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Ipod Design – Where Is The Variety?

July 27, 2011 · 58 comments

in Commentary

I recently revamped my writing process.  In the past, I had a ‘nest’ on the couch. I had my laptop, a glass of water, and possibly a snack with me in my favorite spot of the sectional.  All family members knew this spot was sacred and they could not occupy it for long.

However, I have since relocated!

I was talking to Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff about how she was setting up her home office, and I thought “I bet I would be a lot more productive if I wrote in our home office”.  However, I liked being around the family when I was writing, which is why I chose the family room in the first place.  But, I decided to give the office a trial run anyway because I realized I was only half-participating in the family conversations when I was writing anyway.  (I did enjoy a lot of episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” though.)

I Rediscovered My MP3 Player

So, I hung up some pictures, cleaned up the desk, and started to write.  I found that was I incredibly productive in the office, but a little lonely and easily distracted by the fun being had in the other rooms.  I then flashed back to my early days of working in an actual office building and writing computer programs- I was always listening to music!  So I dug out the MP3 player that I bought way back in 2005.

My ancient MP3 was an Iriver IFP-899, and I think it could hold 250 songs.  It was the perfect design though.  It fit just right in my hand when I went running and had a great button for navigation- I loved that old MP3.  The problem was I only had about 15 songs on it, and over the last week, I got kind of tired listening to the same songs over and over. I then decided to download another 15 songs I had been wanting to download forever.

Downloading Songs To My Iriver IFP-899 Almost Drove Me To Insanity

I had my songs downloaded to  my computer, and I was ready to sync to my Iriver.  I was so excited to hear some songs I had not heard in ages.  (Prince anyone?)  Unfortunately, the computer I am using is probably the 3rd computer I have had since I bought the Iriver.  I loaded the software, but nothing seemed compatible with Windows 7.  As an added bonus, my current computer didn’t come with WinZip, so unzipping was a bit frustrating when I had to download new drivers.  (Side note:  what a ripoff that computers don’t come standard with ‘Zip’ software, what a joke.)

After 2 hours of frustration, I came to the conclusion that I needed to just move on from my little Iriver and join the Ipod world.  I am sure I could have made it work, and I have to admit I am a little disappointed in myself for giving up.  (Usually, I will work myself to death to figure out technical problems as I have issues with letting things go. However, I had a little voice in my head that said “the screen is broken on your iRiver, and an iPod would hold more songs, and Ipods have come down in price, and… and….”.)

My Disappointment With Apple Selection

In my head, I envisioned having an iPod that fit nicely in my hand and had navigation buttons for easy song selection.  However, current Apple products with those features don’t seem to exist in stores.  The Nano is cute, and it is about 1.5″x 1.5″.  Unfortunately for me, it only has touch screen navigation, which is a pain when running.  (I prefer a button I can hit to go to the next song, which only requires one hand and I don’t have to look at the MP3 player to navigate.)

Size comparison of Ipod Touch, Ipod Nano and my antiquated Iriver IFP-899

My other choice was the Ipod Touch, which is bigger than most cell phones.  I just wanted access to music, so if I bought the Ipod Touch, I would be paying for a lot of features I didn’t need.  Not to mention, running would be a pain with something so bulky, and again, touch screen navigation was the only option.   I was wishing the previous ‘generation’ Ipod Nano was available that my daughter has, but no luck.

In the end, I settled on the Ipod Nano.  It is little and cute, and I will say that Apple makes it so easy to download music to its products.  I am just really surprised that Apple’s offerings were so limited in terms of style.  Not only are physical navigation buttons not available, but the square design also doesn’t fit comfortably in my hand.  So far I am happy with the Nano and there are a lot of great things about it.  But almost everyone I talked to said the small touch-screen navigation would be a pain, so I almost avoided it.  When I realized touch-screen was my only option, the Nano was an easy choice.

Have you bought an Ipod recently?  What did you think of the selection?

(As a side note, I decided to give up my nest and keep writing in the office.  I am so much more productive, and am done in half the time.)

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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

The Biz of Life July 27, 2011 at 7:52 am

I find iTunes to be very frustrating and limiting, and its design doesn’t meet my needs very well. I have found other ways to load music/videos onto my iPod that provide much more freedom.


Kris July 27, 2011 at 10:33 pm

I haven’t had an issue with loading songs on my IPod. Probably because it seemed so much more difficult to load songs on my iRiver that ITunes seemed easy by comparison.


Linda July 27, 2011 at 10:03 am

If you wanted something that has buttons and works well for running/exercising, did you look at the Shuffle? It’s small — only 2GB — but would hold plenty of music. It has a clip built right into it so you can easily clip it on your clothes, and it’s also only $49.

I think Apple has a clever marketing scheme around iPods. Each one seems to fit a slightly different scenario so it often ends up that people buy more than one device.

