New music services are great at making me feel old.
Opening Spotify is like opening the door to some hip cafe where a mustached 20-year old barista takes my order with folded arms and a stamp on his hand from last night's secret show. I feel not just a little lame. But instead of running for the door like the curmudgeon that I am, yearning for the comfortable embrace of my iTunes collection, I stay.
I stay because even in these days of free apps, free video streams, and free e-books, I'm still totally enthralled by the idea … Read more
Like clockwork, Apple never fails to refresh its iPod lineup every fall. In recent years, though, one can't help but notice that the ritualized iPod unveiling has lost some of its gusto compared with the fanfare surrounding the iPhone and iPad.
Still, Apple remains the top manufacturer of portable media players. Those of us old enough to remember the "iPod wars" that occurred nearly a decade ago can attest to the fact that Apple's tenacity in making the world's most popular MP3 player laid the groundwork for the success of the iPhone (pour one out for the Zune, friends). Apple may have moved on to bigger, better products, but maintaining its dominance in the diminishing world of MP3 players is just good housekeeping.
And so, the 2012 Apple iPod lineup offers a mix of new and old.… Read more
I think it's fair to say that the iPod is the most important product Apple ever made. It marked the tipping point between Apple's history as a computer manufacturer and its shift toward mobile consumer electronics. Without it, there would be no iTunes, no iPhone, no iPad -- none of the things people think of when they think of Apple today.
Which is not to say that the iPod is still an important part of Apple's bottom line. It could ax the iPod's whole division and still make more money from the iPhone and iPad than … Read more
Apple's iTunes software takes a lot of criticism from CNET readers. It's a gigantic memory hog of a program that attempts to do everything from downloading iBooks (e-books) to synchronizing apps with your iPad. For a piece of software named for its music playback capability, that feature seems to be a diminishing part of iTunes' appeal.
But groan all you want, iTunes is still one of the most popular ways to play music on your computer.
If you're one of the millions who get your daily music fix through Apple's ubiquitous software, here are a few … Read more
My iTunes library is a graveyard. It's a place for my media to slip away and die in silence.
Sure, there are some well-worn albums in my iTunes collection, but there's also an increasing portion of dusty, old podcasts, audiobooks, TV shows, and random music that I honestly don't remember how (or why) I acquired.
To break free from all the crud in my iTunes collection while leaving the good stuff intact I could methodically comb through the collection and delete the duds. But frankly, I'd rather chew a mouthful of tacks.
I should state for the record that I love my iPod Touch. My Android phone is great for work and communication, but I can't shake my preference for the way my iPod Touch handles music, podcasts, and games. That it can go a few days without charging is also a plus. When it comes to portable media players, there's no product I could recommend more highly than an iPod Touch. The trouble is, no one asks me for recommendations anymore.
When people catch me using an iPod Touch, I'm met with mixture of awe and confusion. The awe comes from the assumption that it's some kind of svelte concept smartphone from the future. At less than a half an inch thick, the iPod Touch makes the iPhone 4 look like a hamburger.
But it's the inescapable confusion that should have Apple feeling uncertain. When I explain that it's an iPod, I can hear the synapses misfiring.
"People still actually buy those?"
Sometimes, reactions can even steer toward concern.
"Is it possible that no one told Donald about the iPhone?"
Rest assured, my credit is fine. I'm perfectly capable of buying one of those newfangled phones that have iPods in them. Personally, the combination of Android work phone and dedicated iPod media player has served me well. Unfortunately, it seems that I'm a rare specimen. … Read more
One of the quickest ways to make me nostalgic is to talk about the pre-iPhone days--the days when MP3 players still mattered.
While today's biggest forum battles all seem to revolve around Android versus iOS, there was a time when the mere mention of iPod earbuds would send us all into frothy fits of anger. Everyone, it seemed, cared deeply about the audio quality of a preferred MP3 player and would evangelize the merits of the latest iPod-killers from Sony, Cowon, Creative, and SanDisk.
Those were fun days. As a self-described audio geek, I took comfort in the thought that so many people cared so passionately about their music experience.
But then, like two alien mother ships dropping from the sky, the arrival of the iPhone and the iPad dwarfed these audio quarrels and offered dissenting and opinionated geeks a far more worthy subject to rally around. Amid this frenzy of iClouds, Ice Cream Sandwiches, and Kindle Fires, concerns over music playback and audio quality often feel as antiquated as discussions of the VCR.
But for those music lovers who have felt lost in this era of OS-fixation, Sony's Walkman Z ($249) is an Android-based portable media player that elevates the audio experience above all other concerns.… Read more
LAS VEGAS--Sony may be running out of letters, but they haven't run out of ideas.
Their latest creation, announced at CES 2012, is the Sony Walkman Z. You can think of it as Sony's answer to the Apple iPod Touch. The device runs Android 2.3 on a relatively spacious 4.3 inch touch screen, set at an 800x480 resolution.
Expected in the first half of 2012, the Walkman Z will come in just one color (black, with a purplish backing) and three capacities: 8GB ($249), 16GB ($279), and 32GB ($329).
The Walkman Z is a fully-licensed Google … Read more
I mean, sure I was disappointed that Apple's new iPod Touch for 2011 is just last year's model with a new coat of paint and some new software. But let's be honest. At just $199, there's nothing else out there that even comes close to what the iPod Touch offers. The competition literally gave up.
The closest competitor to the iPod Touch is a product that isn't even out yet--Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet. But even if we assume the Kindle Fire is a perfect 10, it's ultimately a different class of product. If nothing else, it's around three times the size of the iPod Touch. Let's also not forget that the iPod includes Bluetooth, AirPlay, FaceTime, an HD video camera, a gigantic app store, up to 64GB of storage, iMessages, maps, and dozens of other worthwhile features that seemingly aren't included on the Kindle. … Read more
Apple's latest iPod Nano goes on sale today with a new, lower price $129 (8GB), $149 (8GB), and a few extra software tweaks. Nothing about the iPod's design or hardware features has changed from last year's model, including the seven available colors.
Really, the difference comes down to the software, which is available as a free update to anyone who purchased the 2010 iPod Nano. The new touch-screen software offers 16 new clock face designs, improving its appeal as a high-tech timepiece, as well as a new navigation interface with larger touch-screen icons. Those who prefer the … Read more