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iPod on the brain

Jamie Robertson
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So I just returned the mp3 player that i bought my wife for mother's day and splurged to replace it with an iPod nano. Now, all I do is go to the online apple store and drool over which accessory I'm going to buy for it next! I'm obsessed! and it's not even mine, it's my wife's! I have to come up with a plan, so that she buys me one for father's day. I've already unplugged my amplified speakers from my computer, so that I can hook the iPod up to it and listen to my music... now, how do I convince the with that we need the bose sound dock system... hmmm...

The great thing about the iPod is that my wife can figure out how to buy iTunes from apple or pull them from an existing CD without any problem...and she is definitely not "gifted" when it comes to computers and technology!

anyways, got to go visit the apple store... maybe an FM transmitter to listen/charge it in the car. Yeah, I'm sure the wife won't veto that purchase
Jeroen T Wenting
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I've never seen the appeal of the things.
They look like cheap molten plastic (just like Macs) to me, overexpensive gadgets.

When I look in the store here and see an iPod costing twice what another major brand mp3 player cost that has the same capabilities AND you can replace its battery when it fails rather than having to buy a new device I wonder how anyone buys an iPod.
It can't be a rational decision...

I admit they look halfway decent in black.


42
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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  65

Te each... I find the iPod to be lickably beautiful (just like Macs) and so natural and easy to use it's almost as if it's reading my mind. Every other mp3 player that comes out claims that it will be the "iPod killer" but none have managed to match the iPod in either design or usability.
[ June 11, 2006: Message edited by: Bear Bibeault ]

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marc weber
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Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:
To each...

+1

Nothing comes close to an iPod. I look at other products wonder why they just don't get it. (And I think iPods are very reasonably priced.) But of course, this is just my opinion. "To each..."


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Bert Bates
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It's a myth that humans tend to make decisions based on logic. It's also a myth that men tend to make their decisions more rationally than do women. The truth is that men and women both tend to use subjective, "illogical", and emotional factors as the primary basis for most of their decisions.

And...

Design and aesthetics really do matter! Studies have shown that beautiful things are easier to use than ugly things, even if their interfaces are similar.

BTW, as if it wasn't clear, I'm in the "iPods Rule" camp...


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Jamie Robertson
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Ease of use ( or more that she can actually use it! ) and a slick looking black iPod nano that looks pretty for her friends as well as 2 lines of free engraving on the back of it sealed the deal. The iTunes software is awesome too!

But what's with the white earphones coming with my black iPod? A slight overlook!

To be honest, I originally bought my wife a Sony Psych or something like that. It looked like a round piece of cheese. The software that it came with was cumbersome and not user friendly at all. And it didn't have accessories all in one place that, how can I put it... just worked with everything I wanted; Like the bose sound dock, car charger, FM tuner for , a comfortable running arm band...etc.
Angela Poynton
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The white earphones are like a brand, they can't not give you them. I have a Black iPod Video and it's the best thing I've bought in a long time.
Every song I've ever owned is on it along with a number of audio books, all of my digital photos and some videos and it's just about half full. It's GREAT! I don't have stereo anymore, just a couple of speakers plugged into a docking station. Space saving. I have the FM radio adapter so I can also listen to the radio and I wouldn't be without it for the world.

I find getting Black Accessories quite difficult though.


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Dave Lenton
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I recently purchased a Zen Sleek, rather then going for an iPod. It may be ugly as hell and have an interface which makes unix seem intuitive, but its cheaper then an iPod, I don't have to use a proprietary file format, it includes a radio, and sounds great.


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marc weber
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
...I don't have to use a proprietary file format...

Everything on my iPods are in MP3 format.
Jeroen T Wenting
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Joined: Apr 21, 2006
Posts: 1847
Of course design and esthetics matter Bert, but I think with the iPod it's marketing that matters a lot more than anything else.

Somehow Apple have managed to convince a generation that it's "kewl" to have an iPod and "uncool" to have anything else.
It's like entire school classes demanding from their parent to be given a specific brand and model of shoes because the leader of the sports team has them.
Bear Bibeault
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Originally posted by Jeroen T Wenting:

It's like entire school classes demanding from their parent to be given a specific brand and model of shoes because the leader of the sports team has them.


No argument. Apple has done a great job marketing the iPod. But in this case, it's an easy sell because they really are the best shoes!
Bert Bates
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Human beings are suseptible to marketing, and marketing isn't going to go away. A lot of people have a knee-jerk reaction to anything "marketing", but marketing is just another tool, and it can be usd for good or evil

I think marketing does play a role in the iPod's success, but I also agree that for me, the iPod is simply the best. One reason for that is the "wake" of products that follow along behind the iPod, making it, in effect, a broader solution.
Christophe Verré
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  16

that i bought my wife for mother's day

I thought that children offered presents to their mother this day

Anyway, I love my nano. Workers' best friend in crowded trains.


