Sunday, April 10, 2005

iPod Overrated?

For a tech toy praised up and down as being the "best" MP3 player, how has everyone managed to miss its shortcomings?

I started out shopping for an MP3 player as a Christmas Gift over the holidays and wound up reading hundreds of reviews on all the available players. After much thought I narrowed the features that the player had to have:

1. Support MP3 bit rate of 192 Kbps or higher.
2. Drag and Drop File transfer both ways (no software)
3. Universal File Storage (not just MP3s)
4. User Replaceable Battery (Either Rechargeable or Standard)

The MP3 bit rate is often overlooked except in regards to audiophiles who understand this or just have better hearing? Generally MP3's with a bit rate below 192 Kbps when played on standard audio equipment (stereo) will exhibit numerous sound flaws including the potential lack of stereo sound. Some may argue that on very high end equipment 192 Kbps is still not good enough but I would argue that is the best mix of quality to size. Then of course you have the various encoding formats vs. bit rate but again the average person cannot tell the difference. The iPod supports up to 320 Kbps, so we are fine there.

I then narrowed down the common features that every player had but you would choose based on how you would use the player, debatable features:

1. Rechargeable Battery or Replaceable Battery
2. Harddrive or Memory Stick


This article is NOT debating these two features since these are determined based on personal preference or finances (being able to afford a more expensive player and or constantly buying batteries), how much music you listen or want to take with you, and long term reliability (Memory Sticks will last longer then Harddrives, and rechargeable batteries will fail at some point). Regardless, I was sure I would be buying an iPod and all this research would just confirm what I initially thought. What I found was the exact opposite. The iPod was way overrated.

iPod's Achilles Heel:

1. Proprietary Software - This was a deal breaker, having to use proprietary software such as iTunes is just unacceptable, especially when it is completely unnecessary. Could you imagine if Microsoft released the mPod and you had to use winTunes to transfer the files to the player? There is absolutely no excuse for this. To make it worse files can only be copied one way with iTunes. Are you kidding me? You cannot take your iPod to a friends house and copy songs off of it or too another player. Yes there are hacks but this is not the point, numerous other players feature Drag and Drop both ways WITHOUT iTunes or ANY software.

2. Nonreplaceable Rechargeable Battery - Keyword is "nonreplaceable", at least not for the average user. Anyone that knows anything about electronics and rechargeable batteries is that at some point they will fail and need to be replaced.

This whole fiasco was brought to light a year and half ago: www.ipodsdirtysecret.com yet I never heard about it until I started doing this research and I am sure MANY iPod owners are unaware as well. Since that site went up iPod changed their battery replacement policy (below) and have improved the battery life on the new models to 18 hours.

Apples Replacement Policy:

Out-Of-Warranty PricingPrice includes:

Repair: $249.00 USD Replacement: labor, parts, and a 90-day guarantee on materials and workmanship, plus $6.95 USD shipping. $255.95 USD total.

Battery Service: $99.00 USD: labor, parts, and a 90-day guarantee on materials and workmanship, plus $6.95 shipping. $105.95 USD total.

Still, the iPod's battery is not easily replaceable by the end user. Excuses for this such as player size and design are unacceptable. Nor is it that other popular players feature the same bad design. My point is there are good players that do not.

Recently on vacation I found the iPod (and its variants) the most widely used and talked about MP3 player (which compelled me to write this). No one seems to know the shortcomings of the iPod, nor how massively overrated this player is. Simply put no one does any research. I recently heard on the morning news an anchor say, "Most people don't realize you have to install and configure software to get songs onto MP3 players" Unbelievable! Not only is this overrated player spreading huge misconceptions about MP3 players it is setting socially acceptable standards on bad design decisions.

Update:After extensive use with the interface I can honestly say it is one of the most idiotic and unintuitive ways to use a device. Moving in a circular motion to go up, down, left and right through menus is beyond maddening and nothing more then a trendy gimmick for Apple to show off their touch sensitive interface pad. I will never buy a device with unintuitive controls.

42 comments:

Victor said...

I'm actually not a huge fan of the iPod because of it's shortcomings as well. In its defense, it was one of the first MP3 players that allowed you to charge it via bus power. I don't understand why that isn't a standard feature on most MP3 players.

ramani said...

