The Lite Side

iPod and Other Digital Devices for Pundits

- 2001.10.25

Apple's new "breakthrough" digital device set me to thinking what would be good enough to satisfy the pundits who proclaim that the iPod is just another boring MP3 player. So I came up with a list of ideas Apple can use, free of charge, to satisfy the all important pundit demographic.

But before we get into that, make sure you have the proper background. Let me present you with the Lite Side Highly Compressed iPod Review™, containing everything you need to know about what people think about the iPod.

Lite Side Highly Compressed iPod Review

Two friends, Fred and Wilma, are discussing the iPod. Fred is the pundit, and Wilma the uninformed consumer.

Fred: Apple has a new breakthrough MP3 player called the iPod.

Wilma: What's so good about it?

Fred: It holds 1000 MP3s; essentially your whole music collection.

Wilma: That's good.

Fred: No, that's bad, because other players already have that functionality. It also has a cable to connect it to the computer so it can hot-sync.

Wilma: That's good.

Fred: No, that's bad, because other players do that, too, or with so little effort as to be not inconvenient. (Editor's note: "Not inconvenient" is a Windows Technical Term™) What it does have is FireWire.

Wilma: I guess that's bad, too.

Fred: No, that's good, because FireWire is much faster than the USB or serial connections found on other MP3 players. And it provides power to recharge the iPod as well - all the other players require a separate power cord or millions of alkaline batteries.

Wilma: So I guess that's the innovation.

Fred: You are correct, but there is one other bad thing.

Wilma: What's that?

Fred: It costs $400.

Wilma: That is bad.

Fred: Very bad.

Wilma: How could we ever afford it?

Fred: I guess I'll be eating Bronto Burgers for a month.

Now with that business behind us, we can proceed to brainstorm new iHub™ devices to go along with the new whipping boy for Apple pundits, the iPod. These Pundit-Proof™ designs will sell well to people who write columns like this one. In fact, I'd buy every item that follows on this list if I had any money to spend.

New Pundit-Proof™ Digital Devices from Apple

The Old Standby: the iPad™, Apple's revived and revitalized Newton technology, automatically hot syncs with your iMac's Documents folder (OS X only), and contains a stripped down version of OS X as an internal operating system. Compatible with Network Administrator and Timbuktu Pro. Flat screen interface with a stylus and retractable keyboard stored underneath the third-leg prop that holds it up. No removable media; color screen, 10 gig hard drive with one FireWire and two USB ports. Airport connectivity. No known method will connect it to a Newton. Initial price: $3,500 due to touchscreen interface. Pundit-proof price: $129.99.

The iDock: A new home stereo component, this is essentially a docking station for your iPod which allows you to use a remote control to play your files over a home stereo system. Connects to that last unused AUX connector in your stereo system. Initial price: $350. Pundit-proof price: $29.99.

The iHat: This little device looks like an iPod but contains a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) receiver that automatically hot syncs with your Map and Time Zone control panel. Called an iHat because the little arrow that points north uses vector notation. This can be used to automatically keep track of where you've been, adding together the linear distances to be used in a mileage reimbursement form. Although Pundits will note that any PDA can be connected with a GPS receiver for far less money, they will balk at the initial price, but eventually learn to love the little gizmo. Initial price: $4,500. Pundit proof price: $10,000. Pundits are always looking for ways to increase their mileage reimbursements.

iGo: Apple's entry into the automotive field looks suspiciously like a new VW Beetle with a FireWire interface. You can fill your car with gas in less than 8.4 seconds. A complete overhaul takes only 11 minutes. Still, pundits will complain you can do the same thing with the Ford XP Windows Edition, only slower. Initial price: $58,000. Pundit proof price: $ 2,017.58.

iSpoke: Apple's newest entry in the Digital Hub domain is a voice recorder shaped like a pen - but it's a voice recorder! Record your enemy's secret confessions when he makes that big tell-all speech just before attempting to kill you. Also a really good "hub" pun too. Introduced at $399. Pundit-proof price: $7.99.

iKnow: Carry around the Library of Congress in your backpack with this 140 terabyte portable RAID from Apple. Connected to an iMac, it lets you access the entire Library of Congress without an Internet connection. Can download the entire first season of Buffy (before she died) in less than 3.1 seconds. Introductory price: $7,000,000. Pundit-proof price: $112.42.

iYam: Apple's first FireWire-compatible mirror lets you display a digital image of yourself, altered in real time with Kai's Photo FaceLift, on a display designed to mimic a real mirror. You will be able to gaze at yourself and see what you want to see, all the while murmuring, "I Yam what I Yam." Introductory price: $78. Pundit-proof price: $1,019. Odd pricing structure due to market saturation by Glenn Close. Special Disney pricing available from January to March in conjunction with Sleeping Beauty DVD promotion.

Apple, you can have these ideas free and clear. Enjoy your new found riches! Until next time,

iRemain,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Lite Side Guy!

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