One Less Thing...
May 11, 2022 2:21 PM   Subscribe

 
Zune’s moment is come round at last.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:32 PM on May 11 [51 favorites]


The iPod Shuffle remains the greatest piece of "I'm going for a run and want to listen to music or a podcast" equipment ever made.
posted by saladin at 2:32 PM on May 11 [26 favorites]


I’ve still got my 2nd gen one plugged into a speaker docking thing in our kitchen - my musical tastes cast in the amber of 2004 are a reliable cooking soundtrack when I’m too lazy to put something on the stereo.
posted by ryanshepard at 2:37 PM on May 11 [14 favorites]


I have a 1st Gen, (I think), iPod. Seems to have broken a decade or so ago. Lots of great music is trapped on there...
posted by Windopaene at 2:43 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


Insanely great post title, chavenet!
posted by PlusDistance at 2:46 PM on May 11 [15 favorites]


I just got another one in January 2022 (after dropping it and shattering my screen). I better keep it intact.
Heck, I still have my FIRST iPod (not a click wheel one, but the model after that), I'd still be using it except it stopped holding charge much after a lot of years.
I'm sad about this. I get that it's "outmoded" because of phones, but I can stash a lot more music/podcasts on it without using up all the phone memory and that's why I have a separate gadget for that. It also acts as a backup phone and does FaceTime (I have an Android) if necessary. I'm sad to hear this news.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:49 PM on May 11 [5 favorites]


You can find refurbished and heavily upgraded old iPods on eBay (never dealt w/that seller, this is not an endorsement)--people like the 5.5, because it had a Wolfson DAC that audiophile types favor. Folks will put in big or even multiple SSDs, big new batteries, and wind up with something with a terabyte or more of storage and enough battery to play for days.

I've been tempted to buy one, but have never managed to pull the trigger. It's a lot more tempting now, though, somehow.
posted by box at 2:50 PM on May 11 [8 favorites]


I miss memories of the Walkman of my childhood. I'm glad that it was in my childhood though, getting to see that the iPod came after it. Can't wait to see what follows the iPod.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:52 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


I knew this day was coming, but I'm still disappointed. The iPod is a great piece of equipment. I've only had Nanos, and keep one in my car; I keep one hooked up to a portable speaker; and I keep one or two on-hand for airplane rides. I love not having to fiddle with my phone; not use up phone data; not deal with a run-down battery on my phone, etc. I will need to stock up again, as they do seem to go missing around the house.

In other news...20 years?!?! wow, I can't believe it's been that long since it was introduced.
posted by hydra77 at 2:59 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


The very first iPod ad, even before the silhouette dancers. 2001
A thousand songs. In your pocket.
[Propellerheads - Take California]

posted by bartleby at 3:05 PM on May 11 [5 favorites]


Lessee... I own... 4? 5 iPods? Something like that. If I had the money to drop on a new iPod Touch right now I would, because the one I have is one of the best pieces of equipment I've ever gotten and having one in backup for that inevitable day would be nice.

I much prefer using an iPod to listen to music rather than my Phone. The dedicated device means the other device is free to do literally anything else with without interrupting the music.
posted by hippybear at 3:08 PM on May 11 [8 favorites]


I have one of the weird 5th gen models with no rear camera. I’m pretty sure it’s the thinnest thing Apple has ever made, less than a quarter inch thick. There is almost nothing to it but screen and one button, and even today it feels like a postcard from the future.
posted by mhoye at 3:08 PM on May 11 [8 favorites]


I've got various neat solutions for streaming my music collection, but having it all on one device would be the best. I've tried a few and they always have some kind of pain in the ass issue.

My main issue is, how many days would it take to transfer 200 gigs of music to an old iPod over that 30-pin interface?
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:10 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


The 160GB iPod Classic is the best portable music player ever created, though mine no longer charges or even interfaces with my computer correctly so I am using a 5th or 6th (not sure!) generation Nano (I have 2), which has much less storage but is still great.
posted by remembrancer at 3:10 PM on May 11 [13 favorites]


200GB of music onto an old iPod Classic (with the internal hard drive) over an old Apple 30 pin takes about 6 hours, if I remember correctly.
posted by hippybear at 3:13 PM on May 11 [6 favorites]


Fun to watch: the progress of the iPod nano, in six ads.
posted by bartleby at 3:13 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


The 6th gen Nano is great. It’s the size of a postage stamp. It clips to your shirt. It plays music and does nothing else. Who wants to carry around a heavy clunky phone (and they get heavier and clunkier every year) while exercising? I still use mine regularly.
posted by dephlogisticated at 3:17 PM on May 11 [9 favorites]


I remember my first, and only iPod - a mini, when Apple was first using bright anodized aluminum housings. The storage on it was a tiny hard drive, so if you shook it or moved around a lot, it would skip.

Was it still better than the portable CD players and tape players I had previously? Definitely.

Did I turn it on after I got my first smartphone? Never.
posted by meowzilla at 3:18 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


What are we going to call podcasts now?
posted by Melismata at 3:24 PM on May 11 [19 favorites]


Until recently, I worked in Special Ed, and iPod Touches were the best answer for self-management for a lot of kids on the spectrum who were good readers. We can't and don't want to give them phones, but the suite of apps on iOS is reallt good, and a pocket device stands out a lot less than an iPad.

