Ask Max: Why does the newer iPod classic have less storage than the previous one?
Why does the newer iPod classic have less storage than the previous one - 120GB vs. 160GB? Should I buy the older or newer iPod classic?
Apple's update to the iPod classic was "classic Apple" and left many people scratching their heads. It is hard to imagine that having fewer options is better for the consumer but that was the gist of this change. What really happened was that the under-performing iPod Classic 160GB was cut from the iPod lineup and the 80GB model got an upgrade to 120GB. You realize this when you consider size. With iPods there is size, "how much music can this hold" and then there is size, "how big is this thing." The 80GB iPod Classic is the same physical dimensions as the 120GB iPod Classic, allowing it to use all the same accessories. Apple could have kept a 160GB Classic but was unable to make it hold more music via a larger hard drive. The capacity of the physically larger 160GB iPod was too close to the upgraded "smaller" in physical size iPod Classic. Considering the similarity in storage size, but the difference in accessories, Apple opted to just eliminate the confusion and drop the heftier iPod. Cleaner product offerings, but fewer options.
We also have to understand how the iPod Classic fits into Apple's idea of the future. Apple design is moving towards touching and not scrolling: big glass screens like the iPod touch and not little plastic shields over smaller LCDs. If only the Classic iPod did not sell so well Apple could just kill it altogether but we silly consumers just love the things. So I recommend ignoring Apple and their minimalist direction and get the iPod that fits you, and that sounds like the 160GB iPod classic. Get 'em while they last.
Hope that helps,