iPods passing in the night…
I was riding the bus to work this morning, zoned out in my usual zombie-like way, when I noticed the guy sitting next to me staring at my iPod. Mortified, I quickly hit fast-forward lest he snicker at my choice of Avril Lavigne as wake-up music. A few minutes later I caught him staring again. “Okay,” I thought, “time for a little evangelism.” So I hit pause, made eye contact, and asked if he wanted to try it out. He grinned, fumbled in his bag, and pulled out one of his own. His was one of the new flashy 20GB models and he was curious about my clunky two-year-old 5GB version. So we swapped stories and passed them back and forth, marvelling over the weight and design and comparing notes. He’d had a 10GB version but traded up as soon as the bigger ones became available. I said I’d thought about it, but I really couldn’t justify it as mine still works perfectly. He was surprised that I still get eight hours of battery life, given that he’d already burnt through one battery already. We both use our iPods with Macs. He tends to listen to albums, while I generally just leave it on random. Our fellow bus travelers stared as we spoke with the embarrassing enthusiasm of two people in love with a piece of electronics. Before too long was time to part. I waved goodbye as we both put our headphones back on. I never even learned his name…

Related note: I realized afterwards that the reason I hadn’t noticed his iPod immediately was that – like me – he wasn’t using the default white earbuds. I have a pair of clip-on headphones I use because the buds are too large for my little ears and after a while they start to hurt. Lately I’ve found myself thinking more and more that I should use them anyway, as they’re the easiest way to identify a fellow devotee. I see them everywhere in the city now. It’s completely shallow, but I want people to know I have one too! So congratulations, Apple; your branding efforts are definitely working.


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  1. i am hoping to get one in the new year, also to use as a back up drive. does the student discount apply for ipods if i am one next year? one can only hope.

  2. It might, Robert. Go to the Apple store and click the Education link on the left. You’ll have to enter your school to get to the education pricing. (They don’t verify anything though, so you can enter it now to check the price.) I looked into getting the iSight camera on the education discount and it wasn’t nearly as good a deal as the OSX discount. I don’t think they discount hardware as much as software.

  3. I think it’s cool to have the clunky 2 year-old version. It shows you are an OG of iPod. But in trendy places like New York, where the iPod is like a fashion accessory, I would want the 40 GB one of course. Kris, maybe you can find other white earbuds that aren’t so big? I don’t love them either but I only use them for walking around time which is limited (livin’ in the burbs).

  4. I don’t use the ipod earphones either. They’re not that comfortable and don’t block out the sound of the tube. So i use the Sony inner ear ones. They are really very good, though cannot hear much of anything when I wear them.

    I’ve also been seieng more and more people with the little earphones in, it is a good way of clocking an iPod user.

  5. Ooh, are those Sony ones that little squishy ones that seal off in your ear? I really want to get those. Normal ear buds just always hurt and they look like they’d be really comfy.

  6. I had to search for an iPod thread but I had to share the news. I did iPod surgery today involving complete disassembly. I found it pretty easy and replacing a battery is a cinch if you ever need to do it. That was not what I did tho. I was trying to fix a loose headphone jack which means I had to take off the HD too, unscrew the logic board, and unclip the LCD. Unfortunately the headphone jack is pretty much soldered to the board in a most inaccessible fashion so there was not a lot I could do. The problem is weird and might require a guerilla approach to iPod repair, like supergluing the jack housing to the frame. Since I didn’t have any superglue I put it back together and will do the actual repair another day. I was pleased with how easy it was to get back together just as good as before. I was worried it would be like trying to repack yaffa blocks or fold a big map where you can’t ever get them back the way they are supposed to be. Like a good dork I might make a webpage about it with pictures!

  7. Good to know that they’re easy to disassemble. I had brief reservations about buying one after seeing that dirty little secret video (The sky is falling–my battery died–out $350!!!) but as usual it was sensationalism & over-reaction. If the battery goes out after 2-3 years I won’t mind buying a replacment for $50 and popping it in.

  8. Thanks SO much for the comment, Dan. I’ve actually had a couple friends e-mail me saying they were thinking about buying one but that stupid “dirty little secret” video made them hesitate. I’ve tried to tell them that it was more a case of a bad customer service rep than anything else. My own iPod is now two years old and chugging along nicely (despite a couple drops from the treadmill). At least now I know I could repair the battery if I needed to!

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