Tag Archives: iPod

A Glutton for Punishment

I’ve heard mixed reviews on the new iOS 10 beta’s music app. Long-time readers will no doubt remember that I gave up playing music on my iPhone altogether a while back, due to the Music app being completely incongruous with the way I listen to music, not to mention constant issues with songs not downloading, going missing, etc. So I’ve been happily using my old iPod Classic for a while now.

And that’s going great, actually. The old iPod is still working. But I’m a tech geek, and I don’t believe in hanging onto the past forever, so with every new iteration of iOS, I am bound to look at what Apple does with Music to see if there’s a chance they may have actually fixed the issues that drove me away.

Right off the bat, looking at Music.app in the iOS 10 beta, I see two things that have me rather hopeful. First, there’s the Downloaded Music section, which shows you only the songs you actually have living on your iPhone, rather than showing your cloud songs mixed in with your downloaded songs. In previous iterations of Music, there was a switch in Settings to show or hide cloud music, but this dedicated space within the app is actually way better. It gives me the option of looking for a cloud album to download when the mood strikes and I happen to be connected without having to drop out of the app and dig through Settings to flip the cloud music switch.

Second and much more important, when you sort by Artist, you now finally once again have a separate screen between the albums and the individual songs. Which means it’s now possible again to play a single album from an artist when sorting by artist. Hooray. Functionality that existed in iPhone OS 1.0 is now back—many, many years later. This alone was the reason I originally ditched the built-in Music app for Ecoute before giving up on Music on my iPhone altogether.

So, what does this mean for me? Well, I’m doing a little experiment. I’ve moved Music.app back to my main home screen, and I’ve downloaded some music to my phone again, via iTunes. Not my whole library, as I only have a 64GB iPhone at the moment, and my whole library wouldn’t fit on a 128GB, anyway. But come fall, when iOS 10 is released, and with it hopefully a 256GB option for the next iPhone, I may finally be able to replace my old iPod Classic for good, if all the file disappearing and syncing issues have been resolved in iOS. I may finally have all my songs in my pocket again, without carrying around a separate, aging device with a hard drive and battery that are due to fail any minute now.

But that point about the file issues is a huge if. Thus, the experiment. So far, I’ve only added about 15GB of songs onto the iPhone, to see if they actually stick. I’ll keep adding more and more as I go and keep a close eye on whether or not the songs are actually there. Will songs simply disappear again? Will duplicates show up for no reason? Will album tracks show up out of order? Will tracks appear to be there, but when I hit play simply skip to the next track? If history is any indication, all of the above are not only possible, but likely. But I have my fingers crossed. After all, I’m an optimist at heart.

The Music app is far from perfect in iOS 10, but just those two simple changes are enough to get me to at least try it again. I’ll write up some of my gripes about what’s still broken in the near future.

Netgear CEO demonstrates tremendous capacity for being a total douche bag

At a lunch in Sydney today, Patrick Lo said Apple’s success was centred on closed and proprietary products that would soon be overtaken by open platforms like Google’s Android.

Apple has had unparallelled success by being able to control the entire ecosystem around its products, from the hardware to the software to the acquisition of content and apps through iTunes.

It has used this to effectively dominate the market and shut out competitors. Consumers have also benefited because they get a consistent experience and products that are easier to use.

Lo said Apple’s closed model only worked because, in many product categories like MP3 players, “they own the market”.

However, he said this was only a temporary state of affairs and pointed to the fact that Google’s open-source Android platform for smartphones – which any manufacturer can use for free – recently overtook iPhone in market share in the US.

“Once Steve Jobs goes away, which is probably not far away, then Apple will have to make a strategic decision on whether to open up the platform,” said Lo.

“Ultimately a closed system just can’t go that far … If they continue to close it and let Android continue to creep up then it’s pretty difficult as I see it.”

I love how people say things like this, and then other people print it, and then others read it, all the while thinking that it bears some resemblance to reality. It doesn’t.

The iPod only worked as a closed system for Apple because “they own the market.” And how exactly did Apple end up owning that market? Did that happen before or after the “closed” iPod? I can’t remember.

“Closed systems don’t go that far.” What the hell does that even mean? Anyone who seriously thinks the iPod didn’t go that far is pretty delusional. A decade later, and the iPod is still by far the dominant MP3 player on earth.

“If they continue to close it and let Android continue to creep up then it’s pretty difficult as I see it.” Let Android creep in? Creep in to what? The iPhone is still growing market share. The recent deal with Verizon will prop up market share even further as it stunts Android growth in the US. The iOS ecosystem will continue to gain momentum as Android struggles to attract developers of anything other than ringtones and ad-based-crapware. And in the midst of this, Apple is supposed to “open” up the iPhone? For what reason? What good could possibly come from Apple letting go of its desire to curate the iOS software platform to the benefits of its loyal users? We’d get more ad-ware, carrier-controlled software updates, and all the ringtones we’ve ever dreamed of. Oh, and a task killer. That would be great.