I also miss the old "just music" players, both the shuffle and clicky wheel iPods. I also never want streaming. Service here is too unreliable. I just want to actually have all my music.
posted by DebetEsse at 3:24 PM on May 11 [7 favorites]


The iPod wasn't the first MP3 player and it won't be the last. I still have a teal-coloured Rio PMP300 somewhere in the house that pre-dates the iPod, and a quick Google shows plenty of options for new iPod alternatives.

If you can't load your Apple music library onto them because of DRM, that's a whole other thing.
posted by krisjohn at 3:30 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


It's funny how the first iPhones came with an iPod app whose icon was the old clickwheel iPod on it, to play your music. This stopped after a couple years and just became the Music app. I guess Apple knew that a lot of new users never had iPods and didn't know what the symbol was.
posted by meowzilla at 3:34 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Well someone had to say it
posted by gwint at 3:35 PM on May 11 [24 favorites]




I just dug around in an old box, and found my old fuchsia iPod Nano.

I'm so glad I did, because not only does it have some great music on it? It also has an FM Radio. It's charging now, so I can put it in my daily bag. I remember being SO excited when it came out; I ordered it the first week that it was available. And, of all of the functions on that iPod? I think I used the FM radio the most - listening to KEXP during the long morning bus commute, every day.

I also value it because I live in Earquake Country, and I want something where I can get reports of what's going on, if need be, reliably. Having access to FM radio will be invaluable if the cell towers are all down.
posted by spinifex23 at 3:38 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


Ipod is the only device I can plug into my 2012 Jetta
posted by robbyrobs at 3:38 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Wow, that WSJ article is dripping with amused contempt for people who haven't "moved on" from the iPod. It doesn't mention one of the main advantages of a dedicated music player: the iPod has a headphone jack, the iPhone doesn't. You can plug your iPod into portable speakers, earphones, your car's AUX port, anything that uses the standard 1/8" audio connector.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 3:38 PM on May 11 [23 favorites]


I still have my Nomad Jukebox. A glorious 6GB of storage! All in a case bigger than a portable CD player!

Was the first one I got, though. I wish I could get all the music that came with it off of it, because I liked some of that stuff but it's trapped there.
posted by hippybear at 3:39 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


Hah! It WAS lame, after all.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:39 PM on May 11 [6 favorites]


Here's the original Metafilter thread

Hey sixteen year old me correctly predicted the dominance of the Sony MicroDisc.
posted by geoff. at 3:42 PM on May 11 [13 favorites]


For those who are still using an old iPod around the home or in the car and are worrying about the longevity of that HDD, don't worry - hometown hero DankPods has you covered with this guide to flashmodding.
posted by MarchHare at 3:44 PM on May 11 [6 favorites]


What are we going to call podcasts now?

And why does the "Save" icon in all these programs look like a vending machine?
posted by straight at 3:54 PM on May 11 [6 favorites]


.
posted by riruro at 3:57 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


I bought my husband an old iPod touch off eBay for a trip we took. It was nice to have a music only player (even if it is forever stuck on iOS 9). The battery lasts forever without needing to run an antenna chipset and holds more than enough music for our needs. Not bad for $25.
posted by msbutah at 3:57 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


And why does the phone icon look like a lumpy boomerang?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:57 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


Here's the original Metafilter thread

"Transfer a whole CD in 10 seconds!"
posted by straight at 3:58 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


It doesn't mention one of the main advantages of a dedicated music player: the iPod has a headphone jack

Another advantage, and the reason my wife purchased one as soon as she heard the news, is size and weight. She clips her nano to her shirt when she goes out to garden. Her iPhone is more bulky than she likes, and women's clothes tend to have fewer pockets than mens'.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:03 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


Synchronicity-I just charged up my ipod nano today for he first time in months. I'll take it over streaming music anytime. Relying solely on an internet connection to hear music always seemed foolish to me.
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:06 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


I’m a fan of this post on the original thread from 2001, which from the vantage point of 2022 makes about as much sense as the Sumerian dog joke
posted by rhymedirective at 4:09 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


The third generation iPid nano was a work of genius and deserves to be in the MoMA. Apparently almost everyone hated it but they’re all wrong. It was beautiful.
posted by sjswitzer at 4:12 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


The iPod wasn't the first MP3 player and it won't be the last.

Before I, a late adopter, acquired an iPod I had a Samsung player that had a damn peculiar feature: there was a little toggle that essentially sped up or slowed down the song while simultaneously raising or lowering the pitch by a commensurate amount, as if you were adjusting a turntable. The adjustment was just about exactly a semitone.

My favourite track to adjust was The Delta Rhythm Boys doing Dry Bones: instead of modulating up as they ascend the skeleton, the song just gets slower and sloooowwwwer and slooooooooowwwwer.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:15 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


My iPod Nano is 4th Gen, which is a lovely thing and I'd use it more if it had bluetooth so I could avoid the wires. The 5th Gen Nano included an FM receiver, and that would be a sweet sweet feature to have on such a device.
posted by hippybear at 4:16 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I get my next paycheck in about a week, and I'm going to order myself a backup iTouch if they're still available at that time. This newest iTouch is a thing of real beauty. Bigger than my iPod Classic at 256GB and not sensitive to temperature or sudden movements either.

