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iPod Video Dissection 83

alaswhatever writes "HowStuffWorks has gutted an iPod Video and taken pictures of everything.The article talks about exactly what's inside and explains how the touch-sensitive Click Wheel works." From the article: "Although the iPod is an Apple product, it works with both Mac and Windows machines. Since it's the top-selling media player in the United States, probably the big question is: What makes it different from any other digital media player?"
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iPod Video Dissection

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  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <> on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:48PM (#14909555) Homepage Journal
    I've looked at numerous MP3 players, including my t809 cell phone and a multitude of PDAs I've used over the years. The iPod has a decent interface, but I feel it is lacking for me as I have a huge volume of music and the iPod doesn't give me a very quick way to access various songs on-the-fly. I'd love to see a manufacturer come out with a new way to navigate very quickly -- AI like. I'm thinking we a need invention: something like what T9 did to SMS messaging.

    Of all the MP3 players, I've seen numerous ones that I liked, but the iPod won out mostly because the dame of the house prefers the interface. She has two.

    The three reasons for the iPod rule, from what I've been able to deciper, are:

    1. Marketing -- massive marketing
    2. De-geeked interface (including copying songs)
    3. Marketing

    There has not been a bigger marketing campaign of any device, and in the long run I think it is marketing that helps to win the battle when everything else is equal. Yes, the de-geeked factor was a big reason for success with the girlfriends, parents and even grandparents, but I don't think it is the main reason for success.

    Apple took huge risks to earn this reward, but that's how business is: those who risk the most earn the most rewards, if they earn at all.

    Side note: Has it really been over 10 years since I first downloaded an MP3?
  • by timster ( 32400 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:09PM (#14909734)
    As an experiment, I timed myself picking out an arbitrary specific song on my iPod from the "Songs" list. It turned out to be song 458 out of 775 and I reached it within 12 seconds (from the top-level menu, so I'd say I spent about 10 seconds looking for it in the list). Scrolling from the top of that list of 775 to the bottom takes about three seconds. I don't scroll this way very often, as I prefer to play by album or playlist, so I would probably be better at it with practice.

    By comparison, typing "something" on my cell phone's predictive text input takes about three seconds (and I use that particular feature all the time).

    I'm not saying that you're right or not, I'm just wondering if we can bring facts into the question of whether the iPod provides a quick way to get to songs. I feel that most people don't look for a song this way so often, and that it would be a mistake to design around it. Personally, what I appreciate about the iPod's interface is how easily I can express "give me a mix of band X and band Y" and similar things. That takes me more like 30 seconds, but I'm glad for the expressive power.
  • Sum of Parts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:20PM (#14909847) Journal
    If they are asking the question about the iPod's dominance, they are probably looking in the wrong place by dissecting it. Sure, the iPod's appealing form factor and capabilities are determined by its components, but I think everyone here would agree that it takes far more than that to make a winning product. Just think of all the other awesome products out there, with great form factor and a nice feature list, that failed utterly.
  • by mcsnee ( 103033 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:46PM (#14910094)
    I'd say the integrated iTunes Music Store played a big role, too... the iTunes software is about a times easier to use than the garbage put out by, e.g., Creative Labs, and I can buy a song on the Music Store and be listening to it on my iPod in under a minute all with the same piece of software.

    Whether you include that under the heading of "marketing" I don't know, but that was one of the big selling points of the iPod for me after dealing with a Creative Jukebox and then an RCA Lyra and their attendant shortcomings.

  • by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:17PM (#14910316) Homepage
    Very true. Heck, my minidisc player was exactly what I need as far as navigation and capacity went (four CDs worth of music is more than my typical playlist, though it can become problematic for those longer trips in the car of whatever), and a good 50 hours of tunes on a single AA battery. What ruined it? That utterly craptastic NetMD software. Oh the horrors. Like, almost up there with Windows ME. Maybe even worse, considering I never had ME installed on one of my computers.

    And when I first got my iPod, I avoided iTunes at all costs. I bought Anapod Explorer but that eventually got a bit tiresome and I moved into the Winamp plugin. Easy enough to deal with, but no support for pics or videos. There's a good chance I tried something else in there too, but I forget if I did or not. I finally did move to iTunes... and I think it's had about the same uptime as my computer since Thanksgiving '05. Why? Once I got all my music added - admittedly a huge PITA (Japanese imports and the like don't CDDB particularly well), I could easily navigate and it integrates perfectly and seamlessly with the iPod. I plug it in, it syncs. I leave it plugged in, it keeps charging. That's all there is to it. Oh yeah... CD burning and ripping is also seamless. Put in CD, click one button, it rips it. Put in blank, choose a playlist, click burn, confirm, wait three minutes, done.

    Does it have downsides? Of course. No lossless support except Apple's, music is still overpriced IMO, some of the "extra" things only work with MS software (no using T-bird with it... Outlook only), etc. But it's simple, elegant, and it integrates everything you really need into one place. I used to like my old approach of ripping with FreeRipMP3 then manually tagging it and then putting it in a directory that I'd remember then enqueing it in a Winamp playlist (this is, of course, before Winamp had ripping support). Then I realized there was software specifically intended to do all of that and then put it into a library which integrates seamlessly with the device I was using. How delightful.

    Just throw this out there... is there any free (legal) software other than iTunes that has unlimited ripping and burning support? Winamp's ripping is limited unless you pay as is all the other software I've tried. That or it's full of adware and other crap. While I try to avoid using the music store, it is extremely easy to do, and again integrates extremely well. Searching through your library is a breeze since it does that ultra-fast-Apple-search thing, which makes creating a playlist very easy (we all know that making playlists on the iPod itself is a pain, but it's really easy in iTunes and I think that's more of how you're meant to do it).

    So basically, for me, it ended up coming down to the software and UI. I should have known better than to buy something by Sony, but until it's software almost drove me to running the thing over with a steamroller, I loved the player. Had Apple made iTunes' default behavior some sort of "My music is here" thing upon starting (defaulting to the normal My Music folder for simplicity of most users), I'd have had to deal with so much less annoying junk before finally switching. Oh well.

  • The Big Answer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nuckin futs ( 574289 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:10PM (#14911265)
    Since it's the top-selling media player in the United States, probably the big question is: What makes it different from any other digital media player?"

    because it's tied to, and works seamlessly with the easiest, most popular online music store in existence. what other company has a complete, one stop shop, all in one solution that works with itunes?

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"