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An MP3 player that became your buddy
October 23, 2011 9:35 AM   Subscribe

The iPod turns 10 Today marks the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the iPod. Touted in a low-key presentation as a player that would let you carry 1000 (!) songs in a player the size of a pack of cards (!), the 1st gen model didn't really impress techies (or mefi), though consumers quickly fell for the stylish white and stainless player. In the ensuing years, Apple kept plugging away at new models, and today, few even remember that Apple was late to this game. (previously)
posted by Gilbert (318 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
No wireless, less space than a Nomad. Lame.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:40 AM on October 23, 2011 [24 favorites]


I'm still unimpressed for the record

I do have an iphone though
posted by the mad poster! at 9:40 AM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I still have mine. A museum piece after only 10 years! Wish I'd kept my first Apple computer too.
posted by binturong at 9:40 AM on October 23, 2011


Yeah, they're handy as hell.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:41 AM on October 23, 2011


So it's just a nicer looking nomad? This was supposed to be a big deal?
posted by mathowie at 1:56 PM on October 23, 2001 [16 favorites +] [!]

posted by The Whelk at 9:42 AM on October 23, 2011 [35 favorites]


Who/what is this Nomad you speak of?
posted by quadog at 9:45 AM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also coldchef is the immortal voice of reason
posted by The Whelk at 9:45 AM on October 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


With such a rapid product cycle, I don't know if I can muster much nostalgia for the anniversary of the original iPod.

When someone manages to cram a flexible screen into an iPod 'classic' case that unfolds to iMac proportions, I'll probably marvel anew.
posted by panaceanot at 9:46 AM on October 23, 2011


Our kids will laugh at us.

"You had to, like, put your music on that particular thing? And if you left the thing behind, you couldn't listen to your music? Crazy."
posted by Trurl at 9:46 AM on October 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


I was also about to ruthlessly mock mathowie for worst tech prediction of the decade but Whelk beat me to it. Also, that thread has 60 comments all of them by delmoi!
posted by Justinian at 9:47 AM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


My old 30g 2d gen classic still works perfectly and holds a charge, except for one channel shot on the headphone jack I've forever been meaning to fix. Works fine in a dock and as a backup drive.

And it still feels distinctively beautiful in the hand. Not enough praise for that, surprisingly. Love my iTouch but the classic feels like it should be audio gear.
posted by spitbull at 9:48 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


So it's just a nicer looking nomad? This was supposed to be a big deal?
posted by mathowie


a nicer looking nomad
was coming down the road
the other nomads? dressed in rags!
but this one? a la mode!
i said "won't you come home with me?"
she said "i'm sorry, no."
but she gave me an iPod,
and that was nice, you know

i listened to the iPod
i listened every day
i thought of my sweet nomad
and how she'd gone away
i wonder where she is tonight
i'm feeling all kerfuffled
i'm listening to my iPod now,
another random shuffle
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:54 AM on October 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


No wireless, less space than a Nomad. Lame.

I was there when these immortal words were posted to Slashdot.

I feel old.
posted by killdevil at 9:54 AM on October 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


The more Apple presentations I watch, the more I wonder if they're actually in the battery business. Can't wait for Apple and Casio to merge so we can get smartphones with 30 hours active use!
posted by Yowser at 9:55 AM on October 23, 2011


The 10-year old MeFi thread is hilarious.

"..i'm pretty underwhelmed by this announcement. "
"..It's gonna bomb.. "
"..It's a $400 MP3 Walkman?"
"..Apple loads gun, shoots self in foot. "
"..Apple releases a new product, but it doesn't change the world."
posted by stbalbach at 9:55 AM on October 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


I can't count the number of iPods I own. Seriously.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:56 AM on October 23, 2011


I'm convinced none of these things were "real" products. They were all conveniently releasable design milestones on the iPhone timeline.
posted by range at 9:56 AM on October 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


I had to look up the Nomad because I couldn't remember what it looked like. Then I had to look up parallel ports because I couldn't remember what they looked like either.
posted by wreckingball at 9:56 AM on October 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


I remember pre-ipod mp3 players. They were generally for people who liked to play with stuff. Geeks, early adopters, bleeding edge folks. The iPod just worked. That's why it was a hit. That and it looked cool.

I still have my 2nd gen in a drawer, and would be still happy with it if it handled podcasts better.
I love my touch.
posted by cccorlew at 9:56 AM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't count the number of iPods I own. Seriously.

I hear you. I recently retiled my bathroom with mine.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:57 AM on October 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


This is a good post.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 9:57 AM on October 23, 2011


When are they gonna increase the capacity again? A 500GB iPod would suit me just fine.
posted by jonmc at 9:58 AM on October 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


I was previously using a Nomad Jukebox, a blue thing that was designed to look like a portable CD player except its battery lasted 1/10th of the time and weighed 10x as much. It had 6GB of storage, but was the worst user experience anyone could ever deal with. I remember making bets with myself on my morning walks down Riverside Park from my apartment in NYC if I could start to hear a note of music by the time I got on the walk path from my apartment door -- it seriously took almost 5 minutes to "boot up" (there was no sleep mode or anything.)

I gave a talk recently after this super nice guy Julian Treasure where he railed against "the sound bubble" that people put themselves in when they wear headphones. Obviously people wore headphones walking around before the iPod but there is no doubt they do in far larger numbers now. I am actually very happy about this. Music is amazing and deserves a lot of careful personal listening. The iPod was the first device that made getting lost in music while you were out in the world worthwhile. Dorks like me on websites can scream about Apple or how there were cassette walkmen and mp3 CD players and minidiscs and whatever else, but the number one feature that Apple did not put on their bullet list for the first iPod was "Ease of Use" or "Treats music with care." No one needed to deal with 10 second disk seek time or skipping CDs or automatically sorting albums by their filename (self link.) Steve or Apple knew this and they released a clunkily-sized, expensive, somewhat fragile thing with less features than everyone else at first, but it did one thing really well -- it played the song you wanted within seconds of you wanting to hear it.
posted by brianwhitman at 9:58 AM on October 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


There was something magic about how it felt. I had the 2g. Felt like it was a single forged piece of steel that was solid inside. A monolith.

I had other mp3 and (OGG, lol) players and while they worked, they were toys that were hard to use: navigating through folders with no metadata. Most of them used AA batteries that I had to transcode my music down to 128kbps in order for the things to last all the way on my work commute.

I still have my fist iPod. The Lithium ion battery was abused for years so it doesnt quite last more than a few minutes, but it works just as good as new when put in a speaker dock that I got a few months ago.

Timeless.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:00 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


They were all conveniently releasable design milestones on the iPhone timeline.

I don't know where I heard it or how reliable it is, but inside Apple the idea was to create a completely mobile, pocket-carriable home folder and music was the easiest thing to do first.
posted by The Whelk at 10:00 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


That old thread is so worth reading for the lulz. Mefi and iPod came of age together, huh?

Quality still equals value, suck on it h8ers!
posted by spitbull at 10:01 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Our kids will laugh at us.

"You had to, like, put your music on that particular thing? And if you left the thing behind, you couldn't listen to your music? Crazy."


People are laughing at you now.

"You allowed a vendor to lock you in with a proprietary, and unnecessary, DB format? Why not use a commodity USB mass storage model that lets anyone drag any files they want on and off?"
posted by DU at 10:03 AM on October 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


No wireless, less space than a Nomad. Lame.

That is sort of key.

If you recall, when the iPod came out, the process for taking MP3s with you was :

1. Go to the store, buy CD
2. Use some arcane software to rip the CD to MP3 over the course of an hour
3. Locate where you saved those files, assuming it went smoothly
4. Use some stupid app to transfer the songs to the player
5. Listen.

The iPod had fewer features and a higher cost than other MP3 players on the market. The difference ?

iTunes.

If the music industry wasn't run by intransigent morons, the media device scene would be very different today.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:05 AM on October 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


According to Ars Technica you can still use the original iPod with the latest version of iTunes, as long as you can connect a Firewire 400 cable to your computer.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 10:05 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


People are laughing at you now.
People will be laughing at the FOSS-at-all-costs cult years from now. And some do now.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:07 AM on October 23, 2011 [15 favorites]


Ahhhh the iPod days.
We were all such size queens for our gigabytes.
Now all I need is my 16 gig iPhone and a ten dolla' Spotify Mobile subscription.

Happy birthday iPod!
You seemed so futuristic at the time and now you seem as primitive as a Walkman, oddly.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:07 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I don't know where I heard it or how reliable it is

Best confirmation I got for this theory was a Cheshire-cat, I've-got-NDAs-in-every-orifice grin from an Apple technical VP one day, which was enough to sell me...
posted by range at 10:09 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


stbalbach: "The 10-year old MeFi thread is hilarious..."

Yeah, not to mention my favorite comment:

premiumpolar: "I'm sure it won't have a color screen. Why would it? It's not like you'd be playing video games on it."

Ha. Now I'm writing this comment on it...
posted by koeselitz at 10:10 AM on October 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


I love the comments in that thread. But I'm no better. I never thought it would be a success. Shows what I know.
posted by Forktine at 10:10 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Only 10 years? Good lord, it seems like those things have been around forever.
I still have my bricked 40GB classic. It was replaced with a seafoam green Shuffle, which serves my needs perfectly.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:11 AM on October 23, 2011


When I saw the first iPod at a local store I knew I had to have one. I couldn't afford one for a while, so the first one I bought was the 10 gig version. It was truly magical.

I used it every day at work when no one else had one. I was mocked over my enthusiasm for it, and for telling people it was truly something that increased my quality of life.

Cut to a year later, and nearly all the scoffers had iPods. Cut to the present, and nearly everyone I know has one.
posted by The Deej at 10:13 AM on October 23, 2011


I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the iPods actually are kind of overpriced status symbols. Unlike my precious, precious iPod Shuffle (15 hour battery life!) and the iPhone that I covet oh so much (if it wasn't for the outrageous data plans)
posted by Yowser at 10:14 AM on October 23, 2011


That is to say, I think iPods kind of suck in general.
posted by Yowser at 10:14 AM on October 23, 2011


Peak iPod was in 2008. Apple knew that would happen well before which is why they released the iPhone.

The idea of buying an object the size of a deck of cards that does nothing but play music and video on a tiny screen for $400 will seem quaint in 2 years.

The point of this device [iPhone] is to make money for Apple by replacing the iPod, which itself is being replaced by a new generation of phones and cheap music players.

posted by euphorb at 10:15 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


how is the fact that it succeeded a testament to anything? Wal*Mart succeeded

I had a Creative Nomad II before the ipod which was cool and when y'all were bumping ipods I got an iRiver clix and then an iRiver clix 2 (all flash memory)

the only reason I like playing music on my iphone is that (a) it has a fair amount of space and (b) it handles podcasts really well

other than that I just go to 'recent' tracks or a playlist and hit shuffle or play straight

hardly orgasmic
posted by the mad poster! at 10:16 AM on October 23, 2011


If the music industry wasn't run by intransigent morons, the media device scene would be very different today.

Hell, substitute any media industry for that. It's why the RIAA got dominated by Apple, and why Amazon will dominate over the publishing industry soon.

If these giant cartels would actually act like the oligopolic entities they are, they might be able to control the market, and have brought about things like the kindle and the ipod (which the reason they both succeeded is because they were marvels of vertical integration) without having to resort to a middle man that invariably undermines them.
posted by zabuni at 10:16 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Quality still equals value, suck on it h8ers!"

Huh?
posted by MikeMc at 10:17 AM on October 23, 2011


Ah, the good old days, when skip protection was a feature worth trumpeting.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:17 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The pinnacle of MP3 player design and sound quality. You can search the world over and never find a better player.
posted by MikeMc at 10:20 AM on October 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


The more Apple presentations I watch, the more I wonder if they're actually in the battery business.

Here you go.

That is to say, I think iPods kind of suck in general.
Unlike my precious, precious iPod Shuffle

So what you're saying is that except for the one that's perfect for you, iPods suck... ok...



It kind of blows my mind that the iPod and Grand Theft Auto III both appeared in Oct. 2001... one month after 9-11. Those don't line up in my memory at all.
posted by Huck500 at 10:22 AM on October 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


ernielundquist, 2001: What a silly, overpriced, overdesigned piece of crap! My Jukebox is so much better than this! Steve Jobs sucks at predicting consumer behavior!

ernielundquist, 2011: What a silly, overpriced, overdesigned piece of crap! My Sansa player is much cheaper, more functional and durable than this! Steve Jobs was a genius at predicting consumer behavior!
posted by ernielundquist at 10:23 AM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'll still put my Zen Vision up against an iPod any day. I'm gonna be sad the day it dies.

(but, hey, I still use a flip phone, so whatdoiknow?)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:26 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huck500, Apple aficionados look down on the iPod Shuffle as a lesser form of life. It's definitely not considered to be a real iPod.
posted by Yowser at 10:27 AM on October 23, 2011


Also, about the whole streaming vs carrying your music with you thing... I can stream from a server I have set up at home and also from Spotify, and it works great about 98% of the time. Meaning I still carry my iPod any time I want to listen to music.

Once phones have 100% coverage over the entire Earth (or at least the places I go, which includes lots of dirt trails/roads with no coverage) and never lose connection, and also my server never goes down and Spotify never goes down, I'll dump my ipod.

I realize my iPod could also fail, but if I really want to I can carry around a backup... I have four of the things. I can't really carry around a backup cellular network...

Well, I guess I could have two carriers and two plans... and two servers and two home internet connections...

posted by Huck500 at 10:29 AM on October 23, 2011


At the time I had a Rio, and it took me ages and two more mp3 players before I finally converted in 2007 or so. I have the same iPod today, and I love it. Still wish I'd gotten a 1st generation iPod for the aesthetics though - there's a hipster kid I know who uses his big boxy 2001 iPod and it looks very cool.
posted by Oxydude at 10:29 AM on October 23, 2011


I've never wanted an iPod (found the controls terrible and I still remember my friends having to have their batteries fixed multiple times), but credit where credit is due: my 2nd gen iPod Shuffle has been through the wash at least three times and still works perfectly. I've never even had to use the bag of rice trick, either.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 10:29 AM on October 23, 2011


People are laughing at you now.

Yes, but they're boring people people who cling to their arbitrary standard and judge everyone by it.

"You allowed a vendor to lock you in with a proprietary, and unnecessary, DB format? Why not use a commodity USB mass storage model that lets anyone drag any files they want on and off?"

Because your commodity USB mass storage model sucked so hard, it allowed a vendor selling a proprietary format with better design to absolutely rule the market.

Luckily, ya'll have learned that leasson with Lin--, ooops never mind.

Apple aficionados look down on the iPod Shuffle as a lesser form of life

Not me, it was pretty perfect. I could control it from my pocket without looking at it. That was great.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:30 AM on October 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


$400 worth of Apple stock bought on on October 26, 2001 would now be worth $16,843.
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:35 AM on October 23, 2011 [16 favorites]


my clunky huge first gen still works perfectly. i threw away 2 piece of shit third gens after multiple battery failures and never went back til the shuffles arrived.
posted by elizardbits at 10:36 AM on October 23, 2011


Brandon, I told an Apple fanatic friend of mine that I'd finally broken down and bought an Apple product. She said "Is it an iPhone?" I said no. She said "Is it an iPod?" I said "Yes, it's an iPod Shuffle" She fell completely silent and her body language said it all - I'd bought a product no real Apple lover would ever buy.
posted by Yowser at 10:36 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can anyone tell me what I can do with a sad face 2nd gen ipod? I use it as a paper weight, but it'd be nice to bring it back to life.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:37 AM on October 23, 2011


Huck500, Apple aficionados look down on the iPod Shuffle as a lesser form of life. It's definitely not considered to be a real iPod.

So the one iPod you happen to like ∉ {iPods in general, which suck}. Got it.
posted by Huck500 at 10:39 AM on October 23, 2011


ITunes was actually the big deal.
posted by Artw at 10:41 AM on October 23, 2011


People will be laughing at the FOSS-at-all-costs cult years from now.

Costs?
posted by DU at 10:41 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, you win Huck500, I slipped up linguistically and thus have no argument, because you say so.
posted by Yowser at 10:41 AM on October 23, 2011


The first gen iPods were such a pain in the ass. I used a Zen Touch for years. iPods wouldn't scroll your song titles, and there was no way to see the full title of anything if it was longer than the screen space allowed. In fact, neither would the iPhone until iOS5, which drove me nuts until last week.

I didn't get sucked into iPod culture until Podcasts really took off, I got a Macbook, and iTunes nicely automatically downloaded for me my 20 subscriptions a week which I could quickly sync to an iPod/iPhone.

Now it seems like there would be no other way, but it's fun looking back and recognizing that those earlier iPods were kind of annoying, and got way way better while everybody else failed at keeping up.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 10:42 AM on October 23, 2011


Can anyone tell me what I can do with a sad face 2nd gen ipod? I use it as a paper weight, but it'd be nice to bring it back to life.