I wish I could go back and get some of the old models, though. I'm sure I could through eBay. They did a lot of really interesting thing with the iPod across the years, and the Touch is one of the least interesting versions because it's just an iPhone without a phone.
posted by hippybear at 4:22 PM on May 11 [5 favorites]


I’ve just noticed that iOS ALREADY cannot autocorrect iPid to iPod. That’s just brutal.
posted by sjswitzer at 4:27 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


One can argue that the 4th gen nano is an evolutionary improvement on the 3rd; I fancy the 3rd but they’re in the same family. The best family.
posted by sjswitzer at 4:49 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Have a half dozen of them. I can play MUSIC I OWN through SPEAKERS AND HEADPHONES I OWN, no commercials or internet connection needed. Fuck Apple forever for the nightmare that is iTunes, but I have my original iPod I bought in 2008 and it still works GREAT.

I think it's incredible so many people gave up owning music. A horrible sacrifice. 😫
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:28 PM on May 11 [21 favorites]


Yes, I don't understand renting the music you listen to. I still get CDs and downloads and anything that gives me something local that I don't have to pay data for. That stuff is mine. I bought it. Yay!
posted by hippybear at 5:36 PM on May 11 [16 favorites]


Why would you buy digital files? I pay $120 a year for access to pretty much the entirety of all music. That’s like 5 albums. So I can buy 5 albums a year, or I can have access to all the music.

And the stuff I listen to a lot, I buy on vinyl. It’s got nice big artwork and it’s fun to handle.
posted by rhymedirective at 5:48 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


Some stuff I want is only on digital. I do buy vinyl, and specifically if it comes with a digital download so I can listen to it on the go. I have been known to buy a CD of something that doesn't have a digital with the vinyl so I can have that option.

A perfect example of digital albums I bought recently were the Astronomia series from Duran Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Wendy Bevans, which only had a digital release except for a very limited fan club CD release. I consider it money well spent because they money went directly to the artists for what they created, and they didn't just get some tiny fraction of a cent for each time I might listen to it.

We all have different philosophies about how money should be spent on music. I spend mine as I feel is best.
posted by hippybear at 5:55 PM on May 11 [7 favorites]


Just bought a 4th gen iPod Nano for $50 bucks. Looking forward to being able to leave my phone at home when going out to exercising.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:06 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


The iPod Shuffle remains the greatest piece of "I'm going for a run and want to listen to music or a podcast" equipment ever made.

No way. That title would likely go to the Sansa Clip+, which was even smaller than the Shuffle. It also has an OLED screen, an SD card slot that supports up to 64 gb or so, maybe even more, an FM radio, a built in mic and a very handy clip. It also has a headphone boost mode that can drive heavier, larger headphones. I also think it supports AAC, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, MP3 and full WAV/PCM files

It was also widely regarded as one of the best sounding small media players of that class and size.

Even better? No iTunes or Apple Store. It functioned as a plain old USB mass storage drive so you could just drag and drop whatever files you wanted on it in any sort of folder, and it also supported playlists and had a built in playlist builder/editor.

Even better? You can install Rockbox on it. Which has all kinds of toys, apps and plugins, including the ability to play Doom on a tiny little bi-tone OLED screen.

I miss mine. It was pretty much bullet proof, weatherproof and it was super tiny and had a great, strong clip on it.

Today I just use VLC on my budget droid phone, which thankfully still has a headphone jack, but I mainly use it for my bluetooth speaker while riding my bike. If I'm listening to music with headphones on it's usually sitting at my computer.

It's weird but I've never, ever owned an iPod nor an iPhone and to be honest at this point in Apple's trajectory from nearly dead underdog to kind of innovating for a little while to being one of the world's most profitable and ubiquitous tech companies I don't think I'm missing out on anything.

There are very few apps that are only for iTunes. My phone is like a tenth the price or less of an iPhone of similar specs and if anything is more durable, has a headphone jack and an SD card slot. The camera doesn't suck. I'm mainly missing out on some basics I don't even want, like NFC or wireless charging, their higher end multicam and... uh, FaceID. Which is cool for the 3D mapping stuff, but if really I wanted to shoot lasers at my face I can handle that all on my own.

RIP iPod. You were cool for a hot minute. If you see iTunes, please punch it right in the mouth for me.
posted by loquacious at 6:15 PM on May 11 [9 favorites]




Its legacy lives on in millions of useless docking ports on hotel nightstand speakers around the world.

Seriously, every fucking fancy hotel has these.
posted by phooky at 6:19 PM on May 11 [21 favorites]


I had a few iPods over the years, but I really loved the buttonless shuffle for running. If it could pair with Bluetooth headphones I would have kept using it up until I switched to a watch that could track my runs as well. Running without cords with Bluetooth headphones was a big enough game-changer that I switched to running with a phone on my arm, as awkward as that was.
posted by stopgap at 6:25 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


SweetJesus wasn't wrong. I have only ever used Windows, wouldn't have ever used an iPod if they didn't allow iTunes on Windows eventually. U less I'm misunderstanding.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:25 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


the Touch is one of the least interesting versions because it's just an iPhone without a phone.

I have a Fiio with an almost-as-good-but-not clickwheel, and I have to say that the clickwheel is a very sorely missed interface. It is much better than a scrollbar on a screen, in so many ways.

I wish I’d bought a last gen clickwheel iPod when I had the chance.
posted by mhoye at 6:26 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


Its legacy lives on in millions of useless docking ports on hotel nightstand speakers around the world.