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Bear Bibeault
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Originally posted by Bert Bates:
One reason for that is the "wake" of products that follow along behind the iPod, making it, in effect, a broader solution.


It seems like (seems?) that an entire industry has grown up around the iPod.

My local Target has an entire aisle devoted to nothing more than iPod goodies,
marc weber
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I know I'm a sucker for certain marketing, and I admit that's probably why I bought my first iPod (when I was still using Windows).

But if that iPod -- along with iTunes software -- hadn't blown me away, I wouldn't have bought another iPod, followed by a PowerBook, followed by an iMac...
Jeroen T Wenting
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I've really only 2 gripes with the iPod (and marketing isn't one of them):
1) you can't replace the battery, and the battery has a far shorter life than the device itself (I'm not one to replace something every 6 months to a year just because there's a new model).
2) the controls seem unintuitive to me. I'm a sucker for learning complex key sequences to do simple jobs, I just can't get my head around interfaces like that.

Maybe if Kathy and Bert would write a "Head First iPod" and ship an iPod with that I would be tempted
Jim Yingst
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Errr, you can replace the battery.

http://ipodbatteryfaq.com/


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Axel Janssen
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For me it sounds a bit ironic that anybody is talking about the very simple to use interface.
... and then we find a whole website devoted to the "replacing the battery"-topic.
Fits nicely in my "Apple-I-dont-care" prejudices.


Q: Is the iPod's battery user-replaceable?

A1: Yes and no. The iPod's case is not designed to be opened, so, in that respect, it's not what would generally be referred to as "user-replaceable". But, [...]


[ June 13, 2006: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
Jeroen T Wenting
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yes, it's like designing a car where you need to take a blowtorch to the hood in order to change the oil.
Bert Bates
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Yeah -

It seems like the battery thing took the whole design sensibility idea a little too far

And I'll be the first to admit that loving an iPod is a bit irrational - currently I'm having to do some research into how to consolidate and move my music onto a new hard drive - but I don't care, because when it comes to iPods, I'm just irrationally passionate

Now Macs on the other hand are a bit more of a rational passion for me, because even though they cost a little more, the hardware is beautiful, the OS is beautiful, AND because the OS is more stable, it allows me to convince myself that this is a rational passion
Henry Lowell
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
I recently purchased a Zen Sleek, rather then going for an iPod. It may be ugly as hell and have an interface which makes unix seem intuitive, but its cheaper then an iPod, I don't have to use a proprietary file format, it includes a radio, and sounds great.


I love my Zen Sleek Photo. 20 GB storage, voice recorder, FM Radio, and Color screen for images....at about half the cost of a comparable iPod. And there are enough similar compatable gadgets to go with it to keep me happy.

And just to keep all my friends, I love the Mac. I just think the iPod is overhyped and overpriced.
[ June 13, 2006: Message edited by: Henry Lowell ]

Hank
Mani Venkatesan
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Joined: Sep 15, 2002
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idont
I bought the alternative...


Mani<br /><a href="http://ideanimal.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">blog</a>
marc weber
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I like SanDisk flash drives, and their new lines of players (the e200 and c100) are among the few that actually have some aesthetic sense (although clearly "inspired" by another popular design).

But the "iDon't" campaign seems awfully iRonic: Targeting "free thinkers" and "contrarians" to "reject the oppressive forces of cultural conformity" by using a device tailored to Windows Media?

The site appears to be more anti-Apple than pro-anything else -- not to mention outwardly hostile, especially the "propaganda" and "materials" pages. If they attacked the competition, or more appropriately the competition's product, that would be one thing. But their focus is on attacking the competition's customers, which is a dubious tactic for gaining market share.

My initial impression was that idont.com was the venting of malcontents, but it appears that the domain is, in fact, registered to SanDisk. (Anyone want some used flash drives?)
Bear Bibeault
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Lame. Branding as "sheep" those that choose a popular product not because it's popular, but because it's just flat-out good (accounting for its popularity), is bit "sour grapes".
Henry Lowell
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The e200 is more expensive than my Zen Sleek and even has 14 GB less storage capacity.

I don't have anything against iPods. I just look to get the most for my buck. And with MP3 players, memory is my #1 concern.
Ryan McGuire
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Originally posted by marc weber:

But the "iDon't" campaign seems awfully iRonic: Targeting "free thinkers" and "contrarians" to "reject the oppressive forces of cultural conformity" by using a device tailored to Windows Media?


