Sunday, June 26, 2022

Aidan Smith: Why an iPod could save my life

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Stop me if you think I’m getting too melodramatic about the iPod’s death: an accident on a lonely road, the emergency services managed to extricate me, but too late it seems, and the paramedics while he was after looking for the possibility of a kidney donor card, finds the jukebox in my pocket, one of 450 million sold, ingenious technology, great design.

“Wow,” she says, “this guy had amazing taste in music. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more eclectic collection or artfully curated playlists. His iPod should be saved for the nation and installed in a museum so everyone can enjoy a true esthete’s song choices.”

Then her boss says, “Why don’t you put the headphones in his ear, those iconic white tendrils that snaked around the world at the beginning of the century, and spin the iPod’s wheel – one of mankind’s greatest inventions alongside the actual wheel.” ? ”

The paramedic hits the little “play” arrow and I start twitching to life. The next few days are a tangle of chat show appearances, publishers bickering over the book rights to this “miracle,” and Netflix throwing major miniseries dosh at me before Apple announces, “Sorry, we have.” totally misjudged us here. The iPod isn’t going to be phased out…”

OK, that’s unlikely. And the glam-rockers, hip-hoppers, proggers, punks, sensitive singer-songwriters, jazzers, folkies, French dance acts and not forgetting the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, all of whom contributed to the 21,538 selections presented in the Tiny Tardis of the tunes I carried everywhere with me won’t argue which song “saved” me. But I still mourn.

Possibly still in exaggeration mode, the news that iPod production had ended reminds me of the moment when it became clear that there would be no more moon missions.

When the iPod hit the market in 2001, the endless possibilities of the solar system were suddenly complemented by the ability to fit your entire album collection in a 10 x 6 cm device.

“To build the case,” noted Apple’s guru Steve Jobs, “we pushed the outer limits of what could be done with metal.” Well, no more than those limits were exceeded in the construction of the Apollo rockets, Steve. And the iPod, by the looks of it, seemed to be our first freely available space-age gadget, beating jetpacks and pill-shaped food that has yet to arrive without pressure.

Now no one takes my iPod away from me; it doesn’t have to be handed in like a gun in a Wild West amnesty. I will still be able to hear my music through its wonderful effects, but only for a limited time.

One day it will fail and that already scares me. I’ve put on twice as many protective socks and may have to stop taking them out of the house soon lest I become a victim of pickpockets stealing iPods to order for people who are bored of Mumford & Sons, the idea by a Young Conservatives focus group This is what a band should look and sound like.

Or U2. Do you remember when a just released album of theirs appeared on iPods unsolicited? Apple could get any deal they wanted with any band, but that was interference. I put together the soundtrack my life, thank you.

Of course, keeping the iPod out of the house would defeat part of its purpose. Remember when your suitcase was loaded with CDs, a portable player and mini speakers for listening to music on vacation? What a leap the iPod has made from there.

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