For the last eight years, I have enjoyed a very amiable relationship with Fredrick, my second generation lime green 4GB iPod. Technophobe I am not, but seeing as we understood each other so well, I had little desire to upgrade Fredrick to a newer, bigger model. I suppose I would be lying if I said there were never times in which I wondered whether he and I had outgrown each other somewhat- that I hadn’t cast a lustful gaze upon shiny silver 16GB Svens or Sergio’s on the street, but I’m sure that’s natural in any relationship. Fredrick and I have been through some tough dog-walks together over the years: heartache, teenage tantrums, job rejections… he even survived a night outside in a thunderstorm (nothing that three days in a bag of rice couldn’t fix, in case anyone is interested!)
So when Fredrick was stolen (literally) from my life six weeks ago, I went through the various stages of shock, denial and anger. But then my insurance sent me a shiny new 7th generation 16GB Nano by the name of Nancy. I finally felt that was time to lay Fredrick to rest and move on with my life… with the help of extra memory space, a pedometer and my very own built-in fitness instructor.
Asides from Nancy being noticeably more petite than her predecessors (76.5 x 39.6 x 5.4mm- gosh), one of the most interesting changes which came to my attention was the new design of earphones. These little ‘earpods’, as Apple likes to call them, to me resemble little shiny aliens ready to suckle at my ear wax in the hope of stealing some of my brain. They do however have two minuscule speakers on each ear pod: one at the front and one at the side, for a more ‘surround-sound’ effect I suppose, but within the very small space of an ear canal. I have to admit, the result is a sound purer than a choir of albino virgins.
Apparently, Apple tested 124 different prototypes on over 600 people in order to create this masterpiece of sound projection. I decided to undertake my own test by standing in front of my mother with the earpods in, music playing. I could see her lips moving and her eyebrows narrowing, but the sound contaminating my music was pleasingly minimal. A while later I snuck up behind my mother with my earpods in, music playing at full volume, and it took her a good few seconds to question what the noise was. This concluded that the earpods are fairly good at containing the sound to within my ears. With this vital information acquired, I thought it high time to take Nancy out on a field trip.
Another shocker I discovered on this new generation iPod is a whole app for Fitness. Apple assumes I am into that. Apple thinks that if I want to be able to listen to music on the move, I must be moving very rapidly in a keep-fit manner. Apple reckons that I want to keep track of how long I partake in my ‘fitness’ session, how far I travel, and how many calories I burn, before uploading all this information onto the Nike website. There is even a (rather annoying) American woman living inside my iPod who tells me all this information in frequent, enthusiastic bursts. It’s an interesting concept, but I don’t think her and I are destined to be great friends… Luckily, I can turn her off and return to blissful ignorance.
It might disappoint Apple, but I did not immediately whack on my cleverly sponsored Nike running shoes and get freaky with endorphins. I did however grab my dogs and go for a good long walk through the fields. Would the earpods be wind-proof, I wondered? The answer is no, not really. I had great trouble keeping them both in my ears, especially the left pod… although this might just mean I have particularly wonky ears, of course.
When both earpods were successfully doing their thing in both ears, I was absolutely transformed into my very own special world; a world, I must admit that I thought was pretty perfect with Fredrick, but can now appreciate at a much higher quality. I don’t think I will ever need to speak to another human being again. I may have actually forgotten how to hold a real conversation due to just how in the iPod Zone I have become.
When I do find the strength to snap out of the Zone and stand down from my Byron-like stance on my metaphorical music mountain, there are all sorts of other clever, fun things I can do with Nancy to entertain myself. There are apps for photos, podcasts and videos. I can connect my iPod to my car or home speakers via Bluetooth; I can even adjust the ‘accessibility’ settings to cater for any disabilities or confusions I might have.
I am very happy with Nancy. I can see a long, beautiful relationship ahead of us. The only thing I think might make my musical experience better, would be if the new Nano had a little clip on the back- much like the one found on the iPod Shuffle, for when I don’t have pockets. If Nancy is so geared up to the celebration of fitness, it would really help not to have to stick her in my bra when I did decide to go for a run.
Something else which slightly unnerves me is that the ‘hold’ button has changed so much since the first and second generation: because I only have to press the button rather than slide it across to unlock Nancy, I cannot help but worry that she’ll get overexcited and turn herself on when I inevitably shove her into my Aladdin’s cave of a handbag. But then with up to 30 hours battery life, that would hardly be the end of the world. Thanks Apple, I’ll be expecting my payment in the post…