Along those lines...
There's a TV commercial out nowadays featuring people we would normally consider pretty conforming and conservative lipsyncing a punk-ish song, "I'm not like everybody else." I particularly like the shot of five or six business people in a row singing those lyrics in unison. Too bad I can't remember what the ad is for.

My stand on choosing popular products:
The people who don't pick a product just because it's popular are equally lame as the people who do pick it for the same reason.

I personally got a Zen Sleek* because it met my requirements and desires** better than the similarly priced iPod. If you rationally pick an iPod because it matches your requirements, that's fine.


* Actually, I have a Zen Nomad Xtra 40BG for myself and the wife has a Zen Sleek 20 GB.

** I/We wanted better sound (Zen) and more capacity for the price (Zen) -- didn't care as much about slight differences in size (iPod is slightly smaller) or custom made Bose speaker systems (iPod).
Mani Venkatesan
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Posts: 64
Agreed that the idont campaign seems a bit childish but the Sansa e200 series does have more features for less money than the ipod nano. And while the looks may not be as slick as the Nano - it certainly is no mug in user interface.

And for the poster with 14 GB more space, is that a flash disk based player? I use mine a lot while exercising and feel comfortable knowing that there is no hard disk to conk out.
Henry Lowell
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Posts: 63
Originally posted by Mani Venkatesan:
And for the poster with 14 GB more space, is that a flash disk based player? I use mine a lot while exercising and feel comfortable knowing that there is no hard disk to conk out.


No, it is a harddisk and you can't run or excersise with it. Currently, that is not an issue for me. I play basketball quite a bit and I wouldn't even wear a flash driven player while doing so.
Peer Reynders
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Originally posted by Jeroen T Wenting:
I've never seen the appeal of the things.
They look like cheap molten plastic (just like Macs) to me, overexpensive gadgets...


Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:
To each... I find the iPod to be lickably beautiful (just like Macs) and so natural and easy to use it's almost as if it's reading my mind....


Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:
... But in this case, it's an easy sell because they really are the best shoes!


Actually in the case of the iPod nano, there may have been initial Quality Control issues - some owners reported "fragile" LCD displays on some units from the in the initial delivery:
iPod nano owners sue Apple over screen issues
Apple Faces Quality Problems

Originally posted by Bert Bates:
Yeah -
It seems like the battery thing took the whole design sensibility idea a little too far ...


Well everybody seems to have their own opinion on the "Apple design/can't replace the rechargable" thing so here I go plugging part of yet another Joel Spolsky article. Excerpt from Hitting the High Notes
Or look at the iPod. You can't change the battery. So when the battery dies, too bad. Get a new iPod. Actually, Apple will replace it if you send it back to the factory, but that costs $65.95. Wowza.

Why can't you change the battery?

My theory is that it's because Apple didn't want to mar the otherwise perfectly smooth, seamless surface of their beautiful, sexy iPod with one of those ghastly battery covers you see on other cheapo consumer crap, with the little latches that are always breaking and the seams that fill up with pocket lint and all that general yuckiness. The iPod is the most seamless piece of consumer electronics I have ever seen. It's beautiful. It feels beautiful, like a smooth river stone. One battery latch can blow the whole river stone effect.

Apple made a decision based on style, in fact, iPod is full of decisions that are based on style. And style is not something that 100 programmers at Microsoft or 200 industrial designers at the inaptly-named Creative are going to be able to achieve, because they don't have Jonathan Ive, and there aren't a heck of a lot of Jonathan Ives floating around.

I'm sorry, I can't stop talking about the iPod. That beautiful thumbwheel with its little clicky sounds ... Apple spent extra money putting a speaker in the iPod itself so that the thumbwheel clicky sounds would come from the thumbwheel. They could have saved pennies ... pennies! by playing the clicky sounds through the headphones. But the thumbwheel makes you feel like you're in control. People like to feel in control. It makes people happy to feel in control. The fact that the thumbwheel responds smoothly, fluently, and audibly to your commands makes you happy. Not like the other 6,000 pocket-sized consumer electronics bit of junk which take so long booting up that when you hit the on/off switch you have to wait a minute to find out if anything happened. Are you in control? Who knows? When was the last time you had a cell phone that went on the instant you pressed the on button?


