All 6 entries tagged iPod

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January 26, 2006

Orbino iPod cases

Writing about web page

One of the well-known snags with iPods is that they scratch if you so much as put them in the same room as anything which isn't made of cashmere. So assuming you'd like to keep your shiny new toy in a reasonable state, some sort of case is a necessity. But where are the cases which are as good-looking and well-designed as the iPod itself? Here:-

Orbino iPod case

October 13, 2005

iPods and video

Writing about New iPods from [Ux]

There's been a bit of chat on Steve's blog about the new iPods which can do video, albeit on a pretty small screen at a pretty cruddy resolution. A couple of posts on blogs elsewhere touch on this in interesting ways: from Boing Boing Glenn Fleishman observes:-

  • Can't transfer TV programs.
  • Not much content yet designed to play on it.
  • Battery life while watching video is rated at 2 to 3 hours, thus not long enough for even a half-country-hopping flight.
  • Can't burn the content you buy for it, so you suddenly have a storage and management problem.
  • So this is for Greenwich-to-Manhattan commuters with disposable cash who don't watch Lost or Desperate Housewives the night before because they're too busy playing squash. They can watch DH on the way into work and Lost on the way back without running out of battery life… just barely.

But on the other side of the fence, I think John Gruber is also absolutely spot on when he says :-

Apple is simply kicking ass with iPod hardware engineering. In just one year, they’ve dramatically shrunk the thickness, added a larger full color screen, increased capacity, increased battery life, and added photo and video playback. Which is not even to mention how much better the Nano is than the iPod Mini. I’m hard-pressed to think of any other hardware company doing as much innovative product design and engineering as Apple’s iPod division.

Even if, like me (and Chris, and others) you don't see the attraction of this particular iPod iteration, I think Apple's track record with the hardware is just dazzling.

March 16, 2005

ETech day 3: Why is the iPod so popular?

Brad Pitt or Ian Somerhalder?
Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock?
Apple iPod or Creative whatnot?

Figuring out what the number two product is missing versus the number one product is difficult. The #2 product may objectively be better, but still be #2. Three rules:-

  • Make people happy
    Never underestimate how happy people are when things Just Work™

  • Think about emotions
    Give people ways to be in control of their environment (eg. Amazon checkout process which lets you supply info or change settings in any order you want)

  • Obsess over aesthetics
    Aesthetics generate an emotional response and the the principle of misattribution causes people to conflate the response with other attributes of the thing in question. IPods sell more than other MP3 players because they look nicer and the emotional response this causes colours peoples' view of every aspect of the device.

In possibly the most elegant way to end a presentation I've ever seen, Joel, who had liberally peppered his presentation with jokes, sight gags and music, noted that he was obeying exactly the principle which he was enumerating; remember the jokes, get a good feeling, leave with the impression that this was a great presentation.

November 17, 2004

iPods at Duke

Writing about web page

Duke University in North Carolina has given all 1,650 members of its new first year intake an iPod. They assert that iPods have the potential to become a powerful educational tool; smaller than a laptop and with longer battery life, so that it can be genuinely ubiquitous and pervasive for its users. The iPods come pre-loaded with content such as the orientation schedule and the academic calendar, and there is a Duke Uni page on iTunes where students can download audio files of lectures and other content. Students are also given a microphone so that they can record on to their iPod, for example when out on field classes.

It's an interesting idea, and there's no doubt that Duke were smart to pick a device which for many students will be a desirable object in its own right (the student gets to keep the iPod after they graduate). But I wonder how much value there will turn out to be in an audio-only device? How many lectures turn out to be useful if all you have is the audio, not the slides or the OHPs or the whiteboard? And iPods don't support bookmarking or any other sort of indexing that would let the user do more than just listen from start to end. Perhaps next year they'll go with the iPod Photo so that the PowerPoint slides show up too.

There's also no mention of whether the students get any kind of preferential deal at iTunes as part of the package. Free iPods and cheap iTunes; now that's the way forward…

July 26, 2004

New iPod: Smart or dumb?

So, if you're into MP3 players, it likely won't have escaped your attention that Apple have once again updated the iPod. Short version: it's a bit thinner, the battery life is up from 8 to 12 hours, and it's 100 dollars cheaper.

When I first heard about this, I was underwhelmed. The sorts of features I had been hoping Apple might consider for the iPod included:-

  • Line-in recording for use at gigs or round at friends' houses.
  • FM tuner
  • Recording from the tuner (and although I'm not desperate to see it myself, doesn't it seem logical that once you have a hard disk, an FM tuner and a powerful OS, that you might as well throw in Tivo-style recording for the radio, so your iPod could automatically record every episode of The News Quiz for you?)
  • Simple removable hard disk operation rather than stopping me seeing the MP3s on its disk.
  • SD card slot to archive my digital photos on to its hard disk.

But perhaps I'm wrong: there's a cogent analysis here suggesting that Apple have in fact fixed exactly the two things that they needed to. The only area where iPods lag behind the competition is battery life and price; 8 hours is right at the bottom of the scale for MP3 players, and $500 (for the 40GB model) is right at the top of the price scale. So maybe what they've actually done is opened up the market to a larger proportion of the population, for whom the existing aura of cool and the new lower price might be enough to persuade them that now's the time to buy.

April 28, 2004

Rip. Slash. Gouge.

If it's true that iPod muggings are on the rise, and that iPod minis are a useful self-defence weapon, then no self-respecting owner would want to be without an iStab. Genius.

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