Useless?! My husband and I are ecstatic when one of those is in the hotel room. Many people on this thread are active iPod users. These things will be around at least another 20 years, mark my words!
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:26 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


It's gonna bomb.. By only supporting Mac computers, they've cut out about 90% of the market

And ... they were right. It wasn't until a couple iterations later that it took off which was when it started supporting Windows and dropped the Firewire.
posted by geoff. at 6:29 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


.
posted by praemunire at 6:32 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


The clickwheel could be operated without looking, unlike the Touch models. God, how I miss tangible controls!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:37 PM on May 11 [17 favorites]


No way. That title would likely go to the Sansa Clip+,

I bought one of these as a running MP3 player after a lot of ask-me recs, and it was one of those perfect little gadgets that is just ideal for the task. I have to bring my phone with me these days for contactability reasons, but it’s still a great little player.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:39 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


The iPod Shuffle remains the greatest piece of "I'm going for a run and want to listen to music or a podcast" equipment ever made.

There have never been truer words. My 2nd gen Shuffle is still going strong, and remains the greatest lawn-mowing music machine evar.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:42 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


I've been doing train commuting, usually forty-five minutes or more, for about the last twenty years, and there was a period of time where I was desperate for something I could watch video on. I could download all kinds of sports (american football, basketball, professional wrestling) but I just didn't have the time to watch them when I finally got home at night, as, more often than not, I'd have an evening class on the side for extra money that would entail more time on the train.

I was looking and looking, and I was so close to getting the Archos? Archon? because it was the first media player that had a screen, and I nearly bought one, but then I found you could load media onto PSPs, and Mrs. Ghidorah had long since lost interest in hers. So, two to three hours on a train? I can watch the Bears game, all in one day! Woo!

For music, I had, I think, a 4th gen, spinning hard drive iPod (160GB!) and I loved the hell out of it, but when the iPod touch dropped, it was like a moment where the world stopped, and it was just me and that little sliver of a device, calling to me. It was everything I'd ever wanted, all in one palm-of-the-hand sized device. I jumped at buying one (just like I would jump at buying an iPad when they came out), and it was bliss.

When my father passed away suddenly while I was home visiting in 2009, years before I'd finally get an iPhone, my iPod touch was my only way to connect with Mrs. Ghidorah when I stayed home to take care of his estate and she returned to Japan. It was just supposed to be a short trip, so I hadn't bothered bringing a laptop, but I could connect to wifi at nearly any restaurant or cafe and we could text back and forth, and the month apart, while difficult, allowed us to express how much we missed each other, and how strong our bond really was.

I've still got that iPod in my desk drawer, even though it hasn't worked in years. Probably more than other product I've seen or bought in the last twenty years, it felt like a piece of the future had arrived, like some of the promises we grew up with had finally been kept.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:04 PM on May 11 [7 favorites]


Back in 2007 I bought a 160 GB iPod and then spent time at work ripping my fairly large library of cds to end up with a small portable whole music library. And every night since then including last night and tonight it will be my going to sleep music source. My cds are two feet away, but this is convenient. I will miss being able to do this when this iPod finally gives up the ghost.
posted by njohnson23 at 7:12 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


I still use my 80gb iPod Classic every day. Click-wheel forever!

I have a spare just in case it ever dies.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:13 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


njohnson23: the new iPod Touch devices that are still in stock come in sizes up to 256GB. You might enjoy having one of those.
posted by hippybear at 7:14 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Somewhere in this house I have a 40Gb 2nd generation ipod, an ipod nano 6th generation, ipod shuffle 4th generation and ipod touch 5th generation. I've also owned a first generation ipod 20Gb that I bought for way too much money in Hong Kong on a layover and the first or second generation ipod nano that I someone gave me. I guess I like iPods!
posted by piyushnz at 7:29 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


(Only a on a 23 year old website would a large amount of people cling to a 20 year-old mp3 player)
posted by geoff. at 7:33 PM on May 11 [10 favorites]


I still think that it's remarkable, both for its intuitive ease of use and for the capability of letting me carry just about every song that I'd really want to have at my fingertips.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:58 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


I have an iPod classic that was given to me as a gift that I never used. It's still pristine and basically new. A few months ago I decided to sell it on ebay, but it was engraved to me on the back and it felt a bit ooky to do that, so I held off. I did sell the holster it came with for around 15 bucks, which I thought was pretty funny, because who knew there was a market for iPod classic belt holsters? Now I'm thinking I may want to rethink the ooky factor...
posted by Mchelly at 8:12 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


I also value it because I live in Earquake Country

You must be pairing your iPod with Apple's more bass heavy Beats headphones.
posted by fairmettle at 8:15 PM on May 11 [5 favorites]


Oh, and I will admit the clickwheel is a pretty cool haptic interface. And I too can't believe it's been this long since it was first released.

Also for all the iPod fans you may love - or completely hate - the Dankpods YT channel where he repairs, resurrects and massively upgrades iPods. I haven't actually watched this one but here's one I selected from the top search results where it looks like he puts 4 TB of microSD cards into an iPod Classic. (I haven't actually seen this one yet but it looks fun.)

