the iPhone from iCloud. and then once my iPhones memory is full i have to erase everything. which is a pain. Please apple don’t discontinue the iPod classic. IT Is the most flaw proof device you have ever created. The only upgrades i can imagine is more storage and perhaps even bluetooth capabilities. For the serious music aficionado the iPod Classic is the one and only.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Hey Matt, thanks for sharing your comment. I too hope Apple is listening. For I can see using my iPod classic for at least another decade. I still have enough space to add about 5000 more songs without a problem.

0 votes

shiv

honestly I would love to see apple disappear from the music market all together.
there is no reason someone should be forced to use something so unfriendly as itunes.
itunes just killed my ipod hd. I had to swap it out for an old zen hd.
I do not understand why apple insists on making it so hard.
my zen was just so much more friendly but my radio only works with apple.
apple also has great features on the touch but 64 gb is hardly an mp3 player.