Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

A Profile of the People Resurrecting Old iPods

Melanie Ehrenkranz, writing for OneZero:

Apple may have discontinued the last of the click-wheel iPods years ago, but Pichi is part of a growing community of tinkerers giving the devices new life. It’s not just for nostalgia (though that’s part of it): iPod modders say they earnestly view the devices, with a few modern tweaks, as a superior way to listen to music. That this elite audio quality is packaged in a device that is also dear to their heart makes it even better.

The more popular modifications are relatively simple: updates like adding more storage or battery life, or installing firmware that allows for customization of the user interface or downloading games outside of Apple’s ecosystem. Few iPod modders are injecting the music players with wild features or stark new aesthetics.

A well-known modification for the past fifteen years or so has been to swap the iPod’s hard drive for a Compact Flash card. After I got my 60 GB fifth-generation iPod, I thought I’d give it a shot with the iPod Mini it replaced. The Mini was aluminum, except for the glued-on plastic caps on the top and bottom planes. When I tried to pry one of those caps off to get at the logic board, I immediately snapped it — and that was the end of my iPod modding hobby.

I approve of the efforts of Pichi to keep these things alive.