The hard drive in my October 2006 vintage 80GB iPod 5.5G died a few weeks ago.  I wasn’t keen on upgrading to the iPod Classic as:

  1. With a maximum capacity of 160GB, it is still too small to house my entire 220GB music collection
  2. Apple introduced encrypted audio outputs on the dock connector, to force accessory makers to pay royalties, thus making it incompatible with many accessories and forcing you to buy new ones.

I use my iPod mostly in my car. The classic hard drive iPods have one key capability iPhones and iPod Touches lack—the ability to shuffle by album, which is essential when you listen mostly to classical music and where an opus maps to an album.

While investigating repair options, I found out Toshiba now makes a two-platter 240GB (224 GiB) hard drive. The iPod Classic won’t recognize the second platter (a third strike against it) but the 5.5G will. I sent mine to RapidRepair for repair/upgrade and received it back yesterday. The flip side of such an enormous drive is that the sync takes forever: I started it around 10PM yesterday and it is till running, over 9 hours later. They handled the repair very professionally, there are no marks on the casing, and I now have a fully functional 224GB iPod for less than the price of buying a new 160GB iPod Classic. The only feature it is missing is the ability to play 24-bit/96kHz ALAC files like those I made out FLACs purchased from Linn or the B&W Society of Sound.

I can’t understand why Apple does not make this new high-capacity drive available in iPods or the MacBook Air.