When I took advantage in the price-drop of the iPod Shuffle 1GB (no display to break, less is more! it's not a bug, it's a feature) due to the impending release of the iPod nano, I found the iTunes software way more entertaining than the iPod. There was just something about it that made me want to put my entire CD collection on my computer's harddrive. (I know, I know, if I would have gotten a real iPod I could have put the entire collection on the iPod - however tiny moving parts like harddrive head actuators on a portable personal music player make me very nervous.) Now it didn't make me buy a Mac or anything ... but it did make me wonder. Anyway, at one point of time I must have not been paying attention and my iPod became my wife's iPod - but I'm still stuck with the support, down to recharging it.
Jeroen T Wenting
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Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:
Lame. Branding as "sheep" those that choose a popular product not because it's popular, but because it's just flat-out good (accounting for its popularity), is bit "sour grapes".


But how many fall under that description? Likely the majority of the target audience of that commercial ARE sheep who buy an iPod just because the most popular kid in class has one so it's 'kewl' to have one and maybe, just maybe, you will get popular yourself having one.

That's also just about the only reason I can see for replacing your iPod with a new model whenever one is released (rather than when it breaks), yet that is what a LOT of people do.
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Jeroen T Wenting:


But how many fall under that description? Likely the majority of the target audience of that commercial ARE sheep


I've never been able to follow this sort of reasoning, since I come from a strong mathematical background. Why is that likely? How is that reasonably founded in your mind?


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Jim Yingst
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It's a majority by definition, I think. Non-sheep aren't part of the idont target audience, since the ad won't work on them.
marc weber
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Originally posted by Jeroen T Wenting:
...That's also just about the only reason I can see for replacing your iPod with a new model whenever one is released (rather than when it breaks), yet that is what a LOT of people do.

Let's see... My iPod mini is 6 GB with a small, low resolution, black and white screen that doesn't display photos or play video. The new models... Yeah, I guess they are exactly the same, so I have no incentive to replace that mini. Thanks for pointing that out!
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
It's a majority by definition, I think. Non-sheep aren't part of the idont target audience, since the ad won't work on them.



um. huh?
marc weber
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
...Non-sheep aren't part of the idont target audience...

I detect some double-reverse iRony here.
marc weber
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Some characteristics of the first iPod (late 2001):
  • $399
  • Mac only
  • 5 GB drive
  • Firewire (no USB)
  • 160 x 128 grayscale display
  • Mechanical scroll wheel
  • 4.02" x 2.43" x 0.78"
  • 6.5 oz.
  • 10-hour battery

  • Compared to a top-line video iPod (late 2005):
  • $399
  • Mac or PC
  • 60 GB drive
  • USB
  • 320 x 240 color display
  • "Click wheel"
  • 4.1" x 2.4" x 0.55"
  • 5.5 oz.
  • 20-hour battery
  • Jim Yingst
    Wanderer
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    [Max]: um. huh?

    I'm saying that even as idont.com is complaining about iPod customers being sheep, they (idont) are also targeting sheep with their own ad. I figure non-sheep are perfectly capable of having their own reasons to like or dislike iPods, and would have little reason to care whether a SanDisk-owned propaganda site was characterizing them as sheep or not. Sheep, on the other hand, might actually be persuaded by such shallow tactics. Anyway, if we posit that SanDisk was in fact targeting an audience of sheep when they made the idont site, then Jeroen's assertion would be true by definition: "Likely the majority of the target audience of that commercial ARE sheep" - yes, 100% of the people SanDisk are targeting with that commercial are sheep. Which says nothing really about the absolute number of sheep in existence.
    Jeroen T Wenting
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    Originally posted by Max Habibi:


    I've never been able to follow this sort of reasoning, since I come from a strong mathematical background. Why is that likely? How is that reasonably founded in your mind?


    Longterm observation of human behaviour has led me to the conclusion that humans are by nature herd animals.
    The large amount of sheepish laughter that can be observed among humans further classifies them as sheep.
    Jeroen T Wenting
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    Originally posted by marc weber:

    Let's see... My iPod mini is 6 GB with a small, low resolution, black and white screen that doesn't display photos or play video. The new models... Yeah, I guess they are exactly the same, so I have no incentive to replace that mini. Thanks for pointing that out!


    But do you have a real (rather than perceived due to marketing and/or peer pressure) need for all those new features?
    And if you do, does that need justify logically the price you will have to pay to get access to those features?
    marc weber
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    Originally posted by Jeroen T Wenting:
    ... But do you have a real (rather than perceived due to marketing and/or peer pressure) need for all those new features? And if you do, does that need justify logically the price you will have to pay to get access to those features?

    Yes.

    Consider that none of us really "need" these things in the first place. This is strictly about how much enjoyment we expect to get from it, and putting a price on that is a very personal thing -- something that in many cases might be impossible to "justify" to another person's satisfaction.
     
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