I’ve been writing about the iPod since the day the very first model was announced in October 2001. I’ve lived with iPods through the mechnical wheel, the touch wheel, the buttons, the clickwheel, the mini, the nano, the shuffle, the photo, the HP, the U2, the this-that-and-the-other-G, the video, the white, black, silver, and hues…. I’ve seen a generation of subway riders discard their newspapers, magazines, and grim looks and tether themselves to white earphones. And I’ve heard, time and again, the boast of the coming season’s ultimately impotent iPod killer.
In short: You’d have a tough time finding a more jaded iPod owner.
And because I am jaded, I tend to forget the wonder of these little jewels. And, if you’re on your fourth or fifth iPod, I bet you do too.
I was reminded that the iPod still has the power to impress while on a recent cross-country flight. To fill the in-air hours (and conduct some informal battery tests) I watched the last few episodes of last season’s
Lost on my new iPod nano (Product Red, if you must know).
Mid-way through our journey, a flight attendant came by with the drink cart. About to take my order, she saw the iPod and asked, “What is that?”
“The newest iPod nano,” I replied, turning it so she could see the display.
“That’s amazing! It shows video? That’s the smallest screen I’ve ever seen but I think it’s big enough that I could watch it. I can see that show perfectly.”
And with that she handed over my Virgin Bloody Mary.
That exchange prompted the male half of the somewhat-older-than-me couple sitting to my left to ask, “So how many movies can that thing hold?”
“Around seven,” I said. “On this one I’ve got 10 episodes of Lost plus the original
War of the Worlds and 193 songs.”
“All on that little thing?”
“Sure.” Pulling out my new 80GB iPod classic I said, “And this one has over 9,000 songs, 26 TV shows, six movies, a bunch of podcasts, and I’ve still got about 15GB of space left.”
I handed both over so he could see the video on each.
“What won’t they think of next…. And I could use these with my Dell PC?”
“Absolutely. And if you find the screens too small, take a look at this,” I replied as I pulled out my iPhone and navigated to a movie it held.
“Oh my lord!” his wife replied, “That’s beautiful!”
We made a few more pleasant noises and they returned my gear. Tucking it away I switched from Lost to some Bill Evans stored on the nano. I had some thinking to do.
And that thinking took this form: It’s the nature of things that a miracle, observed often enough, loses its power to astound. Yet the miraculous core remains. I’m grateful that these fresh sets of eyes were there to remind me of that power.