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iPod Evaluation


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Messiahtosh
Apple Historian
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-07-05, 14:48

The iPod

The Apple Computer iPod is without a doubt the most iconic electronic music object to permeate the consumer electronics marketplace since the Sony Walkman did in the late 1970’s. The iPod didn’t just instantly become a hit product, it evolved over time and eventually it became the best selling digital music player of all time. Reviewers everywhere were and still are singing its praises, talking about how they become instantly smitten with the diminutive music playing wonder. But what is it about the Apple iPod that separates it from the hundreds of competing products that vie for the same shelf space in retail stores? On the surface there may not seem like much differentiation other than design, but the answer is really “everything is different.”

Introduced on October 23, 2001, the iPod retailed for $399 and worked with the Macintosh platform (meaning: not available for Microsoft Windows) only. It had a 5 gigabyte hard disk based storage capacity, meaning 1,000 songs could be held by the deck of cards sized iPod. Apple relied on a hard disk for storage instead of flash memory or interchangeable CD-ROMs, and uniquely focused on promoting the small size, power, and ease of use of its device.

The ease of use that Apple is infamous for with its Macintosh computer line was something the company wanted to bring to their digital music player. The iPod only has 4 buttons on it and a scroll wheel. The feature that obliterates all of the others, is the iPod’s scroll wheel. It has a touch sensitive wheel on the front, that when spun in either direction, scrolls through lists of songs and menus. Scrolling and selection could hardly be easier or more intuitive, and there are no moving parts to go wrong. It turns out that while the hardware is innovatively packaged and styled, the software interface is what makes it truly unique. Apple saw the music player market as a potential place for them to innovate because there was no working solution for finding one song out of thousands, in a simple to do manner. All of the technology to accomplish this was there and other companies had products with massive storage capacity and small sizes in relatively good looking designs, but navigating their menus was chaotic…and still is.

The iPod uses a 1.8 inch hard drive and is genuinely pocket sized. It also looks extremely stylish, with the front half crafted in a milky white polycarbonate, and the back formed in metallic stainless steel. The iPod just feels exclusive and expensive, but that should not fool anyone into thinking that it isn’t robust. The 2 inch LCD display shows the current track, album title, artist name, and battery level indicator. The main menu on the iPod reveals a hierarchal menu that lists artists, albums, playlists, or extra features and options. (http://www.apple.com/ipod/specs.html)

The iPod connects to a Mac or PC via a technology called Firewire or USB 2.0. Firewire is a high speed data transferring connection, where one end of the cable plugs into the bottom of the iPod, the other to the port on the computer. The transfer rate of music to iPod is made easiest to understand by saying it transfers the content of an album in about 10 seconds. At the time of its introduction it was the first product to use such fast connectivity, which gave it a reputation of being powerful and fast. (http://www.apple.com/ipod/autosync.html)

What good would a digital music player be, if it didn’t have an integrated software application that helped to organize and synchronize all of this music onto it? Well, there is a free solution called iTunes. iTunes is a software application that makes organization and management of music very simple. Basically, everything that you see in iTunes is what you will see on an iPod. The iPod automatically synchronizes with iTunes, updating music that was since put on the computer. More recently, the iTunes Music Store has caused quite a buzz, because it is a way of legally downloading music for 99¢ a song or $9.99 per album. The iTunes Music Store has a market share of over 70% of all legal music downloads (over 100 million songs sold), according to Nielsen SoundScan. I could write an entire evaluation about the iTunes service, but the important thing to understand is that all of these technologies are integrated in ways that no other company has managed to do. iTunes houses the user’s library of music, it contains within it, the iTunes Music Store, and it synchs with the iPod. New to iTunes is something called AirTunes, which wirelessly transmits music in a lossless quality to an in-home stereo. Simply, you plug in a piece of hardware called Airport Express into the stereo and then a computer with a wireless networking card will send out the music to be received by that stereo.

The iPod sold well but it wasn’t until Apple released PC compatible versions of it that made sales sky rocket. According to Nielsen SoundScan (http://www.soundscan.com/about.html)1 the iPod is currently the #1 selling music player as measured by unit sales, and even higher if measured by revenues. July of 2002 marked the unveiling of the iPod for Windows based computers, and about 6 months later Apple had sold its first million iPods. It is entirely possible that the company will hit the 4 million mark by August or September of this year. (www.ipodlounge.com)2

The iPod is an incredible technology, not just as a stand alone music player, but because it interfaces with so many other useful and powerful technologies. It works with the best place to buy music online, it synchronizes with Macs or PCs in iTunes, it has a fast way of transferring a lot of data, and it is extremely easy to operate. The iPod has become my personal favorite piece of technology for these reasons. It is so loveable because it contains an individual’s music, and since music is considered a universal language, the music we listen to identifies who we are to a certain extent.

