Appletalk – Apple’s new iPods

– Size does matter –
“April 2003 – 3rd Generation iPod capacity 15GB.
September 2010 – 6th Generation iPod Nano, 4th Generation iPod Shuffle, 4th Generation iPod Touch capacity ~ still beginning at 2 to 8 GB!”

So Apple released it’s latest, glitziest, smallest, range of iPods yesterday. And it got me thinking – or rather had me feeling a little disappointed. Yes, they are shinier, tinier and cheaper but something seemed missing. They just didn’t feel inspiring to an old (iPod) timer like me.

That feeling was compounded this morning, while fetching my kids to preschool to the songs of nursery rhymes coming from my 3rd Generation (yes 3rd generation) iPod. I realized something significant. This old dinosaur, old but working had a capacity of 15GBs. FIFTEEN GIGABYTES. Apple’s new iPod Shuffle, Nano and even the lower end Touches are still peddling less. So what? Well, it’s not just about the capacity. Hard disks, thumb drives and computers will take care of that but it really got me thinking – how has Apple as a company encouraged it’s (music) users to grow and mature along with it’s product line?

I mean, if you’ve bought (your first or second) iPod within the last 2-3 years, then good for you. But if like me, you remember what a firewire iPod is or why it was cool when 3rd parties introduced things like FM transmitters or iPod microphones; then you would certainly have – grown older. And hopefully, so has your appreciation of music. I’m not just talking about building a library – I talking about someone who has been listening to (digital) music for a longer, extended period of time – and surely that’s matured you in some ways?

For me, I’ve grown from enjoying MP3s, to learning about bit-rate. To understand about lossless, about FLAC, about what are the best headphones out there (check out Sony’s Top-Of-Line Digital Noise Cancellation), and what are the best speakers money can buy (only trouble yourself with B&W’s Zeppelin, or if you’re on a budget, Harman Kardon’s Go Play).

Another example. Perhaps a more direct one. If you enjoy alcohol, let’s say wine or whiskey. You could go one of two ways. You could grow to love the drink and mature your taste. It gets refined. You learn more. You spend more on better quality, etc. OR you could become an alcoholic.

Coming back to iPods.

What are you? Or what kind of music listener have you been trained to be? Are you just an iPod junkie – going from one generation to another? Or have you made new friends who have exposed your horizons, discovered new genres, become much more fussy about the sound quality of the song you’re listening to? The reason I have these questions is that, I see nothing in Apple’s newer iPods that would help push you along this journey. If all you’re relying on is Apple’s annual September iPod-love fest, then I kinda feel sorry for that.

Coming back to yesterday’s announcements. Apple would have you believe that smaller is better. That touch is cooler. That being able to play games and talk to friends on a music device is fab. None of these are wrong. But they do nothing. Nothing, in the realm of being a better enabler to help someone (like me) discover and dive deeper into music.

Again, the latest range of iPods are really cool. But if you’re serious about widening your horizons and maturing your palate check out:

  • The iPod Classic (because space will give you options)
  • Upgrade your earphones / headphones (go to a retailer who will let you try on different ones according to your budget)
  • Go technical. Find out what is Lossless, FLAC, AAC etc. Bit-rate. Read B&W’s music blog (http://blog.bowers-wilkins.com/)
  • Just try to listen to a vinyl LP (if you haven’t)
  • Have friends (REAL friends, not Facebook, Ping or Genius) who will encourage you to listen to independent artists instead of just main-stream ones. Chances are, these are the same friends who will be able to help you wade through the tech stuff

Then, go check out Apple’s new iPod line and whip out your credit card anyways. Cause who can resist new, shiny tech toys 🙂

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