When is Enough, Enough? Why the Apple Keynote Left Me Completely Disappointed
As I sat down to watch the Apple Keynote address yesterday I pretty much already knew what to expect from weeks of leaks popping up across all the tech blogs. The focus was on music, and with that new iPod designs, an iTunes face lift, updated Apple TV, and more goodies were sure to surface.
While I sat there in front of my computer, listening to Mr. Jobs’ soothing voice, being blinded by the UV ray glare coming of his aging bald head, and wondering if he owns several black turtlenecks or just one he washes a lot, I couldn’t help but get a sour taste in my mouth. Apple press conferences are supposed to be exciting, filled with the latest and greatest gadgets with never-before-seen features. How could I be anything but enthralled after seeing a touch screen iPod Nano and a music social media iTunes feature named Ping?
Apple is an innovator. They are constantly pushing the bubble of what is possible, and it has put them in a powerful position in the computer technology industry. Often, those companies that are not able to adapt to changing trends and move forward get left behind in the dust (sorry AOL). So it is only reasonable for Apple to continue to develop ingenious products.
It is at times equally important to not lose track of your roots. The original iPod completely transformed and redefined the market for portable music players and also the music industry overall when it was introduced by Steve Jobs on October 23, 2001. It was the introduction of the iPod that rejuvenated Apple and propelled them from a computer company into a technology leader at large.
Yes, the iPod was a big deal, and it should have been. At the time, it completely blew any competition out of the water and trademarked features that we would come to know and love from iPod and Apple music (the clickwheel, iTunes). When the iPod was introduced I was using an RCA Lyra MP3 player that came standard with a 32mb CF card (that could hold a grand total of 20 songs), a 1″ monochrome screen, and converted all your MP3 files to WMAs in order to playback on the device. So vintage. What a huge leap in technology.
Right now, I am still using my fifth generation 30gb iPod classic, which I have held onto dearly since 2005. It does everything I could ever ask for in an portable music player. It holds my entire music library, it maintains a charge for days on end (At least it used to. Little guy is getting old), and it produces excellent sound quality. That is really all I want in an MP3 player. So while watching the Apple Keynote and seeing the next generations of iPods, decked out in their fancy touch screens and front facing cameras, I shed a slight tear. The one iPod that didn’t get an upgrade was the iPod classic, which if history is any indicator could mean that the classic may be phased out eventually. Likely, this won’t happen till the iPod touch can hold over 64gb, but I have that feeling. The same feeling you get when you see an M. Night Shyamalan film trailer and can predict the entire movie scene by scene without fail, yet you still get dragged into seeing it and then kick yourself afterwards for wasting $10.
The original iPod purchasers were music fans. People who loved music and wanted the ability to bring their favorite songs with them across the vast expanse of the universe. The focus was on the sound experience, and not touchscreens, games, WiFi, and FaceTime. I have all that on my smart phone. I don’t need multiple devices that can do exactly the same thing (although an iPad would be nice). It seems somewhere along the line Apple has lost sight of this. Sure, these new features appeal to a much broader audience (which will certainly boost sales), but what about us? What about the original fans?
My hope would be that Apple would introduce a classic retro model with 60gb of space that would just play songs, and play them well. On a logistical standpoint, I understand that this wouldn’t necessarily make sense for Apple financially. In order to sell a more basic model, they would have to drop the price point significantly (when in reality these people will eventually opt for the iPod touch instead, spending much more). Apple doesn’t need to do this for the money, but they need to for the people. Don’t forget about us Steve!
Apple has offered me anything I could ever desire in an iPod, and everything I ever wanted they left behind 5 years ago.