This week, Apple held its annual iPod launch event. The big news was the new iPod nano, in nine eye-popping colors, the iPod Shuffle in similar colors, and a revamped iPod Touch. As the “funnest” iPod ever, the iPod Touch appears to be repositioned more as a gaming device and less as a music player. Should Nintendo be worried?
Quietly slipped into the iPod lineup was a revised 120 GB iPod Classic at $249, replacing the former 80 GB model at that price point. No products were introduced to replace the $349 160 GB iPod classic, a reflection that iPods simply aren’t commanding the pricing they did several years ago. For example, in 2004 I paid $399 for a 20 GB black and white iPod 3G.
I was disappointed by Apple’s anemic update to the iPod Classic. I have hundreds of CDs in my collection. I am also an avid downloader of podcasts and vodcasts (the latter which won’t play on my current iPod model – only on iTunes). A 32 GB flash-based player simply isn’t a big enough leap in capacity from my current 20 GB iPod to justify a new purchase. With Western Digital Passport drives currently pricing on Amazon.com at $74 for 160 GB and $115 for 320 GB, it seems like $249 should purchase a much larger capacity player.
Obviously, the iPod Classic isn’t commanding the market share of the Shuffle and Nano. But given the long delay since the last product refresh to their hard drive-based iPods, I was really hoping that Apple would retire the existing Classic platform in favor of an iPod Touch HD – an iPod Touch with a large capacity hard drive instead of flash memory.
Is such a device still in the product development pipeline? Who knows. But with the lack of a compelling high-capacity model combined with iPhone 3G launch issues, I’ll continue to nurse along my 20 GB iPod. Maybe next year…