You can replace the hard drive... some people are replacing with an SSD, but it's more of a "because I could" thing, I think.
posted by Huck500 at 10:42 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Apple aficionados look down on the iPod Shuffle as a lesser form of life. It's definitely not considered to be a real iPod.

What? By whom is it not so considered? I've never heard this. It's a great little gadget, always has been.
posted by pts at 10:42 AM on October 23, 2011


If you're ever bored, take a look at the initial Metafilter reactions to both the iPhone and iPad. It's pretty interesting how many self avowed techies reacted negatively to the initial announcements.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:43 AM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Gilbert: "and today, few even remember that Apple was late to this game"

I remember. Poseurs.
posted by Bonzai at 10:44 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


No radio? Mac only? Who would buy that?

I still like the original scroll wheel the best of all the iPod interfaces. They were really gorgeous.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:47 AM on October 23, 2011


I'm happy I never fell for the overpriced mp3 player ruse.

I got a 4 GB mp3 player with built in FM transmitter that's not locked to proprietary software/connectors, that has a built in USB connection, FM radio, voice recording, micro-SD support and more for 10 bucks used. Plus, I doubt any of the people who made my MP3 player had to sign a contract swearing they wouldn't commit suicide.
posted by cloeburner at 10:48 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Where was your $10 mp3 player made?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:50 AM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Somewhere where the employees can kill themselves whenever they like, presumably.
posted by Grangousier at 10:54 AM on October 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


Between hissy tapes, skippy plastic CDs, and painfully shitty old-school MP3 players, music fans were in a world of hurt before the iPod came around.

It didn't take long for the rest of the industry to essentially duplicate the iPod hardware in various forms, but they couldn't duplicate the software and that's what really set the iPod apart (like all of Apple's products).

Without iTunes there is no iPod. It's something that the "tech geeks" always failed to understand, while the music geeks grasped it immediately.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 10:55 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you're ever bored, take a look at the initial Metafilter reactions to both the iPhone and iPad.

Well, to be fair, the 1st gen iPhone (EDGE!) was a piece of overpriced crap. Apple truly f*cked the early adopters with that one. They sure laughed when the iPhone 3G was issued a few months later at a lower price.
posted by Skeptic at 10:56 AM on October 23, 2011


The iPod was revolutionary in that it opened the general consumers eyes to the world of mp3 players, and vaulted Apple into the world of premium consumer electronics.

Everything that held as many or more songs was larger and clunkier. Everything that was the same size held far less. And putting music on any of them was over USB 1.0, which wasn't particularly speedy. And all of them were butt ugly. There's a vast swath of people who could barely care about features, but live for fashion.

My first was the original, purchased when it came out. Still works well, and still connects to the current version of iTunes. Replaced the battery though, because its life dropped below one working day.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:59 AM on October 23, 2011


Without iTunes there is no iPod.

Bitter truth.
posted by Trurl at 10:59 AM on October 23, 2011


I love these old quotes:

And why would you need more than a 5gig drive if you can refill it completely in around 10 minutes? any more would be pointless,

And who would ever need more than 640K?

I'm really pleased they have made no attempt to make it PC-compatible.

What an odd thing to be pleased about.
posted by MikeMc at 11:00 AM on October 23, 2011


"The iPod was revolutionary in that it opened the general consumers eyes to the world of mp3 players, and vaulted Apple into the world of premium consumer electronics. "

This was indeed the turning point where it went from Apple Computer Company to Apple Behemoth Consumer Electronics Company.
posted by MikeMc at 11:02 AM on October 23, 2011


Wasn't the big thing with the iPod that it was the first (?) Mp3 player with a connection faster than USB 1.1 (which is dog slow), so you could fill its large-ish hard drive in minutes instead of hours? Also, it was relatively small, and therefore portable -- the players with big hard drives of the time were large & heavy.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 11:05 AM on October 23, 2011


Well, to be fair, the 1st gen iPhone (EDGE!) was a piece of overpriced crap.

The 1st gen iPod Touch was an absolutely and utterly killer little device. The 1st gen iPhone was an iPod Touch with a phone and a camera. Sure, if you were using a Blackberry in 2007 moving to the 1st gen iPhone would be difficult. But if you were coming from a generic junk-phone, like most people, the iPhone was a little piece of magic (Jailbreak 3rd-party software included).

Apple truly f*cked the early adopters with that one. They sure laughed when the iPhone 3G was issued a few months later at a lower price

The iPhone 3G was released 1 year later. It was the first iPhone to be available internationally, and is otherwise the same as the 1st gen iPhone (except for the 3G network support).
posted by i_have_a_computer at 11:06 AM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


This was indeed the turning point where it went from Apple Computer Company to Apple Behemoth Consumer Electronics Company.

Now that I think about it, this was the start of Apple's second run as a consumer electronics company. By the time Steve Jobs came back as CEO in 1997, Apple was making a digital camera (Quicktime), the Newton, and the Pippin console, all of which got cut soon after his return.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:08 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wasn't the big thing with the iPod that it was the first (?) Mp3 player with a connection faster than USB 1.1 (which is dog slow), so you could fill its large-ish hard drive in minutes instead of hours? Also, it was relatively small, and therefore portable -- the players with big hard drives of the time were large & heavy.

These were big selling points for my techie boss, who had PCs all over and a giant binder of CDs.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:09 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


And why would you need more than a 5gig drive if you can refill it completely in around 10 minutes?

Heed me, o fool of the past!

My wife gave me a 32 GB iPhone 3G two years ago. From that day forward, the 120 GB iPod Classic I had inherited from her earlier lay untouched in my nightstand drawer.

But just yesterday, suddenly being in a "feel like carrying around tons of different music" mood, I recharged the Classic and spent several hours loading it up. Carrying it around has reminded me what a dandy music player it was.

Still, it feels like a brick in my pocket compared to the iPhone. If Apple sold a 120 GB iPhone, I would want one.

The point is: Today's Shiny New Consumer doesn't want to waste time refilling.
posted by Trurl at 11:10 AM on October 23, 2011


Based on my MetaFilter experiences, that earlier thread was about par for the course. If there is a new technology, especially from Apple, that a large number of MeFites rush to pooh pooh, it is probably something that will permanently change the world.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:10 AM on October 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


If there is a new technology, especially from Apple, that a large number of MeFites rush to pooh pooh, it is probably something that will permanently change the world.

So true
posted by the_artificer at 11:17 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The iPod was the gateway drug to Apple products for the Apple virgins (especially when iTunes could run on Windows).
posted by caddis at 11:22 AM on October 23, 2011


Hmm, kind of sucks that all these old links die. I remember seeing the 'mockup' that people were so sure was going to be the product, which ended up looking nothing like it. But now we can't see how wrong they were.
If there is a new technology, especially from Apple, that a large number of MeFites rush to pooh pooh, it is probably something that will permanently change the world.
Except, as we all know, the iPod wasn't new technology. It was just a portable Mp3 player that happened to be much more heavily marketed. The first one marketed to regular people, not just tech nerds.

The irony is that Sony could have owned the market if they'd been willing to play DRM free files. But they weren't. They were so obsessed with control they completely blew themselves up as a company. Their CEO had come up from the content division, rather then the electronics side.
posted by delmoi at 11:24 AM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Quality still equals value, suck on it h8ers!"
Huh?
posted by MikeMc


Oh, I was just teasing. Read the old thread and it's full of "Apple gear is overpriced" stuff you will still hear today in any thread where Apple products are discussed. Some 300 million units later.
posted by spitbull at 11:30 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of the reasons techies get it wrong about devices like the iPod is that they live in a world populated by USB variants, directory trees, and personal webDAV servers. Most mortals don't, nor do they care to.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:32 AM on October 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


The iPod created podcast culture. Think about it, this little device created a platform that reinvigorated radio-program-listening among young people and created what is essentially audio-zine-culture. I listen to something like 30 episodes of various podcasts during the week. Heck, if I fall behind I go for a leisurely walk around town while catching up. By making the distribution and listening of podcasts easy, Apple changed the entertainment landscape. I'd say that in terms of net-content, it's the biggest revolution of the last decade, outside of YouTube. What the Web did for text, the iPod, iTunes and Apple did for audio. If nothing else, that's an extraordinary legacy.
posted by Kattullus at 11:32 AM on October 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


Maybe it's just because I was a teenager and an absolute brat (still am) when I got my first iPod, but I've never really understood what was supposed to be so great about them. They're not that bloody usable. I've had six, and while we've had some great times together, all of them have either fallen apart early* or frustrated me endlessly. I still want my money back for the original 160gb model, which was so crappy and broken they had to do it all over, while I was stuck with mine for three more years. And that's before we even get around to iTunes, which is a buggy monster and a pile of garbage. But I don't know where to get an actually good mp3 player (let alone one that's big enough; 160gb is a joke), so I just keep buying this one over and over. Which is no tragedy, but I don't understand what makes people talk about this product as if it were anything more than just another plastic thing.

* except for my favourite, of course, the sweet white 80gb 5th gen video one I lost to that puddle - oh my darling... oops.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:32 AM on October 23, 2011


I'm really pleased they have made no attempt to make it PC-compatible.
What an odd thing to be pleased about.
posted by MikeMc


And I think that was meant as a joke too, Mike. Have some coffee!

Now the iPod/iPhone ecosystem is fully PC compatible. But it still sucks. I find that every time I update iTunes (which, Apple, seems like every few damn months that it's now necessary) on a PC, I end up having to remove every single Apple component (including Quicktime, Bonjour, Apple Mobile Device Support, and iTunes) manually before it will let me install the new iTunes. I've had this happen on more than one PC. What should take 5 minutes takes an hour.
posted by spitbull at 11:34 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The iPod was revolutionary in that it opened the general consumers eyes to the world of mp3 players, and vaulted Apple into the world of premium consumer electronics.
Those things weren't done by the iPod, they were done by the iPod's marketing campaign.
posted by delmoi at 11:34 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


People will be laughing at the FOSS-at-all-costs cult years from now. And some do now.

Only FOSS crusaders care about open standards?

The pinnacle of MP3 player design and sound quality. You can search the world over and never find a better player.

God, I love that little thing. The only reason I almost never use mine is because I have my phone with me all the time and it's an adequate music player. Not to mention it grabs all my podcasts for me over the air. Still though, the Clip+ is just a marvel of technology.
posted by kmz at 11:36 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I had a mini and was excited about it at first but ended up hating the damn thing and wasn't too sad then it got stolen out of my car. Battery life sucked and got worse and worse. I paid to have Apple replace the battery twice and both of those died in less than a year. The thing was constantly corrupting its database causing me to have to reset it and reload everything. I don't even want to talk about dealing with the horror that is iTunes to load the thing.

Foolishly I bought a 2nd gen shuffle because I wanted something for workouts but that thing was always failing and you could never tell why because of the lack of display; the battery on that thing only lasted a year and when it finally failed to hold a charge at all, I happily uninstalled iTunes. I have a Sansa for workouts and my Android phone for general music listening and and will never own another Apple product.
posted by octothorpe at 11:43 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Only FOSS crusaders care about open standards?

No, because the iTunes library is in XML format and the music, books, tv shows and movie files are all stored in accessible directories on your HD. On an operating system that uses FreeBSD which Apple commits changes back to. You can view these files with Webkit which is available and used by nearly every computer, including Android phones, which can also be synced with iTunes.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:43 AM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I's surely love it if the damned things didn't get bricked so easily. The ipod wheel was great design though.
posted by ersatz at 11:50 AM on October 23, 2011


The pinnacle of MP3 player design and sound quality. You can search the world over and never find a better player.

I have a Sansa fuze. It's a little bigger then the clip. For all those complaining about iTunes **you don't need to install any software at all**. Just drag MP3 files to the device. And you can play audio of a MicroSDHC card as well, so you don't even need to connect it to add files.

You can't get a 160 gigabyte version, but you could get a bunch of 32 gigabyte. It would be pretty easy to grab one card for a workout (or whatever) or take several with you on long trips.
posted by delmoi at 11:52 AM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's pretty amazing to see the old iPod/iPhone/iPad threads where so many comments underestimate the appeal of these devices. It seems like there are a few recurring themes: judging by specs rather than by the experience of using the device, assuming that the interface won't be usable, and having deal-breakers that are things that 99% of people don't care about (OGG, access to file system).

As far as I can tell, for the last ten years, Apple seems to have done a very good job churning out products that people find usable and enjoyable. And, actually, churn is really the wrong word, since there really haven't been a lot of products. When they release something, I think it generally means that they're pretty confident that it's something people will want. As far as I can remember, the appleTV is the only one that hasn't turned out to be a blockbuster.
posted by snofoam at 12:05 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


delmoi: "The pinnacle of MP3 player design and sound quality. You can search the world over and never find a better player.

I have a Sansa fuze. It's a little bigger then the clip. For all those complaining about iTunes **you don't need to install any software at all**. Just drag MP3 files to the device. And you can play audio of a MicroSDHC card as well, so you don't even need to connect it to add files.

You can't get a 160 gigabyte version, but you could get a bunch of 32 gigabyte. It would be pretty easy to grab one card for a workout (or whatever) or take several with you on long trips.
"

Except, my worry is that if I was flying during said trip, that DHS might wonder why I was carrying so much digital storage and decide they were going to look through all of them. Luckily, I haven't had to travel air since all the main security theatre kicked in, as I on a prior trip was toting a Archos 80Gb and a laptop which had some media of "dubious provenance".
posted by Samizdata at 12:13 PM on October 23, 2011


YT First iPod commercial.

As far as I can remember, the appleTV is the only one that hasn't turned out to be a blockbuster.

The buttonless iPod shuffle wasn't a smash hit either.

It's pretty amazing to see the old iPod/iPhone/iPad threads where so many comments underestimate the appeal of these devices. It seems like there are a few recurring themes: judging by specs rather than by the experience of using the device, assuming that the interface won't be usable, and having deal-breakers that are things that 99% of people don't care about (OGG, access to file system).

One can see this in current iDevice threads too. Not everyone looks at tech in the same way, nor has the same skill level and comfort in dealing with it.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:14 PM on October 23, 2011


The ipod was worse than many of the better players that came before it. Difficult to use, unnecessarily complex (AskMefi filling up with panicking people that caught the business end of it being locked into one computer, plus all that crap with requiring gateway software instead of drag-and-drop etc), lacking in features.

But it was pretty, and small, and while it sucked if you already had your music as digital file, it didn't suck if you had never heard of something that could put 1000 songs in your pocket, instead it seemed amazing. And it was the first player to be advertised mainstream, so to most people it was amazing, even if they couldn't manage to use it. (When I got an ipod, I noticed that I stopped listening to new music because compared to what I was used it, it was such a big hassle to get new files onto. I'm a computer geek, so how the hell was my mom coping? I asked around, and this wasn't uncommon. Most non-tech people I knew seemed to have to fight to get new music on it, and couldn't remember all the convoluted steps so they had to learn and fight anew each time, and so after a while they just settled into not updating it).

But crucially, those locks and restrictions and cripples were put there so that Apple considered that their chances of legally withstand the inevitable legal assault from the RIAA were good enough to risk promoting and selling it mainstream.

The ipod had to be functionally worse than earlier players in order to be legally tougher in order to crack the really big nut - the RIAA - and it was, and it was, and it did, and the spoils went to the victor.

Well done, Apple.

I have a pre-ipod-era HDD mp3 player that I still use. Among other interesting things, it offers a digital output, so I can bypass the crude miniature analogue stages found in pocket devices, and pipe the data directly to my home theatre system. You don't really see that stuff all that often any more, even though it's not a difficult feature to add. Pity.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:16 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


the iphone has only been out since 2007? wow.

i've had 3 ipods. a blue mini that I got for free from Citibank for opening my account (haha, a bank gave ME something instead of a kick in the johnson). I gave that to my gf (pre-loaded with her favorite music.. that was a cool thing I did ^_^), but it still works. my 160GB classic still works, but the audio out is toast. I'm thinking I may load it up with everything I have and leave it connected to the ipod-integrated radio in my truck. my current ipod is a nano (pre-video), and i love it. even though i have an iphone, i really don't use it much for music.

i spent DAYS converting everything in my library correctly so it displayed in coverflow for that thing.

i think the nano and the nano with video are just about the perfect form factor, at least for me. i do not like the new nano and will ebay upgrade to the previous nano when/if I need to. i like holding the thing and using the scroll wheel while looking at the screen, not manipulating a tiny square screen. the UI is perfect on the phone, not so much a tiny cube.

oh and my first digital audio player was this stupid thing . it only held 2 albums worth, and it just didn't sound good. the ipod compared to that was revolutionary.
posted by ninjew at 12:19 PM on October 23, 2011


The irony is that Sony could have owned the market if they'd been willing to play DRM free files. But they weren't. They were so obsessed with control they completely blew themselves up as a company. Their CEO had come up from the content division, rather then the electronics side.

