Posts tagged “ipod”.

An iPod for music lovers

August 24th, 2011

iPod classic

Kirk McElhearn at Macworld:

Both iPod classics (black and silver) are ahead of the iPod nano and shuffle in any of their colors. So while many people think the classic is a niche device, this might not be the case. Even if it were a niche, it would be one worth holding onto, because the buyers of this model are the real music fans, with lots of tunes, and want a device that holds as much as possible.

Agreed. My first iPod, a 30 GB iPod video from 2005, is still my only classic iPod, and it’s no longer big enough for my music library. I’ve thought about shopping for a refurbished model just so I don’t have to worry about the song juggling that McElhearn talks about.

For true music lovers, and especially for those of us with large music libraries, the iPod classic is still a viable option – sort of like a Mac Pro for tunes.

For those who miss the clickwheel

September 27th, 2010

iPhone wallpaper - iPod

A classic iPod wallpaper for your iPhone.

Quote of the week: leaving Apple

June 2nd, 2010

“Even with July 11 behind the company, the focus is still on mobile devices, not the Macintosh. The Mac is why I went to work for Apple, but sadly, it is not where Apple is putting their time and money.”

- Stephen M. Hackett, over at Forkbomber, on why he quit as an Apple retail Lead Mac Genius. His thoughts on the switch to “gadgets” and the hectic repair schedule are fascinating.

iPod…or iPad?

May 31st, 2010

iPods at 2 million?

Weird – they’re just now reaching two million?

Oh wait. It’s a copy-editing mistake (check the URL).

Epic

April 1st, 2010

Apple TV as odd-product out

March 19th, 2010

Apple TV

The Apple TV has had an interesting history. Starting out, it accompanied the iPhone as Apple’s “next big thing,” even if its spotlight was dim in comparison with the iPhone’s.

From then on, it became a “hobby,” and now I wonder if it’s even that.

Consider this. On the Apple.com Store, the “above the fold” shot looks something like this:

Apple.com store homepage

Notice anything missing? The Macs and iPods and Touch devices are all there in the circle. But no Apple TV. In fact, to find any mention of the Apple TV anywhere on the Store homepage, you have to look under the “For iPod” section:

Apple TV under iPods

Deeper in the store, the Apple TV gets a mention, but under Mac Accessories. So is the Apple TV for iPods or for Macs?

What gives? If Filemaker Pro and Apple’s printer bundle can get a graphical mention on the Store homepage, why not Apple TV?

I put together a current Apple product lineup grid, showing the available desktops, notebooks, touch devices, iPods, and what I call “Misc.” – which just means anything that isn’t any of the above categories:

Current Apple product lineup

The “Misc.” section is a mish-mash. Displays, peripherals, networking and backup products – and the Apple TV. One could argue that it belong with the iPod, but I consider iPods portable music devices. And the Apple TV isn’t quite a Mac, either, even though it runs a version of Front Row and connects with an iTunes library.

No, it’s just kind of out there on it’s own. It has no rock-solid home in the current Apple lineup.

On the other hand, imagine if we added some other category. We’ll call it “Entertainment,” and then add all the other items under “Misc.” as a kind of peripherals-only section:

Hypothetical Apple product lineup

For “Entertainment,” we have to imagine the Apple TV as its own category – perhaps a harbinger to things to come. Of what? There have been rumors of some sort of Apple television. Maybe they’ve been waiting for competition. Maybe they’re striking a deal with Netflix and Boxee right now. Maybe there’s a flatscreen TV out there with an Apple logo on the back, waiting to be released.

It’s just speculation, and I don’t consider it a worthwhile rumor for the time being. Apple, now, seems focused on its Touch devices – specifically the iPad. The Apple TV is surely stuck in some development limbo. One could even argue that the fourth-leg of the Apple stool is now the iPad instead of the Apple TV.

We’re also seeing the Apple product lineup gain some complexity, with the Apple TV fitting in nowhere that makes sense. Remember when Steve Jobs returned, and he cut everything Apple was doing at the time (killing the Newton, say) down to the very minimum? He filled in the final slot in the G3 lineup at the iBook launch in 1999:

Mac G3 lineup

Back then, you had two consumer Macs and two pro Macs. In the G4 era, things became a little less simplified with the PowerMac G4 Cube (unless you want to lump it with the regular PowerMacs) and the iPod. But even then, you could fit products in definite categories: consumer Macs, pro Macs, smaller iPods, and full-sized iPods.

Where does the Apple TV fit in all this? Nowhere neatly that I can figure out. And Apple quarantining the Apple TV from the Store homepage seems to send a message. “If you really want an Apple TV, you’re going to have to dig.”

Simple steps to audio perfection

October 26th, 2009

Plugged-in iPod

Sometimes the best finds in life come from sheer accident.

That’s definitely the case with the plug-in USB charger I found in my local Meijer auto section while browsing through the aisles on a whim.

First, let me say I bought a new car – a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0L. I’ve always wanted one, and I got a real beauty at a great deal.

When I travel, though, I always make sure I have a way to listen to my music and charge my iPod or iPhone. The Jetta does not have an auxilery jack in the Monsoon stereo. What it does have, however, is a universal power outlet in the middle console.

Before, I’ve used products like Griffin’s RoadTrip and similar devices that transmit an iPod’s music through an FM signal to the stereo while charging the device.

I purchased a new RoadTrip last winter to work with my iPhone 3G. Over the summer, however, it was stolen out of my car. The killer is, these devices are not cheap – so it’s not like I can easily replace an FM transmitter. On average, they can run from $50 to $100.

