Pop Culture Junkette

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Happy Birthday iPod

There have been a spate of stories this week about the 5-year anniversary of the iPod's debut, which have me thinking about my very mixed feelings about the iPod.

On the one hand, it is a great product. It's one of those things that fills needs that you didn't even know you had. When I bought my iPod in March 2004, I thought of it as a cute (and expensive) Walkman -- a nice gadget, but not really anything new. But it is really a lot more than that. It's a way to store all of the music you own in one place, and to have it with you wherever you go. And now, it's not just music -- it's TV shows, movies, books, and podcasts (a concept that didn't even exist two years ago).

But I have some serious qualms. First, the quality. I've been lucky in that the mini that I bought two-and-a-half years ago is still working, but I know that many others, including some fellow junkettes, haven't been. It's just crazy that a $250 electronic product shouldn't be expected to last that long. And Apple's attitude toward it is maddening. They don't seem to care; they expect you to buy another one. And then there are the little things -- why is it so vulnerable to scratching? It's a portable music player for god's sake; it should be rugged. And if the design is going to be the focal point of the advertising, why force people to cover it up with those stupid covers?

Second, I really worry about Apple's market share and exclusive file format squelching competition. I don't want to have to buy a new iPod every 2 years because the old one dies, and more importantly, I'm still holding out hope for something with both an mp3 player and a radio. So I keep buying music on cds, and only buy the occasional single and TV show on iTunes. But if you've bought a lot of content on iTunes, you're stuck with Apple. Which is unsettling.


Blogger Red Fraggle said...

A year and two weeks after getting my iPod mini, it broke. Instead of getting my start-up menu, it now shows a picture of an ipod with two x's for eyes and a frown. It looks like something out of Lost. I have been informed by Apple that this means there is a "hardware problem" in my iPod, but since I have owned it for more than a year, I'm out of luck.

I feel like a sucker buying another. But on the other hand, I need my iPod! It is a very frustrating situation.

10/24/2006 7:17 PM  
Blogger Bailey Quarters said...

You would think that our laws would help avoid the situation where the consumer is stuck in this kind of trap, but then you would have a seriously wrong understanding of who are laws are intended to protect. (Hint: not consumers.)

10/24/2006 7:27 PM  
Blogger Laura Holt said...

I think I must be the ideal consumer. I was bummed when my mini stopped working, but more than that I was EXCITED because I had an excuse to buy a new ipod video.

But I could not agree more about the scratching of the cases. I didn't mind with my mini b/c it was a rugged aluminum and I thought it looked sort of tough all scuffed up. But with the shiny black ipod, the scratches look awful, and the fancy cover I bought is a lint trap. HATE.

10/25/2006 8:01 AM  
Blogger thekeez said...

The Daughter is on her fourth unit - but fortunately they all crashed within warrenty so the store just gave us a new one each time. (One year on the first one, three months each on the next two. She's gone about six months on number 4.)

Mine is coming up on the one year anniversary so we'll see what happens.

Agree big time on the scratching. And agree that it's the type of device that becomes very important to you once you have one and start using it...

10/25/2006 3:28 PM  

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