iPod = Awesome
I have joined the iPod cult and become a believer. Though I refuse to drink the whole pitcher of Apple’s Kool-Aid, I tip my hat to them for a brilliant piece of hardware.
After years of sitting on the digital music sidelines, I have finally procured a small, green, modestly outfitted 4GB iPod Mini. While I have been slowly converting my CD collection (about 500 discs left, trimmed from around 1,500 a year ago) over to MP3, I have resisted getting a portable player for one primary reason: my travel time is extremely limited.
But after sitting down and experimenting with this thing, I finally understand what the fuss is all about. While I enjoy Apple’s products very much, I am a victim of circumstance that dictates my design work is done on a PC. (This is not ideal, I know, but I am not one to partake in a platform superiority argument anyway other than a nod when someone states OSX is better than XP.)
As a techno-gadget noob, there are several features of the Mini that really impressed me. First, the form-factor is amazing. At the size of a business card, it fits nicely in my pocket and the cup holder of my car. After using it for a few weeks, I found the “normal” iPod bulky and unwieldy; not because it is in general, but because the Mini is so much more elegant. It’s like a Mercedes owner being unimpressed with the handling of an Audi.
Second, usability. As a first-time iPod owner, I found myself looking for a volume control like you would see on a Walkman; much to my delight I discovered the brilliantly versatile click-wheel. This simple construct forms the heart of the player’s interface, and is so dropdead easy, intuitive and reactive that I find it amazing no one has added a similar construct to a computer keyboard.
Third, the extra features are sweet. The playback options are nice (love the randomization and volume normalization), and I can’t wait to mess with the contacts and calendar features. Not to mention that on a recent flight to Philadelphia, I stumbled across the small suite of games. Solitaire kept me occupied damn near ten minutes.
So for those happy iPod users out there, I have joined your cult and become a believer. Though I refuse to drink the whole pitcher of Apple’s Kool-Aid, I tip my hat to them for a brilliant piece of hardware.