My iPod Buying Experience | iLounge Article


My iPod Buying Experience

When the iPod first came out, I knew I had to have one, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it immediately because they were fairly expensive and I knew I wanted a lot more storage than 5gb. I told myself that when they came out with a 20GB model, I would bite. When the 20GB model did come out, I had other concerns to deal with financially, so I kept putting it off. About 2 months ago, not having one was killing me, but I knew that revised iPods were just around the corner so I continued to wait. Then, on a wonderful Monday, the rumored new iPods were announced. As much as I was hoping for 40GBs and Bluetooth playlist sharing, 30GB and a thinner, smoother design would have to do. Yeah, the music service is cool, but having the iPod would be enough… for now.

I went to the Apple store in SOHO at 5:30 to arrive at 6. I knew there would be a line but little did I know that it would be a line all the way from Prince St. to Houston St. I decided to see how fast the line was moving so I dutifully got in it as I waited for friends to arrive. The conversations were varied, but there was one guy that really made me laugh. He was just hanging out in the line asking people why they would wait in line, and commenting on how he was just going to wait a few days. Yeah, that’s a much better idea than wasting your time in line! Half an hour later my friend arrived and because I hadn’t moved much—maybe because I had been shown the error of my ways, yeah right—we left. The event would be going until 10pm, so although there was a chance they would sell out, I decided to come back later.

We got back at about 9pm. The event was very cool: cool people, cool tunes, cool decor, cool giveaways… what can I say, it was just the overall aura. I can’t imagine Microsoft EVER being able to pull something like that off. I bought my iPod, a 30GB, and hung out for a while, but since we were headed to see X-Men 2, not too much of that coolness rubbed off.

On the subway, I couldn’t wait any longer, so I opened it. The experience of opening it is… OK, cool. The box is a cube that folds out into two compartments. Everything is VERY well presented and the new iPod design is well… COOL! Smoother and thinner. The buttons, however, are surprising. They are just holes in the clear plastic cover so they have sharp edges. A very unique tactile sensation. Ultimately I think I will like it a lot, but truth be told, I haven’t held it much at all yet. I’m still downloading songs. IT’S 6:02pm the next day.

Why is it taking so long, you ask? I don’t have a FireWire ready Mac available, but I couldn’t wait to get the iPod, so I’m loading this up on Windows… Yeah, I know!

I installed Musicmatch several times, but it just wouldn’t recognize the pod. The Apple software recognized it fine, but that didn’t seem to help Music Match at all, which unfortunately is required (that I know of). I had installed Musicmatch before on the PC with an Iomega HipZip. Every time I launched my new installation, it kept telling me that I needed Iomega drivers for the HipZip. Musicmatch tries to help you install them by going to the site, but when you click on the appropriate download, it finishes the download and tells you that it can’t find it. The same goes for the MM iPod plug-in. I looked for it manually and tried to install it, but it wouldn’t work. I tried everything else I could think of for another hour, at which point I had spent 3 hours) and still had not uploaded a single song. So I uninstalled Music Match and all the Iomega software on my computer for one last try. After reinstalling everything but my Iomega software it still didn’t work, and somehow it still wanted Iomega drivers for the HipZip.

So I downloaded EphPod. I was a little nervous because the site didn’t say anything about the new iPods, but at this point I was desperate. I installed Ephpod and (like the Apple iPod manager) it immediately recognized the iPod. It wouldn’t synch though, giving some cryptic error message. Well, I don’t know why, but without closing EphPod, I opened Musicmatch one last time, and by some wonderful “Eph"ing miracle, it could see the iPod!

So I started furiously uploading the few songs I had on the PC to the iPod.