I highly recommend for anyone who wants to embrace digital music, to go with the standard that didn’t become a standard because of monopolistic control. The iPod, iTunes, and the iTunes Music Store all became industry leaders and default standards because they are technologies done the right way. Everything is easy, clearly laid out for the user, and accessible to everyone. A lot of companies tried to do what Apple has done, and many are still trying, but the way in which Apple won this music war has been through innovation. There are companies like Microsoft and Sony that have billions more dollars to invest in creating tech solutions, but sometimes the money is not what makes the winner. Apple Computer Industrial Designer Jonathan Ive sums things up quite nicely by saying, “The goal at Apple has never been to be different for the sake of being different, the goal is to be different by doing things in a better way.” And right now, there is no better way.

"We are reviewing some 9,000 recent UNHCR referrals from Syria. We are receiving roughly a thousand new ones each month, and we expect admissions from Syria to surge in 2015 and beyond." - Anne C. Richard, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
  quote
Kickaha
Likes his boobies blue.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
 
2004-07-05, 15:11

Not bad... but... <mode=nitpick>

Paragraph three: "The ease of use that Apple is infamous for with its Macintosh computer line..."

Hitler was infamous.

Marilyn Monroe was famous.

Bad things are infamous.

Good things are famous.

Third paragraph from end: "The iPod is currently the #1 selling music player as measured by unit sales, and even higher if measured by revenues."

How can it be *higher* than #1?? Maybe the *margin* to its next competitor is larger...

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
#IRC isn't old school.
Old school is being able to say 'finger me' with a straight face.
  quote
Messiahtosh
Apple Historian
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-07-05, 15:17

Thanks for pointing all of that out!
  quote
HOM
The Elderâ„¢
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: The Rostra
 
2004-07-05, 15:18

Make sure the Admins see that. It could be run on the .org front page.

EDIT: Also a minor nit pick. The iPod has 5 buttons and a scroll wheel. Play/Pause, FWD, REV, Menu, and the select button.

CARTHAGO DELENDA EST

¡Viva La Revolucion!
  quote
Messiahtosh
Apple Historian
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-07-05, 15:41

Yet again, thank you for the constructive criticism.
  quote
Messiahtosh
Apple Historian
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-07-05, 22:12

So do you guys think that paper would get a good grade if it were being evaluated in any way as a review is concerned?
  quote
mrhilaryduff
New Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
 
2005-01-17, 19:43

4th paragraph 4th line- could go either way... but, LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display... moreover the LCD display would be redundant.
  quote
ohara
BANNED
I am worthless beyond hope.
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Ellen Feiss, née Robert
 
2005-01-17, 20:09

maybe it was the two bottles of woodchuck cider i drank when looking at your picture last week, but

messiahtosh, you're unbelieveably hottttttttttttttttttt

if i were your teacher i'd give you an A
i'm biased though, and that's how grading – at least at my college - works

i'm a slaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave4 U!

A+++++++++++++++++++++++++, perfect 10!
  quote
ohara
BANNED
I am worthless beyond hope.
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Ellen Feiss, née Robert
 
2005-01-17, 20:13

grrr i didn't see that this post was so old
  quote
Messiahtosh
Apple Historian
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2005-01-17, 20:22

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohara
maybe it was the two bottles of woodchuck cider i drank when looking at your picture last week, but

messiahtosh, you're unbelieveably hottttttttttttttttttt

if i were your teacher i'd give you an A
i'm biased though, and that's how grading – at least at my college - works

i'm a slaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave4 U!

A+++++++++++++++++++++++++, perfect 10!
Dude, your profile says you're a dude. So uhm, dude!

Last edited by Messiahtosh : 2005-01-17 at 20:32.
  quote
Wickers
is not a kind of basket
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2005-01-17, 21:15

Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiahtosh
Dude, your profile says you're a dude. So uhm, dude!
Feeling uncomfortable?
  quote
Messiahtosh
Apple Historian
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2005-01-17, 21:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by \/\/ickes
Feeling uncomfortable?
Eh, a little. I worked at Hollywood Video though, so I know how it is.

P.S. I love my girlfriend.
  quote
ohara
BANNED
I am worthless beyond hope.
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Ellen Feiss, née Robert
 
2005-01-17, 22:14

which Hollywood Video? West Hollywood Video] ?

sorry messiah, but I don't think of Hollywood Video as being particularly gay.
do they have a gay & lesbian section or something? gay porn?

and please don't say dude so much. you sound like that Dell kid
  quote
Crusader
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Westminster, MD
Send a message via AIM to Crusader  
2005-01-18, 11:44

Thesis paper?

[Editor mode]
" It had a 5 gigabyte hard disk based storage capacity, meaning 1,000 songs could be held by the deck of cards sized iPod."
-The sentence, while grammatically correct (as far as I can tell), is awkward to read.

"The iPod just feels exclusive and expensive, but that should not fool anyone into thinking that it isn’t robust."
-Take out the 'just'

Who is the target audience for this paper? You word choice should reflect that. (ie, if your writing this as an Internet article, don't use the word 'permeate.')

Anywho, a nice read, but I'm too lazy to critique it anymore than that.

"It's a good thing there's no law against a company having a monopoly of good ideas. Otherwise Apple would be in deep yogurt..."
-Apple Press Release
  quote
Paul
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: New York City
 
2005-01-18, 13:36

note the dates.... heh
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