iPod: Good News and Bad News

You know I loves me my iPod Classic 160GB. It’s currently about 75% 71% full, and my daughter regrets the day she talked me into buying it. So over lunch I watched the live feed anxiously awaiting news of the iPod Updates. During the announcement, Apple gave a lot of love to the iPod Touch and Nano, and new colors to the Shuffle. No mention of the Classic… however, according to the updated Apple comparison page, the Classic still lives. Still unchanged. Still having had no Apple love over the last 3 years, but hanging on. So I guess I should be happy for that news.

I’m sad that Apple doesn’t bring the iOS eco-system to the large capacity users. It would be lovely to have a 192G or 256G solid state iPod (I don’t think doubling the 64G iPod Touch would do it for people). But we’re not going to see it this year :-(; further, if we ever do see it, I predict it will be outrageously priced. I’m guessing Apple presumes everyone wants to keep their music in the cloud. That’s not practical when you have large amounts of music (iTunes Match has an upper limit of 25,000 songs (more if you purchase from iTunes, but I prefer Amazon DRM-free MP3s for digital music); if you have a 160GB iPod, it’s not hard to have over 30,000 songs), or are regularly in environments where you are not connected (or connectable) to the cloud. Having the connectivity also limits the ability to use the devices in sensitive environs.

There was one update that has me worried: iTunes got love. I haven’t upgraded from 10.4, as I’ve heard there are problems with iPod Classic interfaces. iTunes is currently at 10.6.2 or 10.7, and iTunes 11 is coming in October.  When the new iTunes is released, I’m unsure if I should try it. It might be worth experimenting with Try and Decide on Acronis to test things. I may just stick with 10.4 as long as it works — after all, if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. As usual, I’ll probably just watch the Apple iPod Classic discussion forum to see whether it is working for other people first.



One Reply to “iPod: Good News and Bad News”

  1. Music purchased from iTunes no longer has DRM. The downloads are 256kbps AAC files, which may or may not be better than Amazon’s variable-rate MP3 downloads.

    iTunes itself is a roach motel, particularly on non-Macintosh machines. When I get a version that works, I refuse to update it. But I recently had to update it when I got a 64GB iPod Touch (which became obsolete today). It replaces my Palm TX PDA and my 8-year-old 20GB iPod, both of which seem to be simultaneously coming down with fatal age-related afflictions.

    The iPod Touch is great, with more than enough capacity for my entire music collection. The problem is that iTunes on my computer refuses to sync with it. It can talk to the 8-year-old iPod just fine. But with the new iTouch, the “sync” button is grayed out and everything on it shows up as “other.” The problem began when I updated the new iPod to iOS 5. I had previously synced my existing iTunes library with the new device when it had the version of iOS 4 it shipped with.

    I’ve spent too much time with three layers of Apple tech support. They had me completely remove and then reinstall iTunes twice, downloaded from two different locations. They had me disable my antivirus and firewall. When that didn’t work, they said it was a problem with the USB controller in the Intel P55 chipset on my motherboard and told me to go out and buy a USB card. The motherboard effectively already has that (a separate NEC USB3 controller), but those ports didn’t work either.

    After I reported my lack of success with the alternate USB controller, they apparently decided that spending any more time supporting a troublesome non-Macintosh user would not serve the shareholders’ interests. My e-mails and phone calls are no longer returned.

    I have workarounds. My music library is on my roommate’s Macintosh laptop, which has no problem syncing with the iPod. iTunes purchases sync through Wi-Fi, so I only need to resort to the Macintosh when I want to add a CD. Calendar and contacts sync with Outlook on my computer through iCloud, and photos and other document files sync through Dropbox.

    I’m very upset with Apple about their inability to fix the problem with iTunes on my computer. But the iPod itself is so wonderful that I’m almost (but not quite) willing to jump through whatever hoops and hurdles it takes to work around Apple’s failure.


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