iPod 2001 still going

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I celebrated the tenth anniversary of the original iPod.

The initial iPod was released on October 23, 2001. I’m pleased to note that mine is still going strong 14 years later. It’s funny now to look back and remember that I was absolutely sure I’d never be able to fill up five gigs with just music, or as Apple put it “1000 songs in your pocket.”

I used my first iPod a lot for just listening to music, especially on the bus or working in the library, but I also used it for teaching. The fact that I could mount it as a drive via FireWire meant I could show students short film clips of plays or play audio files via the lecture hall’s sound system or workstation.

Now, I have music on my iPhone, but not so much as I used to; I’m streaming a lot more via local WiFi. Instead, that storage that might have been used for music is now being used for photos and ebooks.

I predicted that we’d be reading ebooks more; I missed entirely how much we’d be taking photos with our phone—though I used the cameras a lot on my iPhone 1 and 3, I mostly used them to take pictures of things I couldn’t see well, like street signs or small text on boxes. Now, I’m using the iPhone 5 camera more than my dedicated camera—and it’s changed the way I take pictures.

No, I’m not taking selfies, but I am taking a lot more spontaneous shotsbecause the iPhone is right there, and I’m still using the iPhone camera as a visual aid, even though new plastics have made distance and close reading glasses possible for me. But I’m sending friends and families more photos than I ever did before—and seeing more in response, too.

Harry Potter and the iBooks Author

My co-writer Michael Cohen has an interesting piece over at TidBITS on the just published “Enhanced” edition of Rowling’s Harry Potter series. They were made with the current version of iBooks Author, and are therefor exclusively available at the iBooks store.

Apple’s iBooks Author app is still free; this is the first commercial example I know of using the current version iBooks Author 2.3 ability to export standard EPUB files. Go read Michael Cohen’s full Harry Potter and the iBooks Author article for more details about “enhanced” EPUBs and iBooks Author.

What’s interesting to me, especially, is that this version of iBooks Author looks like academics could use it to create basic annotated editions or course readers, ebooks with limited enhancements, that would be fairly simple to create and still look professional.

Tenth Anniversary of the Original iPod

First generation Apple iPod

First generation Apple iPodMy original 5 gig iPod, purchased in November of 2001, still boots, still charges, and still works. October 23 was the anniversary of the initial announcement regarding the then new iPod, and while mine still works pretty much as well as it did in 2001 (the battery is not what it was), I subsequently became a delighted owner of first a first generation iPhone (now, sadly, with a damaged sleep/power button) and then, an iPod Classic, and, last January, an iPhone 3gs.

But it’s been interesting to look back via this Macworld piece on The Birth of the iPod, and to look back at the pundits’ initial takes on the first iPod via a companion piece on The iPod: What They Said.

I started using my first iPod at first to store music, and then to sync data. It wasn’t long at all before it became an essential teaching tool for me, as I noted in this blog post from 2004 written in response to a piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education about the Duke iPod project.

I note for the curious, that The Chronicle is still usually hopelessly inane regarding teaching with technology, despite their recent harried push at becoming cool with respect to instructional technology.

Apple’s iPad Announcements

One of the slides Steve Jobs showed has this on it:

iPad: Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price. Starting at $499.

I think that’s absolutely true. I’ve been lusting for the iPad for years.

image of an iPad
Credit: Gizmodo

I’ve tried to be funny about it, and patient, but this is exactly what I want. I mostly want it to read ebooks; I’m delighted that most iPhone applications will work well, and I’ve been assured by the developers of some of my favorite applications for reading stuff on the iPhone that they are going to support the larger screen asap. You can find Apple’s official iPad site here.

For those of you in a cave, here are the basics:

  • 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
  • 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch
  • 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB flash drive1GHz Apple A4 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chipWireless and Cellular
  • Wi-Fi model
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology
  • Digital compass

The Wifi Model comes out around the end of March, world wide; the G3 + WiFi about a month after that. In terms of pricing, the basic Wifi model with 16GB is $499.00. The 32 GB model is $599, and the 64 GB iPad is $699.00. When the 3G + WiFi models emerge, they’ll each be $130.00 more. There are two prepaid data plans from AT and T; 250MB/month for $14.99, or unlimited for $29.99.

Apple’s own accessories include a dockable keyboard, and a case.

As for me, I’d line up right now to buy one. I note that I’m not a “Apple released it; I gotta buy it” sort. The only Apple products I ever bought on initial release or earlier were my first generation 5 gig iPod (which still works, thank you very much) and my iPhone, which yes, I lined up to get. I’d buy the iPad now, were the cash available. I note, by the way, I wasn’t all that far off from what they released in this parody post from last year. I’d still like 180GB storage, and FireWire, but I’m awfully happy with what they’ve done. The two things that genuinely surprised me are the iBooks application and ebook store, and the iWork for iPhone. That’s sweet. I’m awfully excited, and off to learn more about ePub as an ebook file format; what I remember of it is that it’s not very good at internal links, images, or media handling. I’m still waiting for a media rich ebook that can do what Voyager did back in 1994 with MacBeth. I think this might be the best device I’ve seen for high quality media rich hypertext ebooks.