But with my new car, I wanted something that would let me listen to my iPod music while driving. I hoped to find something on sale, or at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, I saw the same products at the same prices, and left the iPod gadget aisle.

Then I stopped in to the automotive section at Meijer and looked at the offerings there. What I saw surprised me: the car stereo section featured many of the same products as the iPod section, but from different manufacturers. And at much cheaper prices.

While browsing, a little gadget caught my eye. It was a simple power jack with two USB ports in the back. All it did was power a USB-controlled device, like a phone, digital camera, or MP3 player. That’s it.

And it was $5.

Where the heck has this little handy gadget been hiding? It was just what I needed: a convenient device that did one thing (charge my iPhone/iPod) through a USB connection. I could bring my Apple-provided USB cable, the same one I sync my iPhone with, along on car trips when I need the extra power.

For music playback, I went old school. My Jetta comes with a cassette tape player (that awful, awful technology), and I still had my cassette-to-CD player adapter from high school. Back then, I would bring my portable CD player and connect it through the adapter to my stereo. The adapter works with a simple 3.5 mm headphone connection, meaning I could plug it into the headphone jack in my iPod or iPhone and be in business.

So for $5 and an old relic, I have everything I need to listen to my music and charge my iPods.

I could even charge my Shuffle if I brought along its unique plug-in dock. Sure, this means a few cables (the USB cable, the cassette adapter cable) running around my middle console, but I sure can’t beat the price.

An added benefit is the audio fidelity. Before, with my FM transmitters, I’d fuss with the stereo and transmitter settings trying to find the right station without a bunch of static. Now, with something as simple as a cassette adapter, I get great sound. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough.

The lesson I learned is sometimes simpler is better. I was lucky enough to have everything – a cassette player, a conveniently-placed power outlet – at my disposal. But I was also lucky enough to go shopping in my local retailer’s automotive section, too, which is something I didn’t know before.

Often, when you buy a product, you’re just buying the name. Some people claim that about Apple, of course, but in the case of iPod accessories, it really is true.

NewtMail: White iPhone tough enough?

July 2nd, 2009

The manly white iPhone

Chad S. writes:

I was doing some searching on Google for white iPhone impressions. WIth the new 3GS coming in both colours for both GB versions I have a choice to make when I upgrade from my 1G. Now I’m not the type of person to baby my gadgets, and I don’t believe in cases. So my question is, having had a white iPhone for some time now, how much do you baby it, and how badly scratched / scuffed is the back?

I love the look of the white, and if it scratches less than the black I’ll be all over it. I’m just worried that after time it will end up looking ‘dirty’ or really worn in instead of just scuffed. Thanks.

Good questions, all, because I was worried about the same thing.

For instance, I took a look at my iBook G4 and wondered, “Do I really want another white Apple product?” They get so dirty so fast.

I’m a big fan of the white iPhone myself, and have defended it in the past (people still wonder about the white iPhone’s “manliness,” judging from the search topics above). I opted to get a white case my iPhone, in the end. It matches the 3G back perfectly. The only thing missing (sadly) is the Apple logo. Looking at the back of my phone, I see all the scratch marks and am thankful I opted for the case.

Think of this: do you have an iPod? Is the metal back all scratched? Your iPhone will be comparable, depending on what else you keep in your pocket, how much you baby it, etc. Shucks, I have a back to mine and I still baby it.

I hope that helps.

On putting the ‘Newt’ in Newton products

March 31st, 2009

Everytime I see an “i” prefixing some word, I can’t help but think of how Apple created a naming convention that, to this day, continues to attract marketers and product designers. What began as the iMac turned into iMovie, iTunes, iPod, and eventually products ranging from that other iPhone to the iTrip and iToilet.

Now, with the iPhone, the “i” prefix continues to spread – this time to games and applications on the (get this) iTouch platform. We now have games like iDracula and apps like iBird Explorer Plus. It even extends to Mac apps like iStat Menus.

Apple is good at this kind of thing. If you think about it, Apple’s naming conventions go back as far as the “FirstNext” names for apps, like HyperCard and MacWrite, where the words are smooshed together with the second word retaining its capitalization. This naming convention has stuck all these years.

Like the ubiquitous “i” prefix, Newton product and app developers had their own prefix to work with: Newt. Just about everything that works with the Newton begins with “Newt” as a prefix.

There’s Newtris, the Tetris clone, or NewtTacToe. The web browser Newt’s Cape (say it fast for a variation of Netscape). Newtendo lets you emulate the Nintendo. Newtways let you connect peripherals. Stick “Newt” on the front of anything and you have a product for the Newton.

The prefix makes naming a product or application easy for the Newton. Take a bit of glue, glob it on the back of “Newt,” and attach it to whatever relates to the thing you want to promote. It’s easy because it doesn’t take much imagination or forethought. Like the “i,” you can throw it on anything and have a familiar-sounding yet brand-new product.

Some Newton developers used the “Newt” prefix in witty ways. Newt’s Cape is one of my favorites. Newtendo rolls of the tongue well.

But some are downright lazy. NewtGrocery? Really?

Thankfully, the “Newt” naming style didn’t last as long as the “i” prefix one has. We’re about 11 years and counting with that one, ever since Apple released the original iMac.

Maybe we could combine the two. iNewtToDo, anyone?

Newton quote of the week – 3.24.09

March 24th, 2009

“The iPod proved that $500 gadgets can sell. The Newton showed that $1,000 gadgets don’t.”

- John Gruber of Daring Fireball, right before Macworld 2003.