Tim Cook was interviewed yesterday at the WSJD Live conference, run by the Wall Street Journal. Among his comments in the interview was one that the Wall Street Journal quotes or paraphrases Cook saying:
Apple stopped making the 160GB iPod Classic because it couldn’t get the parts anymore from anywhere in the world.
This is surprising. If they couldn’t get the hard drives, why couldn’t they just have re-jiggered the device to use flash memory? They could have made a 128 GB device – a bit less than the 160 GB the hard-drive based model held, but more than the iPod touch – for those people who still want a music-only device.
The iPod classic didn’t have the sales figures that the iPhone and iPad have, but it was regularly in the top five music players sold at Amazon. That might not be a lot of units, as more and more people use a smartphone to play music, but given that the design changes would have been minimal – they could have kept the form factor – I don’t think the choice of retiring the device was about parts. I think it no longer fits in Apple’s concept of what their devices should be like. They do still sell the iPod shuffle, but my guess is that won’t last much longer. However, they have no problem getting parts for that device; it uses flash storage…