An open letter to Tim Cook

Dear Mr. Cook:

First off, let me say that I do have an appreciation for what Apple has achieved in the last four decades.  I’ve owned several iPods and I’ve worked on Apple IIe and Macintosh computers in my time.   I even own an Apple TV box so that I can purchase my favorite TV shows a la carte from iTunes.

Conversely, I don’t own an iPhone; I don’t own an iPad; and I’m probably not going to purchase the Apple Watch (which apparently only communicates with an iPhone, so trying to tether it to my BlackBerry Q10 won’t work).

That being said, I’ve developed a strong appreciation for Apple’s iPod music player.  My first iPod was a third-generation unit with a monochrome screen and a touch-sensitive clickwheel interface, and I loaded it with songs from my CD’s and from the Apple store.  I later replaced that 3g model with a more modern iPod, one that I actually integrated into the dashboard of my old Pontiac 6000 (using an Alpine aftermarket car stereo tuner).

But last Tuesday, when Apple made their worldwide announcement of the new iPhones and Apple Watch products… you deleted the option to purchase the iPod Classic.  We could still purchase the iPod Touch, even though it looks like a miniature iPhone, and we can still acquire an iPod Nano or an iPod mini… but not the iPod Classic.  Not the one with the built-in disc drive with its reassuring whirr and humm….

It was around this time last year, at the last Apple product rollout, that rumors swirled about the death of the iPod Classic.  I even blogged about such news and rumors.  I guess I was just a year off in my predictions.

Within the span of a few hours from last Tuesday’s announcement, the option to purchase an iPod Classic was deleted from Apple’s website.  The iPod Classics were whisked away from the Apple Store counters, almost as if they were un-personed, as if they never existed.  How ironic that in 1984, Apple made a commercial about how the Macintosh would strike a blow against Big Brother… and now, the iPod Classic has disappeared as if we were always at war with Eurasia.

Through some diligent efforts and some online searches, I was eventually able to purchase a black 160g iPod Classic from Best Buy’s online portal today, and I’m still crossing my fingers that those iPod Classic units from Best Buy haven’t been sent back to Apple’s black hole of discontinued products.

Mr. Cook, I understand that the iPod Classic may have run its course.  I understand that Apple would like its consumers to move forward with the iPod Touch and the iPhone and the iThis and the iThat.  iGet it.  iDo.

But if you were going to eventually discontinue the iPod Classic, why couldn’t you have at least given us a 30-day or 60-day drop-dead date?  We had no advanced warning.  We had no chance to purchase one last iPod Classic.  It was almost as if the product was simply yanked out of our hands and out of our consciousnesses, as if we were not allowed to enjoy the tactile operations of this awesome music and video player one last time.

We had no warning of the product’s dissolution.  And that’s not fair.  Not everybody wants to spend an iFortune to upgrade and then throw away their iToys every two iYears.

I would ask that, if you have the ability and the power to do so, to at least let those who wish to purchase the remaining stock of iPod Classics do so, until all the units are gone.  Maybe offer them as part of a special 30-day sale through Apple’s website.  You could even brand them as an “end of an era,” if you wanted to do that.  Maybe even get Bono to autograph every fifth unit.

Of course, that’s assuming that you’ll even read this online letter.  And that’s a longshot at best.

Still, I can only hope.  Please, Mr. Cook.  Give those who want to purchase one last iPod Classic the opportunity to do so.

Thanks in advance.

– Chuck Miller