He also has way, way too many videos of him reviewing the worst MP3 players of that era, which he often defines as "nuggets", often ending the review with blunt force percussive decommissioning.
posted by loquacious at 8:17 PM on May 11 [5 favorites]


I've been on the hunt for a digital music player that can play tracks in an album without gaps (for example, some albums by Pink Floyd and others flow continuously from one song to the next and a gap between tracks ruins the experience).

I'm used to CDs, which "just work" for continuous albums. My Android phone seems to not be able to do this. Anyone know if iPods (or even better, other MP3 players which are currently sold) do this?
posted by splitpeasoup at 8:22 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Blunt Force is the name of my new band, and our first album is Percussive Decommissioning. It's heavy on the drum kit and really overcranked bass, but there are melodies across the top if you listen carefully.
posted by hippybear at 8:23 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Anyone know if iPods (or even better, other MP3 players which are currently sold) do this?

It's bizarre your phone won't do this. Yes, iPods do this well. They do this well in two ways. 1) They will play tracks that are in sequence without a gao between them unless that gap is somehow part of the media. 2) iTunes will allow you to rip CDs to digital and let you link tracks together to be ripped as a single track. So if you have an album that has three songs on the CD index but they are meant to be played as a single track, you can make that happen when you rip the CD and you will never get individual parts of that sequence coming up out of context if you hit shuffle.

But yes, an iPod will play a sequential, multi-track album without gaps.
posted by hippybear at 8:26 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


(This is something my Nomad Jukebox would not do, and that I don't remember early iPods doing. But it's been a thing for a long time now. Maybe a different music player on your Android phone would solve this problem for you.)
posted by hippybear at 8:29 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


For the haters, a bit of classic Onion:
the new MacBook Wheel
posted by bartleby at 8:29 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


Well, if you really want to go THERE... here's MadTV's iPad skit.
posted by hippybear at 8:32 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


In my last car, I used to listen to music via my iPod classic....it plugged into the USB port, integrated nicely with the car's audio system, and worked FLAWLESSLY.

Then one day I took the car to the dealership for routine maintenance, and when I picked it up, it suddenly no longer recognized the iPod. The mechanic swore he didn't do anything with the entertainment system, and the "genius" they sent out to look at it couldn't explain it either. He eventually just shrugged and said it wasn't really a feature that the manufacturer maintained anymore, because "nobody uses iPods these days." (This was about 5-6 years ago.)

I eventually got an iPod touch to fulfill the same role, but it was laggy and much more prone to crash, plus I couldn't leave it in the car between May and September because it wouldn't tolerate the heat.

My current car's audio system works just fine with my phone via bluetooth, and the Touch has been gathering dust for a couple years now.

Still love the Classic, and that's still my go-to for when I want to go out for a long walk. I'm gonna cry when it eventually stops working.
posted by key lime guy at 8:34 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


This is reminding me of a Maker type project that I never got around to.
I wanted to turn a coffee table into a home theatre / media PC, in the form of a giant clickwheel iPod.
posted by bartleby at 8:38 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


Your... um... touch... probably has bluetooth.
posted by hippybear at 8:38 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


Soon after my Sansa clip died in 2015, I found a dented up iPod touch in a trash can. It’s still my go-to music and podcast device. Opening the iTunes Store is excruciatingly slow, but I can’t believe it still works after 14 years and the battery lasts through a whole work day.
posted by Headfullofair at 8:47 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Why would you buy digital files? I pay $120 a year for access to pretty much the entirety of all music. That’s like 5 albums. So I can buy 5 albums a year, or I can have access to all the music.

And the stuff I listen to a lot, I buy on vinyl. It’s got nice big artwork and it’s fun to handle.


For me it's because streaming audio quality mainly sucks and it's nice to have resolution files. I have better things to do with my available bandwidth, too. There's also a lot of places in my neck of the non-figurative woods where I don't get great coverage or I just want to be offline and use an MP3 player or, more likely these days, go airplane mode.

And most of the music I actually want to listen to and how I like to listen to it doesn't really exist on any of the streaming services, and if it is there I probably have files of it. I also refuse to give apple, google or spotify any money and to the point that sometimes I don't even bother to capitalize their names.

Another reason for owning files is for DJing and sampling. While it's now possible to DJ directly from some streaming sources it's not reliable, especially if you're playing in a crowded bar and everyone has their wifi on. They don't even have to be connected to the network you're on when you get that many wifi devices in the same room because of how the nuts and bolts of WiFi works. Not your files, not your music. Plus using a music library with local files means you can store and save the metadata used for analyzing tracks for BPM values, saving hotcues or beatgrids and other modern DJ functions and tools.

Mostly for me is it's about the streaming. I want to own at least files of my music because I don't really want my music to be tied to having a working internet connection. And because of the DJing thing I prefer to have files and backups of those files and it's just natural for me to do it that way. I tend to scatter folders of music in random USB thumbdrives or SD cards so I can share music with people or have enough music on my phone or a keychain, sometimes even with live software like Ubuntu Studio and MIXXX - that I could throw down a DJ set or something, like a musical swiss army knife.


Useless?! My husband and I are ecstatic when one of those is in the hotel room. Many people on this thread are active iPod users. These things will be around at least another 20 years, mark my words!

I'm truly happy for you but oh, man, I *loathe* those docks and the whole iPod classic edge connector standard and how they ended up everywhere in the weirdest places.

