If you thrive on the rumors surrounding Apple’s possible doings at Macworld Expo, you’ve undoubtedly heard rumblings of a banner accidentally revealed at Moscone Center. As displayed on Macitynet’s website, the banner reads “Life is random.” and allegedly advertises a faceless iPod that holds 240 songs (the number of songs that would fit on a 1GB flash drive).
It’s quite likely that you’ve initially reacted to the notion of a display-less iPod by scratching your pate and uttering “What the…” followed by your favorite colorful expletive.
And then I recalled that every time I’ve responded to a new iPod in this way—as I did over the price of the original iPod and iPod mini—I’ve been shown up as an unimaginative chump. Despite the price, Apple’s sold the things by the barrelful.
With that in mind, I’ve tried to put myself in Apple’s shoes, using what’s left of my imagination to conjure up this fictional conversation with the entity, Apple:
Me: What the…!?
Apple Entity: It’s about the 1GB iPod, isn’t it?
Me: Well, yes. It seems odd that you’d leave out a display. How am I supposed to find the songs I want on the iPod?
Apple Entity: Who controls what goes on your iPod?
Me: I do.
Apple Entity: So you’ve already chosen the songs you want on the iPod. You made that choice when you dumped a portion of your music collection onto it.
Me: But what happens when I want to play a specific song or album?
Apple Entity: That’s not what this iPod is for. This iPod is for taking along when you go for a hike, work out at the gym, or leave the office for lunch. It’s an easy way to listen to the music you like—the music you’ve chosen—in a cool, easy-to-use, and inexpensive way. If you get tired of the music that’s on it, fill it up with a different playlist. Think of it as your own personal radio, one where you’re the station manager. Just as you pick a radio station because you like the style of music it plays, so too can you fill up your iPod with the style of music you like and allow it—just like that radio station—to play the music in the order it wants.
Me: Are you hinting that this iPod will also include an FM receiver?
Apple Entity: I didn’t say that.
Me: But you didn’t answer my original question. What happens when I want to play a specific song or album?
Apple Entity: Use a different iPod. Look, it’s now okay to own multiple iPods that serve different purposes. For those formal occasions when you want your entire music collection in your pocket—and want to choose specific songs—take your big iPod. When you just want to kick around with some of your favorite music, load that music on it and go.
Me: I dunno…
Apple Entity: How often do you use the Shuffle Songs command on your iPod?
Me: Every once in awhile. But invariably I wind up playing some track I’m not in the mood for.
Apple Entity: And that’s because you’re using an iPod that has all your music on it. If you just put some forethought into where you’ll be using your iPod, you can create playlists where there are no inappropriate songs. For instance, you could create a playlist of songs you like to listen to while driving, or another that motivates you while you exercise, or a relaxing playlist for Sunday mornings. If you construct the playlist correctly, every song is a winner and you don’t care what order they’re played in.
Me: But what about the integrity of the album? Albums were designed to be played from end to end in a particular order.
Apple Entity: How old are you?
Me: I’d rather not say.
Apple Entity: I ask because the notion of album integrity is outdated. You notice that we demand that artists selling music on the iTunes Music Store allow their works to be sold piecemeal—by songs rather than solely by album? Have you looked at the sales figures from our music store lately and the number of artists who are willing to sell their music this way?
Apple Entity: Again, if you want to listen to an album from front to back, you’re welcome to do so with one of the other iPods we offer. If, on the other hand, you just want to listen to the great music you own, this iPod might be a good fit.
Well, when I put it that way, perhaps it does make sense.
Then again, maybe it’s just my imagination running away with me.