iPods are not very exciting anymore



So Apple held a big event last week to announce this year’s iPod lineup. In case you haven’t heard, they overhauled the iPod Touch with some stuff it should have had all along (like a speaker) and a new line of iPod Nanos in some tasty colors.

Most tellingly, the original hard drive-based iPod (now dubbed “Classic”) has been further neutered to one 120 GB configuration instead of last year’s 80 GB and 160 GB models. As someone who jumped on the iPod bandwagon right out of the gate in November, 2001 with the original 5 GB model, it was kind of sad to see the original being relegated to a footnote, with the Touch and the Nano getting all the glamour.

Don’t get me wrong… the Touch is definitely the future for the iPod line, and the Nano fits the bill for most folks who don’t have huge music collections (or deep pockets). My personal music library is about 21 GB, which means I have to pick & choose what winds up on my 16 GB iPhone 3G. But I still have a 60 GB iPod that I purchased back in 2005 which has my entire library and plenty of room to spare.

I remember the thrill of that first 5 GB iPod, holding a big chunk of my music collection in the palm of my hand. I was more than happy to forego the compact disc for MP3 (and later AAC) files, and in the 7 years since that first iPod, I can probably count the number of CDs I’ve purchased on both hands. (Most of my music dough now goes to iTunes or actually, mostly to Amazon MP3 these days.) And for me, having my entire music library available both on my MacBook Pro and my iPod is a dream come true.

I’m sure in the near future, flash memory will drop to the point where a cheap 64 GB iPod is perfectly feasible, although the hard drive iPod will always have some advantages, such as transfer speed. I was really hoping that the iPhone 3G would take the leap to 32 GB — then I could have ditched my old iPod completely. But, it will be around for awhile longer, it seems, since Apple is mostly focused on selling the cheaper hardware to budget-conscious consumers. (And who can blame them!)

What’s missing from the new iPod line is the innovation that helped Apple jump to the top of the MP3 player heap in the first place. It’s been several years since anything truly exciting has been announced. This year’s iTunes 8 upgrade that accompanied the new models mostly is focused on the new Genius feature, which I can’t get very excited about since I don’t dig the “explore your music library” approach.

For instance, where are the automated lyrics? You know, play a song and you have the option of seeing the lyrics scroll by as the vocals are belted out. iTunes added a lyrics section several versions back, but Apple has yet to do anything truly interesting with it. (If you want to see how something like this might work, check out the great TuneWiki app for jailbroken phones.)

Maybe I’m down on the iPod since the introduction of the iPhone last year… certainly I have less incentive to buy another iPod anytime soon when I can have most of my music right there on a device I carry with me all the time, which also doubles as my telephone! But even prior to the iPhone, the iPod line just felt like it hit its zenith with really nowhere to go but down. Thankfully, Apple has managed to keep its sales riding high, so maybe I’m not the target audience for these devices anymore. But I’d be happy to plunk down more dough once Apple decides to break the mold again and do something truly unique. Until then, I’m content with my iPhone/old iPod for backup…



This entry was posted on Friday, September 19th, 2008 at 10:14 pm and is filed under Apple Talk, Complaint Department, Gadgets, Random Thoughts, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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