I never liked the iPod from the get go, not because of it's lack of features but because of the way Apple fanboys made it their religion and denounced all other brands. Thanks to Apple's effective ad campaigns, most people think that the iPod is THE mp3 player. As a result of that, the white earphones have become almost ubiquitous everywhere. I have never liked getting something just because it was popular, or because every other guy had one. Which is why I'm happy with my H120; it may not be as slim and light or as smooth-looking as the iPod (these are the most common comments I get from iPod-using friends), I'm more than just happy with it. While I don't have anything against the iPod itself, it is its blind followers which get on my nerves. Hopefully, its competitors buck up on their ad campaigns so that they can compete with Apple on even ground (based on player features, etc) rather than on which company has got more moolah to advertise.

I've been following all the posts made here on Popular Technology, and if I dare say, I support every one of them. I usually try to direct my semi-clueless friends over here to broaden their view of IT technology instead of just hanging on to every word of the media or advocates.

cheers!

twistersinbama said...

You miss the point. Of course the ipod has weaknesses - every product does. But, to pull a trick from MS, is it good enough? Do its limitations hamper its sense of style? Do the majority of people who use mp3 players want the features you do, or just a lightweight, attractive, simple to use device that just works. Of course not everyone wants that (like you - there will always be the "power users"), but that is what most people want.

And as far as I can tell, reading a whole bunch of reviews from a whole bunch of sites, the scroll wheel navigation system with a minimal of buttons has made the ipod one of the easiest to use mp3 devices out there. Good enough for everyone? Of course not. But, like MS, it's good enough for most.

Andrew said...

Alot of players are good enough including the iPod but is it Overrated? Yes. Is it the "Best" MP3 Player? No. This is the whole point and what the article is about. All the players turn on, let you get music onto them somehow and you can playback the music. This would be considered good enough, right? So what makes a player better then another? What makes a player the "Best"? The fact that the iPod has blatantly obvious and IMO inexcuseable flaws in comparison to other players makes it overrated.

FrappOne said...

you can use also winamp (with a little plug in) to download/upload your mp3 from your iPod. No hacking, no pay, no use i Tunes...be careful with the next review

Andrew said...

Or I can use another player like the iRiver H10 (one example) and not need any software ever. Using third party software other then iTunes is NOT a solution. Not having to use software at all is.

lopoetve said...

It is amazingly sad that you bought everything that ipodsdirtysecret put out without doing any reasearch into THEIR background as well.

They wrote that when their ipod, which was over 2 years old, failed well out of warranty, and apple refused to repair it (obviously, since it was out of warranty). They wrote that piece out of revenge, even after knowing the disadvantages were to the ipod.

You also fail to point out that you can buy the extended warranty for $50, which will cover the average replacement point of the batteries.


As for the rest of your article, I certainly don't see the reason apple should support you copying songs off of their product. If you didn't know, sharing songs with a friend like that is STEALING. So apple is supposed to support your breaking the law?
Oh, and if you REALLY want to get those files off, set view to view hidden files. There are your songs.

iTunes software is required by the design of the itunes DRM (which the music companies required). You have to use it not for the playlists, but to update the decryption keys for the DRM database that is contained on the ipod. Without that database of keys, it won't be able to play the songs.

It's not that there aren't disadvantages to the iPod, or advantages to other players (I did my research and bought the one I felt was best), but the fact that so many of you blindly buy into the negative without thinking about the reasoning and purpose behind them is sad. The iPod isn't the best selling player for nothing.

Andrew said...

"It is amazingly sad that you bought everything that ipodsdirtysecret put out without doing any reasearch into THEIR background as well.

They wrote that when their ipod, which was over 2 years old, failed well out of warranty, and apple refused to repair it (obviously, since it was out of warranty). They wrote that piece out of revenge, even after knowing the disadvantages were to the ipod."
--> No it was 18 months after they bought it and Apple would repair it but for over $250.00. Literally days after the movie was published the battery policy changed.

"You also fail to point out that you can buy the extended warranty for $50, which will cover the average replacement point of the batteries."
--> Who is dumb enough to buy extended warranties? Why not just make the battery user replaceable at a reasonable cost say $25.

Who cares about iTunes DRM? I get all my music ripped off my CDs not any online store. If use standard encoding you don't need any databases and simply drag and drop the files. I love how fanboys blindly defend having to use iTunes software.

If you did simple research you would have got a player that doesn't require proprietary software to move MP3s around.

Spencer said...

