Archive for the 'iPod' Category

Vaguely Absurd

Dec 02, 2007 in Gadgets, iPod

BestSellers.pngI was popping around Amazon this afternoon and I decided to check out the best sellers list for MP3 players. At just after 4PM, the silver 4GB Nano was the top selling device. The black 8GB Nano came in at #2. In the top ten, iPods also filled slots 4-9.1

All told, 14 of the top 25 best selling MP3 players were iPods. There are only (only?, eh) 17 iPod variants and the Product (Red) versions are only available through Apple. Plainly, the silver 160 GB Classic is not carrying its own weight. Something must be done about this. Retribution will be swift and fierce.

As of 4PM on December 2nd, 14 of the 15 current generation iPods sold on Amazon were in their top 25 best selling MP3 players, at least. The Amazon best seller list may not be the most scientific of measures but, damn, that’s vaguely absurd.

  1. Yeah, these are all affiliate links. I didn’t conceive of this post to go affiliate farming; I was actually curious about the status of the best sellers list and amused by the iPod’s complete dominance.

A Few Thoughts on Today’s iPod Announcements

Sep 05, 2007 in Apple, Gadgets, iPod

Chris Turner:

anyone else starting to feel like there are too many versions of the
iPod?

I was slightly disappointed to see that there are now 4 entries in the iPod family. With the iPod touch, your iPod-buying decision is no longer simply a question of size/storage trade-off. Without a doubt, the iPod touch is a very interesting piece of hardware, but from an iPod standpoint, it has the same shortfall as an iPhone — limited storage. I’ve always been an iPod classic kind of guy because I wanted the hard drive space. I also enjoyed having access to all of the iPod features that the nano and mini lacked (thought the refurbished Nano’s have been tempting, if only to use with a Nike+). Now, among the screened iPods, the Classic appears to offer the the most storage space while offering fewest features. You obviously miss out on all the Touch’es iPhone-esque features while also missing the Nano’s Nike+ support (you do gain Search functionality, though, which I forgot about until visiting the new iPod classic’s features page).

Looking at the new offerings, I get the feeling that the iPod classic is not a long term product. Much like the Mac Classic marked the beginning of the end for the original Mac styling, I suspect the iPod classic represents the beginning of the end for the original iPod design. I think it’s just a matter of Apple not wanting to cede the high-capacity market while not compromising on the design of the Touch.

In addition to paying homage to a piece of Apple history, the iPod classic name rolls off the tongue better than the originally proposed name — iPod discontinued when flash prices drop.


I didn’t read anything one way or another, but it looks like the changes to the iPod OS are more than just cosmetic — according to the iPod Games section of the iTunes Store, games need to be updated to work with the iPod nano (video) and the iPod classic. Right now, Tetris, Ms. Pac-Man, and Sudoku are in-line for updates. Does this mean that the new models have made the jump to OS X? If it were simply a matter of updating the games to recognize the new iPods, I’d imagine all the games would be updated.

(Klondike, Vortex, and iQuiz have already been upgraded and come bundled with the Nano and Classic).

Follow-up thought — will Apple offer updates to anybody who already bought these games?


Mari Silbey:

Engadget is already calling the Starbucks feature weak, but I think I
disagree. (How’s that for a strong statement?) Impulse music buying is
still largely untapped. Sure you can bookmark songs with some services
in order to buy them later, but we haven’t really seen an effective
on-the-go version of this feature before.

I agree with Silbey’s assessment that the Starbucks features isn’t weak. Although I’m not the lounge-in-a-Starbucks type, plenty of people are. Starbucks has clearly found that it can make money by selling music, both in-store and via iTunes. I have to assume that Apple has found the existing iTunes-Starbucks partnership rewarding. The infrastructure costs for supporting the new integration can’t be that high. Given the number of people you already see in Starbucks with laptops and the number of iPhones and iPod touches you can expect to see, I think it’s reasonable to expect both sides to profit from this expansion to the Apple-Starbucks relationship.

The Joys of Owning a Video iPod

Jun 21, 2006 in Entertainment, iPod

I think I’ve discovered my favorite aspect of my new iPod: getting to watch an episode of Sports Night every day while I’m taking the bus home from work.

Treating Myself

May 17, 2006 in iPod

After taking the last 11 months off from work (well, there was the whole school thing…), I started doing some IT consulting on Monday for the summer and at least a bit beyond. Little tough getting back into the swing of things and I’d been feeling a bit ragged by the end of the day.

So, I decided to treat myself this evening. Got home, grabbed the car, went to the Apple Store in Clarendon, and picked up a little number in black.

