Don’t Mourn The iPod Classic Because The 128GB iPod touch Is Incoming

Don’t Mourn The iPod Classic Because The 128GB iPod touch Is Incoming

This morning, a report surfaced that the next iPhone would come with 64GB of storage for the first time ever. It’s looking pretty solid.

At the same time, rumors have been bubbling up for the last couple weeks that Apple would soon be discontinuing the venerable iPod Classic… and today’s move to axe the iPod Clickwheel Games section of the iTunes Store certainly seems to confirm as much.

That’s a bummer. Okay, sure, iTunes Match and iCloud take some of the hurt out… but what if you want to carry your whole music collection around with you without having to sign up for a data plan? For customers like that, the death of the only 120+ gigabyte iPod is a bitter pill to swallow.

Don’t worry. A new 128GB iPod touch is almost definitely coming.

It’s actually easy math: if Apple is going to release a 64GB iPhone 4, then they’ll release a 128GB iPod touch.

First, there’s the convention: iPod touches have always shipped with twice the NAND Flash memory of the iPhone 4.

This convention is informed, however, by how much physical room there is in the device itself. In the iPhone 4, space is at a premium even at significantly more thickness than the iPod touch: modems, antennas and all the other guts that get stuffed into an iPhone so that it can make calls and suck up 3G mean that there’s only space inside for one module of NAND flash.

Up until now, Apple has been using Toshiba’s 32GB NAND Flash Modules in both the 32GB iPhone 4 and 64GB iPod touch. These are actually old chips, though, and back in 2009, Toshiba managed to double the storage they could fit on a single module to 64GB.

If Apple releases a 64GB iPhone, they’re using one of these modules. But here’s the thing: in the iPod touch, there’s room for two Toshiba NAND Flash modules. That means Apple can now max it out at 128GB.

Back in 2009, I said this about the possibility of a 128GB iPod touch:

128GB of storage is a magic number for the iPod touch: 128GB means I can finally get rid of my 160GB iPod Classic and cram my iTunes library onto a Touch without worrying about juggling albums around like some sort of Walkman-wielding, early eighties troglodyte. For me, the whole point of living in music’s digital age is that there shouldn’t be a problem walking around with sixty two days worth of music crammed into my front pocket.

Even though I never anticipated the rise of the iCloud, 128GB is still a magic number for the iPod touch, because unless it’s on WiFi, it can’t take advantage of iTunes Match. When you’re out with the iPod touch, you’re limited to what you synced to your device manually.

(And before you pipe up in the comments: no, Apple’s not going to put 3G in the iPod touch. See, as it turns out, once you cram all the guts of a 3G cellular modem into an iPod touch, you end up with a substantially thicker device… in fact, one exactly as thick as an iPhone 4. The only way to mitigate this is to go the iPad route and make the device bigger in height and width to keep it thin. )

So there you have it. If the reports of the iPhone 4S boasting 64GB of storage pan out — and they certainly seem pretty solid — it’s a lock that the iPod touch will be available with a 128GB capacity. It’ll be pricy, doubtlessly replacing the existing $399 64GB iPod touch, but it should fit all but the biggest iTunes collections, and finally replace the iPod Classic for pretty much everyone.

And if your music collection is over 128GB? Well, what do you know: in June last year, Toshiba announced new 32nm 128GB NAND Modules perfect for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. We may just see a 256GB touch in 2012.

  • Andrew Fitzgerald

    But it’s not as cheap at the iPod Classic.

  • brownlee

    Well, no, but don’t forget how much a 160GB iPod cost when it first came out.

  • Ciclismo

    Nor will it be as bulletproof. I’ve seen half-decade old Classics where the colour had worn off the corners and the click wheel was as smooth as glass be revived with a new battery and HDD to keep on ticking. I have seen seen them be dropped, stepped on, rolled over (ok, only with a bicycle, but still) and they just won’t quit. If you happen to fart at an iPod Touch, the screen turns yellow and the glass cracks – as Seinfeld would say “what’s up with that?”.