It's safe to say the writer's shortcomings are spelling.. his "achilles heel" if you will....

As far as the iPod goes, I find that if you spend a little bit more on something (a car, a house, etc etc etc), you will get something better in return. Yes, there is the bad battery problem, but unless you want a battery that has a horrible memory, takes forever to charge, and lasts six hours less but doesn't degrade, then don't get an iPod. Simply put, Apple chose the battery for a reason - it was the most cost-effective with the best performance. And since this is a capitalist society we live in, then YES, they do want you to buy the updated iPod. how many people do you see that are still using the original iPod?

lopoetve said...

--> No it was 18 months after they bought it and Apple would repair it but for over $250.00. Literally days after the movie was published the battery policy changed.

It was still out of warranty. Warranty is warranty, on any product whatsoever, no one will replace anything out of warranty. They knew that any battery would die eventually when they bought it. And yes, the battery policy changed. Care to provide proof that that was a result of the movie? Chances are slim that the execs at apple saw it and cared enough that fast to change it fasttrack; the change was in the works long before that movie came about

IPDS was just 2 guys trying to stir up flames. They even went and bought another iPod... for good reason.

--> Who is dumb enough to buy extended warranties? Why not just make the battery user replaceable at a reasonable cost say $25.
Who is dumb enough NOT to on something like that? I've used mine, it's great to have on laptops and things like this. If they had been smart enough to do so, they would have not only had their battery replaced, but apple has a habit of giving out the newer model to replace broken older models.

As for replacable batteries... the design on the iPod is far cleaner than most of the ones I've seen with user replacable batteries. It lets Apple keep the design simple, small, and slick, and a lot of people (me, for one) appreciate that and weighed that when we made our purchase.

To quote more:
Who cares about iTunes DRM? I get all my music ripped off my CDs not any online store. If use standard encoding you don't need any databases and simply drag and drop the files. I love how fanboys blindly defend having to use iTunes software.

If you did simple research you would have got a player that doesn't require proprietary software to move MP3s around.

DRM is required if you're using iTunes to buy music like most iPod owners do. I love using iTunes, it provides high quality songs at a reasonable price, and it works great at managing everything I use it for. I love how people who don't use it flame it. Don't flame it till you've tried it, please, and don't bother making claims that everyone who uses it uses it blindly. I did my research, and I really didn't care that I had to use software to move the files on to the player. I'm not stealing music, so why should I care?

As for the database... if you've ever used one, you'll find that their implementation of the playlist database/etc speeds booting time of the MP3 player greatly over similar HD based players. As well as the fact that it allows for much easier song searching than most of the iRiver designs (for one).

And check your facts... iTunes is hardly proprietary. Ephpod and several other freeware utilities exist to manipulate the iPod database if you don't like iTunes. For most OS's too, including linux.

The iPod has its disadvantages and advantages, but it's hardly what you try to make it out to be. If it were truly junk as you and other iPod bashers try to make it out to be, it wouldn't be the best-selling MP3 player around.

trl_path said...

this is crazy. use ephpod in place of iTunes, and do a search for ipod batteries. you'll find tons.

Tthis article is very poorly researched.

Andrew said...

Do you think Apple will ever admit that they changed their policy because of an Internet Protest Movie? Compare the date the movie came out with when the policy was changed.

They bought a new iPod because at the time the replacement policy was outrageous and they did it BEFORE they made the movie.

If you know anything about warranties or worked in retail, extended ones are for suckers. Companies like Best Buy spend a large amount of time and training showing employees how to get people to buy them. Oh and read the article AGAIN using a "design" decision is not an excuse for the lack of the battery being removable. Other players have it removeable wihtout compromising the design.

Since you are a sucker for extended warranties it does not surprise me you would be suckered by iTunes.

Check with Apple and ask them if you can do what you want with the iTunes software, including manipulating it and releasing it, then tell me it is not proprietary.

Wether a proprietary database system is better then others for music searching is debateable and not proven.

"The iPod has its disadvantages and advantages, but it's hardly what you try to make it out to be. If it were truly junk as you and other iPod bashers try to make it out to be, it wouldn't be the best-selling MP3 player around."
--> If you continue to try and put words in my mouth your posts will be removed. I never said the iPod was junk and I am not going to argue why. End of conversation.

Andrew said...