But most of my library exists on my Macs which given the fact that my only available FireWire port is on a PC is a hassle, albeit a temporary one. Like I said, I couldn’t wait. I have an old Powerbook G3 Wall Street which does not have FireWire, but does contain most of my music library. Since it is connected to the PC with Thursby Software’s DAVE was able to get started, but ethernet ain’t no FireWire! Three hours later, six hours all together, I’m still uploading songs. Hey, at least I’m uploading songs! I’m just glad it’s working. I still haven’t LISTENED to a song yet, but when I do start listening, I’ll have 6,000+ songs to choose from. Just think, it would only take me about 8 days of listening 24/7 to get through all those!. No more hearing the same song 5 times a day on the radio! I can’t wait to get started.

Life is good! ...and this is probably the last time my iPod gets hooked up to the PC.

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Just got the 30GB iPod which BestBuy upgraded me to from the 20GB which had a defective equalizer. And they did it one day before even Apple sold the new units.

Yes…it is smaller, lighter and sleeker. But that means Ive got to wait till Xtreme Mac does a new case.

My Comments: mainly the controls too too too sensitive…much moreso than the older ipods…and this is my 5th unit. The sleep timer is gone in favor of an instantant on off sleep timer.

And yes I have to use it on a PC. But have used Music Match for years. Their implementation for the iPod requires the patientce of Job…...but finally learned to use it successfully. And of course, you can record in mp3Pro which is still the best format till AAC is fully implemented.

If you have problems with MM on the PC you can email me.

Posted by Pete Saybolt in Irvine, CA on May 6, 2003 at 6:17 AM (CDT)


MP3PRO is NOT the best format. It does a good job on HIGHLY compressed cases (ie 64kbps is about as good as 96kbps MP3). Needless to say both of those are extremely noisy and unpleasant.

AAC 128 is OK, but just marginally better then 128 MP3. Neither of which I would listen to.

MP3 256 and up (AAC 256 also) is somewhere where quality starts.

Please be considerate and rip at higher standards.

Posted by pbox in Irvine, CA on May 6, 2003 at 10:16 AM (CDT)


Can’t say i could agree on the fact that MM wouldn’t work ...

I’ve installed it a couple of times already, and it worked fine for me. I remember that last time i installed it (a couple of days ago) i had to download the plugin, but it wouldn’t install because ‘iPod software is still running’ although i had my iPod disconnected from the PC.

It turned out that i just had to shut down MM, run the downloaded plugin, let it do it’s job, restart MM and it recognized it.

My only complaint about MM is that it’s so slow at detecting my 20 Gb iPod (with about 3400 songs, maybe that’s the trouble) ...
I’m using MM only to rip my cds anywayz, i like XPlay a lot better ! And faster ...

And i NEVER understood that ‘Volume Levelling’ thing in MM ... if i understand it correctly , they have to go through my ENTIRE collection to be added , reencode them and then put them on the iPod or what ? :) Maybe i just don’t get, the miserable fat belgian b*stard that i am :p

And hey ... i don’t really care about all this ‘ooh, my format is way better’ hassle ... isn’t it all just a matter of ‘What i hear sounds pleasant enough to my ears’ ? I mean, i’m not gonna rerip all my cd’s EVERY time some new so-called superior music-encoding-algo comes out , let along trash all my existing mp3 cds and burnin’ them again (or on DVD for that matter)

Posted by Oenie in Irvine, CA on May 6, 2003 at 10:28 AM (CDT)


I purchased the new 15 GB iPod the night that it was released off of the Apple website and received it last Friday.

I installed it on both my PC laptop and my Powerbook G4 and it works seamlessly.  My only complaint is that with the 4-pin firewire connection to my PC laptop, I can’t have it charge at the same time as I could with my Powerbook.

Posted by kevin in Irvine, CA on May 6, 2003 at 2:01 PM (CDT)


Regarding encoding; I thought MP3 encoding in iTunes was awful.  I ripped all my CDs at 192 kbps and was very disappointed.  So I re-ripped everything using LAME alt-preset-extreme (about 256 kbps VBR).  Much, much better.  BUT: s-l-o-w encoding, and big file sizes.