I'm partially bringing this up because earlier when I was reading the thread I remember thinking that they were going to be bad news in my book because the iPod definitely was blowing up and becoming incredibly popular in a hurry - and, well, those edge connectors are fragile and stupid and dumb. (Don't @ me, EEs, I'll pick up the nearest ME and whack you with them! You know you liked them because you're a nerd and they had all those pins going on!)

And in hindsight I have to remember that Apple wasn't the only tech company using those stupid fiddly edge connectors. They were in all kinds of things like 2G phones, PCMCIA cards and network dongles, PDAs and a lot of 3rd party PalmOS stuff.

But part if the irritation is those iPod dock connectors started showing up all over the place in cars and appliances and if you didn't have an iPod you were usually screwed. Not only was it a piece of tech you usually couldn't use, you also some kind of designed space to put something like a phone or media player, but in many cases with these designs you couldn't even prop your phone or player in the space provided because of the shape of the dock and the connector sticking out.

So maybe if you were lucky you could use an aux cable or something and place your device somewhere else like some kind of second class citizen, but of course there'd never be a built in aux or even some kind of cable sticking out permanently attached to it, so you'd always carry one. It was even more rare to find a USB port on any given iPod gadget that could charge something or play audio from it as a drive.

Sure, if it's your own iPod dock at home or something none of this really matters but those docks popped up in the weirdest places.
posted by loquacious at 8:53 PM on May 11 [7 favorites]


hippybear, I didn't want to go there.

But if we're talking iPads...
"Digital screens will NEVER replace print media!"
'Oh yeah, why not?'
"Ever try to kill a wasp with a rolled-up iPad?"
posted by bartleby at 8:54 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


A nano (the little square one) was the last piece of Apple tech i bought and it was so infuriating i haven't even considered anything Apple since. The experience started with not being able to sideload mp3s and degraded from there. I'm glad Apple has been succesful but holy hand geenade am also glad Android devices are giving options in the mobile computing arena whether it is mp3 players or phones.

I subscribe to spotify and never use mobile data for it. Its support for downloading things is excellent if they have what you want.
posted by Mitheral at 9:16 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Back in 2001 I had been looking into mp3 playing and had just about decided on one called the Arxiv or Argos or something like that. Then on a Saturday I wandered into my neighborhood dealer and the manager, Jeff, said "Hey, look at this thing that Apple released a couple of days ago". So I bought the original iPod. Last time I tried to use it (5 years ago) it worked fine.

I currently use two iPods. One is the 160gb Classic which I use ever day. It is plugged into my stereo system and rarely leaves the shelf on my entertainment center so it's like new.

And I have a 6th gen Nano which I use mainly for radio. I love that it's has zero size and weight and great sound.

The poor fidelty of streaming music is a nonstarter for me.
posted by neuron at 10:02 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


*hits play on my iPod Classic*

I expanded it to half a terabyte with flash. It's not going to lose music because of licensing deals, distract me with notifications about email, or interrupt music with a blaring ad or because of a network glitch.

And now I'm considering getting an iPod Touch for my mom, who already has an Android phone. Being able to FaceTime would simplify things sometimes.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:49 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


What I’m not seeing acknowledged in this thread is the amount of stolen MP3s that were on iPods. iPods were enormously large devices at the time, they launched two years before you could buy MP3s from apple directly - sure, some people had enormous ripped CD collections but most people had a mix. those empty gigabytes on iPods encouraged filling with random musical artefacts, like rarely-listened-to Detroit house, or Chess: the musical. Things that you liked, but maybe not enough to pay for.
posted by The River Ivel at 2:09 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Every couple of years I buy a refurbished Nano off eBay when my current one gives out. It lives in my 2008 car, plugged into the AUX port, and only comes in the house when I want to recharge the battery or update my podcasts, at which point I connect it to my 2010 iMac (running High Sierra) with a 30-pin plug and manage the content with iTunes 12.8.3.1.

Not everyone lives in your cutting-art, state-of-the-edge, wireless streaming future, Apple, and if you want me to "upgrade" you'll have to drag me kicking and screaming.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:42 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


I'm truly happy for you but oh, man, I *loathe* those docks and the whole iPod classic edge connector standard and how they ended up everywhere in the weirdest places.

In college I upgraded my car radio to an aftermarket Sony deck which came with an iPod connector attached to a long cable. The idea of upgrading my ten-year-old Toyota to have an iPod dock was so awesome that I spent hours threading that cable just so it emerged below the ash tray as prescribed in the instructions Crutchfield had provided. I didn't even own an iPod at the time, nor did I ever buy one. The car got junked a few years ago without any iPods having ever been connected to that cable. But it looked so cool.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:53 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


Where I work, the campus wifi is terrible and so are cell signals inside buildings. Streaming only is simply not functional. And this is within the metro-Atlanta area, so if I go to somewhere that's not my particular accursed state university, I do have access to high speed internet. There are plenty of places right here in Georgia, USA that still have large cell phone dead areas and no available broadband internet (DSL is the best they can do). An awful lot of us still have to download rather than stream.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:39 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


I would assume playing offline music from a streaming service is part of what most folks consider streaming.

Lots of places do have dead zones, for example, many airplanes or underground public transit - but people still listen to (streaming) music in those places all the time.
posted by mosst at 6:05 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


The digital audio player field is really wide; quick cursory searches for 'cheap audiophile DAP' or 'Chi Fi DAP' will get you a load of results for some pretty well independently reviewed gear.