"this is crazy. use ephpod in place of iTunes, and do a search for ipod batteries. you'll find tons."
--> Did you even READ the article, I don't want to use ANY software and being able to buy third party batteries has nothing to do with the iPod's bad design of not being able to replace the battery easily.

ipod death said...

The sheer fact that iPods are found in the pockets of every man, woman and dog is enough of a reason for me to stay away from them. I personally have an iRiver H140 (40gb) and I swear by it. No drivers, no clunky annoying categorising/media scanning software. So I'd have to load proprietary (in this case proprietary is defined as any software that must be used in order to gain functionality of the device) software onto my PC, REGISTER the device with my PC, only to find that I can only copy songs onto it from my PC? Give me a break.
With my (and i'm sure i'm not alone here) lifestyle and circle of friends, having the ability to connect my media player to ANY PC with NO drivers OR software needed is an absolute necessity.

Don't give me that speech about "you can h4x0r your iPod so j00 don't have 2 use t3h s0ftw4re"
Why oh WHY would I want to buy a player that I have to piss around with to make it do what it SHOULD be able to do natively?

I get the overwhelming desire to punch then lecture all those sheep walking down the road with white headphones.
If you're going to get an iPod, at least hide the fact that you're part of the consumer clone masses by BUYING DIFFERENT HEADPHONES!

Wait.... I take that back, anyone who deems the iPod an affordable, user friendly and useful player (trans: cheap and too lazy to find anything else to do the same job... better) should keep the white headphone label so everyone knows they lack originality and the ability to try anything that isn't backed by U2. :P

Mason Verger said...

Andrew wrote:

Or I can use another player like the iRiver H10 (one example) and not need any software ever.

Wow! NO SOFTWARE AT ALL? How do you do that? Sigh. Even if you're dragging and dropping, YOU ARE USING SOFTWARE.

Your article had merit, but when you get to this level of nit-picking, it becomes a little pointless.

I'm a power type user. I've had iPods for years. Everything I've needed to do they've done flawlessly and effortlessly.

Lonney said...

http://www.gnu.org/software/gnupod/

Andrew said...

"Wow! NO SOFTWARE AT ALL? How do you do that? Sigh. Even if you're dragging and dropping, YOU ARE USING SOFTWARE"
--> I don't play semantics games here. You know what I mean. I am not going to engage in useless debates about word usage or what I meant.

"http://www.gnu.org/software/gnupod/"
--> Who cares I don't want to use ANY software. Either read the article or don't post pointless responses.

MikeS said...

To respond to the article, the iPod is overrated. So is alot of what Apple has made. Their industrial designs are typically very nice, but that is just the devices esthetics. Features and usability, while being an 'originator to the masses' is where the iPod was, and is very weak.

Apple has the cash and marketing clout to persuade the general public (who really doesn't understand the MP3 concept to begin with) that they are easy to use, sound great, and are a great value. It's no different than Bose speakers. To the layman (and Bose marketing) they are the "cats' meow". To audiophiles, and anyone familiar with mid to high-end audio they offer way too little, for way too much money.

We can thank the iPod for generating the public excitement the fueled other companies to create far superior if lesser known competitors, and that is the truth about the iPod.

Taddeusz said...

I have owned an iPod for about 6 months. I did quite a bit of research and thinking before I made my purchase. I do not consider myself a sheep.

I had been using an Archos Jukebox with the Rockbox firmware. This made a very nice player. It used very replaceable NiMH AA batteries. A problem cropped up with the charging circuits. It stopped charging. I could opt to use a battery charger. Which I did for a while. This just got tiring. I wanted a new player. Something simple.

Looking at all the players that were available I chose the iPod mostly because of it's ease of use. Something that I've found cumbersome about the other players that I've owned is that they try to pack so many features into the software that it makes it more difficult to use than is necessary. Even Rockbox and good as it is requires more navigation than is needed.

My use of iTunes is actually not complete. I use Audiograbber/LAME to encode my music. I organize it myself and use iTunes as my library. I find nothing wrong with this.

If you really want to talk about proprietary software I could go on and on about Microsoft Windows. But I won't.

I did replace the white iPod headphones. Not so that I wouldn't stand out but because the ones I bought sound better.

dirk said...

the only thing that seems to be going for the ipod is the ease of use and the aethetics (personally i think it looks like a plastised bar of soap but most people seem to like it)

ok true it is easy to use. for most things. but the use of software is the problem that nobody has defended properly. i tried useing itunes ones and it would'nt play music becasue it conflicted with another program i use. ok so if i got an ipod i'd have to get another program fine i can live with that.

