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A technology blog for The Economist Group IT team

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Ipod’s too much Hype bout Nutting

Several years ago I decided to purchase a MP3 player cause living on Long Island and commuting into Manhattan every day for about 1hr I need to listen to something before I went crazy. After much research I decided to purchase a Creative Labs Nomad IIMG. It had 64MB built in with a slot for an extra card and a FM tuner. After two and ½ years of great sound I decided to upgrade. Now every where I look in NY I see people with white headphones…..Ipods everywhere. Now even one of my favorite bands jumped on the band wagon (pun intended due to the filming of their next video that was on a flat bed truck through the streets of NY) U2. What is there to like about this Ipod. Let’s see you can rip your own CD’s on to it and you can download music for ITunes to it. Pretty much that’s it. You can’t play those songs on Windows Media Player or burn them on a new CD. When the battery dies you have to send it back, come on this product sucks. I guess they have the money so they spent it well on the advertising. There are many Ipod killers on the market now that surpass it. Dell has the new Dell DJ in 20 and 5GB drives. Creative has the whole ZEN line which sounds so much better then the Ipod. So after much too due I purchased a Creative MuVu Slim. It holds 256MB and has a built in FM tuner. I decide 256 is more then enough I can easily delete songs and add as I like. I don’t need 20GB for all my MP3’s. Plus if I drop it when I’m jogging I won’t crash the HD. So just say no to the Ipod, think out side the box.

Next week I’ll be taking about GPS for your kids.
Comments:
In Defense of iPod

I recently got a 20GB iPod, courtesy of Renault, and I have to admit that I love it.

I think the choice has to come down to the way you listen to music. I used to spend a few minutes each morning staring at my CD rack, wondering what I was in the mood to listen to. Now I just turn on my iPod, which is plugged into speakers on my desk, and hit shuffle.

Whenever I have time I copy a few more albums to iTunes on my Dell. If I had to add and delete songs every few days I just wouldn't use the thing.

As for iTunes, I'd like to see someone try to prove that MediaPlayer is better when it comes to music. iTunes rips CD's in less than half the time. The sound quality is better and you can burn albums or playlists to CD at the click of a button.

What are the downsides to iPod? The hard disk. Yes, Flash memory is better. It doesn't skip. It uses less power. Once it can reach a comparable size to spinning media it will be the standard but that's still a year or more away. Apple have already moved in that direction with iPod Shuffle.

The head phones. I swear if I just look at them funny they get completely tangled up.

And the hype. I read somewhere that the only way Apple could sell more iPods in New York is if people started carrying two of them. Well, just like Sony who sold 30 million PS2's, a good product will capture the market.

iPod does what it says on the box and it's easier to use than my toaster. Now that I've got one I understand what all the fuss is about.
 
Usability. Usability. Usability. I own Ipod and love the single control for it. It's an attractive device that does not look like a 3rd year woodwork project, unlike many of it's competitors. Attacking the Ipod is futile, attacking hard disk based mp3 players has good ground but the Ipod has both Flash and disk based players. I am pro choice. When I rip CD's in Itunes, I have an mp3 encoder selected, which was available in the preferences and windows media player can play the mp3 format. Of course it can burn cd's. The IPod is king of usability and what I want when I'm on the move is easy access to Sade's Greatest Hits with easy switchbackability to a bit of Kenny G and anything else that tickles my easy listening fancy.
 
I have a Creative 512MB MuVo with a FM Tuner, and it is great for all my needs. I get 8 albums on it at any one time, of which I manage to listen to all of them on my weekly commute, and then at the weekend I can put on new albums. I find that this is really quite manageable since having a 20GB Ipod would really do me no justice when searching for all the songs I want to listen to. Also, the smaller the choice I have for the music I wish to listen to, the more I am likely to listen to all the albums on my MP3 player. FWIW.
 
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