Adventures in iPod Shopping

March 28, 2012

So I bought a new iPod today. My old Nano had failed to consistenly sync for some time, and my second-hand iPod Touch only plays at one volume, so I really didn’t have much of a choice. That is, after I realized that I still use my earbuds even though I no longer have a co-worker whose voice I want to drown out.

Two things I noticed during this endeavor:

1. iPods aren’t readily available like they used to be. I visited 2 Target locations and 2 BestBuy locations before I could find a 16gb model in stock. It seems the only versions that are physically available (as opposed to online) are 2gb Shuffles, 8gb Nanos, 32gb Touches, and 160gb Classics. On one hand it probably makes economic sense to coordinate the price scale with the storage size, but for semi-casual/semi-serious users like me, there’s no real option but to limit the amount of music on my iPod or to upgrade to an iPod that far exceeds my needs. I like to keep about 12-14 gigs of music and podcasts handy and I don’t like being upsold by companies to whom I’ve demonstrated gadget nerd loyalty over the years.

Conclusion: Apple is quietly trying to scale back their iPod divison for some unseen reason. Perhaps they envision a cloud-based, wireless music network that makes physical storage of music files unnecessary.

2. The latest version of the iPod is needlessly tiny. It actually makes me feel like some bumbling, oversized Lenny trying to manipulate the square touchscreen (“How do I make the song change, George?”) and I don’t really see how the previous versions of the Nano were so big as to be inconvenient and needing improvement. Will the next version be even smaller, or will the folks at Apple realize that you don’t need to change a product just because they’re bored with the current version? And there’s something to be said for objects having some heft and/or substance to them. Scaling back an mp3 player (and it is just an mp3 player) to the point where a user can’t really use it very easily, only proves your arrogance to your critic.

Conclusion: This could be my first real grumpy-old-man moment. Back in my day, iPods actually fit in your hand…