Some things get better with age — wine, cheese, George Clooney and the iPod Classic. The discontinued dinosaur of a device breathed its last breath earlier this year, when it was quietly discontinued from Apple stores. But apparently, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the wallet grow smaller. According to the Guardian, the original iPod is now selling for up to $1,000, which is nearly four times the price it was offered at in September before it was gone for good. So if there was ever a time to be proud of being a hoarder, now's your chance!
Despite Apple's previous trend of making its devices smaller, thinner, and generally more breakable, size now seems to be coming back in vogue. The iPhone 6, after all, is considerably larger than previous generations, and as evidenced by the new found success of the old iPod Classic, consumers are now feeling a sense of nostalgia for the days when your tech devices weren't the size of a saltine cracker. And the iPod Classic was more than just the first in a long line of what is now the most ubiquitous music playing device in the United States — it also changed the entire landscape of the music industry. As Jared Miller of Time Magazine wrote in 2011, the iPod "completely redefined the experience of listening to music, as well as making it."
With the advent of the sexy new device, the Walkman and older MP3 players began to disappear, leaving Apple as the dominant presence. Miller noted, "The iPod offered a sleek way to organize the chaos of the mercurial music taste that downloaded music allowed for; though the industry still sold albums, listeners began sharing only the single songs they wanted to hear." And today, 13 years after that trend started, this remains the way that we consume music — one hit at a time.
But in addition to the impact the iPod had on the music industry, the device was also revolutionary (and remains revolutionary) in the sheer size of its storage capacity. The 160 GB iPod Classic could hold up to 40,000 songs, enough for even the longest road trip, and probably a few times over. And while streaming services like Spotify and Pandora may negate the necessity of having such a huge amount of memory on your music devices, your iPod's library doesn't require the Internet to run, making your favorite tunes easily accessible no matter when you want them or where you are.
Now that the Classic is gone, the next largest iPod device is the 64 GB iPod Touch, which has less than half the storage space of its predecessor. Of course, you could also pay $850 for a 128 GB iPhone, if you were so inclined, as it would still be cheaper than buying an iPod Classic across the pond.
The non-touch screen, clickwheel boasting device may have seemed like the black sheep of the Apple family earlier this year, but consumers are now begging to differ. When Apple decided to kill the first iPod, CEO Tim Cook cited missing parts and a difficult redesign as reasons behind the discontinuation. But now, it seems that Cook's decision may have been somewhat hasty, with the iPod pulling in the big bucks at rates that even Apple's newest devices cannot compete against.
While the iPod Classic appears to be most popular in England, consumers stateside are also scrambling to get their hands on the vintage technology. It's listed for $479 on Amazon and $750 on eBay, nearly double and triple the most recent asking price from Apple. Gizmodo also noticed that someone recently dropped a cool $90,000 on a U2 edition Classic — who knew those even existed?
Of course, many tech experts predicted that this huge spike in price would happen as Apple ended a generation of music devices, with the Guardian reporting, "As long ago as January 2013, Stuff magazine recommended buying an iPod Classic before it was too late, predicting it would double in price as soon it went into retirement." While much of the sudden demand seems to stem more from the iPod's scarcity than its actual usefulness as a product, regardless of the reason, buyers are certainly ready to spend a pretty penny on a decade-old device.
There is, after all, a brand "new" first generation iPod with 5 GB of memory selling for $30,000 on Amazon, and another on eBay for the more reasonable price of $25,000. So if you're one of the lucky few who still has your very first iPod, hang on to that puppy for dear life. You never know what kind of student loans it may pay off one day.
Images: Getty Images (3); eBay