I want to know why somethign like the ipod isn't set up so that it is easy to use as a backup device. What is the average user giong to do if their computer crashes and all there songs are locked on their ipod.

alpharic said...

What a great thread.... Just as with every fetisch object out there, there are offenders and defenders. No matter how disputed, the Ipod is an icon, a design object that has inaugurated an new era of portable audio. And that's it. It will remain that status and eventually end up in every design museum... Soon, alongside the progressing fusion of all our portable devices, even an Ipod will be no match for portable wonders that combine phone, digicam, palm/laptop, etc... and if apple doesn't widen it's horizon [which I am sure they will in order to compete] communication giants will take over the business with their new smart toys.

Love and accept the Ipod for what it brought us, people, and enjoy the music, wherever it comes from! ...and we will all prevail [as the worlds' most favorite cartoon character keeps boasting].

Peace!

type_a_positive said...

My biggest concern with the iPod is the sound quality when you use some good headphones (like my Grados). The iPod doesn`t have the juice to drive them, so I switched to iRiver, and got rid of that awful iTunes!

Taddeusz said...

"My biggest concern with the iPod is the sound quality when you use some good headphones (like my Grados). The iPod doesn`t have the juice to drive them, so I switched to iRiver, and got rid of that awful iTunes!"

That depends on where you live. European iPods, for whatever reason, have their maximum volume limited. iPods sold in the US have no such limitation. There are, of course, hacks to get around that limitation in the Euro iPods.

My US iPod powers my Sennheiser HD-500's just fine. Those aren't the best headphones that they make, but they're not the worst either. I have a set of Sony in-ear earphones for most of my personal listening. Most of the time I use it in my car which has an FM xmitter. I hope to get the Pioneer iPod connect kit eventually.

Taddeusz said...

As far as iTunes goes. I work as an on-call computer technician. If you've ever seen how a normal person organizes his music you know that it's usually in his Kazaa shared folder or whatever program he uses. iTunes really does help to organize that music a bit better and makes things easer to find.

As for myself. My music collection is larger than 20GB and I didn't have the money to fork out for the 40GB model. iTunes is really helpful in creating playlists so that I can choose what music I want to put on my iPod without getting error messages about it being full.

Plus, if you ever do plan to buy music online you have to pick one camp or the other. Buying and ripping CD's is becoming less and less viable as time goes on.

BTW, most of my music is ripped from CD's that I have purchased.

krotch said...

I hate Apple, they overprice everything. Anyways, that's not the point of this post. I wanted to actually defend the iPod here. I recently used my friends iPod mini. I connected it via USB 2.0 and was able to drag and drop music from and onto it without the use of iTunes. I simply opened up My Computer, found the device, and drag/dropped away.

Would I buy an iPod? Nope. As I mentioned, overpriced. I bought a Creative Labs Nomad Zen Xtra. 60 gigs of storage for $100+ dollars less than the iPod.

Features? Hell if I know. I can drag and drop music onto it. It looks good, sounds good. Creative Labs makes the best sound cards, so I hope they put the same technology into their mp3 players. Whether they did or not, doesn't change the fact that the music sounds as good as the iPod mini I was using before.

Do I care about the battery? Nope. Even if I can replace it, I'd probably buy a new mp3 player anyways. The Nomad would probably be outdated and wouldn't play .xxx files or do 320 kbps or some crap. Anyways, that's my take on it.

Andrew said...

For the drag and drop feature to work on the iPod you have to have iTunes installed first.

The Delawarean said...

So I gathering that iRiver is my best alternative to iPods if I didn't want to purchase an iPod.

Any other takers that I should consider for drag and drop rechargables?

What do you guys think of Dells?

Andrew said...

iRiver are currently the best all round and most versatile HD MP3 players, especially the H10 as far as minis go. There are quite a few companies making decent Flash players like Creative and their MuVo TX FM series.

The Dell DJ requires software to be installed first and I found it lacking in other areas.

Q^2 said...

I hate the iPod Shuffle.

no screen!?

JamesL said...

One MAJOR reason I would never buy an iPod: no support for Ogg Vorbis. Apple has made it clear they never intend to support Ogg, so I clearly will not support their iPod.

