Although tech companies like Apple have an obvious economic incentive for releasing new devices each year, there are also real technological advancements that justify the company’s annual product refreshes. In fact, the speed at which technological advancements are made in computing hardware practically guarantees that the devices that are released next year will outperform the models that are available today.
Even in the rare cases when the latest version of an electronic gadget doesn’t offer a substantial performance improvement over the last generation, there is still a social prestige benefit associated with owning the newest tech device. In other words, some folks will upgrade to the latest iPhone or MacBook model just to keep up with the Joneses, whether or not they actually make use of the updated device’s capabilities. Either way, whenever a customer does decide to upgrade one of their Apple products, chances are they will simultaneously get rid of their old device through Apple’s Recycling Program, especially since recycling an old device can usually get them a discount on a new product.
However, when it comes to getting their money’s worth out of older Apple products, recent secondhand market trends suggest that at least a few customers might be better off hanging on to their old iPods, rather than cashing them in for in-store credit. There are multiple examples of Apple products that have ended up increasing, rather than decreasing in value over time, but iPods offer more benefits.
At the same time that Apple unveiled the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models, it quietly discontinued one of the most successful products in its history: the iPod classic. While sales of Apple’s iPod line had been steadily falling due to cannibalization by the iPhone (and the growing popularity of music streaming over digital downloads), it appears that the death knell for the iPod classic was a shortage of parts.
"We couldn't get the parts any more," said Apple CEO Tim Cook at the WSJD Live conference in 2014, according to Engadget. "They don’t make them any more. We would have to make a whole new product…. the engineering work to do that would be massive. The number of people who wanted it is very small."
While the number of people who still want an iPod classic may be small, they are apparently willing to pay a premium for the device. As The Guardian noted in 2014, mint condition 160GB iPod classics were being offered for as much as 670 pounds or US$ 1,050 on Amazon, more than four times the device’s suggested retail price of US$ 249.
The 160GB capacity version was especially desirable, since at the time, the highest storage capacity currently offered in Apple's line of digital media players was only 64GB. (That was before Apple introduced the updated iPod Touch, which is offered with up to 128GB of storage.)