No, not one these.

One of these:

IMG_0003.JPG

Which, of course, means the new über-video iPods will be unveiled at the Manhatten opening tomorrow…

Just kidding… I hope.

It took about two days for me to remember that I absolutely hate office noise. Simply cannot concentrate with everything happening in the background. I’m also sharing an office with two recruiters — if they’re weren’t discussing candidates or openings or something, they wouldn’t be doing their job, so there’s always lots going on around me.

Not too many first impressions yet, beyond the Apple-on-Black boot screen looks rather slick. Oh, and copying 20GB of music over USB 1.1 is really slow.

Maybe I should’ve picked up that other black thing… of course, at this speed, the MacBook rev B could be out before my songs are ready. :)

Product Announcements and TuneCenter Pro

Apr 06, 2006 in iPod

Griffin Technology makes some great stuff, some of which I’ve used and some of which I’ve oggled over the years. That said, there’s quite often a lag between when they annoucen a product and when they ship said product — anybody remeber how much time passed between the announcement and shipment of the iTrip? I think there was like a week between the time the iTrip shipped and Apple redesigning the iPod so that it no longer worked with the iTrip.

So, Griffin just announced the TuneCenter Pro, an enhanced version of the TuneCenter that includes wireless networking. One catch — the TuneCenter hasn’t actually shipped yet. Yeah, I’m slightly amused.

The TuneCenter’s scheduled to ship in May, the TuneCenter Pro in June. Apparently, though, if you order a TuneCenter by Monday, you get a free upgrade to the TuneCenter Pro. Don’t know if this applies to previous pre-orders.

Dead iPod

Mar 03, 2006 in iPod

Well, according to the folks at iPodMods.com, my iPod is kaput. To get it back into working condition, they’d need to replace the hard drive, which would run $150 for a 20GB drive of $200 for a 40GB drive — they’ve discontinued the 30GB drive.

At that price, I decided not to bother with the repair. I wouldn’t want the 20GB drive because collection is already pushing that limit. As 40GB unit, I’d rather spend the extra $70 on a new 30GB iPod and get the video capabilities, as opposed to the extra 10GB of storage space.

Actually, I’m going to put off a replacement purchase till after April 1. I don’t make a habit of shopping via rumors, but delaying the purchase seems prudent, what with Apple’s 30th anniversary looming. It’s sort of like not buying a new computer the week before MacWorld… just in case. If a compelling new product comes out, I might think it’s worth the price premium. Or, said product might drive down the price of the existing iPods, but I wouldn’t count on it.

They offered me $20 salvage value for the iPod, but I passed. Apple offers 10% on iPod trade-ins and the fellow at the Apple Store seemed to indicate that they weren’t particularly picky about the condition of the iPod being traded — I assume the worst-case scenario for Apple is that they properly dispose of any unsalvageable iPod instead of just chucking them into the nearest landfill, but that’s just supposition on my part. In any case, $20 was a small enough value that I didn’t feel bad turning it down.

Update: Last week, iPodMods.com called me back to say that my iPod was working fine and they couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Furthermore, they had no record of our previous conversation. I was slightly concerned about both of these comments, so I requested that they retest the iPod again. I just heard back and they now agree that the hard drive is hosed. This time, they offered $35 for the iPod. When you factor in the cost of shipping, this is more than I’d get from Apple, so I took the money.

Sick iPod

Jan 19, 2006 in iPod, Mac

I’m getting concerned that my iPod might be nearing the end of its life. At the very least, strange things are happening when my iPod and PowerBook get together. Suffice it to say, this has me slightly annoyed. Suffice it to say, I’m not thrilled by this possibility. In the hope of finding help, I’m listing the symptoms here in case anybody’s got suggestions (other than “buy a new one,” of course).

  • My iPod occassionally resets, enters Disk Test Mode, or freezes when I connect it to my laptop.

  • I’ve reset the iPod to factory defaults, but iTunes occassionally stalls when copying over music (ie, it’ll be “copying” the same file for hours). Sometimes, I’m able to cancel the update and resume with the remaining songs. The last time this happened, though, iTunes was convinced I’d switched my iPod to manual sync, so it erased everything and started over when I changed the settings back to auto sync.

  • Similar to the above error, I also occasionally get a dialog that reads:

Attempting to copy to the disk “Eric’s iPod” failed. The disk could not be read from or
written to.

