Category Archives: iPod

iPod and other MP3 players

Card number please?

Happy New Year.

Apart from my sister, my eldest also got an iPod Nano for Christmas. Thankfully here we use Windows, so unlike my sister, we didn’t have problems having to upgrade the OS to get it working.

He also got a $50 iTunes voucher. Very cool. So we logged onto Windows as him, and ran iTunes, so it would set up a music library for just him. Ran through the usual guff to get it started, and we set up his Apple ID so the voucher could be redeemed.

Problem: It wants a credit card number. He’s 12. He doesn’t have a credit card. Maybe we can skip this step? Nope. He’s got a $50 voucher, and no credit card, but it wouldn’t let us use the voucher without entering a card number. Idiots!

The workaround we ended up with was to put in my card details. Then we put the iTunes voucher number in, and went and found the option to remove the credit card again. And we had to change his name on the Apple ID, as it had assumed that my name from the credit card was the one to use.

Problem solved. But it shouldn’t be that hard.

Merry Christmas from Apple

My sister is fuming because she got an iPod Nano for Christmas, and apparently it won’t work with her 3 year old PowerPC MacBook, which runs MacOSX 10.3. Sure enough, the Nano specs say it needs 10.4.8 or higher. She’s got no real interest in paying and installing for an OS upgrade to get around the problem, so she’ll ask a friend to load her iPod for her.

Basically it means that Apple is saying you can’t have a new iPod if you run a version of OSX from before April 2005 (with the appropriate free updates).

Whereas it does run happily on Windows XP (SP2) or Windows Vista. So you need to have a version of Windows from no earlier than before October 2001 (with the appropriate free updates).

How does Apple get away with treating its customers like that?

iPod Touch and the ‘classic’ geek blunder

The most famous blunder of all time, according to Vizzini from the Princess Bride,┬áis “never get involved in a land war in Asia” but the most famous blunder, I think, for a geek is not to research fully the geek tech they are going to buy.

I treated myself to an 16Gb iPod Touch yesterday, I’ve been meaning to get an iPod for a few years and being a user of iTunes at home for my music collection it was a logical step. The iPod Touch is a great little device, not too heavy and has a great screen but hey you already know that because “we” geeks have read all the reviews, and if lucky enough to have a nearby Apple Store we’ve had a play with one.

So late yesterday afternoon I took a spin down Pitt Street here in Sydney to Next Bytes (Apple Reseller) and purchased my iPod Touch, I even bought a nice silicon protector for it. I resisted the urge to open it and play with it on the trip home and ripped the packaging off once I was in front of my PC.

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New iPods: Definitely Mac or Windows only

Cory Doctorow writes on Boing Boing that it looks like the newly released iPod models have a checksum in them that prevents third-party applications from synching with them, which impacts people on Linux. Nice.

Oh well, we’ll just have to wait a week or two for someone to crack it, I guess.

Apple iPhone

Apple has announced the iPhone — which at first glance looks like an iPod (with video) combined with a phone combined with an internet browser (a version of Safari).

Of course, most phones now have similar functionality. This looks like it’ll have a bigger screen (with a soft keyboard — byebye click wheel) and of course Apple’s nice design should mean it’s easier than most phones to use.

With past false-starts like WAP, and the constraints of most existing mobile phone internet browsers, and the cost and geekiness of PDAs, perhaps this will be the thing that brings mobile internet into the mainstream.

And if you’re wondering if it’ll work outside North America, well apparently it will be GSM quadband, so my guess is it’s only a matter of time before it’s widely available throughout the western world.

PS.: Apple’s press release mentions availability: iPhone will be available in the US in June 2007, Europe in late 2007, and Asia in 2008 …

Update Friday: Cisco’s Mark Chandler blogs about the trademark infringement suit

Multimedia alternatives

Video hosting

Buzzmachine has a quick look at various online video hosters, and while he doesn’t come to any definite conclusion, does say blip.tv is one of the best for picture quality.

What I notice is that Motionbox won’t work without Adobe Flash Player 9, which effectively rules it out if you want corporate types to look at your stuff.

And Brightcove was not only complicated for Jeff to use, but gives me dire warnings about lack of bandwidth.

Personally I’ve used Google Video and YouTube. Both seem okay, but I’m looking for ease of use, not necessarily best quality.

iPods

Jeff Atwood tells us why he’s not buying an iPod.

It should be obvious why iPod doesn’t support WMA… because then you wouldn’t have to buy your online music from the iTunes Music Store.

Mummy, where did iPods come from?

The iPod’s Birth: off the shelf parts, reference design from external design group, OS from mobile phone. And stacks and stacks of design and usability iterations. Basically, Apple’s value-add was software and UI design.

PS: Check out The Seven Phases of Owning an iPod – An Illustrated Journey

Have iPods peaked?

You’ve probably heard of Peak Oil.

Have we also reached Peak iPod? MP3 functionality is now available in most mobile phones, and the bulk of people probably don’t particularly want to be carrying a separate music player around.

Meanwhile, there are suspicions that iPod shuffle isn’t totally random. Shades of the Tivo that thought its user was gay?

Releases and recalls

Another major release of iTunes, another batch of complaints about glitches and poor performance. I’ll wait for an x.02 or x.03 release.

Mind you it could be worse… a recall of Segways cites random reversing. At least if iTunes skips a track you’re not risking your life.

iPod pricing

Have you noticed that iPod pricing is suspiciously consistent across retailers?

The Trade Practices Act prohibits price coercion, doesn’t it?

How are Apple getting around this?

I suspect that there’s next to no margin on the iPods themselves, but the accessories are high margin. So there’s no room to discount, but the profit comes from the impulse upsell. But this theory doesn’t make a huge amount of sense to me, unless Apple’s making their money on iTunes rather than the iPods.