Remembering The Greatness That Was The iPod Classic

How the click wheel changed our lives and opened us up to the freedom of portable media.
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Photo by JC Alvarez

I recently moved into a new apartment with my partner and to a large extent moved more than three decades of my existence into storage. While happily settling into our new surroundings, there are still instances where I wax nostalgically for articles from my yesterday. There are many that I must learn to live without and I’m in the midst of selling several collectible items to the highest bidder, and donating countless volumes of hardcover books that I’ve read again and again, but it’s very hard to part with certain things.

Amidst the catalog of boxes, there were several items that were carelessly packed and for a lack of time were just tossed into shoe boxes and then for a lack of organization placed into larger boxes for transport. In my avid investigation of these containers several articles were rediscovered. Among them, thought to have been lost for the ages, was my Apple iPod Classic. Upon finding the tiny yet sturdy palm-sized block of metal, I was immediately transported. The silvery smooth casing impeccably intact beaconed to me. The weight of the hard-drive comfortably familiar.

I thumbed the click wheel, the iPod Classic’s means of navigation and intuitive input. A simplistic enough technology that was at the time of the device’s release relatively ahead of its time. The click wheel is used to select from the catalog of media stored on the 160GB of memory that can then be viewed on the small multi-colored screen. Considerably smaller than today’s iPhone fully-HD touch screen, but nonetheless just as appealing as its successor. Holding the device in my palm reminded me of how suddenly the soundtrack to my life had been revolutionized.

The iPod had put hundreds of thousands of songs in my back pocket, literally my entire music library, and for a music buff like myself, I was reminded of how much I’ve taken that for granted. The Apple iPod was first introduced in 2001, and even in its first generation, it was distinctively elegant. A veritable jukebox, the iPod went from a luxury item to a necessity. It changed the way we digested music and entertained; it inspired the spring in our steps as we went about our daily commutes and decided the intensity of our workouts — the attitude we would put on display.

Yes, it was the music that made the difference, but if it wasn’t for the technology doing the delivery the digital revolution would perhaps have never have blown up the way it did. My iPod became the singularly most important detail of my day-to-day, it brought me great relief and especially kept me moving! I credit the device with more than brightening my day and putting my music ― my media ― at my fingertips. It made the transit time more energetic! It made getting from here to there more interesting.

And though the times have changed, and so has the iPod. It’s now become a mini-computer that slips into practically every minute of our day, a deceptively dastardly multi-media multitasking devil that tweets, networks, counts, prods and pushes! It also takes and makes calls. It keeps our schedules together, and prevents us from being late. It counts our calories and figures out the proportionately proper tip amount. The iPod from yesterday so fondly remembered, never replaced, but only in innovation enhanced — and yes it still plays music.

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