Apple announces iPod

Ten years ago Apple announced the iPod. Watching this video ten years later I am struck by how low key the event is and also what a risk it was for Apple to enter the portable digital music market. In some ways you could argue what a stupid decision for a computer company to make. Apple makes computers and laptops, not accessories for niche markets…

I am also struck by how different the Steve Jobs presentation style is to the ones he has done over the past few years. Ten years ago it looked like it was aimed at the people who would write about the product, sell the product and investors in the company. Whereas the presentations over recent years seemed to be aimed at the people who would actually use the product. Of course the slide presentation wasn’t done in Keynote… I believe it wasn’t even done in Powerpoint…

The iPod was really an interesting product for Apple to launch. At that time the only real player in the market was Sony with their portable CD Walkman players. Everything else on the market was very much on the fringe or niche. No one was really doing anything in that market that was really popular or mainstream. Also most of the players were very geeky, techy and ugly! Apple took a big risk when at the time their main consumer products were the iMac and the iBook.

The first iPod was, when you think about it, not really going to be a success. It was expensive, it was Mac only, it needed Firewire and there was no where to buy music, you needed to use iTunes to rip your CDS to mp3 and then transfer them across. No wonder at the time lots of people were sceptical and thought the iPod was doomed to fail.

I didn’t get one, partly as it was very expensive, I didn’t really use Macs at that point and I had a CD player!

I didn’t get an iPod until the fourth generation in 2004 (that’s me a late adopter) but wasn’t until iTunes added podcasting support in 2005 that my iPod became essential.

Of course the iPod has also changed opinions of Apple has a computer firm and many people I know when replacing their computer are replacing it with a Mac. The mainstreaming of Apple by consumers and the success of devices such as the iPhone and the iPad can be attributed to the humble iPod.

Virtually everyone I know, had an iPod and though with the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod touch, ten years later we are probably seeing the end of the traditional iPod it’s not surprising that the iPod classic is still for sale and has basically the same form factor as that first iPod released ten years ago.

So do you iPod? Which iPod was your first and what do you now do for digital music and podcasts?

Thanks to Tony Vincent for the video link.

Apple Event 090909

Apple will (as is usual at this time of year now) be making an announcement on the 9th September 2009, which is 090909 not that I think that is significant, but it is the date in question!

Anyhow the event is called It’s only rock and roll, but we like it.

Apple Event 090909

Generally at this time of year Apple announce new iPods, for example back in 2007 they announced the iPod touch.

So what can we expect to see? Well the rumours indicate that we will see new iPods with cameras including not just the touch, but all the nano and the classic.

Will we see a Tablet, hmm, I hope so, but I am not expecting too.

Clearing room…

Before installing Adobe CS4 I decided that I better clear out some free disk space so that it will not only install fine, but run fine as well. I had bought it for my new iMac, but that’s on hold at the moment.

So what’s on the hard drive?

Well though my files, photos and music take up a fair bit of space, it is EyeTV recordings which take up the most space. I have been a little lax (because I had the space) in editing and exporting recordings.

Generally I only export the recording in the native MPEG2  format, partly to avoid loss of quality, but in the main as it is very quick. After exporting I might copy the Wi-Fi access version into iTunes so I can then put it onto the iPod pretty quickly, but that’s not always done, it depends on the recording.

Of course if I don’t want the recording, it never gets exported and just gets deleted.

After exporting, I try and move files to an external hard drive, to free up space, but it shouldn’t and it does still surprise me by how much space the recordings take up…

Now I know I could export as a DivX format and reduce the file size significantly over the MPEG2, however then I will have a later problem if I want to export into a different format for a different device.

Until we have a consistent video file format then I would rather maintain the high quality large file size of the native MPEG2 recording then try and mess about with a smaller DivX recording for a different device.

I watch the recordings on a variety of devices, the iPhone and various iPods, the PSP, the PS3 and an Archos PVR device. The iPod h.264 recordings for example would not play on the PSP (always) likewise they would not play on the Archos unless I paid €20 for the “extra” to allow the Archos to play h.264 files, if I was willing to pay that I would pay the €20 to allow the Archos to play MPEG2 files natively!

So at the moment I am editing, exporting and in some cases realising that I am never going to watch that special which went out at Christmas and I am deleting!

Downloading movies

iTunes Movies in the UK - hmmmm

Back in June 2008 when Apple put movies into the UK iTunes Store I had a go and didn’t have a huge success.

So my first proper attempt to get films off the iTunes Store was not a great success, ah well maybe next time.

So now over a year later, what’s the situation?

Well I am downloading a fair few movies from the iTunes Store now, buying and renting.

I do like how quick and easy it is, and sometimes how much cheaper it is too (and annoyed by how expensive it can be too).