  • Wayne_Luke

    Given Apple’s method of pricing additional storage, do you think a lot of people will be paying $499 and $599 for the iPod touch with additional memory. I’d just go buy one of the new wifi enabled drives being sold by Kingston or Seagate. More storage for my money. Sure you have to connect ad-hoc and it is another device but the prices for the higher capacity iPod Touch would be prohibitive. I would rather 128 GB and 256 GB versions of the iPad. Get rid of the 16 and 32 GB versions of the iPad, lower the 64 GB to $499.00 or even $549.00 and sell the higher storage models at the increased prices.

  • Anelson84

    I think thats my only real problem with it. The classic was the juggernaut of music players from the instant the 160GB came out… Especially with the price point. The only issue would be with the early adopters complaining about the price. My classic is still ticking, and with Ifixit.com, I imagine having mine for long enough for the the price of the “128GB Touch” to go down enough to make the swtich easier.

  • Shaun

    Fingers crossed. I could finally retire my Classic.

  • Geckotek

    This isn’t a MacBook.  When they up the storage they will keep it at existing price points.  Just as they have in the past.

  • berendsrob

    So nobody noticed that the Twitter picture suggesting the 64GB iPhone also said iPhone 5!! Other pics until now have shown iPhone 4S.. That means TWO new models!!!

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  • Tripps

    See all the rumored, large teardrop shaped iPhone 5 cases…. well considering there will be no iPhone 5, err a iPhone 4S instead… all of those cases will actually be for a brand new iPod Touch. 

    Ouch, slap. I’m so good!

  • Luxlamf

    Exactly.  Not to mention a 164 iPod is $299 and 64 iTouch in $399, they are pricing themsleves right out of the market. I have a 6 year old iPod that has a bad screen and batery life almost nil, it sits atop my iPod HiFi in the garage and plays just fine, I also have a 3 year old iPod classic that has riden 50,000 miles in my back pocket on my motorbike that holds over 13,000 songs. I love it. I hope Apple doesnt remove it from the line up, Its a Great and Inexpensive product thats Very durable and easy to use.

  • Michael Jennings

    Apple has previously released a new iPod touch several months after a new iPhone, and with many of the same or very similar parts as that new iPhone. We know they are not going to do that this time, partly because there have been leaks saying they won’t, but mainly because of reasons of parts availability – you do not release the iPod with common parts until you have all your supply line issues under control for the iPhone. So, basically the new iPod touch will be last year’s model with at most minor updates. But what will these minor updates be?

    We know there will be a white option, and we know think we know that the storage will be doubled and it will come in capacities up to 128Gb. The question is whether there will be any other changes as well. The most likely one surely is a better camera. This will still be a very different part front the one in the iPhone, so it is quite possible, I think. 

  • Michael Jennings

    It is two years since Apple updated the capacity of the iPod touch (and iPhone). They can certainly afford to do so and keep the same price points. 

  • Eichelberger

    iPod Classic is everything I want. I want high capacity. I want the clickwheel. I want simplicity – a device that lets me carry my precious music collection, and lots of shows and movies –and not a whole lot more than that. I know I am not alone. Killing the Classic would be a mistake for Apple. For many of us, all that room is what keeps us buying from iTunes — and abandoning us won’t go down well (see Netflix).  Just as one customer talking, I don’t want to be forced to a PIA , pricey ipod touch and touchscreen tech, and will resent a strongarm approach to forcing us  into adopting one when it really isn’t what I signed on for…less capacity, features I don’t need, and all at a higher cost — For me, that means bye-bye to Apple, and gravitating more toward others including Amazon. Perhaps AZN would be willing to look at developing a high capacity digital media player to complement their other new products. It seems they would have the market for that segment to themselves….and it could be a lever to pull some Apple customers into the competing ecosystem.

  • Birincsik József

    The iPod touch is a multi-function mobile device, while the iPod classic is a dedicated portable music player with much higher quality sound, than the touch. I would love a new iPod classic with glass click-wheel, and just the same pure music functions for I purchased mine.

