Periodic Musings on the iPod Classic and iTunes

A late lunchtime post: I recently ran across an article from TechnoBuffalo that noted that early June marked 1,000 days since the iPod Classic had received any love from Apple. In fact, we’re coming up on three years (in September) since the iPod Classic received any updates. There are those who believe the iPod Classic is a dead-player-walking. On the other hand, Apple still hasn’t killed off the little-music-box-of-holding, and it still remains one of the most cost-effective music players around.

However, I continue to worry about the iPod Classic. Mine is now over 29,000 songs (specifically, I’m at 29,065 songs and spoken-word comedy tracks, and 28,891 specifically music tracks). I truly enjoy having my entire music collection in my pocket, and go to (perhaps excessive) lengths to ensure I listen to it evenly, with playlists for unplayed music, < 5 plays, < 8 plays, and music not listened to in 21 months. All of these are a 0 except for < 8 plays, and that’s currently at 22,687 tracks. I worry about Apple discontinuing their high-capacity players; I don’t believe the cloud is the answer for music, both due to bandwidth costs and the fact that one doesn’t always have an internet connection (despite what the media and the vendors would like to portray).

I’m also worried about iTunes. I’ve written about problems with iTunes before. These problems have led me to eschew regular upgrading of iTunes. I’m still on iTunes 10.4.2; iTunes is now up to 10.6.something. I have yet to have confidence that the 10.6 versions work reliability with the iPod Classic on Windows 7. [As an aside: If you have an iPod Classic and are using with iTunes > 10.4, please let me know]. Further, the rumors are now starting to swirl that Apple is completely rewriting iTunes for iTunes 11. I have little confidence that they will get the iPod Classic interface right.

If I had to replace it, what would be the options? Ideally, it would be something with 160GB or greater hard-disk or solid-state disk, and could import the iTunes database (so as to preserve playcounts and ratings). A recent review of high-capacity players pointed to the Archos 5 as a potential alternative; however, the Archos website doesn’t list a current Archos 5 product with 250GB of storage. They do have an Android G9 Tablet with a 250 GB hard disk that is worth exploring; the Archos 7 can also support 250GB. Another high-capacity possibility is the Cowon X7 with 160GB; it is probably closest in form factor to the iPod Classic. [ETA: Looking at the reviews on Amazon, both the Archos and the Cowon are getting middling reviews — one can now see why the iPod Classic is being retained — it has no competition and thus keeps selling.] [As an aside: If you have thoughts regarding high-capacity MP3 players, I’d welcome them]

But for right now, I’ll just stick with my Classic (which I use every day for a large portion of the waking hours) and iTunes 10.4. It works. But I do worry everytime Apple makes an announcement or updates the Apple Store.

Music: The Six String Conspiracy (Rick Ruskin): Slow Drag (Piano Rag)


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