Wednesday, November 02, 2005

iPOD - The Clever Marketing Guys at Apple

I think that the people who designed the iPOD were extremely clever. It is, without a doubt, one of the single greatest little inventions of the past decade. The idea of having your entire music collection – as much as 15,000 songs in a small, thin device in your pocket that weighs less than two CD’s is incredible. I have the 60 gig color photo version and I have my entire CD collection on there (about 4500 songs) as well as several entire audio books, etc. It’s utterly fantastic for long drives, or for standing in a long queue for something. To have every piece of music you have ever bought with you at all times is just amazing.
And for me, a struggling sort of musician-type, I can put each and every version of my semi-musical nonsense in there and listen to it over and over until I figure out what is wrong with it and go back to the studio and fix it, and then do it again. And all this without burning and wasting any physical CDs!
And the menu/control system is absolute genius. Like no other electronic device I have ever seen. This was not invented by humans. Clearly, it was technology stolen from aliens.
However, in the mix of all this staggering cleverness is the similarly adept aptitude of the marketing and sales folks who managed to make Apple Macintosh stand on equal footing with the collective of hundreds of thousands of computer brands that use the Windows platform.

They are damned clever. What did they do? Well, for one thing, they put a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery in the SEALED case of the iPOD. Now, we all know that rechargeable batteries don’t last forever. They have a diminishing lifespan. After 2 months, the 8 hour battery charge will only carry about 4 hours. After a year, it carries maybe 2 hours. After 2 years, you’re lucky to get a couple of songs play time out of it. Then, you must THROW IT AWAY and BUY A NEW ONE!!!!!!
This is not trivial. Mine cost me $500 + tax + the replacement warranty which cost me $75 (and which I actually used within a month when the first one failed. I also scored an upgrade from a 30gig to a 40gig in the process because they discontinued the 30 gig). Then I had to bring it back again later and they upgraded me again to a 60 Gig color iPOD photo. Total cost for this thing was over $600. Seems a little steep. Especially when you might have to replace it every couple of years because of a dying battery.
Why not make it open? Why seal it? Obviously, because they don’t want us to buy a new battery – they want us to buy another iPOD! And why would we DO this when there are other devices out there that will now do similar things and will have openable cases? Because we once sat down and spent literally WEEKS loading and coding all our thousands of songs into the software on the computer that connects to the iPOD and that software wont talk to any other pocket-wear devices. ALSO, if you have ever used the iTunes features of buying single songs or entire albums from, then you will find out later that the format is not mp3. It is another format (MP4) which, of course, doesn’t play on other devices.
also, they have managed to encode into each song, the limits of 5 systems and 7 writes to a CD disk.
Damn, these guys are GOOD!!! Now I’m locked into an expensive purchase loop with no way out. It’s an expensive but excellent product with no real peer and requires replacement every couple of years. I hate being the victimized consumer like this – but ya gotta admire their style…..
They sell what amounts to a disk drive with a tiny screen and tiny amplifier on it, and sell it for more than an entire Mac computer - and they are making more money on iPODs now than the entire computer division. Amazing.


Post a Comment

<< Home