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Photos: Hands-on with the new Apple iPod classic

Apple has scrapped the 80GB and 160GB iPod classics, replacing them with a single 120GB edition. With 1.8-inch 240GB hard disks available, why did Apple do this to us?

We're huge fans of the iPod classic. When you rip all your CDs in Apple Lossless format, have about 30 podcast subscriptions, an archive of music videos, and insist on carrying the whole lot around with you, the 160GB model is the only way to go.

Except that now it isn't. Apple yesterday discontinued the 160GB model and its 80GB little bro, replacing them with a single 120GB model, which will sell in the UK for £179.

It'll include new software that incorporates the Genius playlists seen in iTunes 8 and the other new iPods, but a lower battery life than the previously available 160GB model, at 36 hours for audio and 6 hours for video.

Unsurprisingly, we were disappointed.

The 120GB classic feels pretty much the same as the 80GB model, only it has a slightly different finish and what feels like a smoother Click Wheel. Speed of navigation, browsing, Cover Flow initialisation and start-up speed all seemed the same during our time with the new model.

Realistically, we expect Apple to always continue producing the iPod classic, and that it'll up the capacity of its single-platter hard disk as manufacturers develop higher-storage models.

It's just a matter of time until the classic re-hits its 160GB peak and exceeds it. Most annoying though, is that Toshiba this week announced 240GB 1.8-inch hard disks -- the very same size that would have fit in the 160GB iPod classic chassis -- but Apple chose to dismiss the idea of an amazing 240GB iPod. To be fair to a company trying to make money, this is presumably because it saw few people buy the 160GB version, so fewer still would pay for 240GB.

Only two words adequately sum up our feelings on the matter: epic fail. Second-gen iPod classic pics are across the next few pages.

Update: A previous version of this article suggested Apple would be making a free update for the original iPod classic that would add Genius functionality. Apple gave us a call, and apparently an Apple representative at the event the other day wasn't as much of an expert as we'd hoped.

Apparently there aren't plans to offer a free Genius-enabling update to the original iPod classic. This was, by the way, the same rep who told us high-definition iTunes downloads would be supported by the new iPod classic -- something that turned out to be only vaguely accurate.

From now on we're only going to believe Apple's event reps if their surnames are Jobs. -Nate Lanxon

Update 2: Read our full Apple iPod classic (2nd gen) review here.

The classic lost its high capacity, but it's retained its curved design and reasonably slim nature, considering the size of the hard disk inside.

What do you think about the iPod classic? Was it a mistake to cancel the 160GB-capacity model? Or is this higher-capacity thin edition the classic you've been waiting for?