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  • Here’s a Better Way to Reach Out and Touch the iPod

    September 6th, 2007

    Guest Editorial by David Biedny

    Editor’s Note: David Biedny is a leading digital effects, graphics and multimedia expert. His writing, educational efforts, multimedia and special effects work have enjoyed global exposure. He is considered by many longtime industry players to be one of the technical and creative pioneers of personal computer-based multimedia.

    Sometimes you have to wonder how companies like Apple make decisions about product configurations and designs. Take the iPod Touch — we all knew a new type of video iPod was on the way, it was only a matter of time and that time finally arrived.

    Even though I really can’t financially justify buying a new iPod right now (my third generation, customized and expanded iPod seems to not be able to hold a charge anymore, three batteries later), I was all ready to dig out a worn credit card and give Apple more of my money. But after seeing the iPod Touch, I stuck the credit card back in my pocket. It’s all about the memory.

    I’m fully aware that physical devices are subject to the immutable laws of the physical world. If you want a big, bright screen packaged in a small enclosure, and hope to have it be able to be powered on more than an hour, something has to give, and in the case of the iPod Touch, that something ended up being the hard drive. It’s not exactly shocking news — but it really, truly didn’t have to turn out this way. How many of you were looking for something to play all of those movies you’ve downloaded from the Web, or ripped from your DVD collection? How many CDs do you own — in my case, the number is just south of around 4000 — and have put in storage, now that all of them are living inside of iTunes, filling up that external 300 gig hard drive?

    I know I’m not alone here, and when I factor in the thousands of images in my digital photography collection, the animations I’ve created over the last couple of decades and the demo reel of all of my visual effects work, it’s just not going to be able to live inside of the constraints of 16 gigabytes. Apple does the impossible, convinces EMI to up the sample rate of their music on iTunes, and then makes it more difficult to get all that shiny, luscious content on our cool new widescreen iPod? I can’t fit all of the episodes of Max Headroom on the Touch, and that’s a crying shame. Let’s not even mention the complete 14-DVD Monty Python box set sitting on my shelf. Can’t Touch it.

    Look at that 160 gig iPod Classic (Apple, is this the best your marketing folks could conjure up?), and imagine that drive in a thicker Touch case, with a bigger battery, same screen and interface. THAT is the device I so very much hoped that Apple would deliver, the portable media center that I’ve dreamed of for years.

    I would be willing to compromise on the “eight millimeter thin,” and have all my important media live on a “20 millimeter THICK” device that was not a concession to design. I would have laid out $500 for that iPod Studio device without hesitation, and without complaining about the lack of Bluetooth or an integrated camera (leave those for the iPod Studio Pro). And I know that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

    And along those lines, now that there is only the 8GB iPhone, tell me, Apple, would it kill you to add an SD card slot to the thing?

    We feel that this would be a reasonable thing for Apple to do, in light of fact that the 4GB iPhone is history; that is, unless you can locate one of the few remaining units in the closeout racks, carrying a special $299 price tag.

    If you agree with this sentiment, we would request that you visit our online petition, designed to inform Apple about our collective thoughts and feelings regarding this idea. Click here to get involved.

    Let Apple know that we feel strongly about this issue. And do also let us know your viewpoints in our Comments section.

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