Tuesday, December 23, 2008

7 ½ Reasons Why I Hate My Lovely iPod

Every time the word iPod is mentioned in a conversation someone has to interrupt, sigh and say dreamily: 'I love my iPod', as if this line were as mandatory the Ezzat Abou Ouf appearance in every new Arabic movie released. The truth is that the iPod is one of the most overrated devices known to man. Most people have been brain washed into thinking that the best MP3 players are produced by Apple Computers, so much so, that the word MP3 player has been conveniently replaced by iPod.

This couldn't be farther from the truth and it might startle some to read that the super expensive iPod they just bought isn't the best player in the market and that he could have bought something better for a lesser price. There are many MP3 players out there and have surpassed iPods in many aspects.

For example, the player with the best features as reviewed by CNET is from Creative; Sony has the player with the longest best battery life, not iPods and much to the dismay of iPod owners who take pride in quality, Creative provides the players with the highest sound quality. Although iPods look sleek with appealing simplicity, beneath their shiny exterior are enormous shortcomings that have been masterfully camouflaged solely by good marketing.

I need an MP3 player that works as storage and a player simultaneously, one that can record and tune in to the radio. I'd like to features that make my life easier since I'm already carrying the damn thing with me all the time. Is that too much to ask? Apparently Apple thinks so.

Since MP3 players are very personal, let me list a summary of reasons why I personally hate iPods:

1- No Radio

Other MP3 players can tune in to a radio station, why not mine?


2 - No Voice Recorder

Whether you're interviewing someone or want to record a business meeting, or just someone who wants to create voice memos, you'd like to be able to do that using your MP3 player that you already carry around. Not with the iPod.


3- Unintuitive Media Transfer

Why can't I just drag my music to the iPod? I do that with most other MP3 players. Heck I even do that with the iPod when I want to use it as storage, why then must it be so difficult to transfer an MP3 to my iPod? Even techies find it tedious and that really says something!! Which brings us to…


4- Either Player or Storage

Once it's on the pod it can never go back. If you transfer a song to your iPod you can't copy it back to your PC, it's not an option, not in a straight forward manner anyway. You can transfer the song as a file using your explorer but then you can't play it on your iPod. You have to choose between using your iPod as storage or as a player.


5- Very Proprietary

Proprietary software, gadgets or formats are the reason why I have a stack of Sony's failed Betamax tapes unable to play them except on an old Sony VCR. It is also the same reason why some of you might have a stack of the now defunct mini discs also by Sony (but Sony and proprietary gadgets is another story).

iPods are reminiscent of such a disaster, without the proprietary iPod cable I'm completely lost. I can't charge my iPod nor connect to a computer. A standard cable can connect your camera, your hard drive and your MP3 player to the computer and is widely available with other products, this kind of connection is provided by Sandisk's Sansa players for example. If Apple chooses to discontinue these cables then you're in a jam and might have difficulty finding places to buy these cables if you value an old iPod.

But even with the proprietary cable packed you still need iTunes, you can't simply copy music that you like from a friend's PC to the iPod. You either need your laptop or iTunes everywhere you go. As if that's not enough, you need to register your iPod on any new iTunes on a new computer which means you have to carry around more software and information.

Most people I know have suffered from iTunes in one way or another. Even though iTunes is freely available the internet there's no version of iTunes under Linux.


6- Lacks Other Features

To record a radio program is obviously not available and transferring a video to iPod is a hassle. You can't transfer a video of your choice, the formats supported are limited. But that's not all, there are some innovative features provided by other MP3 players that have probably not even been considered in iPods. Some MP3 players have a memory slot of SD cards for example, others create a playlist for the most played songs automatically.


7 - More for Less

 With such a limited feature set, you end up paying much more for much less.


7 ½ - Pretentious

This is the most subjective of all of my reasons, and that's why I will count it as half a reason. People don't look for features, they just simply pick the iPod knowing that Apple products are hard to pick up just anywhere in Egypt. There is a halo around the iPod which no one wants to desecrate only to sound like a fool. I know the choice can be a result of not knowing better or just not seeing enough MP3 players, but to accept that iPods are the best based on reputation is dogmatic to say the least and something I find resentful.

iPod users have faced many more problems while using the iPod for example updating the firmware, conversions and battery life. Most iPod reviews are about look, feel and usability. But in all fairness to the just defamed iPod, the concept of 'the best' is subjective. One might prefer lack of features of the iPod (aka simplicity) and another might actually enjoy tediousness of using the non intuitive and proprietary method of connecting the iPod to the computer.

But in the end, anyone half as frustrated as I am with the overrated iPod will be happy to know that they have a choice and it's nowhere close to just settling for the next best thing.

*Expanded from the form published on The Daily News Egypt


Please observe the numerous negative comments at the end by hardcore iPod users, highly entertaining.


insomniac said...

the comments, OUCH!!

i'm an ipod owner and i agree, but i can only say it here; this is a friendlier environment...

good luck with the angry crowds!

Eventuality said...

This is exactly what I was thinking about Apple in general, and about the iPhone in particular. Just as with the iPod...there's a huge hype about a phone which carries half the capabilities and double the price of much better phones out there. It's all just a big marketing ploy that we Egyptians love to fall for. Having Apple products makes you cool somehow, so you just have to get them despite the fact that they are just pretentious.

Wael Eskandar said...

Well I don't mind the comments.. it's just bitterness.. :) It does actually prove the dogma I referred to.

Anonymous said...

So, let me get this straight: you hate your MP3 player because it isn't an FM Radio or a voice recorder? That's like hating your blender because it won't make you waffles. One buys an MP3 player, for the MP3 playback.

Pre-purchase research would have indicated that these frivolous extras aren't included and could have possibly saved you some headaches.

I'm so glad that iPods aren't drag-and-drop. With 9,000+ songs, how can I be expected to remember new additions or removals to my library? I love the fact that it syncs ITSELF to my library changes and podcasts and whatnot.

I'm sorry, but the iPod is phenomenal if used as intended and if you didn't buy an MP3 player to listen to the radio.

Wael Eskandar said...

Well Kyle, if you ever are back on this blog here's my response:

Firstly I had the good sense not to buy an iPod.

Secondly, you've just picked 2 reasons to pick on and you've ignored all other aspects. Needless to say I've not mentioned in full details the problems with firmware and battery.

Thirdly, how about having a phone that doesn't tell you the time of your calls? or one that doesn't have an alarm? It's not all necessary but it's nice to have and other phones provide it.. so your blender analogy doesn't stand a chance. I need the voice recorder for work, and so it doesn't make sense to have 2 devices btw.

Fourthly, thanks for doing this, because it demonstrates how iPod lovers love the iPod for all its flaws and can always make the flaw seem like an advantage. The same with iPhones that are very limited in features btw.

Finally, have you tried other Mp3 players with more features and better sound quality? In the end, you could be right of course since all of this is subjective, but if you really haven't tried then it's still just dogma.

Thanks for stopping by, and of course needless to say, you're most welcome to disagree at any time.

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