  • :)

    I disagree. Well not completely. I have seen hundreds of iPod Classics with bad hard drives. It’s a common thing for all hard drives, no matter the size. However, I have seen a great number of iPod touches with broken screens and such, but they still work. Usually. Since you brought up rolled over, I have seen an iPhone that was ran over by a car and it still worked. With a Classic it’s usually a bad hard drive. With an iPod Touch or an iPhone, it’s usually a cracked screen or dropped in liquid. I have seen a number of Classics with cracked screens however. 

  • amtwwg

    Not sure how you can claim it’s a mistake for apple when they sell almost none of these. I would be surprised if they sold 250k of them last year. You might miss them but you are clearly the exception.

  • Silver Bullet

    Apple raised the level of secrecy way too much this time… Something big might be coming…

    4 inch iPhone 5 and 128 GB 7 inch AMOLED display iPod Touch with solar e-ink on the backside should be in the works… iPad with e-ink on the back for stylus too…

    AMOLED screens have the tendency to degrade under the sun, so Apple should be planning to put e-ink on the backside since you need external light to read the e-ink while solar layer over the e-ink starts charging… Or solar layer just powering the e-ink display and wifi… So AMOLED is kept away from the sun…

    Smart Cover also hints to this… When you cover the screen, back of the iPad is exposed to light… ;-)

  • Eichelberger

    since you are “not sure” how I can claim this, perhaps you should try reading the post…again, extra capacity is known to drive greater willingness to buy content, PLus any device such as this serves as a gateway to adoption of other Apple devices…remove a major part of the ecosystem and there are results beyond the mere count of numbers of that given device that are sold. Ask Amazon about this concept…well accepted equipment drives consumption of profitable content — the reason Amazon is selling the new Kindles at a loss…Moreover, where do you get the 250k number since Apple does not release these sales figures.

    Classic is undergoing a standard product lifecycle; the upfront investment has paid off and now every unti t that sells generates profit on that upfront investment without comensurate new investment, especially for this product which since it is specialized for digital content delivery only, does not need a lot of upgrading or firmware updating. So, While their sales numbers are a fraction of past sales, that’s not unusual, nor is it the sole reason to continue or discontinue a product, —  declining sales are expected and financially don’t matter as much as most people think for the reasons I outlined…and I am far from “the exception” – Apple blogs and forums are full of pleas to retain the Classic.  It is sold by many outlets and retailers, online and otherwise, who  still stock it and make precious shelf space available for it…they don’t do that for products that don’t sell.

  • TylerHoj

    I’m still not buying an iPod Classic or an iPod Touch for that matter, because if I’m going to tote around my music library I need a very solid and sturdy device. Yes the iPod’s have always had great build quality and are solid pieces of tech, but the back metal looks like swiss cheese before you even have a chance to slide it in your pocket. You seriously can’t even put a case on an iPod with that kind of backing without scratching it. It’s hell. When they switch to iPad/MacBook Pro anodized aluminum, I’ll happily max out my wallet and the storage of an iPod Touch, but not if my $400 investment looks like crap 5 minutes after I bring it home. 

  • TylerHoj

    Apple has spent the bulk of the year improving it’s software. It hasn’t been a great year for hardware[except for Thunderbolt of course], so I doubt we’ll see any highly innovative designs. 

  • TylerHoj

    Exactly! When I think iPod, my mind is set on music, and music only. I don’t need games and apps and all that other fluff that’s standard on the iPhone and iPad. I don’t see why Apple is not focusing on the music side of a dedicated music player. 

  • TylerHoj

    Apple is now getting flash memory at lower price points because of premiums they’ve established with their manufacturers. Flash will only get cheaper or stay consistently priced. 

  • Silver Bullet

    I think Apple has already designed all the upcoming products a year ago…

    Since iOS 5 is around for months, unexpected things might come out of the box…

  • prof_peabody

    I’m going to go with ‘anmtwing’ here, and say you are being wilfully blind.

