iPod Uses Grow Along with Sales

by Darcy Richardson Apr 07, 2006

The iPod has become a palm-sized empire in just a few years. Probably scary when you really stop to think about it, but recent developments in technology might give the iPod a whole new look—and a myriad of unforeseen functions.

Tony Smith recently posted on www.reghardware.co.uk that the United Kingdom’s Stuff magazine wrote that a Bluetooth iPod is on its way from an unnamed British retailer. The device is likely because iPod chip maker PortalPlayer announced that it plans to integrate Bluetooth and wi-fi circuitry into its media processors, as Reg Hardware reported in February.

Smith writes that Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs has had his skepticism about such a device in the past. “It adds one more battery - the one in the headphones - [that] users have to remember to keep charged. Then again, he’s expressed skepticism about not only Flash-based music players but also devices that play video too, and Apple has nonetheless released iPods with Flash and with video playback.”

The drawback to a Bluetooth iPod would, of course, be the bulky earphones that would incorporate their own battery. But then, it might put an end to the lawsuits about iPod hearing loss. Just let them try and blame those old-fashioned headphones now!

iPod sales have grown astronomically every quarter, according to iPod source www.ipodnn.com, and a recent survey of teenagers conducted by analyst firm Piper Jaffray proves that the iPod is still the dominant player. The survey found that 77 percent of teens who own a music player have an iPod, up from 74 percent of teens just last fall.

And these teens could be a large part of the population across the United States and Europe who would like car manufacturers to put an iPod interface in new cars. iPodNN reports that over a third of new car buyers who own MP3 players would like to play their MP3 music collection through the car audio system. The strategy Analytics automotive consumer report states that overall demand for playing in-vehicle MP3 music is very strong throughout the US and Europe.

David Studinski, writer for http://www.macnewsworld.com, starts out his article with this disclaimer: “If you’re too busy to read this entire article, try sticking it in your ear. This article, similar to many others across the world, can be found as a podcast on the Internet.” Podcasts is a new term in the Apple language vocabulary, but they are meant for the on-the-go listener who can download lectures, broadcasts, etc. and listen to them any time and anyplace by sticking their iPod earbuds in their ears.

Studinski reports: “Apple’s iTunes Music Store opened a podcast channel in July 2005, allowing listeners to pick up some of the 3,000 podcasts offered. That same iTunes channel now offers more than 25,000 podcasts, according to Amy Gardner, an Apple representative. Major networks, including NBC, CBS, ABC and MTV have joined the club.”

Cal Poly Post writer and student Mike Norys (http://www.thepolypost.com) writes that the iPod has given him another reason not to attend his lectures. “Recently, UC Berkeley and Stanford professors have been offering some of their lectures as podcasts via iTunes. While it’s not entirely wrong to assume that every college student in America owns an iPod or runs their music through iTunes, some in fact do not. This is unfair to this small, but duly noted group. Even though they could just download iTunes and play it from their computer, they are losing the convenience that a podcasted lecture is supposed to provide.”

Norys ends with his plea to teachers: “please don’t podcast your lectures. It’s a waste of your time and it would end up being a waste of mine. I can just add this reason to ‘improve my golf game’ and ‘because I’m tired’ when I convince myself I don’t need to go to class.”

And finally, some are concerned that the iPod mutations are just going too far. An iPod bike mount by Strata has triggered online debate about the safety issues of listening to music through headphones while on a bicycle. Michelle Meyers of CNET.com writes, “Strata System’s mount for the iPod Nano costs $30, and is aimed at keeping the music player ‘safely in plain site and within reach,’ instead of having to dig it out of a pocket, armband or from a hanging lanyard, according to the company.” But Apple fans seem split over the device: some say that as long as it is used responsibly, there is no harm in it, while others claim that the device is a “death wish.”

No matter what you think about the iPod, it’s clearly a springboard for the latest and greatest technology.


  • “The drawback to a Bluetooth iPod would, of course, be the bulky earphones that would incorporate their own battery. But then, it might put an end to the lawsuits about iPod hearing loss. Just let them try and blame those old-fashioned headphones now!”

    Huh, pardon? Is this a joke? Logic?

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Apr 08, 2006 Posts: 371
  • Mmm… let me think… An “old-fashioned headphone” “causes hearing loss” if you listen to music for hours (if the music is loud)... So if you use a Bluetooth headphone you’ll be able to listen to 1 hour of very loud music, or 2 hours of bearably loud music, or 3 hours of quiet music and so on… ;-] No hearing loss this way. ;-] So I guess it’s a joke…

    However, people in Europe have been enjoying safe and quiet iPods for a long time (thanks to the French!). Sure this it comes at a price (30-40% of the price) but it’s worth it!!! ;-] Just kidding…

    Frosty Grin had this to say on Apr 08, 2006 Posts: 33
  • @ 2

    People in America have been enjoying safe iPods too.  It’s not the device itself which is dangerous, but stupid people who don’t know how to adequately control the volume.

    iPods don’t make people deaf, people turning their iPods up too loud make people deaf.  When people learn the concept of personal responsibility (rather than expecting everyone else to ensure their saftey), we will all be much better off.

    e:leaf had this to say on Apr 09, 2006 Posts: 32
  • Well, when I heard about the “hearing loss” case, I thought the same… But in fact there are some “flaws” that make iPods _more_ dangerous than other players. First of all, they don’t have dedicated volume controls (except for Shuffle). So it’s easy to turn up the volume instead of setting the song’s rating etc. Click wheel is less responsive than buttons - if you want the song to sound just a tad louder, it’s not that easy to do it with a click wheel, especially on the move. And finally, iPods don’t display volume level on the “Now playing” screen, and even when you change volume level, you only see the stripe (i.e. no numbers). So you can’t say to yourself:“Hey, I usually set volume to 16 of 30 but now it’s 18 of 30, maybe I just shouldn’t listen to music in a noisy room?” Of course, people should have responsibility, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s not that simple.

    And, by the way, what’s the point of Bluetooth headphones for iPod? I don’t get it. Wireless headphones for home use are useful because a wired headphone plugged into a home stereo makes you feel like you’re on a leash. But what about iPods?
    Does it make any sense? Wireless headphones for home use are bulky, expensive, they sound worse than wired ones and need charging. Sure sound quality isn’t that important for people who buy music at iTMS, but Jobs is right about batteries anyway.

    Frosty Grin had this to say on Apr 09, 2006 Posts: 33
  • I have yet to own an audio device from an original Sony Walkman in the 80’s to a Discman in the 90’s, to an iPod today that had perfectly responsive audio volume controls…  Having said that, I’m better at setting an iPod’s volume than any of them, I find the wheel to be less than perfect, sure, but I’ve never blown my own head off with the thing.  This is the same scare they came up with 20 years ago.

    dickrichards2000 had this to say on Apr 09, 2006 Posts: 112
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