They could have continued to rule the world. MiniDiscs should have taken off as a data storage format instead of Zip drives and also should have replaced cassettes. Sony should have definitely been the first big name company to make compact MP3 players, instead of ceding that ground to Apple.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:21 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The iPod had fewer features and a higher cost than other MP3 players on the market. The difference ?

iTunes.


Now iTunes is more like the Achilles heal of the iLine. It has become huge, slow and clunky. I have come to loathe loading it up, and would never touch it except for syncing purposes.

It's pretty amazing to see the old iPod/iPhone/iPad threads where so many comments underestimate the appeal of these devices.

On that fateful day Steve Jobs hired Twilight Sparkle to help with product design.
posted by JHarris at 12:24 PM on October 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


The iPod was the gateway drug to Apple products for the Apple virgins (especially when iTunes could run on Windows).

this x1000. i think i recall even reading that was by no means coincidental.
posted by ninjew at 12:25 PM on October 23, 2011


I don't really buy the argument that the iPod was only a success due to marketing. Partially because I loved the iPod, but also because marketing alone doesn't make products successful unless people like them.

As far as it being difficult to use, I don't really get it. I always found them really simple to use. I guess the caveat would be, as long as you're using them the way 99% of the people were using them, which would be to put music into iTunes and sync to your iPod. If you wanted to do something else, like get files off your iPod onto your computer, that was tricky, but for intended uses, they always seemed easy and intuitive.
posted by snofoam at 12:27 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


...built in FM transmitter that's not locked to proprietary software/connectors, that has a built in USB connection, FM radio, voice recording, micro-SD support and more for 10 bucks used. Plus, I doubt any of the people who made my MP3 player had to sign a contract swearing they wouldn't commit suicide.
posted by cloeburner


It's still amazing, after all these years... it's crystal clear that Apple values simplicity. On everything, from the mac, to iPods, to the iPhone and iPad, Apple makes products that include the features that most people find necessary, and only those features. For the 10 percent of people that want X, there's a market somewhere that not only gives you X, but gives you Y and Z also.

But to then point at Apple, and equate their not making a product that includes features X,Y, and Z to making inferior products for others, is just mind-numbingly clueless.

If you're ever bored, take a look at the initial Metafilter reactions to both the iPhone and iPad. It's pretty interesting how many self avowed techies reacted negatively to the initial announcements.
posted by Brandon Blatcher


Well, to be fair a good percentage of those negative reactions are delmoi doing what he does in every apple thread.
posted by justgary at 12:28 PM on October 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


(Achilles heel, dammit I know how to spell)
posted by JHarris at 12:29 PM on October 23, 2011


I revel in the Sony's repeated humiliations. Somebody needs to be made an example of for "this is what happens when you design products to restrict what the buyer is allowed to do." and a giant like Sony with a long history of screwing its customers by design, is sooo perfect.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:30 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Except, my worry is that if I was flying during said trip, that DHS might wonder why I was carrying so much digital storage

Not to defend Samsa or anything, but you're talking at most about a few 16GB SD cards. DHS ain't gonna care.

I fly every other week, often with camera gear and a dozen or more 8 or 16GB SD cards, a 1TB external hard drive, a laptop with 750GB HD on it, a Zoom H3 video recorder with a 32GB card, an ipod with 32GB of flash storage, and a Nokia phone w/an 8GB microSD. I've never ever been hassled about my memory devices, although in theory I suppose it is a significant issue in international crossings, if that's what you meant, where you are potentially subject to granular inspection of your data storage.

It amazes me to think I'm walking through the airport carrying two terabytes worth of data storage. My first hard drive was a 20MB Seagate that cost me $500 in 1989, go figure.

The other day at the airport I must say I did see TSA hassling a hippie guy who was carrying some mid-1980s Korg synthesizer with its various parts (including some kind of tube that looked like one of those Akai electronic wind instruments) all in a single canvas bag. I swear I could hear him explaining in great historical detail what this was to the TSA agent, who looked like he would rather be anywhere else.

SD cards, they won't care. But god forbid you have 5 ounces of fucking toothpaste.
posted by spitbull at 12:31 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


⌘-F "marketing"

Yep, never fails.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:31 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Always hated them. Locked-in, DRM'd, no way to copy tracks for friends, had to install a bunch of slow, buggy, crappy Apple software just to add new music... no thanks. And popular with the kind of technically illiterate people that used to make fun of computer geeks when computers were "too hard" for them to understand. Apple lowered the intellectual barriers of entry. The only good thing about it is that you now have an order of magnitude more people that you can take advantage of if you do happen to possess said geek skills, simply due to rates of adoption.

When I walk into coffee shops and watch all the idiots staring blankly at the latest wireless gee-whiz technology they use but don't understand, it feels like walking into a bank that left all their vaults open while the smug fool behind the counter sneers contemptuously down at you because your tie isn't cool enough.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:35 PM on October 23, 2011


Except, as we all know, the iPod wasn't new technology. It was just a portable Mp3 player that happened to be much more heavily marketed. The first one marketed to regular people, not just tech nerds.

You know that most of the world is regular people and that's a pretty big market, right?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:35 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't really buy the argument that the iPod was only a success due to marketing. Partially because I loved the iPod, but also because marketing alone doesn't make products successful unless people like them.

People loved HDD mp3 players - they were amazing devices! But no-one knew about them. So when one was marketed, and people found out about them, of course they loved it. I know that this brushes over a lot of work that apple did to make the device appealing, but they were working with solid gold - a device that can put 1000 songs in your pocket! That no-one but a few tech-heads knew about! The market almost completely untapped (because anyone who tried to tap it got their head bitten off by the RIAA).

Apple user experience design really wasn't the big factor. Sure, it helps, and it could have been screwed up so badly that device wouldn't take off, but there were much bigger forces at play than user experience design.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:35 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The ipod was worse than many of the better players that came before it. Difficult to use, unnecessarily complex (AskMefi filling up with panicking people that caught the business end of it being locked into one computer, plus all that crap with requiring gateway software instead of drag-and-drop etc), lacking in features.

Statements like this are helpful when I wonder why other companies have such a hard time successfully competing with Apple. For the vast majority of people in the theoretical market for such a device, the iPod was clearly not difficult to use or unnecessarily complex. Dragging files through directory structures is the problem, not the solution for most folks. Most folks are very, very happy allowing iTunes to manage their music collections.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 12:36 PM on October 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Man, I miss the simplicity of my old USB stick player and dragging and dropping to it. That class of device seems to have gone extinct though.
posted by Artw at 12:38 PM on October 23, 2011


I revel in the Sony's repeated humiliations. Somebody needs to be made an example of for "this is what happens when you design products to restrict what the buyer is allowed to do." and a giant like Sony with a long history of screwing its customers by design, is sooo perfect.


So true. I have skipped right over Sony for a number of electronic-y audio/visual/computer-y needs going over close to a decade now, cos I so much do not like the way they tried to corner you into their BS proprietary ecosystem.

Have they even stopped with that agenda?
posted by Skygazer at 12:38 PM on October 23, 2011


I know that this brushes over a lot of work that apple did to make the device appealing...

But you're going to do it anyway and insist it was marketing. No doubt the iPad is all marketing too, despite numerous commercials for rival tablets, it has to be the marketing, right?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:40 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Anyhow, I would like to say for the record that the minute I saw the iPod I coveted it so hard, I think one of my testicles exploded. I knew, right then and there, that here was the killer iconic item that was going to rule the future.

I'm good with the future like that. Sometimes I think I'm fucking psychic.
posted by Skygazer at 12:42 PM on October 23, 2011


Now iTunes is more like the Achilles heal of the iLine. It has become huge, slow and clunky. I have come to loathe loading it up, and would never touch it except for syncing purposes.

When loading up the iPod Classic in iTunes, I would tap the box to check a playlist to be added. And then wait four seconds for the check mark to appear.
posted by Trurl at 12:43 PM on October 23, 2011


Dragging files through directory structures is the problem, not the solution for most folks. Most folks are very, very happy allowing iTunes to manage their music collections.

Exactly. I never really understood the idea of wanting to do all the work to manage files. Then again, I never understood wanting to make, like, 500 folders in outlook to organize emails by sender, but some people love to do this.
posted by snofoam at 12:44 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


The iPod is a magical device. It also pushed me away from Apple after 20 years of devotion--I hated not being able to use such an amazing device easily WITHOUT iTunes. Lead me to FOSS and lots of fun and savings from buying more Apple products. Thank you Apple!
posted by quarterframer at 12:45 PM on October 23, 2011


As far as I can remember, the appleTV is the only one that hasn't turned out to be a blockbuster.

And I don't get why. It's simple to use, has a great deal of 'just works', connects to any video device with an HDMI in port. The one negative would be the lack of ability to use a keyboard, but usually you only need to put usernames and passwords in once per service and you're fine.

We use ours mostly for Netflix, really, and for streaming the shows we get from the Apple Store (Leverage, Criminal Minds, Transformers: Prime). It really is a just-works product. The worst issue we have is that our router sometimes goes completely don't-wanna and we need to reboot the router, and that's not an Apple problem.

The second gen AppleTV is small, unobtrusive, and works very well. It should be much more respected as a product than it is.
posted by mephron at 12:46 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just to say, iPod was the machine I was dreaming of when I left my hick hometown to enter engineering school in 1985. And, I don't know if it was said upthread, but the iPod is a supremely helpful thing to have if you're a musician or composer.

Don't steal music.
posted by newdaddy at 12:46 PM on October 23, 2011


Dragging files through directory structures is the problem, not the solution for most folks. Most folks are very, very happy allowing iTunes to manage their music collections.

You are mistaking cause and effect. People were generally the most happiest using itunes when it was their introduction to managing music, because it showed them a clear polished working solved path to a problem they'd never encountered before. iTunes defined their mental conception of the processes, and thus became their most natural way to think about it. Even then, most non-tech non-music people I knew struggled, and people who already had their music digitized struggled with the transition, because iTune isn't the natural way to think about it, it just one specific way, and it was a path defined by legality as much as experience.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:47 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The amount of ragging and hate that iTunes attracts if nothing else should show that it's no flawless icon of user experience design.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:52 PM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


re: appleTV, I had one because we were given a 2nd TV, but had nothing to hook it up to, and it was a really handy device for this situation. I think that probably Apple's ultimate move for the television has yet to be seen. On the other hand, I think that they are already winning the battle for the living room, not with the set top box that everyone was assuming back in the day, but with the iPad.
posted by snofoam at 12:54 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


iTunes as a useful and ubiquitous source of music is first class. The actual interface to that store less so. iTunes the program that syncs your computer with your phone/iPod is ridiculous garbage.
posted by Artw at 12:57 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The amount of ragging and hate that iTunes attracts if nothing else should show that it's no flawless icon of user experience design.

I don't really think people position iTunes that way in the first place. As far as ragging and hate, haters gonna hate. This proves absolutely nothing, except for the existence of haters.
posted by snofoam at 12:58 PM on October 23, 2011


When I walk into coffee shops and watch all the idiots staring blankly at the latest wireless gee-whiz technology they use but don't understand, it feels like walking into a bank that left all their vaults open while the smug fool behind the counter sneers contemptuously down at you because your tie isn't cool enough.

I bet you're a lot of fun at parties.
posted by fungible at 1:00 PM on October 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


Also, it was mentioned upthread, but podcasts are a terrific invention, and iTunes U is also really cool. Perhaps there is better software to manage these things, but iTunes does a good enough job for me.
posted by snofoam at 1:01 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I walk into coffee shops and watch all the idiots staring blankly at the latest wireless gee-whiz technology they use but don't understand, it feels like walking into a bank that left all their vaults open while the smug fool behind the counter sneers contemptuously down at you because your tie isn't cool enough.

I don't really understand this analogy.
posted by snofoam at 1:03 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


On the other hand, I think that they are already winning the battle for the living room, not with the set top box that everyone was assuming back in the day, but with the iPad.

I'd guess they're playing catch-up rather than winning just yet - I'm not up on how the ipad is doing living-room-wise, but microsoft was just so far ahead of everyone else in the living room (they snuck their set-top box into the living room under the guise of it being a games machine) that I'd think it would take some time for even the ipad to erode that lead. If that has already happened, then color me impressed, but I'm guessing there are ways to go yet.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:05 PM on October 23, 2011


On the other hand, I think that they are already winning the battle for the living room, not with the set top box that everyone was assuming back in the day, but with the iPad.

The iPad seems like such an ungainly device to anchor the living room, especially when it has to be tethered for playback.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:08 PM on October 23, 2011


What I'm seeing here is that, twenty-seven years after the Macintosh was introduced as "the computer for the rest of us", there are still a lot of technically minded, early adopting gadget freaks who still have no idea of who "the rest of us" are, or think that they do but really are just regurgitating stereotypes of them being the sort of clueless lusers who think that their CD tray is a cup holder. The more features a gadget has the better, no matter how superfluous those features are, and once you've gotten used to doing things a certain way any other way is the very font of evil itself. It's tiresome.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:10 PM on October 23, 2011 [17 favorites]


on a PC, I end up having to remove every single Apple component (including Quicktime, Bonjour, Apple Mobile Device Support, and iTunes) manually before it will let me install the new iTunes. I've had this happen on more than one PC. What should take 5 minutes takes an hour.

I've had this same problem. I can't use the Apple software update, I have to uninstall everything and download from Apple.com. If I don't the installer will crash repeatedly and if by chance it succeeds I will have to start the Apple Mobile Device service manually every time I need to sync. One of the many reasons I hate, hate, hate iTunes.
posted by MikeMc at 1:11 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


iTunes as a useful and ubiquitous source of music is first class. The actual interface to that store less so. iTunes the program that syncs your computer with your phone/iPod is ridiculous garbage.

It hasn't aged well, and is a trojan horse to sneak the Apple experience and technologies like QuickTime onto Windows. On the other hand, one wonders if it sucks because there are so many different Windows PC platforms to account for, or if it's supposed to reinforce the idea that Windows bad, Mac pretty.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:13 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's Apple's secret plan to score a massive performance and reliability hit on every Windows machine!
posted by Artw at 1:14 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think C_D may have been meaning..

"These equations:

∇⋅E = ρ/ε0
∇⋅B = 0
∇×E = - ∂B/∂t
∇×B = μ0J + μ0ε0(∂E/∂t)

do you understand them, motherfucker?"
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 1:15 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


MikeMc: That is weird, because despite other problems, I've never had a problem installing iTunes. There is probably some deeper reason for that problem, I have no idea what it could be though.
posted by JHarris at 1:16 PM on October 23, 2011


I've never understood why Apple didn't spend more effort getting iTunes for Windows to work better. It seems like putting a quality stable application on your Windows machine would be a great advertisement for Apple software targeted at non-Apple users. Instead you fight to work with this bloated, crashy thing that has a user interface that approaches Lotus Notes in un-usability and wonder if Apple can actually write software.
posted by octothorpe at 1:18 PM on October 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


The iPad seems like such an ungainly device to anchor the living room, especially when it has to be tethered for playback.

what
posted by entropicamericana at 1:19 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Except, as we all know, the iPod wasn't new technology. It was just a portable Mp3 player that happened to be much more heavily marketed. The first one marketed to regular people, not just tech nerds.

I remember reading that fateful Slashdot post. What a complete and total failure of imagination. I'm glad it gets quoted as a cautionary example, when naysayers bray their usual tune.

But the worst part of rereading these old threads is the inherent snobbery from certain elements of the self-described tech crowd, basically wishing everyone to be condemned to using subpar technology with crappy interfaces and frustrating designs, simply because making something better — what the iPod did — makes technology available and usable by more people. It's such a closed-off, undemocratic way of thinking, to demand that technology — something to improve and enrich lives — should only be in the hands of a select few.

Beyond making an awesome bit of technology, Apple made an awesome bit of technology for everyone. That's a pretty striking revolution, a massive accomplishment in only ten years. Congratulations to Apple and a posthumous congratulations to Steve Jobs, who had the courage to bet the company on a revolution.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:19 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


The iPad seems like such an ungainly device to anchor the living room, especially when it has to be tethered for playback.

You can play anything in a Home Sharing iTunes libary from one, without having that stuff loaded physically onto it. You can even send all that to an Airplay device, like the Apple TV, or most networked home theater AV receivers. All this is wireless, of course. I have plugged my iPad into my computer a total of one time, to tell it to sync over wifi.

My desktop computer has turned into basically an iTunes server, photo editing machine, and a digital picture frame via screensaver.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:28 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


octothorpe, every time I open iTunes I make another promise to the universe never to get a Mac. You'd honestly think Apple took no pride at all in their software.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 1:28 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Regarding the battle for the living room, wikipedia figures suggest microsoft's set-top box sales to date are still about four times the combined sales of ipad and apple tv, but I have no idea what direction things are heading (eg if xbox is tapering while ipad accelerating, or what)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:29 PM on October 23, 2011


The iPad seems like such an ungainly device to anchor the living room, especially when it has to be tethered for playback.

what


I stand, or sit, corrected.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:29 PM on October 23, 2011


The iPad seems like such an ungainly device to anchor the living room, especially when it has to be tethered for playback.