    The number of iPod Classics sold is so small it’s almost infinitesimal.  It’s been that way for a while but Apple has been putting them out anyway just to be nice to folks like you and because of tradition etc. 

    What you are really missing however, is that the iPod Classic is now so old that there is literally almost nothing inventive, new, or interesting about it.  Apple is always about the future not the past.  Why should they care about this old tech? 

    The good news is that except for the patented click-wheel, the device you praise so highly, is available almost anywhere for a variety of prices.  Hell, you could even buy a plastic box and put your own hard drive in it for about the same price.  The syncing software you would need is also available for free.  

    Since iPod Classic users are often also music snobs that insist on uncompressed formats, syncing is hardly necessary anyway.  It’s just an old-fashioned bit-bucket in your pocket really.

  • Eichelberger

    you are ignoring Stve Jobs himself who states that for the customer it isn’t about the technology: people care about what it does  and how well it does it….  Nothing new to it? SO WHAT.  It works as a geat music device…and cLASSIC is actually more relevant today than before because of the higher resolution availability of music tracks (and the recogntion that 192 and lower is crap). More people are burning CDs at 320 or lossless. Demand for higher resoltion downloads is growing.  MORE SPACE PLEASE. Plus, with more video available, more space is what matters to the video intensive user/customer for this product…MORE SPACE PLEASE.

    The Classic caters to an audio and video enthusiast audience  — smaller but still substantial — whose neeeds are different than yours and those of others who prefer a phone or a tablet…the only “new” many are looking for MORE SPACE and maybe something akin to AirPlay for streaming directly to home audio systems…that’s what a lot of us want…not “new tech thingies” that are “interesting” or “inventive” just for the sake of being so.

  • Eichelberger

    Apple or any other company doesn;t put out products just to be nice to folks like me…that’s a goofy statement.  Classic has better audio quality than other bit buckets and is more compatible with iTunes — not a small factor.  ANd it is a stretch to say that all Classic users are “music snobs” –  what does that even mean? ANyone who enjoys music will tell you that better sound is BETTER. If you play the device through something other than small headphones or earbuds the low resolution SHOWS. 

  • Bob

    If you need so much space, why not just get a WiFi hard drive like the Seagate GoFlex Satellite? But really, if you need to carry around more than 64GB of muisc, just ask yourself, why?

  • Eichelberger

    First, a lot of space is taken up by higher resolution files so 64 GB really isn’t as much as it sounds…video is also GB intensive…more importantly, for someone who travels a lot where Internet access is nonexistent or unreliable. or prohibitivly expensive in some cases, having resident content, and thus lots of HD space is important to having what you want.  The entire argument about everything moving t the cloud forgets this key fact that there are lots of urban and rural areas without good bandwidth.  Moving to the cloud inherently increases the potential points of failure in the chain.   I remain a real skeptic about how soon we will really be for a cloud-based system. 

  • MacGoo

    If I could like this more, I’d still be clicking the button. That is by FAR my largest issue with the current touch. If the iPhone 5 is getting anodized aluminum, the iPad has it, the iMac has it…give it to the Touch already!

  • MacGoo

    Classic is dead folks. If not Tuesday, then soon. Apple is first and foremost a company, and it’s trying to make money. At some point there will no longer be a financially justifiable reason to keep the Classic around, and it will go the way of the dodo. Want a click wheel? You’re just a jailbroken iPod Touch away: http://goo.gl/MbcS9. As for me, I’ve long since converted to a Touch. There’s really no reasonably justifiable reason to prefer to have JUST the music player if Apple bumps capacity on the Touch.

  • Strikitrich

    Because it’s not just about music but video, and video takes up space.