Now we have AAC.  Is it better?  Is it worse?  I planned to find out.  I ripped a CD I had previously ripped using LAME extreme (Bruce Springsteen - The Rising) using AAC 128 in iTunes.  Then I tested the results against my LAME encodes.  I cannot tell a difference.  Honestly.  I’m trying, I really am.  I don’t have a $20,000 sound system, but I have decent headphones, and I’m doing a blind test in QuickTime, toggling back and forth on simultaneously-playing identical tracks.

I also did a blind test between a track I ripped from CD using LAME extreme vs. the identical track I purchased from the iTunes Music Store.  Again, I cannot perceive a difference.  I wish more folks would attempt these tests and share their results.

If I can’t tell the difference, I’m going to re-rip everything in AAC.  Fortunately, AAC encoding is *much* faster than Lame on my dual G4 867.

Posted by Chris in Irvine, CA on May 6, 2003 at 2:52 PM (CDT)


Why no WMA support?

I thought this was on the cards.

There’s no way I’m going to convert my 10GBs of WMAs into over 20GB of unwieldy MP3s just because Apple are too bloody-minded to support the default Windows file format (and the one that produces the smallest files).

So no iPod for me, again. This time


Posted by J. in Irvine, CA on May 7, 2003 at 9:57 AM (CDT)


Well ... to be honest ... i can kinda understand that Apple doesn’t feel much for adding WMA support ...

Seeing that WMA is a Microsoft-introduced encoding format ... can’t blame em ...

And if AAC is there for Mac, that’s even more comprehensible ...

I’m just asking myself, are there any people USING that WMA anywayz ? Never ever used it or thought about using it. I’m quite sure Apple likes to sell a lot of iPods, one more or less won’t count to them.
If they have to put all their energy in trying to get people to switch, just by selling them iPods, i’m sure that’s gonna take them a whole lopt of time.
I for one am not intending to do so, although i really like my iPod (except for the lack of on-the-go playlist support, but i’m not gonna start that whining on this playlist also *lol*)

Anyway, to cut a long crappy story short : they can’t and won’t do everything to convince everybody ... support Creative i guess , i’ll stick to my groove, sexy iPod *yummy* :)

Posted by Oenie in Irvine, CA on May 7, 2003 at 10:20 AM (CDT)


Oh yeah,

just a small addition, just to not make it too easy :
I’ve got a 20Gb iPod and a 160Gb Raid setup on my PC ... so the fact that WMA is ‘better’ quality and smaller sizes just doesn’t matter to me.

20 Gb is plennnnty of space really, i’m an avid music listener and there’s just so much music you can listen to on one day ... i used to have to go around hauling my cd-collection with me, but since i have my iPod, i’ve been able to rejoice all of the music i was craving for by just a flick of the wrist ... i LLLLOOOOVE it :)

Posted by Oenie in Irvine, CA on May 7, 2003 at 10:23 AM (CDT)


Anyone need to trade up to a 30gb iPod from the old 20 and do it free of charge. And we aint talking eBay either. A onetime charge of $50 for this information.

Posted by Pete Saybolt in Irvine, CA on May 7, 2003 at 6:47 PM (CDT)


I ordered my Ipod on the day after Apple announced the new product line. I decided on the 10 gig, ordered it up, and as I decided on my method of shipping I couldn’t justify spending another few bucks on shipping just because I have the patience of a poodle. Anyway, I decided against the express shipping and according to Apple’s website they were to ship on Friday so I was expecting a week to pass before I would see anything.

As it turned out, the thing shipped a day early, Thursday and I was quite excited because I was now sure it would arrive within a week. The next day, to my surprise, the damn thing showed up. This means about 16 hours after they reported it shipped, it arrived. Ridiculously fast, never experienced anythig like it and I’m a slut so I experience a lot of things. I have no idea what the point of paying express shipping would have been, but whatever that might have been I was thrilled with Apple. Oddly enough I never plan to buy anything from them ever again unless it’s possibly a future Ipod.

Posted by Jill Magloire in Irvine, CA on May 7, 2003 at 7:00 PM (CDT)



Ny story is quite the opposite.  I ordered mine on Friday, it shipped Saturday, and I still haven’t received it.  I hope to have it soon, though.  I’ve been waiting all week.