I usually watch the movies via an iPod through the TV, as I still haven’t got round to buying an Apple TV, but then I still don’t have that HD TV to watch them on (and I am pretty sure I can’t easily connect an Apple TV to my current TV).

I will probably get an Apple TV if I get an HD TV as I would prefer to watch HD movies on an HD screen.

I was impressed with HD on the TV Shows and downloaded Lost in HD and the newest Doctor Who special in HD too.

So is everything working?

Well not really.

My ADSL is still way too slow, which means it takes hours to download a movie. Also I have a monthly bandwidth limit which means I usually plan my iTunes downloads overnight as Plusnet my ISP gives me a “free” download time between midnight and eight in the morning.

Also now and again iTunes fails to download the movie “properly”, so it downloads it again! As a result I have two versions in my iTunes library.

However despite a few minor issues I am pleased with movies and TV on the iTunes store and use it on a regular basis.

12 Days of Christmas iTunes Giveaway

Apple’s iTunes Store is offering twelve days of giveaways from the 26th December to the 6th January.

For iTunes 12 Days Of Christmas, we’ve delved deep into our catalogue to pull out some real treats for the holiday season. Check back here every day for rare singles, exclusive live tracks and free music videos from some of the biggest artists in the world today. Plus classic TV programmes that you just won’t want to miss. Consider them little stocking fillers for your new iPod.

Find out more.

Renting from iTunes, hmmmm

I have finally got round to not just renting a movie from iTunes, but also taking the time to watch it as well.

Basically I wanted a film I could watch on an ipod on the train and it was one of those 99p films, “A Guy Thing“.

Not sure how I feel about renting movies, it’s not as though I have never rented a movie (as in a physical DVD) from Blockbuster before, but felt more pressure to watch a rented film from iTunes.

The terms are quite generous, you have thirty days to watch and once you start watching you have two days to watch and finish (or even watch it again).

I just felt that I had to watch it (having watched half) even though I wasn’t in the mood for it.

Will I rent again, possibly.

iTunes Movies in the UK – hmmmm

I was quite pleased the other day to hear that movies films would be available in the UK iTunes Store.

iTunes Movies in the UK - hmmmm

At the time I had a quick look over the store and saw lots of films. The number one film was (at that time) I am Legend, I was quite impressed that the price for the film was only £6.99 – and that seemed to explain why it was number one. I was also interested to see that National Treasure 2 was also available and thought “I’ll rent that”.

At that time I was busy with work so knew I would leave until later to get them.

So today I upgraded my version of iTunes and decided I would buy I am Legend and rent National Treasure 2.

So you can imagine my disappointment, to see that I am Legend had gone up in price to £10.99. So why was it cheaper to begin with? Why has it gone up? Was it a mistake that Apple has now corrected? Or did I imagine it all?

Ah well so not to worry I’ll rent National Treasure 2 instead. Even with the rental limitation, I was fine with that, I could always transfer the film to an iPod and connect the iPod to my television.



Yes, though I can buy National Treasure 2 for £10.99, I couldn’t rent it!

It’s suppose to be a reasonably fun film, worth renting, but not worth buying it and certainly not worth paying £10.99.

So my first proper attempt to get films off the iTunes Store was not a great success, ah well maybe next time.

Connecting your iPod nano to the TV

Now and again I will watch video on my iPod, but the iPod nano screen is rather on the small side for me, so prefer using other things for video (such as my Mac or my Archos device).

However I have been experimenting with an AV cable for the iPod nano and it works well on my non-HD CRT TV. Battery life is ample for a whole movie.

Only downside is pausing or rewinding the movie is a little more complicated than using the remote.

iPod touch, first impressions (well second actually)

Well I now have an iPod touch, and though I have touched one before, to actually use one for quite a bit of time, is a different kettle of fish. I am very impressed still with the device. Apple have done an excellent job.

iPod touch

The touch interface is very impressive and compared to the typical Table PC or Archos touch interface, the iPod touch interface is more fluid and responsive, and though I don’t like the fingerprints all over the device, the use of the finger is very intuitive.

The screen quality is excellent and images and video look excellent.

Syncing took a bit of time, it’s just an 8GB device, but I did put over five hundred photographs on the device as well as 4Gb of music and podcasts.

The browser is probably the best I have seen on any mobile device, the way you can intelligently zoom in and out makes browsing webpages really nice and you don’t feel you are losing out with the small screen (well it’s a lot smaller than my 20″ iMac).

Overall I do like the iPod touch, do I like it enough to get an iPhone, well if the phone functions work as well as the iPod then it’s a distinct possibility, though I will probably wait until we see a next generation iPhone, you know one with 3G capabilities.

iPod touch, me touch, me like!