iPod: Happy Anniversary, You Little Devil

Can somebody please tell us what the hell Firewire is?

Nine years ago today - November 10, 2001 - Apple unveiled a new kind of MP3 player known as an iPod. About the size of a deck of cards, the device contained five gigabytes of memory, enough for about 1,000 songs, and cost $400. Four. Hundred. Dollars.

Initial reaction was somewhat skeptical. One technology analyst told CNET, "I question the company's ability to sell into a tight consumer market right now at the iPod's current price."

Riiiiiight. Today, most of the known world has an iPod of some kind. Rocks Off did a quick eBay search just now and found an original (or "classic") iPod for $20. iTunes, the primary software used to download music and load it onto an iPod, is the world's leading music retailer, and digital-music sales account for about 25 percent of all music sales.

To mark this momentous occasion, Rocks Off asked a few of our friends, both around the office and on Facebook, to share their thoughts on Apple's boon. Join us, won't you?

Chris Gray: I have had a somewhat bizarre relationship with the iPod. I did not get one until a friend gave me a Nano for my birthday in 2008. Then I left it in the plastic box for about three months until I decided I might need it at SXSW.

It took a day or two to figure out how to sync it up with my iTunes at work - I can be slow, especially when it comes to anything technology-related - and then another few days of hauling CDs into the office to load into iTunes, but I fell in love.

I did not go anywhere without that thing, and almost got run over a few times downtown because of it. Our affair lasted a year or so, maybe a little longer, and then ended when I switched computers at work to a laptop that does not have iTunes on it. Now there is no way for me to charge the battery.

I thought every PC came pre-loaded with iTunes these days. Guess not. Sniff.

Chris Gray's Facebook Friends (responding to the prompt "What annoys you about your iPod?"):

  • "Ummmmm....NOTHING...it's PERFECT...EVERY APPLE product is DUHHH!"
  • "That it's broken."
  • "It's a first-gen Touch and I can't install iOS 4.x on it. Other than that, nothing. Works great. Is gonna be replaced by an iPhone 4 early next year."
  • "That I cannot erase unwanted songs as they come up in a master shuffle. I mean Grace Jones is cool - but every single song on every album of hers is not a great song, for example."
  • "The fact that it isn't vinyl."
  • "The shuffle feature is far from perfect. I want a truly random shuffle!"
  • "The fact that it's only 150GB and I'm about to run out of space. THANKS OBAMACARE."
  • "Not having one."
  • "Actually, not being able to change the fucking battery without damaging the case is an real negative."

Rocks Off also emailed our writers. Exactly two wrote back... the two we happen to see every day in the Houston Press offices. The others, we assume, couldn't be bothered to take out their earbuds.

Craig Hlavaty: I spent 30 minutes last night trying to load the Metallica discography on my iPod for the gym, and I got frustrated and drank a glass of milk and went to sleep. When I first got this thing all I wanted to do was load music on and take it wherever I went. Now I only use it for the gym to guard me from having to hear men grunt and yell while lifting heavy stuff.

The thing I never enjoyed about the thing was road tripping and constantly looking down at it. With discs I can throw something in and concentrate on that piece of music alone, and not have the temptation to tool around with a thousand other songs. If I am driving and want to absorb an album, I burn it to a disc and go at it that way.

Brittanie Shey: "Honestly, nothing annoys me about my iPod. I adore it."

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