January 27, 2008 – 12:03 pm

The Origin of iPOD

The iPod is a type of media player that is portable. It has been designed by Apple and also marketed by it from October 2001. iPod range consists mainly of digital audio players arranged around a click wheel kept in the centre. iPod shuffle is an exception. Till October 2005 the iPod family consisted of video-capable 5th generation iPod, the small variety known as the iPod nano as well as the display-less iPod shuffle .The iPod mini was replaced by the coming of the iPod nano. An internal hard drive stores media in the full-sized models. Similar to other digital music systems, iPods can also function as an external device for storing data.

Music is transferred to the devices by Apple’s iTunes software. It is a sort of free jukebox where an entire library of music can be stored. It can play, burn and rip music from CD’s and also transfer photographs, games (video) and calendars to the models that go with it.

The uniqueness about iPod is the user interface facility that is uncomplicated and easy. Till the first quarter of 207 iPod has marketed more tha 100 million models all over the world. Thus it ranks as the top seller ever in digital audio player goods.
However teething problems have sometimes come to light. Shuffle function is not as random as expected. Also the iPod plays tracks from a particular artist or album more often than required. Apple does not deny this and says this is happening because of coincidence.
iPod is a product of digital technology. Already digital cameras, camcorders had hit the shelves under well-organized strategy. It was then noticed that the music world continued to be dominated by big chunky or small and not very useful models of music players. It gave Apple the incentive to fill the vacuum in the music world by presenting it with the iPod. Jon Rubinstein, the head of Apple’s engineering staff got together a select team to design it. He got invaluable help from Tony Fadell and Michael Dhuey (hardware engineer) and Jonathan Ive (design engineer). Stan Ng was the marketing manager. It did not take a year to get the product ready to be launched on October 2001. Steve Jobs (CEO) said it was a Mac-compatible item with a 5 GB hard-drive that could put 1000 songs into your ‘pocket’. It was unlike of iPod but it did not develop the software for this iPod fully in-house. Apple also enlisted the help of another company named Pixo. But once firmly in seat Apple began to improve upon the original in looks and function.
The name iPod was the brainchild of a freelance copywriter named Vinnie Chieco who wanted a name that would immediately draw attention by its very uniqueness.
Initially iPods could work with Macs but now it has teamed up with Windows as well as Macs. For Windows a converter is required. Previous models had five buttons and the later ones have buttons integrated into the click wheel. The buttons are menu, center, and play/pause, skip forward/fast forward and skip backwards/fast reverse. Operating the click wheel in a circular way does menu scrolling and volume control. An extra ‘hold’ switch prevents accidental release of buttons that have been pressed. iPod shuffle does not have the click wheel but the five buttons are differently placed in this larger model.
Mainly third parties are making the accessories for iPod although Apple is still largely involved. This arrangement is known as the iPod ecosystem. Some of the accessories add new features. The white earphones are symbols of the brand. Advertisements frequently prominently feature these by contrasting the white with people silhouetted against a black background. Designs of improved better quality earphones are being revised to be more user friendly.
From the middle of 2007 some important airlines have come to an agreement with iPod to install it with each seat. The service will be free and enable the passengers to charge their iPod and view individual video and listen to music on displays placed at the back of seats.
iPod is constantly updating and improving its models. These are becoming smaller and lighter than ever before. The touch-sensitive click is being replaced by mechanical scroll wheel. Colour displays and flash memory are replacing the hard discs.
One of the criticisms leveled against iPod is that the advertised batteries are not readily available. A 14 hours life span is impossible. So far the maximum is 8 hours. Moreover the latest models have weak bass responses as per audio tests. iPod’s equalizer can enhance sound but may also cause frequent distortions. Another allegation is that the iPod does not last long and the hard drives are fragile. A survey reports that the failures amount to 13.7%.
The design of iPod batteries is such that it disallows users to handle replacements. Even if anybody successfully did so Apple refused to replace the used batteries. The policy forced the customer to buy a new battery at the original cost.
A serious charge has been brought against the company that those engaged in the manufacture are very poorly paid – $50 per month. For this paltry amount they work for 15-hour shifts. Apple independently investigated the charge and came to the conclusion that although not everywhere, some lapses were there. They promised to take action and stop this abuse.
The positive gains of iPod overweigh its negative points. It has won many awards for excellence in engineering and is considered to be the best innovative product in the world of sound. The scoring points are its looks, design and easy to use characteristics. It is said to have changed the scene of portable audio players.

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