The iPod Classic is dead. The Classic has been on life support for the last few years, but now the time has come for the high capacity Apple MP3 player to be mercy killed at the hands of Tim Cook. Despite the fact that nobody's really buying them anymore, everyone who hears that the product is dead wails and tears at their garments. So what's the alternative going forward? Where can you buy a high capacity MP3 player in a post-Classic world?
Between Apple's insanely pervasive, market-eating iPod range and the convergence of mobile devices, there isn't much of a high capacity music devices market left. The Classic was really the last truly brilliant device for high capacity music storage. Sure, you had to use iTunes which a lot of people still object to, but it was great.
Buy An iPod Classic...Fast
This one seems pretty obvious, but it bears repeating. If you want an iPod Classic for the future, you can't afford to sit on your hands.
Stores like Dick Smith, JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks will still have stock of the Classic here and there. It's going to involve you Indiana Jones-ing your way through a few stock systems with a very helpful store person, but they still exist. You've got a couple of weeks after this story is published to get them before they disappear.
Otherwise, head to eBay or Gumtree to find one for yourself. Obviously, it's probably going to be used, but at least you can buy it on the cheap.
Of course, as time goes on you're going to start noticing iPod Classic stock both in stores and on auction sites like eBay and Gumtree vanish as they're bought up. So what happens when you want a high capacity MP3 player going forward?
Deal With It
It might be time to deal with the fact that carrying all your crappy B-sides and rare albums around with you isn't a smart idea. You might need to start getting picky and choosey with your music.
The largest iPod you can buy now is the 64GB iPod Touch which is actually a pretty fantastic product for a stand-alone music player.
Buying it means you're going to have to trim down your music collection by allocating songs you like into different playlists and syncing only them to your device to save space.
The attraction of having all your music on one device is surely just so you can press shuffle and be delighted by a random song from your youth that you'd forgotten was in your library. To take advantage of this in a limited storage environment, start syncing Apple's Genius Mixes to your iPod. It breaks down random songs into genres based on how they sound. Playing one will still have the desired effect of random songs popping into your ears.
Still not satisfied?
Get Your Phone On The Case
It's not just Apple that swallowed the MP3 market: it was your phone as well.
If you still want to drag your music around with you everywhere, grab a microSD card and fill it to the brim. Then throw it at your phone and bob's-yer-Marley. I mean uncle.
Very few phones support microSD cards above 128GB in capacity, so that's going to be your ceiling for storage right now.
Of course, if you want larger libraries available at the touch of a button, give services like Spotify, Rdio or Pandora a go. If you're worried that those don't have all of your rare tunes, you can look into a cloud storage solution for your music. iTunes in the Cloud works quite well for all the songs you have in your library right now, and an annual iTunes Match subscription will cost $40 per year to make sure it all stays available across your connected devices.
You'll still have to stream music from iTunes in the Cloud or from a service like Spotify, so consider upping your data limit to make sure you don't get an excess data bill.
What? You want more?!. Fine.
There are still plenty of smaller MP3 players around, some of them for sub-$100 from reputable brands like Philips. But that's not what we want. We want oodles of storage to throw music at that we'll probably never really listen to.
Scouring Google, we were able to find a few products you might want to consider.
FiiO X5 High Resolution Lossless Music Player
We found this one on Amazon. It takes two 128GB microSD cards so you can have a total of 256GB of removable flash storage for your device. All that for only $US350 if you get in quick (and find a way to ship it to Australia).
Sony ZX1 Video
Because it's a HD music player as well as a standard MP3 player, you're going to pay through the goddamn nose for it at $799.
Seagate Wireless Plus Portable
While it's not something you can directly plug your phone into, the Seagate Wireless Plus Portable allows you to connect to it via Wi-Fi and stream your media to your phone remotely. It's a massive 1TB, which makes the iPod Classic you're mourning over look petty.
What's your solution to replace a high capacity MP3 player? Tell us in the comments