What I really meant was that it seems like the iPad seems to be doing really well as the computer people use in the living room, whereas the assumption for maybe 15 years or more was that the living room computer would be something attached to the TV.

But also, nothing needs to be connected with a cable these days except the wifi router.

Also, surely something will eventually be connected to or built into the TV. I don't have an iPad, but it seems like the ideal candidate for the interface you use to control your TVcomputer.
posted by snofoam at 1:29 PM on October 23, 2011


"The second gen AppleTV is small, unobtrusive, and works very well. It should be much more respected as a product than it is."

Probably because there's "no there there". The game consoles are the closest to being the "one box to rule them all" at the moment. With my PS3 I can stream from my home network, or from Netflix, or play DVDs and Blu-rays and play a shitload of games that aren't available in the App Store. There's something missing from AppleTV that I can't quite put my finger on.
posted by MikeMc at 1:32 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Probably because there's "no there there". The game consoles are the closest to being the "one box to rule them all" at the moment. With my PS3 I can stream from my home network, or from Netflix, or play DVDs and Blu-rays and play a shitload of games that aren't available in the App Store. There's something missing from AppleTV that I can't quite put my finger on.

Games and content? DVR functionality?
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:35 PM on October 23, 2011


Regarding the battle for the living room, wikipedia figures suggest microsoft's set-top box sales to date are still about four times the combined sales of ipad and apple tv, but I have no idea what direction things are heading (eg if xbox is tapering while ipad accelerating, or what)

I don't play video games, and I don't have an xbox, but it wouldn't surprise me if most xbox users mostly used it to play video games and maybe watch dvds, but don't use it for much non-game stuff like browsing the internet.
posted by snofoam at 1:35 PM on October 23, 2011


Apple aficionados look down on the iPod Shuffle as a lesser form of life.

My little pack-of-gum shuffle was my constant companion for YEARS. It may as well have been glued to the inside of my hand.

Perhaps I don't count as an aficionado? The iphone 4, iBook, MacBook and G5 Tower sitting within a one foot radius of my chair suggest otherwise.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 1:36 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't play video games, and I don't have an xbox, but it wouldn't surprise me if most xbox users mostly used it to play video games and maybe watch dvds, but don't use it for much non-game stuff like browsing the internet.

My friends use theirs as a Netflix box. As other video services become available on it (or are), I'm sure it will get used for that too.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:37 PM on October 23, 2011


I am among those who had a grim experience with iTunes for a PC; the one iPod I had (and got free for signing up with an ISP); and the people at Apple stores after the iPod stopped working after 16 months of light use, zero abuse.

Obviously a lot of people have had better luck with iPod longevity and to each their own, to be sure, but it has always been striking to hear a not-trivial number of people relate their enthusiasm for iPods and that they tend to stop working after less than a couple years so they buy another one.
posted by ambient2 at 1:40 PM on October 23, 2011


I don't play video games, and I don't have an xbox, but it wouldn't surprise me if most xbox users mostly used it to play video games and maybe watch dvds, but don't use it for much non-game stuff like browsing the internet.

You'd be surprised. Microsoft has really raised the bar for "set-top" boxes with the 360/XBox Live combo. I think that's why products like AppleTV, Google TV and Boxee aren't really getting that much traction.
posted by MikeMc at 1:44 PM on October 23, 2011


I don't play video games, and I don't have an xbox, but it wouldn't surprise me if most xbox users mostly used it to play video games and maybe watch dvds, but don't use it for much non-game stuff like browsing the internet.

It might also be that more consumers see the living room TV more as a good place for games than as a good place for doing their web browsing. I do like how a TV can make web browsing more social, but at the same time, I've also noticed it can kill parties even more effectively than a regular TV. I'm kind of curious about how society will have defined the living room ten years from now.

But ten years from now, I'll probably be hanging out with friends my own age, whose concept of the living room is the same as it's always been, and it'll be young'un's that I don't know that have the living rooms of tomorrow :)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:46 PM on October 23, 2011


it has always been striking to hear a not-trivial number of people relate their enthusiasm for iPods and that they tend to stop working after less than a couple years so they buy another one.

It's not that you buy another one, you get the TOTALLY AMAZING new one. If the iPods didn't improve a lot, then probably people wouldn't be okay with getting new ones. I say this kind of in jest, but every time I've replaced an iPod, the new one I've gotten has been much more powerful/useful. Also, no one thinks twice about getting a new cell phone every two years because the cost is hidden. If you think about essentially renting an iPod for $10 a month it's not such a bad expense (and today that would be the cost of a Touch that fails within two years, which is like a tiny computer you can put in your pocket).
posted by snofoam at 1:50 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


octothorpe, every time I open iTunes I make another promise to the universe never to get a Mac. You'd honestly think Apple took no pride at all in their software.

OSX is loads better than iTunes would make you think. It's like every version that comes out they try to lessen the coolness a little more, but the fundamental greatness of the OS is such that the bad ideas tend to fade away after a version or two. Like installing programs simply by dragging them into your Applications folder; that's wonderful right there. Application bundles! System services available from any program! Easy scripting! Python installed on every machine! A sensible layout for user files! Hiding system files from users, but keeping them visible from Terminal for power users! To me at least, those things matter loads more than Expose, or Spaces, or whatever hot-key-triggered UI weirdness that I'll never use they came up with in OSX Maine Coon.

Unfortunately, the bad idea that is the Mac App Store looks like it might stick around longer.
posted by JHarris at 1:51 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sounds great and works like a charm.
posted by Meatafoecure at 1:53 PM on October 23, 2011


It might also be that more consumers see the living room TV more as a good place for games than as a good place for doing their web browsing.

I think that a big screen far away is good for some stuff, but not for other stuff. For example, using a wireless keyboard & mouse to control a widescreen TV in a conference room is something I find way more difficult than it seems like it should be. I could imagine something like an iPad being much easier to use as a controller because you could have a little screen close to you and a big screen far away that are in sync with each other.

Also, as a non-gamer, I surely underestimate, or just fail to fully understand the importance of gaming as a part of overall computer usage and entertainment.
posted by snofoam at 2:00 PM on October 23, 2011


Unfortunately, the bad idea that is the Mac App Store looks like it might stick around longer.

It is only as bad an idea as Steam or Bodega.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:01 PM on October 23, 2011


Most people who hate on iTunes seem to be running it on windows, or trying to manage what is in my opinion ridiculous amounts of music. I hardly ever use it on windows, so I haven't had too much trouble with it. Works great on my mac, but then I'm only managing a little over 160GB of music (which in my experience would be considered ridiculous by the average person), so...
posted by inparticularity at 2:07 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's funny, but I've had two iPods and they definitely haven't encouraged me to move any more of my digital life to Apple hardware.

Don't get me wrong; I love the things. I was given my first as a present in October 2008. I was in hospital for a major operation (with a recovery period measured in months) and a beaten-up second-hand 30g iPod Video was a revelation. I hadn't really seen the point in the things before, having had a 4gb SD card and a Sony phone (which in all honestly still would have better sound quality if it wasn't abandoned in a drawer) for my music. But music plus podcasts plus TV shows and movies made my sleepless nights bearable, even if I had to tether it to a power socket to compensate for the appalling battery. I even had a crack on getting ebooks onto it, via the Notes function.

It's now living with my Dad, as a permanent fixture in a dock in the dining room, because in October 2010 Mrs AoK gave me a 32gb iPod Touch for my birthday. It's probably the nicest thing I've ever owned. To the music and video of my battered old gen 5 was added books: real damn books on a screen sharp enough you have to be squinting to see the pixels, and in a device light enough that even I, with my gimpy wrists that still have trouble holding a small paperback for any length of time and flat can't deal with hardbacks, fuck you very much, book publishers, can read on it for a long, long time. My Touch gave me books back, and I've been devouring them ever since.

Also you can play some shit games on it, but I'm not so in love with the sight of my own finger to bother.

Unless Apple come out with something unexpected, I don't see replacing my Touch until it becomes unrepairable: what good would a dual core processor or a larger screen do someone who prizes its light weight and basically only reads books and listens to music on it? I wouldn't be surprised still to be reading on it in ten years, if the battery lasts.

iOS is a bit nasty in many respects, though. I've turned off the autocorrect because it makes basic typing pretty aggravating, especially compared to Android 2.3's excellent keyboard/autocorrect combination, and Apple's insistence on having one button for everything can make it a little tricky to access stuff like the task switcher and screen inverter for people with derpy hands like mine. And iTunes on Windows is such a comedy mess of a program (I know nothing about programming, but it seems like it runs everything on one giant, very long thread, so if it's syncing or copying or processing or doing something with gapless playback the entire user interface stops working, and sometimes syncs just fail no reason I can identify) that I really don't want to try an entire OS written by the same people, especially since I'd have to dual boot Windows to play games anyway.

Plus when I finally identified a suitable successor to Stanza and updated to iOS5 I was out the door and on the tube before I noticied it had decided to delete all my music as part of the process, resulting in a good two hour's work rebuilding the library, since nothing I could do would make it just re-sync the stuff. I will never buy a non-iPod Apple product.

The iPod itself is still fucking lovely, though.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:18 PM on October 23, 2011


They could have continued to rule the world. MiniDiscs should have taken off as a data storage format instead of Zip drives and also should have replaced cassettes. Sony should have definitely been the first big name company to make compact MP3 players, instead of ceding that ground to Apple.

I interviewed Sean Booth of Autechre some years back and asked him about their Gescom side project minidisc release, which was pretty novel at the time, in that it took advantage of some of the technical features of the format:
AR: Would you talk briefly about some of the licensing and technical difficulties you had with making the Gescom minidisc?

SB: DADC [Sony DADC is the group that produces digital content for Sony and controlled access to MD software and hardware] kind of... They wouldn't release any software for us to master the minidisc, so we had to use the same we'd use with CDs; that meant that we could only reach the maximum track limit at 99, because of the way it saves them. You can't get 255 tracks inside, even though the master minidisc specification allows 255 track IDs. So because of this we had to be really anal about every single PQ [track transition information] being in a really perfect position, for kind of random playing and stuff. When we got the test minidisc back from DADC, all the PQ points were like a few seconds early ­ but by different amounts. Really strange, so we got in touch with support and asked what was going on, as all the PQ points were different. And they said, "Oh, erm, well, we tried to transcribe them directly and it didn't work, so we just put them in ourselves." We were going, well, it really kind of matters that they're in the right place! So, here are all the PQ points, thinking, oh, its quite simple we centered them digitally at the right positions, we won't have any problems. Send it back again, and they were all moved even further ­ no, even more irregularly away from the original positions! Some were early, some were late. We had to get them to do it another two times, and we ended up releasing the third of the better ones. But it still felt really, really not right, do you know what I mean? We just kind of settled for the best of what they could offer for the time. It made it extremely difficult to produce it independently.

They basically wanted everything from Sony or equivalent labels, erm, and they wanted the runs to be of a certain amount before they'll give you any time whatsoever, you know what I mean? And obviously we weren't going to get many more than a few thousand made, so, I don't know, it's kind of a strange situation, really. Obviously they're not going to have time for you 'cause you're not Mariah Carey. We had given them something that we thought was actually technically quite simple, but they just found it impossible to do. So yeah, it's a bit of a problem, really. Plus it was the fact that they were saying things to us like, "There is no noticeable loss," even though we were saying, no, but there is noticeable loss with ATRAC [audio compression algorithm for minidiscs]. When we originally got in touch with them just to try to get some technical details on ATRAC, they were well sketchy! And they wouldn't give us the minidisc Red Book either, for ages; I had someone get it downloaded from someone else in DADC. Just like its a mega-secret, you know what I mean? I mean, I'm sure it's just a corporate policy, but at the end of the day... We're just not big enough investors to matter...

AR: Sony won't release any information on the NetMD format, either, which would let minidisc users perform digital transfers between a MD recorder and computer. This leaves open source projects with a big empty chunk of needed code missing and hurts the MD user community.

SB: As with the PlayStation... they've just kept it sewn up. I think the SDK for the PlayStation is like 250K pounds. I mean, I don't know anybody with that kind of money! So, but I know plenty of creative people who, given the opportunity, could write really tasty PlayStation software, you know what I mean? You have to kind of unlock PS2 if you want to do anything interesting... Terrible, really
I really loved minidisc as a format and used it when I made my own electronic music. It's a shame it never took off, but it was all Sony's fault, in the end. Some restrictions are inevitable to keep shareholders happy, but they really shot themselves in the foot in locking down every aspect of the format, not only for consumers, but for content producers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:28 PM on October 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Except, my worry is that if I was flying during said trip, that DHS might wonder why I was carrying so much digital storage and decide they were going to look through all of them. Luckily, I haven't had to travel air since all the main security theatre kicked in, as I on a prior trip was toting a Archos 80Gb and a laptop which had some media of "dubious provenance".
That won't be a problem unless you're traveling internationally.
You know that most of the world is regular people and that's a pretty big market, right?
OH MY GOD I HAD NO IDEA!
But you're going to do it anyway and insist it was marketing. No doubt the iPad is all marketing too, despite numerous commercials for rival tablets, it has to be the marketing, right?
Plus the army of zealots who religiously tell everyone how awesome their products are. Anyway with the case of the iPad marketing is a lot more then just put adds on TV. It's also PR and managing relationships with journalists who go out and blab about how awesome your new products are, etc. There were lots of tablets on the market before the iPad came out, but when it did come out it was like the other tablets had never existed it. Another thing is the fact that lots of people in the newspaper and magazine industry thought this would save them, for some reason.
Exactly. I never really understood the idea of wanting to do all the work to manage files. Then again, I never understood wanting to make, like, 500 folders in outlook to organize emails by sender, but some people love to do this.
It sounds like for most people, dealing with iTunes was the problem, especially if you wanted to share music with your friends. There was basically no way to do it. What could be simpler then dragging files around? The first DAP I got was a Sony that required special software (you had to convert the files to ATRAC, and play them from a memory stick) and it was a pain in the ass.
I remember reading that fateful Slashdot post. What a complete and total failure of imagination. I'm glad it gets quoted as a cautionary example, when naysayers bray their usual tune.
Yes, the failure to IMAGINE that apple is just so much more awesome then everyone else, never mind the iPod never did anything that any other Mp3 player did, and did it worse. (requiring iTunes).

The praise you hear for the iPod really has nothing to do with it's qualities as an mp3 player, but rather how successfully it was marketed. I mean, "it changed people's relationship with music" Not because it did anything different, but because it was the first mp3 player people were aware of. Because Apple had a much larger marketing budget (even at the time), and because of the aforementioned zealot brigade.
posted by delmoi at 2:44 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I really loved minidisc as a format and used it when I made my own electronic music. It's a shame it never took off, but it was all Sony's fault, in the end. Some restrictions are inevitable to keep shareholders happy, but they really shot themselves in the foot in locking down every aspect of the format, not only for consumers, but for content producers.

And when they made the successor to the minidisc - the UMD - they took note of everything they did wrong with the minidisc, and did exactly the same thing but MOAR! Like, seriously WTF?!

I was involved in a production that was going to release on UMD, and we ended up preferring to use the latest hax, even though we had the legitimate developer-only hardware because it was so much simpler - Sony was so paranoid of hackers and pirates that even their official tools that were supposed to enable us to create content for the new technology, were so locked up that it was easier to bypass their bullshit entirely via the stuff that hacker kids on the internet were releasing.

So the purpose of Sony's dev-tools is that if you have some - you don't need to use them, just having them is enough - then you can use hax without arousing suspicion :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 2:45 PM on October 23, 2011


It is only as bad an idea as Steam or Bodega.

No, because Steam has other features that make up for it, and Steam sells products that (oddly) have a longer shelf life, but one doesn't want to keep installed all the time. It's reassuring to think that the thing I buy in Steam today will be reinstallable, if I should want to play it, easily in a few years.

By that time, there will probably be a couple of versions later of whatever App Store product I buy. Application software is more heavily tied to a paid upgrade cycle, whereas the "next version" of a game commonly at least has a different scenario.

Further, by making the App Store part of the OS, it detracts from the awesomeness of installing the program by dragging it you your machine, which I mentioned earlier.

And also, I've noticed some programs that are free on their own, like Cyberduck, cost money through the App Store, which just pushes Mac software further into the nickel-and-dime, ding-you-for-everything world it's still in. It is funny, but there is much more good, free software available for Windows machines than Mac.
posted by JHarris at 2:47 PM on October 23, 2011


Plus when I finally identified a suitable successor to Stanza and updated to iOS5 I was out the door and on the tube before I noticied it had decided to delete all my music as part of the process

This is because iOS 5 wipes the device when it installs. It does take a few hours to reload afterward. If it helps, word is that updates in the future will be distributed as just the changed files, which should mean it won't need to be completely restored after future updates.
posted by JHarris at 2:56 PM on October 23, 2011


Sony should have definitely been the first big name company to make compact MP3 players, instead of ceding that ground to Apple.