And then, just in case we weren’t sure yet if this guy was a total a-hole or not, he throws in that cheap line about Steve “going away.” Wow. I don’t even know what to say to that.

Most of the losers in the tech industry probably can’t wait for Steve Jobs to go away. Because that’s sure as hell easier than competing with him, isn’t it? Just close your eyes and wish him away.

Tim Cook and company are going to have an easy time staying on top of this industry when Steve decides it’s time to hand over the reigns.

Daring Fireball Linked List: Whither the iPod Classic?

Dan Frommer wonders whether Apple is set to eliminate the hard-drive based iPod Classic next week. I wouldn’t be shocked if they did, but I bet they won’t. The iPod Classic is like the Mac Pro — not something that sells in huge numbers compared to Apple’s mass market products, but it fills a lucrative and important niche. Some people really do want 200 GB of music in their pocket.

Yeah. I’m one of them. Actually, I don’t want 200GB of music in my pocket; I want it in my car. And make it 500GB while you’re at it.

There’s no good reason to update the iPod Classic. But there’s no good reason to kill it, either. Not unless Apple can sell at LEAST a 128GB iPod Touch at a reasonable price. A 256GB iPod Touch would be even better.

I’ve been quietly hoping that my Classic will last long enough so that I don’t have to replace it before Apple releases such a Touch, but if I have to replace it, I will.

The iPhone makes a great personal iPod when I’m commuting by train or walking, but in my car it’s a lousy iPod.

iPod Out

The video notes that unlike existing iPod car integration systems that provide basic playback controls, the iOS iPod Out feature exposes more advanced features such as Genius Mixes and presents a familiar Apple interface, “which is one of the main advantages of the system,” the company notes.

I remember when iOS4 was announced saying “What the heck is ‘iPod Out?'” Well, I guess this is it. Pretty cool. Something I’ve been wanting since the original iPod. (Took them long enough).

The big issue, though, is that it only works with iOS devices, meaning the iPod Touch or iPhone. I have no interest in making my phone my car music player. There are just too many inconvenience factors there, putting your phone in the glove box every time you go for a ride. Even with a good bluetooth integration system in the car, there are always times when serving those dual purposes is a bad idea. And the iPod Touch and iPhone still don’t have nearly enough capacity to carry my music library with me in the car, anyway. I still rely on my 120 GB iPod Classic for that reason.

So until we see a 128 GB iPod Touch, and unless these ‘iPod Out’ systems take off with more car manufacturers, I can’t get too excited about this yet.

The iPad, and the Staggering Work of Obviousness : Cheerful

the “of course” model of innovation diffusion

People won’t buy a product if they can’t understand it immediately. They can’t understand it immediately if their worldview doesn’t already have a readymade place for it. And their worldview won’t have a readymade place for it, if they’ve never seen anything like it before.

Steve expertly wields the powerful tool that is the feeling of recognition.

That feeling tells us, hey, I’ve been here before, and good things happened, and people were nice to me. Recognition is a poor man’s wisdom. It helps people decide whether to buy. Without recognition, they won’t even entertain the question.

So, because one Steve is worth a zillion other CEOs, Apple paves the way to the future by giving us devices we can understand today, in order to create more revolutionary (but still recognizable) devices tomorrow.

Do you doubt that the iPod was laying the groundwork for the iPad all along?

That final question is what I’ve been pondering all weekend. Way back when Apple dropped its best-selling iPod to date, the iPod mini, and launched the iPod nano as its replacement, most of us thought it was a bold, risky move that merely fed into Steve’s obsession with making iPods smaller. Saturday Night Live even did a sketch about it.

But the real motivation there, it seems in hindsight, was not so much about having a smaller iPod, but to move Apple’s devices in general towards Flash storage, and more importantly, away from hard drive storage. Try to picture an iPhone with a portable hard drive, instead of Flash memory. Or even the iPad.

Flash RAM prices were far too high at the time to offer large capacities in consumer devices. The entire iPod nano’s existence, then, served as a tool for accelerating the drop of RAM prices over time. Apple took its best-selling product, and turned it into a driving force for future products. Talk about a risk.

Rather than continuing to sell what already worked, Apple made a drastic change that seemed completely unimportant to the average consumer at the time (retaining familiarity, as the above article suggests), but paved the way for the devices of the future.

The iPad would not be possible today at the current price point if it hadn’t been for the nano. And Apple was already thinking about the iPad that long ago.

If you think that’s easy, or that it’s commonplace in the business world to have that kind of foresight, you haven’t been to many design meetings at other companies. Trying to convince a CEO that your top-selling device needs to be dropped in order to prepare for the devices you want to sell in five years is next to impossible at most places. Most people say ‘if it ain’t broke…”

Skate to where the puck is going, indeed.