Is the iPod Classic not a good choice anymore?

Marco Arment wrote an article about choosing the right laptop for your needs. It’s an interesting post and one you should read if you’re looking at buying a new MacBook. However, since I’m not in the market for a new laptop, it’s the following quote that made me stop and think:

The iPod Classic still exists for people who “need” to bring their entire music collections with them everywhere. (Some people really need that, but most Classic buyers simply “need”; it.) They can do that, but it comes with huge tradeoffs, most notably an outdated, limited design with an often-sluggish interface that misses out on the much more broad usefulness of the iPod Touch. And many Classic buyers would actually be much happier with a 32 GB Touch if they were willing to budge on their all-music-all-the-time “need”.

He’s using the iPod as an analogy, but if I look at this comment in itself, I can see there’s a lot to it. I thought about this when I got my first iPhone. It was a 32 GB iPhone 3, and I never used up all the space, even while carrying more music than I could effectively listen to. At the time, my old 80 GB iPod Classic was spending a lot of time in a drawer, abandoned in favour of my new toy. I thought about selling it more than once, but never did.

And then I changed cars. In my previous car I hooked up the iPod (and iPhone later) with one of those radio transmitters. It sounded awful and I got static and interference constantly. It sucked. So when the time came to get a new car, the iPod/iPhone connectivity was at the top of my list of required features. The car I eventually got talks directly to the iPod/iPhone and I can control it from either the main audio system in the dash or from the controls in the steering wheel. It’s bliss. Almost.

The car doesn’t recognise the iPod/iPhone wirelessly (which would be absolute bliss). I have to connect it to a cable in the glove box to listen to music, so it has to sit hidden away out of reach.1

That’s where my trusty old iPod Classic comes in handy. I just plug it in when I get in the car and leave it there. I’ve got all my music, podcasts, and audiobooks and I don’t have to think about it. I also can keep the iPhone in my pocket and don’t have to mess with it every time I get in/out of the car. Plus, an iPod Touch would really be a waste as I never use or even look at the iPod’s design or interface. In fact, that “often-sluggish interface” is completely irrelevant.

This setting works great for me and I believe a great use for the iPod Classic. True, I don’t need my entire library with me at all times, but with some great playlists it doesn’t affect me either. And I always have a full back up of my iTunes library.


  1. UPDATE: I guess I wasn’t clear on what I meant as a few people have asked so I wanted to clarify. The car can connect to the iPhone via Bluetooth but only for the phone part. To see the music library I need to physically connect it via a cable in the glove box. It’s dumb. So in order to have the best of both worlds I need to keep a device in the glove box for music and a phone in my pocket for the phone functionality. That’s why I love my old iPod again. It stays in the glove box and I just keep the iPhone in my pocket. ↩