Sony got a really good deal on a bulk lot of foot bullets and didn't want to waste them. If there was one company that could have challenged Apple in the nascent MP3 player market it was Sony, they brought us the Walkman after all, but they just have a certain knack for pissing off their customers.
posted by MikeMc at 3:14 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, to be fair a good percentage of those negative reactions are delmoi doing what he does in every apple thread.

delmoi is frequently accurate in his criticism. Apple has had some great ideas and products, but they have their share of bad ones too, plenty in fact, and I've come to develop an impatient edge when responding to Apple fans. Maybe a little too impatient, I'll grant, but it is wearying to hear the cheering so often.
posted by JHarris at 3:17 PM on October 23, 2011


delmoi,

It seems like every time there is a post about Apple products on MeFi, you come out and repeat the same points about how the company's success has nothing to do with product quality and everything to do with 'marketing'. And I agree that marketing is a core strength.

But there's always an air of smugness to your claims, and I think that it might be because you're confusing marketing with advertising. Broadly construed, marketing isn't just making things look cool or hip or desirable by running commercials with some indie flavor of the week or by putting your products in every episode of Sex & The City or being cushy with tech journalists.

Marketing also includes things like discovering what type of products consumers will actually want. And how to create those products. And how to get them to consumers.

So yes, Apple has been phenomenally successful in marketing itself over the past decade. But it's just silly for anyone to believe that the company's success has been because they have cool ads or that they are otherwise tricking tens of millions of people for this long.

That just doesn't happen.

At some point, is there anything that could possibly make you recognize that their success in marketing just might be predicated on the fact that they actually understand their target consumers? That people buy iPods and iPads, iPhones and iMacs because those products actually do fit their needs?

They have sold a hundred million iPods. And they've faced competition from Sony, Microsoft, and a ton of other companies that have 'marketing budgets' on par with their own. There are obviously dozens of products that have similar or better features and tech specs that have come and gone. And to blame their failure, as compared to the iPod, on marketing budgets is absolutely ludicrous.

Apple doesn't sell hardware specs or features, because most people just don't care about those things. It turns out that most people do care about the experiences they have with their devices. And Apple has been very successful at delivering on those experiences.

But to say that tens (if not hundreds) of millions of people are investing hundreds or thousands of dollars into paying for better experiences only because they have been tricked by 'marketing' is patently absurd (not to mention suggesting more than just a hint of arrogance).

TL;DR: Claiming that 'marketing' is responsible for Apple's (illegitimate) success betrays a lack of understanding of what marketing actually is, and what consumers really care about. It's a tired and lame argument, and the last decade has proven you wrong.
posted by graphnerd at 3:19 PM on October 23, 2011 [29 favorites]


The iPod had fewer features and a higher cost than other MP3 players on the market. The difference ?

iTunes.


That may be true for some but iTunes is why I don't own any apple products at all.

iTunes on windows is just as crap as every other proprietary mp3 player software I have ever had the displeasure of using. I have long since left the windows world but my iTunes experience left such a permanent awful aftertaste that I simply cannot bring myself to buy an iAnything no matter how beautiful and desirable they are.

People will be laughing at the FOSS-at-all-costs cult years from now. And some do now.

Some of us remember the kinds of decisions that were made the last time captain Jobs left the USS Apple's bridge. Don't worry though, the FOSS people will respond to the distress call regardless of who you are and regardless of whether you laughed at them.
posted by srboisvert at 3:37 PM on October 23, 2011


"It's a tired and lame argument, and the last decade has proven you wrong."

I imagine a fair bit of it is driven by a deep loathing of Apple "evangelists" who can to be quite annoying. But, far be it for me to speak for delmoi.
posted by MikeMc at 3:38 PM on October 23, 2011


It sounds like for most people, dealing with iTunes was the problem, especially if you wanted to share music with your friends. There was basically no way to do it. What could be simpler then dragging files around?

I can't remember what other software was around back in the day, but I feel like some people were actually creating hierarchies of folders to store their music files and elaborate filenames that included the track number, album and artist, rather than metadata in the music files. And I'm pretty sure I've seen mp3 players that actually displayed the filename rather than the song title, etc. No matter how bad iTunes might have been, it couldn't possibly be as bad as doing everything manually like that.
posted by snofoam at 3:38 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are obviously dozens of products that have similar or better features and tech specs that have come and gone. And to blame their failure, as compared to the iPod, on marketing budgets is absolutely ludicrous.

It's also ludicrous to suggest otherwise. If the ipod had been made exactly as it was, but by some other company, and this no-name device got the same advertising budget as some of the other leading mp3 players of the day (ie an amateur article on mp3 enthusiast websites, and zero advertising), then it's pretty obvious it would have remained similarly obscure, there is absolutely no way that within mere months, people like my mom or my friend's daughter would have heard of it, let alone know what it did and want one. The user experience doesn't mean shit when no-one knows it exists.

Apple did a great thing with a great product, and created a revolution, but the product wasn't the revolution, and it gets tiresome to hear the fan choir idolising gadgets when the actual revolution was something a lot more interesting and nuanced and ballsy.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:39 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


It sounds like for most people, dealing with iTunes was the problem, especially if you wanted to share music with your friends. There was basically no way to do it. What could be simpler then dragging files around?

Dragging files around is highly overrated.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:45 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


JHarris: "This is because iOS 5 wipes the device when it installs. It does take a few hours to reload afterward. If it helps, word is that updates in the future will be distributed as just the changed files, which should mean it won't need to be completely restored after future updates."

The weird thing is, I was prepared for just that and hit sync again as soon as the update was finished. It picked five albums apparently at random and uploaded them to the Pod and then unchecked everything else. No amount of re-checking would get that 12gb of music back on the bloody thing :)
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:54 PM on October 23, 2011


If the ipod had been made exactly as it was, but by some other company, and this no-name device got the same advertising budget as some of the other leading mp3 players of the day...

Somewhat true, but I think it is also hard to remember that the Apple that released the iPod was not the Apple of today. They were only a few years out from being on the edge of bankruptcy. They weren't a no-name company, but they were a struggling computer company not known for consumer electronic devices. The iPod was the first step in making them the giant they are today. Basically, they weren't that rich or powerful back then and they had no recent history of similar devices.

Also, I think that it's easy to forget, or not appreciate, the innovations of even the old iPods. The scroll wheel with accelerated scrolling when you started going faster was novel and really useful for navigating large amounts of music. It seems quaint now, but it was way better than pushing some down button a million times.
posted by snofoam at 3:54 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I can't help but feel that people here are mocking people who questioned generation one products by pointing to the success of generation three or four products. You know what? CmdrTaco (and Mathowie!) were right, the first gen ipod wasn't anything great. And they didn't sell in any real numbers until gen 4 or so. The original iphone was 2G only and, more importantly, had no 3rd party apps. Apple might have had other plans, but in public they were saying you made apps by writing web pages. The iphone became great with the release of the SDK and real apps (and in my opinion 3G, but I'm sure people will say that GPRS was fine). The air is another one were I think the first gen was very ordinary, but the current ones look nice.

Tablets aren't my thing, but the ipad looks like they got it right with gen 1.
posted by markr at 3:54 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


"You allowed a vendor to lock you in with a proprietary, and unnecessary, DB format? Why not use a commodity USB mass storage model that lets anyone drag any files they want on and off?"

That vendor you mistrust is also the one that invented that dragging as you know it. Without them, you'd be cp or copying those files to your MP3 player, if you'd mounted it correctly. And, worth nothing that when they invented that dragging, they got plenty of sneering from types like you who dismissed the whole jape as for "WIMPs" and who put the success down to marketing.

Rather than just eye candy, we now know, the dragging thing was a whole new level of operating computers, one above the cps and the copys, and when we moved to that level, we got a new platform that we could build the next world on. You could start dragging and dropping abstracted objects that enabled you to do things no command line ever could. From a file operation to Photoshop's clone stamp, in just a few years.

And, lo, ten years ago the same thing happened once again. You can trace a pretty clear line from leaving behind the direct filesystem access and entering into a world of abstracted files and managed environments to where we are now with the cloud. You can't drag and drop from Spotify to your player, because that's nonsensical and quaint. Instead, you can have virtual terabytes of music "inside" a 16gb device.

That's why I allowed that vendor to manage my files for me -- it was worth it.
posted by fightorflight at 3:58 PM on October 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


60 minutes segment covering the Jobs biography. Interesting details about his childhood.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:07 PM on October 23, 2011


Will probably be streaming later, but for now, it's being tweeted live here:

http://twitter.com/#!/60Minutes
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:19 PM on October 23, 2011


The scroll wheel with accelerated scrolling when you started going faster was novel and really useful for navigating large amounts of music. It seems quaint now, but it was way better than pushing some down button a million times.

Weirdly enough, for some people (like me), I liked using the wheel but found it was a big step backwards when trying to use the player. The ipod interface was designed so that it would only work when it was out in your hand, with your eyes on the screen, ie has captured your full attention. I was used to never having to take my player out of my pocket to operate it. From my first cassette tape walkman, CDs, and minidiscs, to my early mp3 players, all were designed so you could use them on the go, without looking away from the road (or whatever you were doing) and without taking them out of your pocket.

The ipod was the first pocket music device that I couldn't operate from my pocket, and that sounds like a minor niggle, but for me, it was really big, and it's part of why I gave away my first one. It also bears mentioning that back then, it didn't support nesting yet, so you needed the scroll wheel because you always had to scroll through a massive jumble of files to find what you were after. The ipod required the scroll wheel to solve a shortcoming that not all other players suffered from. The wheel was great in many ways, but if you've ever selected the precise song you want to listen to, without thinking about it, while airbourne on a bike, you'll know that a good tactile interface and nesting have some pretty awesome win too :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 4:19 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, no one thinks twice about getting a new cell phone every two years because the cost is hidden.

Plenty of people do. There's some information out there showing that on average, people in a number of countries wait more than twice that long to replace their phones.

And be it a cell phone or music player, there's a difference 'tween getting a new one because there's a better one and getting a new one because the other one stopped working.
posted by ambient2 at 4:21 PM on October 23, 2011


Weirdly enough, for some people (like me), I liked using the wheel but found it was a big step backwards when trying to use the player....

I see your point about not being able to operate it without looking at the screen, and I think it basically is a microcosm of Apple versus most other device manufacturers. Apple realized that once you had 1,000 songs (and, surely they anticipated having 10,000 in a couple years), navigating them would be a new challenge. So, they invented a new interface that made it easier in most cases. To do that, they abandoned the prevailing button interface and gave up the ability to operate the device without looking at it.

A lot of people liked the new interface, while some lamented the lack of buttons. In the end, it worked out for Apple and for lots of users who found it to be a better way of navigating.

Also, I'm not sure how useful it would be to select from thousands of songs without looking, unless you really know exactly where they are.
posted by snofoam at 4:31 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm not sure how useful it would be to select from thousands of songs without looking, unless you really know exactly where they are.

It's easier than you think. If you picked you own nested categories based on what makes sense to you, then the device is mapped to your own mind instead of the other way around, so you don't have to remember anything you don't already know.
And of course, even though I had thousands of songs on the player, not all of them were sufficiently favourite songs that I would randomly suddenly decide I wanted to be listening to. Most of the time when I wanted a specific song, it was one of only a few dozen, so I had usually selected it a few times in the past.

Plus, I used my players every day. You become familiar without trying.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:41 PM on October 23, 2011


The ipod was the first pocket music device that I couldn't operate from my pocket

What? (These came free with all iPods for years)
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:12 PM on October 23, 2011


I still don't get the misconception that you can't share songs with Apple/OS X/iTunes/iPod. They are files. In a folder. On your hard drive.

Just drag them to a USB stick and hand them to your buddy. Or attach them to an email. Or burn them to a disc. Geez.
posted by sourwookie at 5:26 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


jonmc: "When are they gonna increase the capacity again? A 500GB iPod would suit me just fine."

Would you rather have a 500GB iPod or tickets to a live music festival featuring your favorite artists? What if they were both free?
posted by inconsequentialist at 5:35 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Would you rather have a 500GB iPod or tickets to a live music festival featuring your favorite artists? What if they were both free?

I want them both.

Hell I figure out what to see by putting custom playlists on my iPod with all the bands playing festivals.

I love my iPod, and I miss it. My new iPhone isn't quite the same because its not dedicated just to music.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:37 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


When are they gonna increase the capacity again? A 500GB iPod would suit me just fine.

my 250 gigabyte music hard drive is almost full
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:38 PM on October 23, 2011


Lovecraft in Brooklyn: Don't be sad! You're old iPod has simply found a new home inside of your iPhone. And, remember, as long as you remain dedicated to your iPod (or any other Apple product, for that matter), it will be dedicated to you.
posted by inconsequentialist at 5:42 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I still don't get the misconception that you can't share songs with Apple/OS X/iTunes/iPod. They are files. In a folder. On your hard drive.
Just drag them to a USB stick and hand them to your buddy. Or attach them to an email. Or burn them to a disc. Geez.


Seriously? You're at your buddy's place, you have your USB stick in your pocket, and you already have all your music on it, and you plug it into his computer so you can give him a song, and... your buddy is SOL because you're USB stick is an ipod, and it's obfuscated all your music files so you can't find the song without using something like iTunes to access metadata, but then iTunes won't help you either, because the ipod is linked to a different itunes on some other computer.

Your suggested work-around is to take itunes and the ipod out of the equation. No shit.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:43 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


They have sold a hundred million iPods. And they've faced competition from Sony, Microsoft, and a ton of other companies that have 'marketing budgets' on par with their own. There are obviously dozens of products that have similar or better features and tech specs that have come and gone. And to blame their failure, as compared to the iPod, on marketing budgets is absolutely ludicrous.
Sony never made an mp3 player, as far as I know. They've sold hundreds of millions of Play Stations, Microsoft has sold hundreds of millions of Xboxes, and billions of windows machines have been sold.

Microsoft got into the Mp3 player space way to late, by that time you were already seeing really cheap mp3 players that could hold a ton of music. I would be that hundreds of millions of those have been sold as well.
Claiming that 'marketing' is responsible for Apple's (illegitimate) success betrays a lack of understanding of what marketing actually is, and what consumers really care about. It's a tired and lame argument, and the last decade has proven you wrong.
I never said anything about apple's "business success". Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Britney Spears, all of those things were successful in the market place. I find the idea of judging whether a product is good or not by how well it sells odd. Why should I care how well it sells?

What I'm pushing back against is the idea that somehow the iPod was a revolutionary device that totally change the world and that no one would be listening to mp3s if not for it's creation -- or whatever it is you attribute to it. Certainly it was a big deal for Apple itself (Although they fired the guy who came up with it (according to him, anyway))
posted by delmoi at 5:46 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your buddy is SOL because you're USB stick is an ipod, and it's obfuscated all your music files so you can't find the song without using something like iTunes to access metadata, but then iTunes won't help you either, because the ipod is linked to a different itunes on some other computer.

I don't disagree with your point, but this is just wrong. You unhide the files, drag them to the local disk, and then open them with $thing_that_reads_ID3, and you're done.

Not saying it's not annoying, but your strawman doesn't help your argument.
posted by pompomtom at 5:47 PM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sony never made an mp3 player, as far as I know.

Well, there's a point of reference for us.
posted by ftm at 5:57 PM on October 23, 2011


Probably 300 million iPods have been sold at this point.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:05 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why should I care how well it sells?

Then why do you keep showing up in Apple threads to tell everyone how wrong they are? Why do you care if people love Apple products?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:12 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't disagree with your point, but this is just wrong. You unhide the files, drag them to the local disk, and then open them with $thing_that_reads_ID3, and you're done. Not saying it's not annoying, but your strawman doesn't help your argument.

Half an hour transferring unwanted tens of gigs of data onto someone's computer (does it even have enough room?!), followed by downloading and install a different music manager, just to copy a song. Well if you're lucky and dedicated and desperate, that will work I guess. I can see that it's a problem that is technically possible to crack, but I just don't see that as the ipod letting you share.
posted by -harlequin- at 6:12 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sony never made an mp3 player, as far as I know.

Seriously? The current range of Sony MP3 players.

Search engines. They *work*, bitches.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:14 PM on October 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, and here's the history, courtesy of Wikipedia. As I recall, the first Sony MP3 Walkmans came out in about 2001.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:17 PM on October 23, 2011


Sony never made an mp3 player, as far as I know.

