In honour of the original Walkman’s 40th birthday, Sony recently released an anniversary edition of the iconic cassette player that first made music portable. Only, it doesn’t actually play cassettes, so don’t go breaking your collection out of storage. And it’ll set you back about three times as much as one would have in 1979.
Sony’s NW-A100TPS (doesn’t exactly have the same ring, does it?) marks the company’s latest attempt to revitalise the Walkman brand, and this time around they’ve seemed to have given up any pretence that this is anything more than a nostalgia cash grab. While Sony has purportedly made a cassette tape with a storage capacity that would put its 20th-century brethren to shame, the company smartly decided to forego magnetic tape entirely with its new design.
Instead, an Android-powered music player stores up to 16GB of your favourite tunes. It lacks a SIM card but you can connect to Wifi and use Android apps via its itty bitty 3.6-inch touchscreen. For the complete nostalgia factor, the device has a screensaver that looks like an old-school cassette player except the colour changes depending on what type of music file is playing. An accompanying soft case that comes with it looks every bit like an old Walkman, so when you throw up that screensaver and snap the case closed it’ll make you feel just like you’re back in the ‘80s. Or, for those of our readers too young to remember the Walkman’s heyday (like me), it’ll make you feel just like you’re in an episode of Stranger Things.
If you want to go full retro mode, this special edition Walkman has a headphone jack as well. But you can also just connect to Bluetooth like a normal person too.
Unlike back then though, when a Walkman had a price tag of about £70, this special-edition Walkman will go on sale for £400 come December.
But I mean, can you really put a price tag on the first truly portable commercial music player? A device that punted vinyl out of cultural relevancy (back then, at least) by selling 200 million units over its lifetime? The predecessor to the iPod, smartphones, and all manner of gadgets that consume our lives now? For this consumer, yes. Yes, you absolutely can. And it’s a few hundred quid more than I’m willing to spend.