  • Mark Rawlings

    nooo my iPod classic 80GB is on its last legs. I have an iPhone 4 and RARELY use it for music. My iPod Classic is used constantly every day at work. I don’t want to get an iPod Touch as it will look daft having both devices, hopefully I can get a new iPod Classic before they go out of stock

  • GM

    Since I use the iPod Classic for voice recordings in addition to playing music, I hope Apple will add the ability to record in high quality to iOS 5 and iOS 5-capable devices…

  • LukealiciousX

    Excuse me? I would happen to love to be an owner of an iPod Classic. I would much rather have an iPod Classic than an iPod Touch. The iPod was created for listening to music as a convenient, small, and portable device. It was NOT for games and Apps like in the iPod Touch, that’s too much of a distraction and lessens the point of the iPod. Plus the iPod Classic is a much more unique iPod then the iPod Touch because of it’s shape and having 128GB of storage which is MORE than the highest level for the iPod Touch.

  • Noway_12345

    ipod touch on ebay type this on search
    170704268738

  • 300AShareMakesMeSmile

    There’s no need to worry, I’m sure stores will be selling the last generation iPod Classics for some time.  There’s always the refurb iPod Classic on Apple’s online site.  I don’t believe that Apple is killing the Classic, but there are alternatives if they do.  I think the iPod Classic is still being sold in quantity, but just not as much as it used to be.  Who knows, Apple could modify the click-wheel and have the Classic run iOS.  For those that follow component vendors for Apple, they might be able to tell if Apple is still ordering those iPod Classic hard drives.

  • Gregintosh

    But you don’t have to use apps or games if you don’t want (though if you ever change your mind they are there for you). And you still get beautiful cover flow and great music management features on the touch. Other than capacity I can’t think of any reason how the classic iPod serves the needs of people who want to enjoy music and videos better than the touch.

  • Scbeer

    iPhone will have the same form factor. iPod Touch will have 128 Gb of storage and a larger Form Factor, ala the claimed iPhone 5 covers!

  • Saavykas

    You can say this stuff all you want, but you won’t change Apple’s direction. If they want to phase out the Classic, there’s nothing stopping them except a handful of, well, folks like you. Apple can probably make up the sales difference from losing the handful of Classic users from a few hundred or thousand iPhones. What incentive is there to keep the minority happy?

  • Theodeman

    Na lang overwegen Mackeeper aangeschaft, fantastiche programma en mijn Pc weer razend snel.

  • Allucardsin

    Sad it never came and im getting madder at apple

  • Allucardsin

    My main aggravation is i need it to have that memory and i can’t stand waiting especially when the flash chips to up the memory have been available almost more than a year now.. and i have 100gb of music and 8gb of apps i don’t want another 64gb iPod touch.

  • Junk Mail

    boy were u wrong

  • Junk Mail

    fuckin apple blows, they are only about the money, u cant upgrade shit u just have to buy new, and with the new they hold out on till its almost old…….. ffs apple u fuckin suck

  • Junk Mail

    who gives a fuck if there is a scratch on the back how does that affect anything?!?!?!

  • Junk Mail

    u guys are princesses

  • MacGoo

    Why hello Mr. Troll! I hope you have a wonderful day grumbling under your bridge. If I happen across it, I’ll toss you a well worn piece of aluminum as payment.

  • Retern

    Retards r you. How much do you make up?

  • purnawan widodo

    Thank you for the information, this will help my work.

  • Nick Todd

    Why is no one talking about the real issue here… The fact that touch screens are gimmicky and useless on a music player.  Sure you can play games and do apps and what not but I have a smartphone for that.  What I want is to be able to hit play and stick the thing in my pocket and not have to pull it out again to pause it, change tracks, and turn shuffle on and off (yes I memorized the combination of click-wheel presses).  Can you imagine how many accidents there will be on the roads when track skippers like me have to actually look a the screen of my music player to change tracks.  Unless Apple puts more buttons on the touch (which they won’t they’re Apple and they have a permanent (and incorrect) philosophy that less is always better) a 128 Gig Touch is no substitute for a classic.

  • spiralgray

    This is what I love about the rumor mill. Here we are almost six months after this article was published and still not 128GB iPod Touch to be seen…

  • SnowSnowSnow

    Thank god this came 100% true.

  • trgz

    A shade over one year on and how wrong was this prediction! the 5g with it’s new non-standard i/f is still only 64GB – yet up go the prices in true Apple style!

  • aloe

    Sooooo..

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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