Saturday, July 25, 2015

Remembering the days of the iPod, a lost world

Apple Music is taking over the iPod

Late to the party by two generations but the new lineup of iPods from Apple are finally here and like most products made by the guys over at Cupertino, this new refresh is simple and straight to the point. The three new 2015 iPod models take up the designs from their predecessors and besides some internal swaps, the exterior look and feel of these new iPods are identical to that of the models Apple released back in 2012.

Both the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle merely gained three new color options (gold, pink and blue) and that's about it. The iPod Touch in the other hand also comes in the three new color options but Apple also took the time to retro fit the new iOS device with a new logic board which includes the iPhone 6's A8 processor and M8 motion coprocessor. It's also worth noting that it still has a 4" Retina display and a new 8MP iSight camera.

Think of the new 2015 iPod Touch as a supercharged iPhone 5 without cellular connectivity, yeah Apple's trademark TouchID home button is not on the new iPod Touch. So, the question now is; should you invest your money on Apple's new iPods.

A little backstory

As with a lot of stories about Apple products, it start with how Steve Jobs try to convince the crowd about their revolutionary new device, I'm not skip the long story (you can read it up at wikipedia) but the thing to know about the iPod is that it did indeed change the way we listen to music. Back in the days when PDAs and Nokia phones were still a thing, the iPod was quite popular as there wasn't anything like it.

" iPhone: an iPod, a phone and an internet communicator

I am not too sure about the full history of the iPod but one things sure is that the iPod managed to keep it's place in the market with competitors releasing MP3 players which were just as good (maybe also better) as the iPod but they did not have the major selling point of the iPod. It wasn't the hardware, it was indefinitely the software. iTunes made a bold move by legalizing music purchases and artists were definitely happy about that.

But soon enough, entering the age of the iPhone which Steve Jobs himself said "An iPod, a phone and an internet communicator" (watch that video here), the days of the iPod as we know it are numbered. Not only is the iPhone a better device overall, it's more convenient to just take one device around rather than having 10 devices which do 10 different things. 

Why an iPod

Back then, everyone was leaning towards owning an iPod or any other MP3 player mainly because of the streamlined price and music playback wasn't technically popular on PDAs. Just half a decade ago, it was cool to be wearing a pair of earphones, connecting it to an MP3 player and just walking around. These days the trend is the same but the device is the smartphone which does more than play back music.

Children these days don't want a device which just plays music, they want a device which can entertain them in the form of games, playable media and maybe also some music. At this point in time, the only reason to actually consider buying an iPod is that you want to relive the days where iPods rule the music industry. It's a probably scenario if you've owned an iPod in the past and the new iPods today will definitely bring you back to those days, even if these new iPods don't come with Apple's signature click wheel.

But if you've never owned an iPod before, chances are you're better off just playing music back on your smartphone which streamlines all your mobile activities onto one device.

The iPod started off as a dedicated device for playing music and till today, that statement is still valid for the iPod nano and iPod shuffle but the iPod Touch is more of a media entertainment device rather than a dedicated device just to play music.

Apple Music

After numerous reports, Apple Music was finally announced during Apple's annual developers conference earlier this year and this new music streaming service is built upon the iTunes music library. As is, the streaming service works pretty much like other services out the but Apple has the apparent edge as they're closely working with artists to push out unique content in and out of the recoding studio.

" Only the iPod Touch supports Apple Music

It's sad to know that Apple Music does not work on both the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle, this is due to technical limitations because Apple Music is a streaming service which requires a network connection. Personally, I think that it's a waste that the iPod Nano does not support Apple Music, it would've been a simple way to enjoy music on the fly especially in fitness scenarios as the Nano is small enough to stay hidden. 


The thing is that Apple can't reverse back to the timeline of previous iPods, times have changed and the way we consume music has also changed. We're no longer buying every single album through iTunes or even ripping music and loading them onto our devices. The industry has seemingly moved into the streaming model which does embrace the power of the cloud.

Just look back at the availability of the 160GB iPod Classic versus the 128GB version of the 2015 iPod Touch, the storage has definitely been reduced showing a major change.

At it's current state, the iPod is just nice looking Apple gadget which plays music and reiterates the time before the iPhone. If you are not a big time Apple fan, you might not even want to invest money on an iPod because the iPod has always been attached to Apple services.

It's clear that Apple doesn't want to continue on the iPod line and even if they wanted to, they will need to crack their heads and try to convince users about playing back music on a dedicated device. Everything from the original iPod has seemingly disappeared into Apple's history and we're just left with some hardware which tells a tale of how MP3 players used to dominte the marketplace.

This might very well be the last lineup of iPods we'll ever see as Apple moves into a future where iPhones are dominating the company's quarterly profits. Let's savor some memories from the past:

"Steve Jobs unveiling the original iPod Nano"
The iPod mini was the first to feature Apple's iconic Click Wheel
Not to forget the original iPod Touch which was unveiled the same year the iPhone was announced

Insider talk (out of topic)

Initially i was going to write an article called its a shame that the iPod nano does not have apple music then I realized apple music is a streaming service which requires an active internet connection and then I thought of this article.

Been a long time since I wrote an article about apple, in fact this is the first one this year. Was initially planning to write about apple music and a wwdc recap but there's just too much of articles about that online, not easy to compete with pageviews for unique Apple content.


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