A quick question—do the new iPods come with software (iTunes) for Windows, or will I have to use EphPod / xPlay?

Posted by Anon in Irvine, CA on May 7, 2003 at 8:56 PM (CDT)


I am upset that I bought a 20GB iPod at the end of March and that they came out with a newer version with larger capacity for the same price.  I bought mine from B&H Photo (got it the day after I ordered it) so I have no recourse but to look at my iPod as a rip-off.

Posted by Mark Matson in Irvine, CA on May 8, 2003 at 2:40 PM (CDT)


How can you feel ripped off just because Apple came out with a new model?  Should they have phoned you and told you “Psst, don’t buy yet, new models will be here in a couple of weeks?”  Good grief.  That’s technology.  Should they never come out with new models?  Should they tell everyone in advance when to expect them?  I guess they could do it like auto manufacturers, where you have a 2002 iPod, a 2003 iPod, etc.  But that ain’t gonna happen.

I bought a 20G iPod in January, then took it back because I read all the rumors about new models.  Had I known I’d have to wait 4 months for the new ones, I would have kept the 20G.  In some ways I liked my 20G more than my new 30G.  Them’s the breaks.  Just enjoy your new iPod.  It’s just as great now as when you bought it.

Posted by Chris in Irvine, CA on May 8, 2003 at 2:49 PM (CDT)


Hi Mark,

I bought my 10G ipod on 18 April, just 10 days before Apple announced the launch of the new ipod.

Like you I was initially very upset over the matter.  But just think about it, beside being slightly thicker and heavier, the old model works as well as the new one (The docking station although useful is not really essential). 

In fact, I prefer the old design (the control layout) compared to the new one which look more ordinary and less cool.

The bottomline is the ipod (both old and new models) is simply a great piece human creation.  Not everyone is as fortunate as some of us to be able to afford one.  So just be thankful you are holding it in your hand.

Enjoy the music.

Posted by BC in Irvine, CA on May 8, 2003 at 8:05 PM (CDT)


I agree with the WMA guy.

If he does have ten gigs of WMAs then a 20Gb iPod won’t be big enough once they’re converted to MP3s. Or, at least, not if he wants to put any more music on it afterwards.

And does anyone know a program that converts WMA to MP3 anyway?

Anybody who bought a Windows XP machine in the last year tends to have their music in WMA because that’s what Microsoft Media Player rips to, and since they’re the smallest files there doesn’t seem much point changing.

Posted by Tim in Irvine, CA on May 9, 2003 at 7:14 AM (CDT)


Thanks for the comments… and I still am thankful for this little gem, I just feel a bit slighted.  At least with computer technology, faster chips are announced and it is at least a few months before the price drop occurs.  This was over the course of a week… your $500 buys 20 gigs today and 30 gigs with improvements (and some draw backs) tomorrow… if you we lucky enough to have your pay check cashed this week you win, if it was last week, too bad.

On balance, I am very satisfied.

Posted by Mark Matson in Irvine, CA on May 9, 2003 at 8:49 AM (CDT)



Posted by Leee in Irvine, CA on May 11, 2003 at 12:38 AM (CDT)


I ordered my iPod 11 days ago, and it’s still not in!!! why do you think this is? I live in Canada… does this make a difference?

Posted by Dave Luebbert in Irvine, CA on May 18, 2003 at 11:26 PM (CDT)


Before I even thought about getting an iPod, I ripped all my cd’s to MP3 (basically for winamp). But for the WMA question, you can get MP3 PowerEncoder, thats a Windows Media Player add-on.

Posted by Fogy in Irvine, CA on May 22, 2003 at 2:09 AM (CDT)


people, stop it!!!! Can only get mine in two week (money issues for some of us) and you all having the bloody IPOD is driving me CRAZY!!!! I am so jealous.TELL ME MORE!!!!!!!!

Posted by Katrin Malin in Irvine, CA on May 23, 2003 at 9:28 AM (CDT)

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