  • My contacts no longer sync, even though said option is selected in the iPod preferences. I see the following output in the Console:

ipodsynctool[395] dealloc called with unsaved changes <isdchangeStore: 0x37fe00>
AddressBookSync[396] AddressBookSync (client id: com.apple.AddressBook) error: Exception
running AddressBookSync: *** -[NSCFArray objectAtIndex:]: index (186) beyond bounds (0)

I’ve already run DiskWarrior on both the computer and the iPod. The more I see this stuff, the more I’m convinced trying to work around these errors is simply putting off the inevitable. Anybody care to convince me I’m wrong?

The Video iPod

Oct 12, 2005 in iPod

John Gruber:

The new iPods do not support FireWire. Not just no FireWire cables in the box; no FireWire, period. Such is the price of smaller and thinner, I suppose.

Yeah, I noticed this as well. Kind of a bummer for those of us using computers which only offer FireWire or USB 1.1… not that I’ll be dropping $300-$400 on any new toys soon…

I wonder if it’s really a “smaller and thinner” thing or if Apple just decided it was a better financial decision to not build in FireWire support than to include it and make people buy the FireWire cable separately.

I’m sitting here looking at my year-old 40 GB iPod and the thing looks like a relic.

Welcome to the club :) Between the DC Metro and the walk to school, I see a bunch of iPods every day. Until yesterday, I hadn’t seen another person carrying around a 3G iPod — they were all 4Gs, Minis, or Nanos.

Actually, I saw the other 3G owner at an iPod focus group organized by a few guys in a buyer behavior class. The timing of the focus group was a bit humorous, being a day before a major Apple announcement that was rumored to be iPod-related. It mostly focussed on why we bought iPods and whether we thought the iPod experience would push us towards Macs.

The group was pretty small (9 people?). Three owned Macs and the other six said they didn’t think their iPod would necessarily push them towards Macs in the future. However, their iPods did nothing to dissuade them from buying a Mac.

It was pretty fun and we get bribed with iTunes gift cards. I wouldn’t be surprised if the one undergrad in the focus group felt a bit on the outside — the other 8 of us were all first year MBA students who already knew each other.

At some point, though, I volunteered to look at two iPods to see about problems their owners were having. Hmm. I thought I was trying to get out of that business. Whatever.

Appointment Locations and iPods

Sep 12, 2005 in iPod

Anybody out there have a relatively new iPod (4G, Mini, or gasp nano) and have iCal appointments synced to said device? I’d like to know whether the iPod software for any of these devices displays the value of iCal’s Location field.

I was quite proud of myself when I entered my class schedule into iCal, posted it online, and synced it to my (3G) iPod. Of course, neither .mac nor my iPod display the contents of the Location field, so I know when i need to be there, just not where there is.

Quick iPod announcement thoughts…

Sep 08, 2005 in iPod

  • I haven’t seen it in person, but the images of the ROKR just aren’t doing anything for me right now. Motorola has shown some really slick phone designs, going back to the original release of the RAZR and up through newer designs like the PEBL and the SLVR. To my eye, the L6 and L2 models, the low-end offshoots of the SLVR, look nicer than the ROKR. For lack of a better word, the ROKR just looks clunky.

    I know looks aren’t the most important thing when you’re shopping for a new cell phone, but the appearance is one of the first things you notice.

    From the Phone Scoop specs, the three candy-bar phones are all all less than .5″ thick. The RAZR is .54″ thick. The PEBL is .79″ thick (I assume those are the thickness of the phones when closed). According to Engadget, the ROKR is .8″ thick.

    If I’m spending $250 on a subsidized phone, I want something thinner than freebie I got when signing my last contract. Or, failing that, at least give me something thinner than a clamshell phone.

  • iPod nano nice. iPod nano shiny. Me like iPod nano. Me like iPod nano more than clunky ROKR. Me not going to buy iPod nano because me poor grad student, but me still like.

    (Can you tell that I’m having trouble re-adjusting to this whole school thing?)

  • iTunes’ improved search functionality is nice, but a little inconsistent. Some fields, like Album, are always searched, but others, like Description, are only searched when they are displayed. I was in the library view and decided I wanted to find the episode of Baseball Prospectus Radio with Aaron Schaltz. I typed “Scha” into the search field. Nothing. Selected the Podcast search option. Still nothing.

    I found the episode by switching to the Podcasts list and searching again, but why should this basic piece of metadata be ignored based on a UI setting?

  • Getting iTunes for Windows to sync Outlook contacts is nice, but somehow I doubt it’ll let me use my iPod to sync contacts between my Mac and my PC — beyond the whole HFS+ versus FAT32 (or whatever the Windows-formatted iPod uses) thing, I assume the syncing is actually just a one-way copy.

Maybe more later, depending on my time constraints. I wouldn’t bet good money on it, though.