I've had the opportunity to use some 'chi fi' DAPs, and they're pretty good; the UI's are usually not the best, but they're never a dealbreaker. They usually support way more audio types than my iphone does.

However, the current cycle in our house is to wear our iphones down to dust to the point they aren't supported by software updates anymore, and then remove the SIM and turn them functionally into an ipod. Throw a $15 dollar battery case on it, or slap it permanently on a dock, wipe everything off it that can be, and then load it up with music. I don't stream music, except to give it a test run and see if I want to buy it. This works exceedingly well, and extends the useful life of something that's designed to be replaced relatively frequently, way beyond what it 'ought' to. I wish there were some more creative OS replacements for older phones, but most of those projects seem to have a much higher bar to entry than I can muster.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:56 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Memo to self: Round up all the iPods in my house and assess their workability

Buy at least one new one while / if it's still possible.

I haven't used any of mine in a while, because my car has a USB memory stick port, but I love the haptic interfaces and headphone jacks and general utility as *just a music player*.
posted by Gelatin at 7:32 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


My first ipods was the iPod shuffle and it was fantastic. It's rectangular shape and buttons enable me to work the interface without even looking at it. That was pure genius and miss that a lot these days.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:39 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Amazon seems to be selling something called an "M-player" that looks like an iPod Nano, for about 80 bucks.

Older model iPods (like the Nano and Shuffle) look to still be available on eBay for $50, more or less.
posted by Gelatin at 7:47 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


I use mine on my daily walk. I don't want a cellphone with me, I want some peace and quiet. They are also great for camping and car trips where radio reception and cell service is not great. Load up a bunch of podcasts and music, and roadtrips are set.

The other thing I use an iPod (5th gen clickwheel) for is to stream music over a low-power radio transmitter to my old tube radios. The best of both worlds, the warm sound of antique tube sets and the modern convenience of an iPod!
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:50 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Seeing what streaming has done to the availability of even some fairly well-known classic films, I have zero confidence that even music that is available to me today on streaming services will be available five years in the future. It's actually driven me back to buying 4K blu-rays.
posted by praemunire at 8:19 AM on May 12 [9 favorites]


I had such a love hate relationship with my iPod mini. It was amazing to be able to give up my portable CD player and jog with that tiny thing in my pocket and have enough music for an hour. The hate part was that it meant having to use iTunes on Windows which was the slowest most janky thing in the universe and then there's the fact that it managed to corrupt the Mini's database on a regular basis causing me to have to do a hard-reset and start from scratch. After a year, it stopped charging so I sent it in to have the battery replaced and that one only lasted for a few months so I dumped it in a drawer and bought some cheap generic MP3 player from BestBuy.

The experience with iTunes put me off using any Apple anything for more than a decade until my work gave me a MacBookPro in 2015. I've been assigned a series of MBPs since then but I've never bought another Apple product myself.
posted by octothorpe at 8:23 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


If you're using an ios device with an older ipod, exploring installing Rockbox on it to replace the operating sysem with a open source system is really great. Turns it into a drag-and-drop device like most other mp3 players.

It also adds a bunch of different file type supports, and generally opens the hardware up further than apple allowed.

I wish these kinds of projects were running for touch devices, but I think the complexity and constant updating and churn of them prevent this from gaining traction.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:29 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


In my experience: the batteries an any iPod outlast any iPhone, which is another argument for a dedicated music player.

I have several iPods that I have picked up over the years: a Nano, a couple of partially-disassembled Classics, and two Nanos. My wife plays white noise at night, and prefers a specific recording I made of our old clothes dryer. An iPod Nano with a playlist of like 99 copies of that dryer recording got her through YEARS of nights, once she'd become a very light sleeper because of the baby monitor. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 8:30 AM on May 12 [8 favorites]


Amazon seems to be selling something called an "M-player" that looks like an iPod Nano, for about 80 bucks.

Older model iPods (like the Nano and Shuffle) look to still be available on eBay for $50, more or less.


There's a million basic tiny lightweight mp3 players out there, some with features like bluetooth connectivity or built-in speakers; even when the firmware's not ultra smooth, it still tends to be functional. Sandisk's Sansa Clip ones are much less capable than they used to be, which is baffling and annoying, but they're still great, still under $40, and still take giant micro sd cards.

I like small players that I can clip on my clothes when I'm walking around, that have physical buttons I can press by feel without having to look at a screen, that I can drop without worries and that let me listen to the music I own without eating up my phone's battery life or storage space. Never had an ipod of any kind - they've never been the only players in this space and (in my opinion) haven't been the best either.

What I’m not seeing acknowledged in this thread is the amount of stolen MP3s that were on iPods [...] Things that you liked, but maybe not enough to pay for.

Sounds good all around

I have zero confidence that even music that is available to me today on streaming services will be available five years in the future.

QFT. I have over 20 years' worth of music on the sd card in my cheapie mp3 player, which has a lot of both musical and emotional/nostalgic value to me. I don't have to worry about what's available where or migrating from one service to another or whether things will be streaming in the country I'm living in or whether whoever the hot new streamer is these days is still going to be around 20 years from now.
posted by trig at 9:42 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


My wife plays white noise at night, and prefers a specific recording I made of our old clothes dryer.