Well, there's an example of poor marketing. Sony has been making PMPs since '99.
posted by MikeMc at 6:20 PM on October 23, 2011


Earlier, someone posted that iPods were a status symbol. And you are right THEY WERE. Just came across an article that said theya re expected to be gone by 2014?? Think so?
posted by Tech Historian at 6:20 PM on October 23, 2011


what your iPod's name? Mine is Sylvia, after Sylvia Plath and Viewtiful Joe's girlfriend. Sometimes she's named Holly, because of course she is.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:20 PM on October 23, 2011


Because Apple had a much larger marketing budget (even at the time), and because of the aforementioned zealot brigade.

I wish I got some kind of royalty payment for every iPod delmoi accuses me of helping sell.

But on a serious note, Apple took the world of digital music out of the realm of bedroom pirates and made it available to all. They not only took on the Slashdot-know-nothing-neckbeards, but they threw the gauntlet down at the major labels, and they won. Apple is the reason you can buy mp3s from Amazon.com and elsewhere. They legitimized digital music as a business, and the iPod was the fulcrum for that historic event.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:24 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like to think that everyone just politely ignored sony mp3 players and pretended they didn't exist, in much the same way and for much the same reasons that you would politely ignore an offer from your health insurer to go to them instead of your doctor to get any lumps checked. :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 6:24 PM on October 23, 2011


Well, there's an example of poor marketing. Sony has been making PMPs since '99.

Thanks Mike - I stand corrected.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:24 PM on October 23, 2011


what your iPod's name? Mine is Sylvia

My iPod's name is "Plug Me In Motherfucker, My Battery Level Is Below 20% Also, Don't Forget To Jiggle The Plug A Little If You Want Sound From Both Earbuds".
posted by MikeMc at 6:24 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


It asks you for a name, though, and she has a special playlist since my music collection is too large....
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:25 PM on October 23, 2011


"It asks you for a name, though,"

Oh, "Mike's iPod", named after Mike. Not me Mike but another Mike who's much cooler than I am.
posted by MikeMc at 6:28 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mine's named Tardis.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:37 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


My 4th gen was named "Snowball II."
posted by Gilbert at 6:44 PM on October 23, 2011


The weird thing is, I was prepared for just that and hit sync again as soon as the update was finished

Ah, you have to do a restore from backup to be sure of getting everything back the way it was. (One would think that would restore back to the previous OS version, but that, at least, Apple did well.)

what is your iPod's name?

I hadn't had the idea of naming the iPad I'm typing this on until I read this. Perhaps it's telling I immediately went into Settings and changed it to "Pinkie Pad."

Also: oh please B.P. give it a rest. The shift from physical CD sales to paid music downloads would have happened eventually with or without Apple. Apple does deserve credit for doing it first, and for hurrying a process that could have taken years otherwise, but the writing had been on the wall for a while.

threeway milkshake: FOSS has survived for this long -- considering how different that is from the prevailing commercial software paradigm, that's an achievement by itself. I have no beef with people who insist on free software in all things. If that works for you, then godspeed. There is no need for laughter -- from either side of this particular aisle.

To Brandon Blatcher, on caring why people love Apple products: If you love it that's fine. Even being vocal about loving it won't inspire too much comment. What I see, however, is people raving about it, most times an Apple thread comes up, and viewing everything Apple does so uncritically that it seems to border on mania.

I can understand why people might want to do that -- in younger days you could reliably spot me actingly similarly about Nintendo, because let's face it I'm a geek. The difference between me then and now is perspective, and that's what I think Apple fanbois could stand a glass of.

Sony never made an MP3 player, as far as I know

God, I remember the nonsense days of ATRAC. Apple certainly does deserve credit for helping to end that idiocy.
posted by JHarris at 7:01 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also: oh please B.P. give it a rest. The shift from physical CD sales to paid music downloads would have happened eventually with or without Apple. Apple does deserve credit for doing it first, and for hurrying a process that could have taken years otherwise, but the writing had been on the wall for a while.

I was selling merch this weekend for a decently popular local band. It was their CD launch, but half the people I tried to sell the new album to had already bought it on iTunes. It felt pretty weird.

I usually buy CDs, but I was sick of waiting for the new Horrible Crowes album and my computer was broken so it just got zapped to my phone. The new 65 gig iPhone 4S might make me stop buying CDs altogether. Except at shows, but if even small bands can post stuff on iTunes....
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:04 PM on October 23, 2011


Steve looked positively husky in that presentation. Makes me wonder what he'd have gotten up to if he hadn't spent a big chunk of the last decade fighting cancer.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:19 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


That vendor you mistrust is also the one that invented that dragging as you know it.

Oh come on. Apple in no way invented drag-and-drop.

(Also: the Nano 5g -- the last of the oblong Nanos -- gets my vote for best of the iPods. I wish they'd added software support for stills as well as video on the camera -- I never use it for video but would use it as camera-I-have for stills even with crappy SD resolution -- and I wish they'd baked the Nike+ sensor into it, but apart from that it's perfect.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:43 PM on October 23, 2011


>Half an hour transferring unwanted tens of gigs of data onto someone's computer (does it even have enough room?!), followed by downloading and install a different music manager, just to copy a song.

...and again, I don't disagree that the transfer time is annoying, but there's no need to download and install another music manager. Can't you just allow your legitimate point to stand?
posted by pompomtom at 7:56 PM on October 23, 2011


No matter how bad iTunes might have been, it couldn't possibly be as bad as doing everything manually like that.

Sure it could, because iTunes was so bad that it could regularly crash XP.

A program that combines a simple database, an audio player, and reinvents the wheel of USB i/o somehow manages to be so horribly written that it can BSOD XP.\
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:59 PM on October 23, 2011


Ha. Windows XP could regularly BSOD itself, so it must have been horribly written, too.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:14 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Regardless of the haters, the iPod was still the most amazing music player in the era between the Walkman and the iPod Touch.
posted by snofoam at 8:14 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


iPod is OK.

iTunes is a fucking disaster.
posted by bardic at 9:10 PM on October 23, 2011


Ha. Windows XP could regularly BSOD itself, so it must have been horribly written, too.

In my experience, only if you have bad drivers or malware. I don't think it ever BSOD'd on me otherwise. Windows is pretty stable these days, and has been for a while. The big problem there now is malware.
posted by JHarris at 9:31 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apologies if I've missed an explanation in this thread already, but why do people hate iTunes so much? Geniune question. I've used in on Windows for something like 6-7 years now (before I had an iPod even) and it seems fine to me, but maybe my use-case is different to other peoples (30GB music, all self-ripped (less than 20 tracks bought via iTunes) and self-organised, use it with an iPod Shuffle and my other half has an iPhone 3G). Admittedly I haven't used any other music library software in a long while so don't have anything to compare it to.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:11 AM on October 24, 2011


The following are some my personal beefs with iTunes -- it's not even a complete list, just the ones that spring easily to mind:

1. It's a huge program now. Just opening it takes a fair amount of time. If you only want to hear a song, that's a lot of time overhead. That encourages people to leave it open all the time, but because it's so huge that's a lot of memory devoted to it. On my system, it and its helper threads right now total up to over 90 megabytes of memory. If you don't use it for a while Windows will swap it out, but that just means you'll have to wait until it's loaded back into memory.

2. Its many functions have cluttered its interface, making it obtuse. iTunes on the iPad is pretty nice; it's become a store in essence, and its playback functions have split off into separate apps. On the desktop though it's a librarian for many file types, a player for just as many, a storefront, a podcasting client, a syncing program, a portable device backup/sync program, it's an interface to the software library of those devices and it keeps a library of software for them, it keeps track of both system and app updates, blah blah blah. It suggests things you might like, lets you rate and write reviews for software, and now it even wants to bring in social media features! What if I just want to play tunes, like IN THE NAME OF THE PROGRAM?

3. When its downloading something, it becomes unresponsive. The cause for this is mysterious.

4. When you start using it, it will offer to search your whole hard drive for media and put it into its library. When this happens you're offered the choice of letting iTunes manage your media by moving it all into its media folder or of leaving it where it is. Both options have their own problems. If you let iTunes manage everything, the files end up in an uncertain location in its media folder, categorized by its principles, not yours, which doesn't help if you dare to use the file in something other than iTunes. If you leave the file where it is, then if you move it iTunes will lose track of it and you'll have to manually re-add it. There is no easy solution to this other than making two copies of your huge media files. If you get more media files, you have to add it to iTunes manually one way or another, and it MUST be added to its library before you can put it on any of your Apple media devices.

5. The iOS app management interface is clunky and even slower than everything else this huge, slow program does. It takes like 20 seconds just to switch to the App tab on my iPad's device screen, then it takes a couple of seconds just to move a page forward or backward on the app list. Unhelpfully, this is also the screen where one adds files to individual apps, which is on a separate list just off-screen, where one has to scroll down using another scroll bar just to see that it exists.

6. The backups it makes of iOS devices will pile up if you let them and consume many extra gigabytes of hard drive space. Go under Edit | Preferences | Devices to manage these.
posted by JHarris at 4:14 AM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh come on. Apple in no way invented drag-and-drop.

Actually they kinda did. Xerox started the mouse and the GUI, but required special buttons to move files. Drag and drop didn't come about till the Lisa and Mac.

Also, Al Gore really did help fund the Internet.
posted by fungible at 4:50 AM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I still have my 5th Gen iPod--I bought it in October 2005, so it's six years old now. It still works. It's still the highest-capacity iPod I own. I have never had a single thing go wrong with it. I don't even know why I bother buying AppleCare for my Apple products. I think I might skip it on my next purchase.
posted by litnerd at 6:50 AM on October 24, 2011


what your iPod's name? Mine is Sylvia

The iPhone is Morse. The iPad is Fletch. The old iPod was Lynley. The Kindle is Frost. The DS was Barnaby.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:54 AM on October 24, 2011


NINETY MEGABYTES? OH NOES MY PRECIOUS RAMS. the horror... the horror...
posted by entropicamericana at 7:41 AM on October 24, 2011


Oh come on. Apple in no way invented drag-and-drop.

It was invented by Jeff Raskin. Bill Atkinson extended the idea for the Macintosh:
Horn is correct that click-and-drag methods were invented at Apple and not at PARC (or elsewhere, as far as I know). I created this method for moving objects and making selections after finding the Xerox click-move-click method prone to error. Bill Atkinson extended the paradigm to pull-down menus. This all happened relatively early in the history of the Mac. The way my insight got extended by Bill was typical of how things developed then. Surprising as it may seem in retrospect, there was some resistance to my new way of using a graphic input device and I had to repeatedly explain how drag worked and why it was often easier to use than the modal click-move-click technique developed first (as far as I know) on the Sketchpad system and then used at Xerox PARC. Some of the arguments I used involved looking at number of user actions and the time they took, an approach that was then or would soon become the very useful GOMS model of Card, Moran, and Newell. Bill was a strong supporter of my ideas and at one session where I was explaining how drag worked Bill, by way of amplifying how useful it was, said something like, "And you can use it to open menus, just put the cursor on the top and drag down to the item you want."
Both of these guys were Apple employees.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:15 AM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I stand corrected, and also fascinated. Click-hold-drag-release seems such an obvious thing now.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:59 AM on October 24, 2011


I like iTunes. I like how it organizes my library. I like its playlist system. iTunes is one of my favorite apps ever.

I may be alone in this opinion, but there it is.
posted by grubi at 9:04 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


On my system, it and its helper threads right now total up to over 90 megabytes of memory.

Basically the minimum specs for any modern machine is 4GB of ram, and with that you get about that much space additional in swap.

90MB actually sounds a bit low for all iTunes does, and is far less than what any modern browser uses. That's more like a browser plugin footprint.

You can leave iTunes open all day long and if you're not using it, it all gets paged. I can understand back in the days where you were lucky to have 512MB of RAM; 90MB would be quite a hog, but modern OS's (and Windows, ZING!) all are able to handle swapping memory around for small things like that very easily.

STACKS = 8,256
BUFFERS = 30

The olden days of that shit are long over. If you're one to always have a process monitor running and peeping at mem usage, then you are probably one to also have lots of RAM. If you don't you can get more, it is REALLY cheap now.

Yes, iTunes is "bloated" in that it used to be a music player, and now it serves as an all-in-one media center program that plays not just music but movies, and serves as the gateway for i-devices to your computer, as well as acts as a server for Home Sharing, which, if you've ever used DLNA or any other home sharing type of things, is something truly seamless.

It kind of has to do all of that, though. Would you rather open a different program for all those things? It'd be like Netflix/Quixtster and would annoy the shit out of me. 90MB for all that? Not so bad. I just opened Google Chrome's task manager, and it says that this single tab that you're looking at right now is taking up 83.6MB of RAM.

How big is Songbird's footprint?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:11 AM on October 24, 2011


iTunes does consume a lot of memory and does hang a lot. Its UI is not even native windows UI. why on earth people have to get defensive over this fucking company's products is beyond me
posted by the mad poster! at 9:15 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


why on earth people have to get defensive over this fucking company's products is beyond me

Probably because some people have an irrational hate of that same company.
posted by grubi at 9:52 AM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


iTunes is to Windows what Flash is to Macs.
posted by the_artificer at 9:53 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Probably because some people have an irrational hate of that same company.

I don't have an "irrational hate". I just don't care and find the frenzy of affection cloying
posted by the mad poster! at 9:57 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


not to mention, irrational
posted by the mad poster! at 9:58 AM on October 24, 2011


SO DON'T READ IT
posted by entropicamericana at 10:03 AM on October 24, 2011


this is that fanboy nonsense I'm talking about. You're making claims that are unsustainable. I have a reaction to it. You just have these idiotic over the top reactions to plain statements like someone dissed your mama. Go back to reddit
posted by the mad poster! at 10:05 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


You just have these idiotic over the top reactions

"90MB actually sounds a bit low for all iTunes does, and is far less than what any modern browser uses. That's more like a browser plugin footprint."

to plain statements

"iTunes does consume a lot of memory and does hang a lot."

Yeah, hm. About that.
posted by grubi at 10:13 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, I'm trying to help you. What you're doing is called threadshitting. Reading every post and comment is not mandatory. The mods have repeatedly suggested if a subject does not agree with you, you might consider saving aggravation all around by not reading it.

We get it, you think Apple users are sheeple. You are now officially on the record as a firebrand, iconoclast, and maverick. Now please, be mavericky somewhere else.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:15 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not talking about posts and comments in this thread. I'm talking about in general re: this company. The mods haven't spoken to me so you can stop appealing to their view for now. iTunes does hang often on windows machines. This is empirical. I see it happen. The fact that you want to form a little advance guard of denial is comical.
posted by the mad poster! at 10:17 AM on October 24, 2011


My hatred for iTunes is very rational. It's similar to my hatred of Internet Explorer or Lotus Notes or Blackboard. I don't hate the people or the companies behind them* but I can hate a program that I'm forced to use that doesn't rise up to even the basic standards of usability. I don't hate or love Apple computers or OSX since I've never really used them so I don't really have an opinion one way or another.

* OK, I do sorta hate IBM but for more personal reasons
posted by octothorpe at 10:20 AM on October 24, 2011


doesn't rise up to even the basic standards of usability

Good ol' hyperbole. Never goes out of style.
posted by grubi at 10:31 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


iTunes does hang often on windows machines. This is empirical. I see it happen.

Statement 1: "iTunes does hang often on windows machines"

Point of view: objective.

Statement 2: "I see it happen"

Point of view: subjective. Hrm.

I THINK I FOUND THE DISCONNECT.

Hey, why is it in all these years I've used iTunes on various Windows machines that I've never had iTunes hang *once*? Is it because it's impossible? Or is it more likely that my experience isn't absolute truth?1





1. Hint: it's not impossible.
posted by grubi at 10:35 AM on October 24, 2011


I went out of my way to avoid the iPod until they intoduced gapless playback of individual tracks that flowed into each other that just worked. something that no other player at the time seemed to do. Has this changed, or do you still have to use workarounds (installing Rockbox, ripping continuous tracks as a single track, etc.)?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:40 AM on October 24, 2011


You can set the songs to play as a set without gaps, using settings in iTunes (and properties of each track).
posted by grubi at 10:42 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


For about five years now, btw.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:42 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Still no Ogg Vorbis, so don't worry, you'll always have that complaint.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:43 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like iTunes. I like how it organizes my library. I like its playlist system.

Works for me, as well. iTunes the jukebox is great. I love smart playlists. Want a file? shift+command+r, there it is in the Finder. The file system obfuscation on iPods was, I believe, a concession Apple had to make to the labels in order to get them on board with the store. Yeah, finding tracks on an iPod in the Finder doesn't work. Sentui and Podworks both make short work of this problem, and have been working great for me for many, many years.

