Apple — or more precisely, Steve Jobs, announced a complete revamp of their iPod line-up this morning, and as usual they’ve managed to one-up the competition on all fronts in the battle for your digital pocket, creating new products too sexxay to keep hidden (though too pretty not to fear being mugged for) and dropping the prices at the same time.
I already own a Shuffle, a Nano, and an iPhone. I had an iPod “Classic” (as they’re now called) but it died recently, and would not hold a charge no matter how hard I tried to make it do so. It was a v3, I think, pre-video version with a line of buttons along the top and a monochrome screen, so it was horribly out of date and had I pulled it out at SXSW next year, people would have laughed at me derisively and pointed out that I was so behind the times that I shouldn’t even be there. So it was time for an upgrade anyway.
The dilemma: which iPod is right for me?
I love my Shuffle. And it didn’t change at all, save for a new coat of paint. It’s still a relatively cheap $79 for a Gig of music and no way to tell what the hell you’re listening to unless you already know. It’s like a game to carry around a collection of songs from my collection of over 11,000 and wonder just what will come up next. It keeps a charge forever and it’s really durable with its all-metal skin, so it’s a keeper.
The Nano isn’t seeing as much action as it used to now that I’m no longer going into an office, or working out, or doing much more than sitting on my ass at home managing my new Apple-centric digital lifestyle. The new Nano, dubbed the Phatty in various blogs, is a squat, thin little cracker of a media player that now supports video on a larger screen with a buffed-up interface. My black Nano is now 2 versions behind, an original slim wonder I rewarded to myself when I quit my old full-time job. It was handy to take to the gym and to slip into my pocket for MUNI excursions and bike rides. And though its small memory size had me worried at first and thinking of it as a back-up to my “big iPod,” I used it more and more and simply refreshed the songs in its memory, though that does get trying.
The reason I loved the original iPod was that I could (nearly) fit all my music onto it, so I never had to fret that I didn’t have that one song I want to listen to right now because it was all on there. But as my song library grew, it outgrew the iPod.
The new iPod Classic swells all the way up to a ginormous 160 Gigs of portable hard drive space — and that may be its biggest advantage. It’s not so much a digital media player anymore, it’s a pocket-sized easily managed portable hard drive. You can use it to carry around music and movies and whatever else your heart desires to entertain your head, but all that space also makes it easy to transport files and docs and huge gobs of data, too. And the new design is slimmer than ever and comes in an all-metal case, so it even protects that data better while looking slim and sexy at the same time.
But what’s sure to get the attention of the press is the newest iPod in the family, the iPod Touch. It’s basically a phoneless iPhone (which is also now $200 less than it was only a couple months back) in a radically slim 8mm thick design. It comes with WiFi built-in for web surfing, and Safari is already there, too. It uses the same form factor as the iPhone with the same screen and the same interface, so it’s the iPhone for people who don’t want a phone messing up their iPod. It’s very lovely, at least on screen since it won’t be available to mere mortals to “Touch” for a few weeks yet, but as I already own an iPhone I’m not sure that it’s the right iPod for me, no matter how beautiful it is.
So I’m leaning toward a new Classic for my collection. I still like the idea of having every single song available to me at any time no matter where I am, and I like the excess space that a 160Gb drive allows for whatever else I want to stick on there.
I’ve no doubt that there will be a lot of Apple products underneath Christmas trees at the holiday season this year. There’s literally something for everyone in the line-up, and the price points, while still premium, look completely affordable.
I’ll see you at the Apple Store. Bring money.