This is pretty brilliant!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:47 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


I have 4 (maybe 5) ipods. 2 are in use in rotation in my car. One is full of electronica, and the other is full of punk and experimental psych, they're different generations of ipod touch. They mostly cover all of my moods in the car. The classic is currently in a box and when I have a little more time will become a 1tb rockbox giant. The other is the tie bar shuffle, it needs to be filled with running music for the same reason someone said up thread. I may have another tie bar shuffle floating around, but god knows where.

No, I'm not obsessed with ipods, why do you ask?
posted by evilDoug at 9:47 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Oh yeah, I hate the way apple has made it tougher to get music on and off ipods. This could be easier you fucks, and it had been! You will not sell me a subscription this way you bastards.
posted by evilDoug at 9:50 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


Sorry, one more, my car needed a tow yesterday and I happened to be in a wifi and cell dead spot in the middle of high density suburban Denver (I mean, wtf?!). Very happy about the ipods then, I can tell you!
posted by evilDoug at 9:56 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


(I haven't actually seen this one yet but it looks fun.)

Update, I watched the video.

Narrator: It was not fun. It was ridiculous and filled with very expensive failure.

It boggles my mind you can fit 4 TB in a few micro SD cards. 4 TB is just about enough to fit the *entire* Napster P2P catalog at it's prime, especially if you weeded out the repeats and mis-labeled files and other junk. If I'm remembering this correctly Napster peaked out at like somewhere between 3-7 TB for every single file shared and indexed. Granted most of those files are probably junk 64k to 128k mp3s.

I think Soulseek peaked out at somewhere between 5-15 total terabytes, generally with better file rates and formats.
posted by loquacious at 10:23 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


From the announcement thread:
It's gonna bomb.. By only supporting Mac computers, they've cut out about 90% of the market. Really, REALLY dumb move.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:44 AM on October 23, 2001 [20 favorites −]


What I like about this comment is that it has 20 favorites, but favorites weren't added to MetaFilter until 2006.
posted by eckeric at 10:43 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


If there's one thing you can predict about the future, it is nothing.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:49 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


No way. That title would likely go to the Sansa Clip+

The 32GB Clip Sport+ is even better, as its slightly larger screen makes it easier to see track information. I've been using one for podcasts for ~10 years now, and it's the best - cheap, super-light, and can easily handle being dropped, sat on, etc. Mine even went through the wash and, once it dried out, resumed working perfectly.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:08 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


(Only a on a 23 year old website would a large amount of people cling to a 20 year-old mp3 player)

How little of the world has someone seen who is surprised by the idea that something made 20 years ago could be better than something made today?
posted by straight at 1:39 PM on May 12 [4 favorites]


That title would likely go to the Sansa Clip+

It was also widely regarded as one of the best sounding small media players of that class and size.


Yes, and it came with earbuds (the kind that don't plug your ear canal) which sounded better than a lot of earphones that cost more than the Clip itself.

I miss mine. It was pretty much bullet proof, weatherproof and it was super tiny and had a great, strong clip on it.

I literally went through five of them before finally giving up and plugging that 128 GB SD card with most of my music (sorted the way I like it) into my cell phone instead.
posted by straight at 1:44 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


I bought a 5th-generation Classic a few years ago and upgraded it, replacing the hard drive with a 480Gb SSD and installing the Rockbox firmware (allowing me to treat it as a hard drive full of files I can rsync my music collection to, rather than as something you need iTunes or some surrogate to provision). It works OK, though sometimes the power management can be flaky.

I keep thinking that it's about time that someone designed a single-board computer specifically for iPod-alike music-playing applications. It would have a low-power system on a chip (ARM or similar) with hardware for decoding common audio codecs, interfaces for common storage devices (SATA, SD, USB), a reasonable quality DAC, and enough GPIO pins to attach a scrollwheel/rotary encoder or touch panel, a LCD/OLED display, and a few buttons, as well as a modern host interface (USB-C), and optionally Bluetooth, WiFi and such. There is already open-source firmware with a venerable pedigree (Rockbox) that could be targeted at this, and any such devices would be less of a hack than trying to get a third-party firmware running on someone else's consumer device.
posted by acb at 1:49 PM on May 12 [4 favorites]


Also like the Sansa a lot for just music playing. Really a perfect little player, once Rockboxed. I had (and still have) one of the fancy iRiver iPod "killers" and while it has all the nice extras (DAC, optical SPDIF, USB-OTG, recording, etc) it's still just as chunky as the original disk iPods. Not as practical, best left plugged into an amp someplace.
posted by meehawl at 9:41 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


I was googling and trying to remember the name of an old model I had. I had forgotten just how hard the SD card based MP3 player aesthetic went for 'anything but rectangles'.

But one of my favorite rectangles was the original pack-of-gum iPod Shuffle. Because it was self-contained: no cables or cards, just a white USB stick with a play button and a headphone jack.
posted by bartleby at 10:18 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


We got our kids iPods just a couple months ago. We were using old iPhones as white noise machines since they were babies and the speakers finally gave out.

Makes me think I should pick up a couple more as backups.
posted by zrail at 8:18 AM on May 13


My first Apple device was a 4th gen click wheel iPod and I loved that thing to death. I still have it and, one day, I'm going to get it out of the box and start using it again. I absolutely love that semi-tactile click wheel interface for when I don't want to look down at a screen (not that there's much screen to look at).
posted by dg at 2:57 AM on May 16


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