I have been encoding to Ogg format nearly as long as the format has existed; using MP3 means I would have to re-encode from Ogg to MP3 (with the resultant loss in quality). And these aren't simple CD rips; I have been converting my vinyl collection to digital, so each track has involved some real work.

meinneuerdslprovider said...

I think the Ipod is overrated and that this is no problem:

In my opinion you need to own *any* mp3 harddisc player/recorder for a few months to find out what you like about it or not.

I also learned things the hard way: When I bought a Creative jukebox 4 years ago. To get that hing to run on friends machines, I had to install the software *and* an update of the software. Also, it was a pain to play hourlong mp3 files on it. (I usually keep radioshows in one file, even if they last 4 hours.) One wrong button and you were holding the forwarding button for minutes...

You do not read these things on the internet - you learn them buy owning the player. Good thing is that if you do not like a player, you can easily sell it to someone else via the net.

Personally I am very happy with the Iriver H140 series - but I know how to operate a computer! People without any computer skills might be very happy with Itunes.

I also like the sound quality I get by using the optical connector to get directly into my big stereo system. Or the fact that the Iriver can record - even from the optical input - with no need for a docking station.

So let the noobs run and buy Ipods.
If they just want some music while jogging, they'll be happy. Others will learn the Ipod limitations and will buy something different next time.

G3RM@N-$#3P#3RD said...

There are so many Mp3 players that are really better than iPod like Samsung, Joypal, Creative, iRiver, MSI, S1MP3, and many more.

These Mp3 players even support more features than the Ipod and they can be used in any Windows platform like any other removable drive without needing any additional applications (excluding drivers)

Richard Hunter said...

You guys don't seem to get it. The iPod rocks, not because of Apple's huge marketing prowess, or how much better the iPod is... it rocks because it is quite simply the most stunning design out there.

You are right. There are much better players out there... that do much more than the iPod.

That isn't the point.

The iPod simply is the sleekest, nicest looking MP3 player on the planet. BAR NONE.

I did an experiment recently...

I rounded up a group of very non-computer literate people from my church group. They were going on a mission to South America. They wanted a device to listen to music on while on the bus for long periods of time.

I wasn't going to recommend ANY device to them.

I took them to Fry's, and we looked at every single MP3 player they had.

ALMOST EVERYONE... we're talking 30-35 people here... thought the Black iPod Video was the coolest thing they'd ever seen. Only about 5 people had ever heard of an iPod. These aren't the most saavy of people.

They bought all the iPod Videos they had... and even when they didn't have enough stock for everyone... everyone else went home and ordered off of Amazon or CompUsa or wherever they wanted.

Even the other players for $100 less didn't persuade them... why? Because they didn't look cool, beautiful, and fantastically sleek.

ANY COMPANY ON THE PLANET CAN CRUSH APPLE TOMORROW. ALL THEY HAVE TO DO IS MAKE A DESIGN THAT LOOKS BETTER! A DESIGN THAT FEELS BETTER! A DESIGN THAT WORKS BETTER FOR THE AVERAGE USER.

For all the great technology that they pour into their MP3 players, MOST people don't care about ANY of that.

They want what looks cool.

And so do you. You just happen to be passionate about computers, so it' less important to you.

Everything you do in life is about what it looks like.

Or do you date the big fat ugly pig, even though she is NICER and will be MORE AMENABLE to you than the hottie down the street?

Shut up, get over it... and be pissed at your favorite MP3 company for NOT putting the emphasis on design!

Oh, and for all of you saying you hate the iPod because everyone else has one...

I hope you aren't running a Windows machine.

That would just *SMACK* of double standards.

Andrew said...

Did you even read the article? This is not about aesthetics. This is about using your brain when you purchase technology. There are plenty of other players out there that appeal aesthetically to people. Everyone is different and what they prefer in regards to aesthetics will not be what someone else likes.

All you proved are that people are ignorant and don't understand technology. They are clueless about DRM, batteries and computers in general.

Your sad excuse that people "think" the iPod is cool is not an excuse to be ignorant about technology.

Try reading the article and commenting on IT not some nonsensical irrational rant about people "thinking" the iPod is cool, falling for peer pressure and all the apple marketing.

Charlie_P said...