I'm not as happy with the iTunes mission creep & feature bloat. Ping? WTF? Braindead. I can understand Apple's criteria for keeping all things pod-pad-phone-related in one program and iTunes making nominal sense as that program because it's already managing a good bit of the content, but it feels grafted on, and quite boggy. I had a bad problem with bookmarks & contacts getting duplicated across all my devices by syncing through both MobileMe and iTunes, and if there was a warning, it was pretty vague. App management is really poor, but it looks like that's being migrated out of iTunes and onto the device, where it belongs, with ios5.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:45 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm an American. I'll always find something to complain about.
posted by grubi at 10:45 AM on October 24, 2011


I can agree with those criticisms of iTunes, Devils Rancher.
posted by grubi at 10:46 AM on October 24, 2011


Hey, why is it in all these years I've used iTunes on various Windows machines that I've never had iTunes hang *once*?

You must be very, very, very lucky. Very.
posted by Artw at 10:48 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


iTunes is to Windows what Flash is to Macs.

Wrong account?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:51 AM on October 24, 2011


Non-Apple music players compatible with iTunes.
posted by joeclark at 10:53 AM on October 24, 2011


grubi: “why on earth people have to get defensive over this fucking company's products is beyond me”

grubi: “Probably because some people have an irrational hate of that same company.”

That doesn't make much sense. You defend Apple because people have an irrational hatred of it? If I defended everything that people have an irrational hatred of, I wouldn't really have time to eat or sleep.

What bothers me the most about the Apple debate is the apparent erosion of our ability to think about things with some sense of distance, without personalizing them.
posted by koeselitz at 11:01 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


sorry, that first comment was from the mad poster!
posted by koeselitz at 11:02 AM on October 24, 2011


Wrong account?

?
posted by the_artificer at 11:02 AM on October 24, 2011


I think there’s a type of categorical difference on what we perceive as pleasureable aesthetics that tie into identity. I think of Chanel No 5 as a great product. I think of Kanye West has having provided sublime sensory experiences in my life. Some other people attach these feelings to… electronic gadgets and tech CEOs. *shrug* Fine. I just don't see what that should mean that degrees of differences between products (for me the iphone is just a little bit better than the alternatives hence my choice to run with it) have to be hyped into cavernously large superlative differences. I don't see it.
posted by the mad poster! at 11:09 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


You must be very, very, very lucky. Very.

My point is that personal experience isn't the same thing as evidence.

You defend Apple because people have an irrational hatred of it?

No, I get defensive because the hatred. When people hate on Apple irrationally (and a lot of that hate *is* irrational), then I, as someone who has researched the products and specifically chose Apple items, take it personally as a criticism of my judgment. Whether I'm right or not isn't the point. But at least I'm not railing against something just because other people like it.
posted by grubi at 11:09 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


and I resent this idea then, that I have to just accept the party line and believe it.
posted by the mad poster! at 11:10 AM on October 24, 2011


and I resent this idea then, that I have to just accept the party line and believe it.

Show me where people have insisted you do so.
posted by grubi at 11:11 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


90MB actually sounds a bit low for all iTunes does, and is far less than what any modern browser uses. That's more like a browser plugin footprint.

You understand that this is not a valid defense, right? Why on earth would I want an application that is designed to handle MP3 tagging and music playback (without which I can't use my very expensive proprietary piece of MP3-playing hardware) to include every piece of functionality in the known universe? iTunes is huge and bloated and ugly, in part because Apple doesn't give two shits about its PC user base, and in part because it's the ultimate example of feature creep. If I wrote and released an ad-blocking browser extension, and decided that it should include its own Skype client as a feature users can't opt out of, it would be roundly decried as a terrible application, and no one would ever use it. Why is Apple exempt from this same criticism?
posted by Mayor West at 11:13 AM on October 24, 2011


Why is Apple exempt from this same criticism?

They're not. But when you say things like "huge and bloated and ugly, in part because Apple doesn't give two shits about its PC user base" (which are not empirical facts), it's not exactly "criticism".
posted by grubi at 11:17 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your right. That iTunes huge and bloated and ugly is empirical fact, but that Apple doesn't give two shits about its PC user base is supposition.
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess Artw's not actually interested in discussion. Fine.
posted by grubi at 11:22 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


grubi: “When people hate on Apple irrationally (and a lot of that hate *is* irrational), then I, as someone who has researched the products and specifically chose Apple items, take it personally as a criticism of my judgment.”

I guess what I'm suggesting is that this might be taking things too personally. I think there are a lot of people who hate Apple products because they are annoyed when they notice a sense of devotion among Apple fans. That's personalizing the issue far too much; but it's also personalizing it to notice that irrational hatred and feel insulted. This is how it seems to me when I think about this issue.
posted by koeselitz at 11:25 AM on October 24, 2011


Well, I;m not interested in discussions from the starting point that iTunes is a well designed or well implemented piece of software, no, because it really does not appear to be and you have to jump through a number of hoops to get to that point that i have no interest in jumping through. iTunes is a piece of software that many people dislike for good reasons. Denying that is a silly cross to hang yourself on.
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on October 24, 2011


They haven't addressed me personally (except that odd dude upthread who can't stand that everyone doesn't love these products). But it is a dominant view. I'm on twitter, I read articles, I see these books fetishizing the design of the ipod when like I said I've had music players before and after it that worked just as well for me (minus the podcast handling that later came along.) I don't understand why you expect me to be submerged in culture but never comment on any discourse within it when we can always talk about everything else. Like I'm supposed to be frightened of upsetting the kinda person who lines up round the block to get a chunk of glass and metal. Nonsense. I find that these products are overrated and I shall say that occasionally when drowned in the rhetorical environment of clamouring praise for them. I don't say anything 99% of the time. I will occasionally and you see what happened here. It's safer to talk about genocidal dictators than about one's lack of joy at these products.
posted by the mad poster! at 11:30 AM on October 24, 2011


on mefi I mean
posted by the mad poster! at 11:30 AM on October 24, 2011


I was something of a late-adopter, being content with my minidisc recorders, which had the benefit of working with my custom-built sneaky binaural microphones (basically a set of reverse headphones, so I could do field recording without being visible in the process). I didn't have a Mac with firewire until '03, so I couldn't use iPods, anyway. My first was a green iPod mini, which is alive and well and updated to a flash drive and living at my cabin, where it's a jukebox of ambient music for sleeping up there. Second was a 1st gen Shuffle, which I use for background mixes at events, followed by a 3rd gen iPod (with the touch buttons), which is loaded with everything Brian Eno, Harold Budd, and a few other ambient geniuses and lives in the bedroom as my sleep machine. I have a Touch, which stopped being an iPod and became a wonderful, extraordinarily-portable musical instrument in my live rig, used for live sets and replacing hundreds of pounds of synthesizers that I once had to schlep around. It's a wonderful device, but oddly, I prefer my pink iPod Nano as a music player. That little pink pearl is the perfect vehicle for musical road trips, in which I load up podcasts, radio drama, singalong music, books, et cetera.

I've got an iPhone, supplied by work, that's sort of a backup music player, but it's more of a phone, an email terminal, and a map.

The iPod that I, oddly, love most of all is my current generation iPod shuffle, which is literally the size of a postage stamp and tactile, with no display (the iPod will tell you, with a voice, what's playing and what playlists are up, etc) because none's needed. It's the safest player ever made for a car, never requiring you to look away from the road, and even with good (i.e. non-Apple) earphones, it'll fit perfectly into the watch pocket in a pair of jeans, so it's always with me.

When a free stretch arises, or when I need an out, I can go for a walk, or sit back, and listen to Pomme Fritz, The Rite of Spring, the White Album, an episode of a ZBS show, or something new I've just found. It's, in a way, the opposite of the charismatic side of Apple tech—the non-existent technology, which barely shows through the surface of the everyday like an immense sonic iceberg. So much of the youth of a music lover is, or was, spent wrestling with tapes and tape decks and Walkmen that never work and car stereos that eat your tapes and warp your CDs and this...this tiny miracle, is just a little spark of omnipresent potential—a whole library of favorites and new glories tucked away at all times. It's just...impossible in the best way.

New amazing things will arise, but I'd be curious how they could top that one, beyond endless battery life and another couple gigs of space.
posted by sonascope at 11:33 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


the mad poster!: “It's safer to talk about genocidal dictators than about one's lack of joy at these products.”

There isn't really any danger in talking about either. Some people have an irrational devotion to products. There's really no reason to talk to those people ad nauseum about one's "lack of joy" in their favorite things. I don't accost Kenny G fans and lecture them about how lame Kenny G is.
posted by koeselitz at 11:53 AM on October 24, 2011


I don't accost Kenny G fans and lecture them about how lame Kenny G is.

You should consider doing it, you know, for their own good.
posted by MikeMc at 12:24 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like Kenny G, have gone to a couple of concerts and even own a few of his CDs. But when some of his other fans go on and on about how magical and life changing he is it's hard not to roll your eyes. And if you mention you don't like a particular track they call you a hater.
posted by the_artificer at 12:27 PM on October 24, 2011


I got in on the action with the 2nd generation iPod. I had previously used a walkman (with, you know, cassettes), a discman (cds) and a minidisc player. The iPod was a fantastic improvement.
posted by dgran at 12:47 PM on October 24, 2011


Okay, I didn't outright hate Apple fanboys until I read some of the responses to my iTunes comment. Now I definitely am feeling my blood pressure start to rise. Others have responded to the ON NOES 90 MB comments. I'll just add that that's almost a whole tenth the memory on a netbook, and factoring in the OS that ends up being a substantial amount.

grubi:
>>why on earth people have to get defensive over this fucking company's products is beyond me
Probably because some people have an irrational hate of that same company.


I don't have an irrational hate of Apple, or rather I didn't before I read entropicamericana, threeway milkshake and grubi's comments. Now I definitely am starting to feel like making applesauce. I'm getting the strong impression you guys are (gasp!) trolling.

entropicamericana: No, I'm trying to help you. What you're doing is called threadshitting. Reading every post and comment is not mandatory. The mods have repeatedly suggested if a subject does not agree with you, you might consider saving aggravation all around by not reading it.

The subject is the iPod's 10th anniversary, and we're all a bit off-topic with that. In any case, to participate in a thread one has to read it; it isn't a matter of choice if one is trying to keep current with the discussion, or if one is trying to jump in. You are helping no one. BTW, if anyone is threadshitting, it is you, Mr. "OH NOES 90 MB."

grubi: My point is that personal experience isn't the same thing as evidence.

Actually, it kind of is, to that person. And when a lot of people experience it, it starts to seem more like a real, universal problem, and you start looking like the one with an idiosyncratic perspective.

grubi: I like iTunes. I like how it organizes my library. I like its playlist system. iTunes is one of my favorite apps ever.

Of course, that's personal experience, and so it can't be used as evidence.

grubi: No, I get defensive because the hatred. When people hate on Apple irrationally (and a lot of that hate *is* irrational), then I, as someone who has researched the products and specifically chose Apple items, take it personally as a criticism of my judgment. Whether I'm right or not isn't the point. But at least I'm not railing against something just because other people like it.

If someone criticizes a company that makes products that you like, it doesn't make it okay to attack them. The people criticizing Apple here have valid reasons for doing so, it's not just because some people like them. You are taking it personally when you have no reason to.

It's starting to seem a lot like this should be taken to MetaTalk.
posted by JHarris at 12:49 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I never said anything about apple's "business success". Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Britney Spears, all of those things were successful in the market place. I find the idea of judging whether a product is good or not by how well it sells odd. Why should I care how well it sells?
posted by delmoi


I agree with you that how well a product sells doesn't neccesarily equate to quality. But sometimes it does.

You're simply throwing out a bunch of crappy things that are popular that have nothing at all in common with Apple (except that I'm guessing you hate them all). For consistency's sake throw out Spears. People go to Walmart because they have everything and they're dirt cheap. No one goes there because they believe they're getting a quality product. People go to McDonalds because it's quick and cheap, nothing more.

Those reasons are the exact opposite of why people buy Apple products. Ironically, you've perfectly described the majority of the PC market, however. People walk into to Best Buy to buy a 500 dollar laptop, without any research, and without any expectations other than it's cheap.

To Brandon Blatcher, on caring why people love Apple products: If you love it that's fine. Even being vocal about loving it won't inspire too much comment. What I see, however, is people raving about it, most times an Apple thread comes up, and viewing everything Apple does so uncritically that it seems to border on mania.
posted by JHarris


Maybe it's all about perspective, but I don't see this at all. I mean, if you're arguing that the iPod wasn't tremendously successful and highly influential, that burden of proof is on you. To believe those things and be labeled a fanboy is nonsense, and they certainly don't fall apart in the face of critical thought. The mania I see is the need for many to simply discredit Apple at every turn.

And if you're going to label those supportive of Apple fanboys, which pretty much is the dickish way of saying their opinions don't count, you should probably not play the victim, because you are certainly not helping the debate. You are part of the problem.

I can understand why people might want to do that -- in younger days you could reliably spot me actingly similarly about Nintendo, because let's face it I'm a geek. The difference between me then and now is perspective, and that's what I think Apple fanbois could stand a glass of.
posted by JHarris


I switched to Apple in my 30s when I realized my time was too valuable to spend on poorly designed software and hardware. I wasn't a 'fan', my decision to switch wasn't taken lightly. Considering the amount of time I spend on electronic devices, I wanted to use products I enjoyed. I have never regretted that decision, nor have the reason changed.

Comparing that to your infatuation as a kid towards a gaming company is insulting. Perhaps its your perspective that could use some adjusting.
posted by justgary at 1:35 PM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I can't believe I am saying this, but if you really hate Apple users that much, can you please take your idiotic derail to MetaTalk, or preferably somewhere else entirely? Cheers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:48 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing I love about Apple threads is how passionate people get, pro and con, about inanimate objects.
posted by MikeMc at 4:12 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I switched to Apple in my 30s when I realized my time was too valuable to spend on poorly designed software and hardware. I wasn't a 'fan', my decision to switch wasn't taken lightly. Considering the amount of time I spend on electronic devices, I wanted to use products I enjoyed. I have never regretted that decision, nor have the reason changed.

NO ONE CARES ANYMORE. Computing has moved on beyond the Windows/Macintosh war. No one bothers attacking Apple anymore. Why the hell would I want to? Why would you care if I did?

Why are you so insecure about this? If anything, your defensiveness kind of makes people want to troll you. That's what I mean when I say I think you guys need some perspective.

Even if you are insensate to my plea, think: the iPod is ten years old, and its progeny are doing pretty well. Doesn't that fact all by itself insulate you from whatever attacks you think people are making against Apple?

To think that today someone accused me of hating Apple users. NO ONE CARES! Graa!
posted by JHarris at 4:35 PM on October 24, 2011


why on earth people have to get defensive over this fucking company's products is beyond me

You want to know why tech people get defensive about it? It's because of the dismissal; because of comments like

And popular with the kind of technically illiterate people that used to make fun of computer geeks when computers were "too hard" for them to understand."

No, Civil_Disobedient didn't technically say that everyone who likes apple products is a technologically illiterate ex-bully, but he implied it pretty damn hard.

And it's fucking insulting.

I have a Computer Science degree. I've been programming computers since I learned to type some time before the age of 10. I was a professional Windows developer for over 10 years. I've spoken at Microsoft conferences. And I fucking love Apple products. They do what I need them to do, and they do it really well. A lot of very technically adept people feel the same way.

I don't think they're the right answer for everyone, and you should realize the same about your preferences.

When I get sucked into this kind of bullshit, I'm not defending Apple, I'm defending myself. Because I was insulted, because of attacks on my technical and decision making abilities, along with my capability to perceive quality.

On a related note:

People were generally the most happiest using iTunes when it was their introduction to managing music, because it showed them a clear polished working solved path to a problem they'd never encountered before.

I thought I felt that way. I managed my own mp3s with directory structures on windows and linux machines for years (with all sorts of attempts to make it easier, including various scripts both scavenged from the internet and written myself), and was originally annoyed that iTunes preferred keeping library meta-data and running off of that. But, at least for how I listen to and manage (as an amateur-DJ-who-still-gets-paid-to-play-several-times-a-month, which is not exactly a common use case) music just worked really well. Smart playlistsa are great. AppleScripting id3 management is great (though I don't need it nearly as much now that people expect id3 data to not suck).

Because of various preferences I have, I find iTunes really awesome to use. I also know that's not the case for other people, but liking the way it works is not necessarily indicative of being a n00b.
posted by flaterik at 10:06 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


No one bothers attacking Apple anymore.

You didn't see the large number of people in this thread saying iTunes and many iPod iterations were unmitigated crap saved only by "marketing"? I think that counts as attacking.

NO ONE CARES! Graa!

Except you. And delmoi. And Civil_Disobedient. And a bunch of other people in this thread. And die-hard windows partisans (oh, they exist. they are just as annoying as dogmatic partisans of any stripe in the tech universe). If you think people that like Apple are annoying, you should try thinking about why you find them annoying, with an added layer of bizarre smugness and superiority.

