Tuned Out

By Bryan • china, nanjing • 1 Dec 2005

Windows has recently gotten much better for me.

I downloaded demos of Tune Up Utilities 2006, Spyware Doctor and Privacy Guardian (I now…heh heh..have the full versions), and I highly recommend you all get these software gems. If you can, I also recommend picking up Window Blinds, which allows one to add some rather nifty themes to XP. I bet you’re bored of either blue or silver menu bars, right?

And while I’m praising these cool new windows utilities, I might as well (you know, for kicks) tear Apple and their totally overblown, overrated iPods and the accompanying piece of shit iTunes player.

I have an iPod…a mini actually. A blue one. You may have seen me with it. I’ve had it for a little over a year. I pre-ordered it weeks before it was released in Canada. I was so excited. I thought I had a winner.

I’ll credit Apple from an aesthetic perspective…they definitely know how to engineer a pleasing and original piece. But that is about as much praise as they’ll get from me.

Sigh…where to start. The sole purpose of owning an MP3 device is to play one’s large and extensive legal/illegal digital music collection. Not a tough job, a task I would have hoped would have been addressed with quality, given the amount of coin I forked over to the fruit company.

Unfortunately, my minis battery lasts about as along as Luke did with the Sand People. Officially, battery life is staked at 8 hours. I can get about 4 on a good day. Normally, I can get to school in the morning and maybe the bus ride to work. Lithium batteries naturally degrade over time, yet not like this. Apparently, all first generation minis suffer from this problem, and Apple will gladly provide one with a replacement for fifty US greenbacks. Shipping my old iPod to the States and waiting for its return is not really an option.

Problem two. The strange lack of a dedicated and clearly marked on/off switch. There is a fussy ‘hold down that shuffle disc and slide the hold bar’ power termination procedure. I have a feeling though that the pod never actually shuts off.

Problem three. It’s cool, its ‘hip’, and it is what makes the iPod, well, the iPod. It’s the patented click wheel. Except…have you ever tried to shuffle through your play list while it’s sitting in your pocket? Well, if you don’t own one, you probably haven’t. But it is surprisingly a pain in the ass. When I’m on a Chinese bus, I don’t like the advertise that I’m packing one of these things around, but when my language mp3’s comes up and I’m in the mood for music…skipping through requires removal and subsequent public display of my *ahem* wealth.

Apple doesn’t seem to have addressed many of these issues either. Seriously, is a replaceable battery too much of an issue. Is it giving the user too much control? Proper on/off switch? I doubt that would harm the design. Think different? Start to think practical and smart. There is a lot of competition out there now (CNET consistently rates the iPod at the bottom of their player lists), and installing video capability isn’t going to mask the fact that I can’t even make it school on a charge.

iTunes. Well, iTunes is just bad. I hated it the moment I installed it, and it contributed largely to my distaste of the iPod in general. There are so many things bad about that program that I can’t even remember them. Luckily for me, Winamp comes through (like it always does) with iPod plugin allowing me to not only load my iPod, but also unload my iPod onto my hard-drive (something which iCrap doesn’t allow you to do).

If you’re in the market for a MP3 player, shop around. Can’t stress that enough.

…the stock Apple headphones are a joke as well. Just though I’d add that 

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4 Responses

  1. Allison

    I also can not stand ipods and itunes for various reasons. I know so many people who have had problems with the batteries in their ipods. If you want a great mp3 player that can hold more songs than an ipod mini, costs less, has a real on/off switch, an FM radio, and is quite a bit easier to manouver than the silly “wheel” design on the ipod, look into getting a micro-zen. Moreover, the battery is rechargable and when it eventually dies – as all batteries, recharable or not, tend to do – you can buy the replacement in a store. Yes, a store. No sending away, which means no shipping and handling charges. Worthless Apple. They even come in cool colours like the ipod so you don’t have to worry about not looking “hip”.

  2. I’d also like to add the iTunes (until recently) was actually forced up on a user when they bought their iPod. There were no other alternatives on the market for upload/download capabilities. You HAD to use iTunes. Kind of like one HAVING to utilze Windows Explorer. iTunes fucked around with your music library and wouldn’t let you do such simple things as drag files from one location to another.

    Both Winamp and Real Player now offer viable alternative.

    Crap. Pure Crap.

    I hope Apple gets their ass kicked in the digital music market. In many ways, they are asking for it. Failure to upgrade and meet consumer demand. They are riding a ‘hip’ trend, but it ain’t gonna last forever. I predict a market downfall, just like they did in the 80’s with the Mac. I’m sorry, but like I previously said, video capability is not going to save you.

  3. Up on….pure English genius……*rolls eyes*

  4. Apple Marketing Department

    While some of these more “technical” defaults might annoy the “nerdy social outcast” demographic, we’re confident that the iPod offers all the things the average consumer is looking for.

    For instance, do you know that U2 uses iPods?

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