I’ve been tempted by both the Nano (which can receive radio signals for those of us who are NPR junkies and still listen to radio) *and* the Shuffle because it is so convenient for exercise. At this point I mainly use my iPhone’s iPod feature to listen to audio stuff while commuting on the train or driving. I also still have a classic iPod that still works, although I pretty much just keep it at home connected to the stereo.


Kris July 27, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I looked at the shuffle, but I wanted more than 2 G. The nano has the built in clip too, but I haven’t used it yet.

I forgot about the shuffle when I said all options were buttonless, thanks for reminding me!


retirebyforty July 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I bet you daughter wouldn’t mind swapping her old nano with your new one. 🙂
I would get the nano if I had to get an ipod. I have been using a zune for a few years and it’s still working pretty well. Once that goes, I’ll see the ipod selection again.


Kris July 27, 2011 at 10:25 pm

I am sure the design will be different by the time your Zune dies.

My daughter loves her IPod and all her beloved songs are on it. I am going to ask her though and see what she says.


Liz July 27, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I used to have that same Iriver MP3 player. It was great. I like the shuffle for working out as Linda mentioned. It’s super small and my model has the control buttons right on the headphones which I love (although talk about clever marketing – that does make it difficult to swap out the headphones or buy non-Apply headphones if these ones break)


Kris July 27, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Isn’t it amazing how Apple manages to make you buy all of their products? Drives me crazy.

I miss the feel of my iRiver!


krantcents July 27, 2011 at 2:42 pm

My nano is a couple years old, but I use it when I ride my bike. When I am writing, I can listen to itunes on my computer or have the TV on. I opt for TV most of the time.


Kris July 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I like the TV on too. However, if I am around the TV, then I am in the family room which means I will be chatting and not focusing! Generally though, I do a lot of my writing when the kids are sleeping in. But if people are home and awake, I have to go in the office if I need to get something done.


Heather July 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm

I have an older iPod nano with the wheel. I bought a hard plastic case for it (years ago, when I bought the iPod) that has a clip on the back. I clip it to my shorts and can skip songs or adjust the volume without looking at it. Works well for me 🙂


Kris July 27, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Heather, that is exactly what I was hoping for. The nano is almost too small. It has a clip but I am afraid it is going to go flying off. Take good care of that IPod!


101 Centavos July 28, 2011 at 7:11 am

I need to get another backup iPod for long trips, and you’re right, I tend to like my wife’s earlier generation nano vs. my standard one. Both we got used off Ebay, and have had good luck with.


Kris July 28, 2011 at 9:26 am

Maybe they will come out with something we like better soon that you can buy off EBay! I am mad I forgot to bring mine on my little trip!


Daniel July 28, 2011 at 11:02 am

I love my iPhone, but I realize that I use it very little as an mp3 player. Mostly when running or when in the car, but never working. If I’m near a computer, I’ll turn on Pandora or Spotify, both fantastic services. When would you use an iPod?


Kris August 1, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Daniel, I remember buying my ‘Chocolate’ phone because it could hold music. However, I never once loaded a song onto it!

My son just told me about Spotify, I need to check that out. I use the Ipod for exercise too.


Lindy Mint August 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Hey, you could sell that iRiver to Gazelle.com for $15! 🙂

My husband had to buy a replacement nano when his original one got lost. I was also surprised that they only have that teeny tiny one now. It seems like it could get lost in a seat cushion or fall out of a pocket so easily.

I’ve been meaning to load my iPad with mp3s so I can listen to music at work, but I can never seem to find the time to do it. Maybe one day.


frugalforties August 13, 2011 at 5:44 pm

An older iPod nano would have fit your requirements (no touchscreen, etc) and been cheaper than the new one. You can get refurbed older models and previous generations of just about any of their products at the apple store online.

A little research would have given you many more options! 🙂


Kris August 14, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Oh trust me, I did a lot of research, as I purchased an older generation Ipod for my son for Christmas last year. However, I didn’t want anything a big as what I bought him. When I checked out the Apple store, I couldn’t find any older Ipod Nanos- and I didn’t want to buy refurbished.


frugalforties August 14, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Um. I’m confused. You’ll buy used off of Ebay with no promises about the condition of the equipment or any guarantee, but you won’t buy refurbed from Apple, complete with a guarantee and a warranty? Why not?


Kris August 15, 2011 at 8:08 am

I don’t buy used off of Ebay for electronics anymore. I bought a cell phone from Ebay years ago and I couldn’t activate the phone because it showed up as stolen. Another time, I had to get a refurbished phone from Verizon and it was garbage. Yes, it was under warranty, but it was still a pain to return and everything.

(As a side note, I didn’t see any previous generation nanos in the refurbished section of Apple either. )


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