Thursday, November 8, 2007

iPod Tales

For some unknown reason I woke up on Sunday morning and my mind had decided that I needed a new iPod. I've known for the last few months that I'd get one at any time and, when I tried out my Dad's new one and thought, very definitely, that the sound quality was much better than on my older model, my mind was made up.

I've noticed over the course of recent history that iPods are more like consumables than like the pieces of hardware that they were when they first came out. It's as if iTunes, the music and video libraries that people keep on their hard drives are the hardware and the iPod itself is just a temporary device. New ones are brought out every 3 minutes and 2 years in normal Human time is the equivalent of about 50 years in Apple time. It's a bit like the thing about dog years and Human years, just different and without dogs.

A consequence of all this is that my old iPod, which is about 2 years old, is about as outdated as the hair style on that longhaired but bald chap who's some sort of manager at House Of Fashions.

So off I went on Sunday morning and bought myself one, an iPod that is, not a 70s hairstyle. The cost and specification of iPods have lowered and risen respectively at crazy rates. It cost me about £160 for an 80 gig one. I looked at the new touch ones but I need more storage than 16gb for all my music so went for the old fashioned "classic".

Syncing was seamless and rather satisfying, a bit like a pair of trousers I once owned. I plugged the thing into my laptop and iTunes took care of the rest. It asked me to give the new baby a name so I did. After some thought and imaginative thinking, a lot of crazy ideas and witty names had come and gone and I settled on "Rhythmic's 3rd iPod", it just felt so right.

Now I'm the proud owner of a new video iPod. I can watch the handful of music videos I've bought over the last couple of years and only been able to watch on my laptop with a new found sense of freedom and fine sound quality. I don't know why or what the Apple chaps have done but the sound quality is way better than on my old model and that's using the same headphones. The high frequencies are much clearer, easier to pick out and the bass frequencies have got that bit more balls to them. I like.

The video thing is interesting and has me enraptured, even if you take into account the fact i'm a drummer and easily pleased. I must buy the videos for Slave 4 U, just to be true to form and please Sach, and also for Kylie's Can't get you outta my head, just to perv over the Aussie beauty in all her lack of clothes.

But, the really big thing, the one I'm most pleased about, is the way that the software on the iPod now makes it pleasant and enjoyable to browse through the music. My biggest bone of contention on the old iPod used to be that I could never choose what to listen to without deciding to change the album after a couple of songs. It never seemed right to scroll through an alphabetical list of artists or albums or songs.

I grew up with records, tapes and CDs and I'm tactile about my music. I associate album covers, the artwork and the photographs on them, with the songs on the album. Most people of my age or older are probably of the same background. We browse through the visuals, we're not great at reading a long lifeless list of names of albums.

And now the iPod software can do this pretty well. It holds the artwork for all the things I've bought at the iTunes store and last night I clicked on something on iTunes which meant that it went off and searched somewhere and downloaded the artwork for most of the ones that were missing for me.

Now I can turn on my iPod and go into something called "coverflow". It's like flicking through album covers. I get to see Phil Lynott's leather trousers and balls on the cover of Live and Dangerous, possibly the best live rock album ever. I can look at the floating baby on the cover of Nevermind and remember how that album seemed to launch Nirvana and grunge into the 90s. I can gaze with confusion at the cover of Coltrane's A Love Supreme and wonder I've just never been able to share the joy that so many get from it. It's all there and I've been happily looking at the covers and listening to albums because the cover brings up a load of thoughts and memories.

Hats off to the Apple chaps. They've managed to change what was a totally handy device for storing and listening to music on into something that makes me want to browse and feel and look and listen to.

I can't wait for the next one!

1 comment:

SpectralCentroid said...

Ah come on! iPod touch is the shit man. Yes the storage is limited to a 16 Gb maximum but wider video screen and wireless access coupled with the mouth watering touch screen interface? Groovy.

Now back to my good old nano.