Well said. I've only used a friends iPod, but it was never really an option for me, as i wanted drag and drop, and i needed support for other file formats including ogg vorbis and flac. At the end of the day how much money have Apple spent telling people that this is THE MP3 player, and whose paying for this, ultimately the end user. Decide what features you want, then shop around for the player that offers you them. My MP3 player is drag-and-drop, how much more ease of use do you want? I've never been convinced it does look all that either frankly, the (admittedly appaling) sony walkmen is a lot better looking IMO, and to be honest how important is aesthetics when most people aren't going to see it, since it's in your pocket.

As for the getting one over MS, surely all Apple are doing here is attempting to ape MS in making there product an industry standard?

To the person who buys extended warranties, please stop, having worked for the UK company which must sell more of these than anyone else here, it does tend to be a massive revenue stream for these companies, in other words they're ripping you off, the cost of the liability is nothing compared to what you pay.

Charlie_P said...

Richard Hunter - have most people in your church group been living on Mars for the past few years, iPod is advertised on every billboard, tv station, radio station and internbet site on the planet more or less, next you'll be saying that they've never heard of McDonalds or Coca-Cola.

I don't date a minger but at the same time, i don't want to f@*k my MP3 player. A poor ananology and then some.

Sapphira said...

Yes they are overpriced and overrated. My sister's ipod won't load most of its pictures, they come up black no matter how many times she submits them. I have contacted apple three times asking for help on this and they never reply.

Half the time my sister puts songs on the Ipod they don't show up. It is difficult to name the songs through Itunes, it gets jumpy and clicks off so it takes forever to name a custom cd with the correct artist.

The earbuds are cheap. I had two free black pairs identical to them come with a cheap dvd player I bought. For 300 dollars we can't get any better?

Also, no belt clip. Even the 100 dollar mp3 players usually come with those!! Heck my mini fm radio came with one and it was twelve dollars.

Oh and to use the Itunes store you MUST have a credit card. So if you have a giftcard or free song download from starbucks but no credit card you can't do anything with it. (US problem only apparently.)

I had a good amount of free downloads from starbucks and just threw the cards out. They are useless. :(

Why don't wall chargers come with the Ipod? We aren't spending enough as it is?

OK my rant is done lol. Apple does the minimum and not even that. Once you buy the Ipod, you're stuck and they know it.

I hope Zune is better. Has anyone tried those yet?

Sapphira said...

Also Apple has finally replied after a week. In order to get the Starbucks Free Downloads, you must enter your credit card.

Guess they aren't free then huh? The cards should say this on the back and they don't.

Climate Realist said...

You can replace the battery on an Ipod- I've done that on my gen 3 iPod twice. The battery works fine and on mine started to lose charge only after dropping the iPod on the floor (concrete while it was playing) a few times (accidentally!) However the battery is most definitely replaceable. Frankly after the abuse I've given it in use, I'm amazed my 5 year old battered Ipod is still working!

I Tunes does allow drag and drop and using ipod access (OSX) you can retrieve the tracks back from the Ipod.

Andrew said...

This post was about the Gen 1 iPod. The iPod Gen 3 battery is not designed to be end user replaceable regardless of if people have replaced it and is still a design problem. None of the iPods are drag and drop with Windows Explorer without iTunes - this is my point if you read the post. My criticism remains.

Matthew said...

I understand that the iPod works well, it plays music, and, to some people, the control scheme makes some sort of sense, it is "good enough" for the sort of people who just want to play some music. But the controls could be much better, you shouldn't need software to move files around, and AAC only thing is just crap. But the iPod's main selling point is that it is small and looks cool and slick.

But however "good enough" it is, there are better products. I have a Cowon A3 and when I pull it out of my pocket the first thing people yell is "Holy ----! That thing is freaking HUGE!", but then they see the video quality and they're just blown away. When they hear that they don't need software like iTunes they're confused, and completely amazed at the enourmous list of filetypes it can upport.

MP3 players and PMPs should realy be more performance oriented, and less about how the device looks.

Henry said...

My very first mp3 player was an ipod mini my aunt bought for me for graduating college. It was alright, but it didn't take long before the battery meter started messing up and it wouldn't even take much of a charge. It would read half full and just shut off on me.

I researched online and bought a Cowon iAudio X5, the audio quality was freaking amazing, it showed up on my computer as an external storage drive so I could drag and drop directly to it (back and forth, too), it had an FM radio, while I didn't listen to the radio much it did present an option.

I also liked the Creative Zen (slim 16 GB version) later, too.