Hackles, they get raised.
posted by flaterik at 10:11 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seriously? The current range of Sony MP3 players.
They never made one when it mattered. I don't know when they started making actual MP3 players, but it was a long time. When I said "never" I meant "never during the time they mattered"
Well, there's an example of poor marketing. Sony has been making PMPs since '99.
I said Sony never made an MP3 player. I had a network walkman, I mentioned it in another comment. It was an ATRAC player, not an MP3 player. You had to convert the files to ATRAC before they would play. It was ridiculous.

As far as attacking apple, well why is "OMG Apple products are so awesome!!!! I love it it changed my life!!!" a valid comment when "Meh, apple products aren't that great" not.
posted by delmoi at 11:42 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"OMG Apple products are so awesome!!!! I love it it changed my life!!!"

"OMG" and multiple exclamation points are unlikely to be employed by Apple products users.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:28 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you think people that like Apple are annoying, you should try thinking about why you find them annoying, with an added layer of bizarre smugness and superiority.

Dude, you don't think Apple people are smug and superior? What irritates me most is the idea that so many of you seem to hold that people who don't like Apple's products, for whatever reason, have now been proven objectively wrong just because a ton of people have bought them. So what? I have had six iPods and I still don't like their products, and I'm sure I'm not alone. Most people I know have had problems with their computers and other gadgets regardless of who manufactured them. Even my best friend, who's one of you and who probably sleeps with her Mac cradled to her bosom every night, complains to me about a different annoyance every week.

It raises my hackles when I see a product whose many problems I have spent literally weeks of my life trying to google up solutions for (inevitably at exam time or right when I'm trying to move across the Atlantic) not only talked about as if god sent it down to us bubble-wrapped in joy and glory, but defended from the point of view that experiences like mine are simply irrelevant to the question of whether it's a good product or not because that's already been decided, thank you, move along.

Anyway, thanks JHarris for explaining why iTunes sucks, but the thing that's been annoying me most about it lately is the way it reports the amount of free space left on my iPod wrongly (and ludicrously), telling me I've got 189.1gb of music on a device whose capacity is only 148.79gb. This has been going on over countless updates of the software itself, two iPods (and three installs of the iPod software, because my first 160gb classic failed again and had to be restored), and two installs of Windows. This is what I mean about taking no pride in their software. Why don't they fix this for god's sake? Also, remember that period of years when album tracks would appear out of order on the iPod no matter how uniform you made every one of their tags (never mind that the album name and track number ought to have sufficed), and it was our fault for trying to put albums on there that we'd ripped ourselves and not bought from the iTunes store? This shit never "just worked". Honestly, I feel positively gaslit when I hear people talking about this company.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 1:04 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, remember that period of years

Nope, that never happened to me. I'm sorry it did to you. That sucks.

What irritates me most is the idea that so many of you seem to hold that people who don't like Apple's products, for whatever reason, have now been proven objectively wrong

That is exactly the opposite of the argument I just made. Please read what I said instead of just being upset about the fact that I understand computers AND like Apple.

And stop calling me "one of you" because I have had a different experience with a computing company than your. Fuckballs, is that offensive.
posted by flaterik at 3:06 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


""Meh, apple products aren't that great"

And that is not at all the type of comment I was talking about, though you and others you cannot restrain from attacking the choices that some of us have made remind of the ones I was.

This is not that hard to understand.

Just. Leave. It. Alone.
posted by flaterik at 3:11 AM on October 25, 2011


Sorry. I used your comment as a starting point but I wasn't just talking to you, or even primarily to you. I didn't mean to be particularly rude, or offend you.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 3:14 AM on October 25, 2011


My comment was entirely talking about how these sorts of attacks become personally offensive, but apology accepted regardless.
posted by flaterik at 3:16 AM on October 25, 2011


flaterik, isn't your choice the mainstream accepted choice in conventional wisdom? "Apple products; so uniquely sexy!" is the mainstream view. It's baffling that you have to be so on edge about your "choice" or "judgement" when it's not your personal choice we're discussing. This is the thing, to pick up on the Kenny G example, it's one thing for Kenny G fans to be really into Kenny G but if the dominant view is that he's a great jazz artist and uniquely inventive I'll be pretty skeptical whenever I hear it. It sounds like both sides here feel under attack but your side is the established perspective in media. Even the Mac vs. PC ad campaign just strove to reinforce that idea that Macs are the 'hip' choice whereas the other choice is 'square' (to borrow old language.)
posted by the mad poster! at 3:27 AM on October 25, 2011


we can't Leave. It. Alone. or ignore it cause it's all around us. Apple is a very successful company and opinions on its products are manifold. This is the bizarre nature of your raised hackles; if someone was talking about a book we can have an opinion on the book. If someone was talking about a soft drink we can have an opinion on the soft drink. Lord forbid I have an opinion on Apple products though; you're going to feel under siege and all the Daring Fireball apologetics in the world suddenly follow. It's pretty freakish. These products aren't your babies. Just. Let. It. Go.
posted by the mad poster! at 3:36 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


but if the dominant view is that he's a great jazz artist and uniquely inventive I'll be pretty skeptical whenever I hear it.

Way more like "if the dominant view is that Miles Davis is a great jazz artist and uniquely inventive I'll be pretty skeptical whenever I hear it, and helpfully point out that's all because Kind of Blue had a really great cover."
posted by fightorflight at 4:45 AM on October 25, 2011


I opened iTunes just now to download the new Mefi podcast. But nothing's happening! It's just sitting there, flashing its taskbar icon gamely but refusing to display anyth--

Oh! It's back. I think a two-minute freeze on opening is a new personal record. I've not known any other professionally-written application function even close to as poorly as iTunes does under Windows 7 64.

Can't say I'm bothered by the memory usage, though; Tweetdeck (running on the abomination that is Adobe Air) generally uses over 100mb! That said, I wouldn't want to run either program on a memory- and CPU-constrained PC like our netbook.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:28 AM on October 25, 2011


Way more like "if the dominant view is that Miles Davis is a great jazz artist and uniquely inventive I'll be pretty skeptical whenever I hear it, and helpfully point out that's all because Kind of Blue had a really great cover."

If you don't think Miles Davis was a great jazz artist, you pretty much don't have anything like a sliver of an inkling of a clue about jazz, and you also are (seemingly) unable to recognize, you know... greatness.

Some other great jazz artists: Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Sun Ra, Henry Threadgill, Louis Armstrong... and most decidedly not because some of their albums had some cool jackets.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:39 AM on October 25, 2011


the poster was rephrasing my sentence to replace it with their take on whether the iPod is more Miles than Kenny G. But it doesn't matter because the artist was just a semantic placeholder I inherited from another poster earlier. Regardless of the artist if my take differs from the mainstream take I refuse to just let myself be voided in deference to the other guys' opinion. Something like Kind of Blue is different because it's canonized; I defer to critical understanding by default when it's historically reinforced. "I may not like this celebrated author but I can't deny he's celebrated." But the whole iPod, iPhone, iPad thing happened right in front of me. It's as new as any album that came out this year, and I don't start liking those just cause it's rated highly on metacritic or sells a lot. Same here; I don't have to defer to anyone when I was there when these iGadgets rolled out. I don't think they're "bad", they're just not rapturously good.
posted by the mad poster! at 5:48 AM on October 25, 2011


Way more like "if the dominant view is that Miles Davis is a great jazz artist and uniquely inventive I'll be pretty skeptical whenever I hear it, and helpfully point out that's all because Kind of Blue had a really great cover."

Miles Davis never sold me an mp3 player that crashed every other time I tried to sync it for almost a year, so we're cool.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 5:55 AM on October 25, 2011


Miles Davis never sold me an mp3 player that crashed every other time I tried to sync it for almost a year, so we're cool.

Apple never did that for me.
posted by grubi at 6:08 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


grubi:
>>why on earth people have to get defensive over this fucking company's products is beyond me
Probably because some people have an irrational hate of that same company.

I don't have an irrational hate of Apple, or rather I didn't before I read entropicamericana, threeway milkshake and grubi's comments. Now I definitely am starting to feel like making applesauce. I'm getting the strong impression you guys are (gasp!) trolling.


My comments made you irrationally hate Apple? Wow. You may have a problem.

grubi: My point is that personal experience isn't the same thing as evidence.

Actually, it kind of is, to that person. And when a lot of people experience it, it starts to seem more like a real, universal problem, and you start looking like the one with an idiosyncratic perspective.


And when a lot of people DON'T experience that, then is the problem with the app or something else? Personal experience <> evidence.

grubi: I like iTunes. I like how it organizes my library. I like its playlist system. iTunes is one of my favorite apps ever.

Of course, that's personal experience, and so it can't be used as evidence.


Funny, it was never presented as such. Read the fucking comment again. "I like it"; "I like"; "favorite": these are OPINION words. Nothing in that comment implies you have to like it or that this is evidence for anything whatsoever. You can be smartass about it if you like, but I'm not the one passing a value judgment on people based on their personal preference.

grubi: No, I get defensive because the hatred. When people hate on Apple irrationally (and a lot of that hate *is* irrational), then I, as someone who has researched the products and specifically chose Apple items, take it personally as a criticism of my judgment. Whether I'm right or not isn't the point. But at least I'm not railing against something just because other people like it.

If someone criticizes a company that makes products that you like, it doesn't make it okay to attack them. The people criticizing Apple here have valid reasons for doing so, it's not just because some people like them. You are taking it personally when you have no reason to.


Show me the "attack". I specifically got upset because ONCE AGAIN my judgment is called into question because I like something that is popular. I'm sorry your experience doesn't match mine, but --funny thing-- I'm not wandering into threads discussing things you like that I don't and then telling you how wrong you are for liking them.
posted by grubi at 6:13 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Miles Davis, he played on the trumpet,
Steve Jobs made computers and stuff.
Comparing the two might seem pointless,
but "pointless"? We can't get enough!
We'll flog a dead horse till it's deader,
we'll argue, we'll fuss and we'll fight!
Is it Apple or Kenny G? Windows or Miles?
Y'all continue, for me it's good night.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:20 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Weren't you people going to take it to MeTa?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:39 AM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


You can set the songs to play as a set without gaps, using settings in iTunes (and properties of each track).
posted by grubi at 1:42 PM on October 24 [1 favorite +] [!]



For about five years now, btw.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:42 PM on October 24 [1 favorite +] [!]


Sorry, that was what I was saying: I finally got an iPod because they were the only device that did this correctly. I was asking if anyone else has dealt with it in the meantime. Does the much vaunted Sansa clip handle this correctly, for instance?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:57 AM on October 25, 2011


And to answer my own question, apparently it doesn't.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:07 AM on October 25, 2011


It's not a feature I'm interested in so I've never sought it out, but gapless playback seems weirdly rare. Apparently PowerAMP supports it, so if you have an Android phone or PMP you're set. I just downloaded the trial and it seems very good; if I didn't also have a Touch I'd be all over it.

Weird that the cheapest (non-Apple) way to get gapless playback is probably a second-hand Android phone.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:50 AM on October 25, 2011


"Way more like "if the dominant view is that Miles Davis is a great jazz artist and uniquely inventive I'll be pretty skeptical whenever I hear it, and helpfully point out that's all because Kind of Blue had a really great cover."

If you don't think Miles Davis was a great jazz artist, you pretty much don't have anything like a sliver of an inkling of a clue about jazz, and you also are (seemingly) unable to recognize, you know... greatness."


Miles Davis stole my bike.
posted by MikeMc at 10:12 AM on October 25, 2011


Does the much vaunted Sansa clip handle this correctly, for instance?

It does with Rockbox firmware. However, later produced Clips have noise problems.
posted by Bangaioh at 11:18 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's baffling that you have to be so on edge about your "choice" or "judgement" when it's not your personal choice we're discussing.

I did, in fact, choose what kind of computer and phone I use. I did not just end up with one because it's the mainstream choice.

My aptitude with technology is one of my core traits and assets. I don't like when it's impugned. Simple.
posted by flaterik at 12:04 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I may not like this celebrated author but I can't deny he's celebrated." But the whole iPod, iPhone, iPad thing happened right in front of me. It's as new as any album that came out this year, and I don't start liking those just cause it's rated highly on metacritic or sells a lot. Same here; I don't have to defer to anyone when I was there when these iGadgets rolled out.

The plaudits and acclaim Apple gets is much closer to the canonisation and celebration you talk about than it is to being "rated highly on metacritic" or just selling a lot. And a lot of their work is already far enough in the past to count -- In 1986, 27 years after its release, Kind of Blue had the historicity you talk about, just as the Mac does now, 27 years after its release.

So drop the surprise when you get the same hostile reaction here that you would jumping into a thread celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Bitches Brew and going "yeah, but I never liked Miles, and I was there when BB was released, so I don't need to defer to you on this. I thought it was rubbish, and it made my record player skip. Davis is all about the cover art, anyway."
posted by fightorflight at 12:10 PM on October 25, 2011


I think a two-minute freeze on opening is a new personal record. I've not known any other professionally-written application function even close to as poorly as iTunes does under Windows 7 64.

I've had (the most recent at the time version of) visual studio hang for upwards of twenty minutes on an four core windows 7 x64 machine with 8 gigs of ram and a 7200 rpm hard drive.

My point is not that visual studio is bad; I love visual studio and I miss it.

My point is that everyone's software has issues, especially software that is trying to do a lot.

It is irritating that one is forced to used iTunes to sync an iDevice; I don't disagree there. And no one should have to like a media player that is trying to do as much as it is. But hey, for some of us, it meets our needs, and it's followed a generally positive development history.

We're not idiots for liking it (which, no matter how hard some of you disagree, is exactly the implication you're making, and exactly what I and grubi have been arguing, without attacking anyone.), we're just willing to make different compromises because we have different preferences.

For the record, I wish a thread about microsoft products could happen on the internet without them being called evil just as much as I wish there could be a thread about apple without marketing quips.
posted by flaterik at 12:18 PM on October 25, 2011


flaterik, see, you cant wrap your head around this. You're still overly personalizing my take on the product as a personal attack and that's not a normal thing to do. Catering to such whims isn't going to be part of my approach in any front. The solution is to just ignore your cadre's impugned honor.

fightorflight, I'm not talking about the Mac. And yes, if I didn't like Kind of Blue I would do exactly that. Honesty, what a concept.
posted by the mad poster! at 12:24 PM on October 25, 2011


The question I was trying to answer was "why do people get defensive about this". I gave you a perfectly reasonable explanation for why, even though I don't particularly think you, JHarris, or delmoi are trying to insult people, it still comes off that way.

But you don't care. So, carry on I guess. But look at what I quoted earlier. Those were not "takes on a product". Those were very clearly takes on the people that choose the products. Very different things.

I don't care if you like apple. I don't think that you should. I just want to be able to without being called an technologically illiterate ex-bully.

And if I adored a book and someone said it was utter shite that only a moron would like, I'd be kind of offended too. I wouldn't care if they said they preferred something else, but that's not what was being said or what I was reacting to.
posted by flaterik at 12:57 PM on October 25, 2011


I don't care if you like apple. I don't think that you should. I just want to be able to without being called an technologically illiterate ex-bully.

I see what you mean. That's fair.
posted by the mad poster! at 1:09 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


yay! now let's have a beer. wait, there's still no beer on the internet. dammit.
posted by flaterik at 1:20 PM on October 25, 2011


fightorflight, I'm not talking about the Mac. And yes, if I didn't like Kind of Blue I would do exactly that. Honesty, what a concept.
There's a name for that behaviour on music forums, especially when wrapped in "honesty" bleatings.

It's harder to make a charge of trolling stick in tech chat, but to pop up in a music forum and say "I hate Miles, he's all style and no substance at all", is plain trolling. You'd expect to get a bristly response of exactly the kind flapjax so helpfully knee-jerked.

People here are doing precisely the same thing with Apple, and they're getting precisely the same response. Pretending that response is mysterious or hard to fathom is just nonsense.
posted by fightorflight at 1:22 PM on October 25, 2011


God, fuck beer. It is really overrated and one time it made me throw up. I make hard cider for half the price and I'm not tied into locked in corporate BS.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:27 PM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


It does with Rockbox firmware.

Right, so for 99.9% of users, it doesn't.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:08 PM on October 25, 2011


Miles Davis stole my bike.

And he undoubtedly rode it thereafter in a more profoundly great way than you ever could've. ;-)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:34 PM on October 25, 2011


It's a fixie.
posted by Artw at 4:35 PM on October 25, 2011


The iPod: an elegant device from a more civilized age.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:47 PM on October 25, 2011


The iPod: an elegant device from a more civilized age.

WOW. That's funny. ANd I say that because I literally chose that Obi-Wan quote to have engraved on my iPod (5th gen) a few years ago. Although, I kept it "weapon" rather than "device". But nice coincidence. :-)
posted by grubi at 5:03 PM on October 25, 2011


I think I still have my old Rio Karma in the basement somewhere. That thing was frikkin' awesome, but the wheel interface on it was somewhat fragile. Mp3 and OGG, 20gb, and gapless playback! Sigh... Those were good times.
posted by antifuse at 1:23 PM on November 1, 2011


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