I am an iPod owner and iTunes user and was always a junkie for news about those products and even more so for news about the burgeoning field of digital download, from any store or format. At first the only clutter for me on the site was the mounting stories about iPod accessories that posed little interest for me. Now it seems there is so much iPhone news I rarely notice any headlines in my RSS feed that I want to click on, which leads me to look less often at the headlines.
I’d say I’m a bigger fan of the iTunes player than I am of even the iPod, so anything related to it or its competition, I always appreciate. And related to that would be news about at-home enjoyment of the digital music. Be it through a computer program or new piece of stereo hardware. To me, it’s all related.
I suppose I see the above as such an exciting, changing world that even if I don’t buy every new gadget (my iPod is 3G from 5 years ago), I still love to know what’s going on. I certainly know the iPhone is part of that world, but with its navigator, camera, email, games, and well phone it just seems father and farther from anything I’ll devote much time to reading up on for fun.
Is there a way to compartmentalize the site for users like myself?
– Tim K
A: Hi Tim,
Thanks for reading, and also for writing about this. Every weekday—seriously—Senior Editor Bob Starrett and I have a discussion about which iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, and iTunes news is worth covering on iLounge. I also work with iLounge’s other editors to determine topics that might benefit from coverage in our review, article, editorial, and other sections. So you’re raising a topic that’s important to us collectively, and to me personally.
There’s a simple answer to your question, which would be to focus your attention on the “iPod” section of the iLounge.com homepage, which is found by clicking on “iPod” in the big moving box near the top of the page; another would be to pull only the iPod- or iTunes-specific stories from our news archives whenever you come and visit. There is a “Browse news by category” feature there. On our side, we could make this easier for users by creating an iPod + iTunes RSS feed that would screen out iPhone and Apple TV news stories. If this would be something of interest to readers, we can definitely consider it.
However, my more complex answer to your question is this. Over the past year and a half, the dominance of the iPod and iTunes, as well as Apple’s focus on the iPhone, have worked together to kill much of the frenzied iPod/iTunes developments that used to dominate our coverage. Specifically, what has happened since the January 2007 announcement of iPhone has been a profound shift in information out of Apple; “news” about the iPod or iTunes recently has tended to be little more than software bug fixes, sales statistics, minor feature additions, and patent filings. None of this is especially exciting to us, and obviously, it’s not mindblowing for you, either. Some of this is just the reality that goes along with a niche player becoming the industry’s 800-pound gorilla; the other part is due to fears that Apple has cultivated in developers and partners, in some cases stifling development, and in other cases its partners’ discussion of developments.
At the same time, there’s been more iPhone news and information to report, most recently on applications and the iPhone 3G, as well as a surge in the number of Apple-related rumors, speculative analyst comments, questionable survey findings, and other things that we’d categorize as “not news.” Our view has been that we can either keep our readers entertained by reporting on rumors and other “not news” topics, or take a higher road and not treat every little Apple-related whisper, comment, or supposed survey as worthy of coverage. We’ve tried to take the higher road, but obviously, Apple fans love to talk about rumors, and the lack of real news out of Apple and third-party developers has created a vacuum, so it’s a tough call.
The final issue is that the iPhone, to some extent, affects the destiny of the iPod. Apple has been committed for at least the last year to the idea that the most expensive iPods it sells will be stripped-down iPhones. Developments for the iPhone tend to have some importance to some iPod users, as well, but obviously, if you’re not an iPod touch owner, you probably couldn’t care less.
Please do know that we continue to take seriously the question of what information to present to our readers, and that we try our best to cover topics of interest to all iPod, iPhone, and iTunes users. While not every headline or article is going to interest you today, especially as an owner of an iPod that hasn’t been sold for four years—one that Apple has long encouraged developers to transition away from supporting, no less—our goal is to have a database of accurate information that will be useful in the event that you upgrade. We hope that you’ll continue to find us worth reading.