October 14, 2010

News: iPods are Not Meant to be Portable!

It's surprising, I know, but I have this on good authority.

I went to my local Apple Store today to visit the so-called 'Genius Bar' to get my 160GB iPod looked at. It had been playing up lately, some days repeatedly stopping during the playback of songs yet on some days never giving me any problems. Now, my iPod is out of warranty, so I wasn't fully expecting it to be replaced outright but was eager to get some advice on what might be happening.

After carving my way through the throng of eager consumers I managed to check-in for my appointment and after four minutes I was called to the counter to meet my Genius. If you're wondering how I know it was four minutes, and perhaps getting concerned over how anally-retentive or Aspergers I might be, it's because I was greeted with the opening gambit "Hi. Sorry for the 4-minute wait. How can I help?"

As I began to explain to Genius the issue I was having with the device, he half paid attention, saving some of his concentration for a frantic search for damage in order to make the device failure my fault (I had the distinct impression that this was part of his training, learnt by rote: "Remember, find something that looks like damage within the first thirty seconds of greeting the customer"). When he spoke it was to point out the two 'dents' on the casing of the iPod - one on the back which was barely visible and one on the front top corner that really should be classified as a scratch.

Genius then went on to explain that the old iPods have a spinning disc drive so are more prone to damage than the solid state drives in the newer models and that if I wished I could trade in my iPod in exchange for 50% off of a replacement, which would be $139. I decided that I couldn't afford it, didn't like the idea of paying more on principle and it wasn't really a wise investment as it was eventually bound to happen again unless I got a iPhone or iPod Touch, as Genius conceded, these old iPods only have a limited shelf life.

Fair enough. It's frustrating that consumer products today are built to have a limited shelf-life, and that technology improves so quickly leaving your old and expensive device in the dust, but it's inevitable, especially with Apple. Here's the icing though: Genius then tells me that the iPod isn't really meant for walking or jogging, as moving around can damage the drive and that it should be kept in the dock at all times. That's right. Your iPod should be kept in the dock at all times.

Okay, firstly, I'm pretty certain the iPod is supposed to be a portable device. At least, phrases like "iPod classic is the take-everything-everywhere iPod" on the Apple website pretty much suggest that it is. As does the fact that it's not fixed to the dock. Secondly, I'm not sure of the exact chronology here but I'm pretty certain the iPod dock was invented after the iPod as an accessory. I'm calling the iPod the chicken, or turkey perhaps, and the dock the egg. Thirdly, why don't the people dancing on the iTunes page of the Apple website know this? STOP DANCING! Put that iPod in the dock, guys! You're gonna break them! Some people just don't know how to treat their non-portable music devices.

So, as a concerned citizen and an avid iPod user, I urge you, for Apple's sake, please put your portable music devices in your immobile desk-mounted docks for their protection.