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Today's papers are full of the announcements, all buying into Jobs' "seven wonders of the world" line about the new touchscreen iPod. There's no doubt it looks great but DO YOU REALLY NEED IT! And yes, I know you can say that about all technology but it's a serious point where iPods are concerned.
Apple feeds off the hype that follows its announcements and I am surprised they still get away with it. I mean how often do you change your washing machine? Or you oven? Or your TV? Or your digital camera?
We buy those expecting them to last years but far too many people seem happy to splash out a couple of hundred quid or more on an iPod only to "trade up" six months later when Steve appears on a big screen presumably sending out some sort of psychic wave. I can't think of any other explanation for the cultish behaviour that sees millions seemingly brainwashed into replacing a product that's perfectly good for one that doesn't really do anything different to what they hold in their hands.
I've never owned an iPod. Even though my first exposure to computers was on a Mac (the original) I've never had the need to own any of Steve Job's new gizmo's.
I've carried a Palm device since Handspring was formed; years before Jobs had his vision of the iPod. The first add on I bought was a 64 meg MP3 player, which I used for several years as my only MP3 player. I've currently got a Treo 650 (which is two iterations behind the latest and greatest Palm device) and I have no need to upgrade to a newer Palm, much less a use restricted MP3 player that doesn't include a phone.
When I first decided to invest in Palm devices, I did so based on the concept of one device that performs the functions of several devices I might need to carry; phone, camera, data, music and video. The first Handspring with add-ons could live up to this expectation. The current Treo does it with nothing more than an SD card for additional memory.
The iPod is just a walkman that plays MP3s; and now video. Nothing new there. The iPhone is just another cell phone with a really cool interface. Also nothing new. Palm was the innovator of handheld devices; Apple is just the copycat. They lost their cutting edge when they lost the Woz.
I don't know who the next innovator will be, but it won't be Apple. Perhaps Google has something up thier sleeve? Ever heard of Archos? Who knows what the future holds; history, however, has shown that giant corporations do not produce innovations.