House Hunting and the iPod

Another brief Backstage entry today: this may sound somewhat creepy, but in order to take clients on efficient house tours, real estate agents are often given special access to houses that are up for sale. The agents use special devices to open locked boxes with house keys inside, and can basically go into any home of their choice, see what it looks like, and then lock everything up when they’re done. Since the homes are often full of stuff – at least, when they’re not vacant – it’s important that agents (and the clients they’re touring with) aren’t thieves.

This week, I had the chance to go on an abbreviated house tour, a fact which would generally be unremarkable to iLounge readers save for what I saw in the houses. I went on a few similar tours last year, and wasn’t surprised to see the occasional Mac or iPod on display, but this one was different: 4 out of the 5 houses we looked at had iPods inside. (None had Macs.) I would have snapped photos, but felt it would have only added to the creepiness factor of walking through peoples’ furnished homes.

There were a few interesting things about these iPods. All of them were connected to some sort of in-home stereo system – one an Apple iPod nano Dock and AV system, two others to inexpensive speakers, and another to a Bose SoundDock. They varied in model from nano to 5G to mini to 3G. They were all white or silver. And they were all sitting in rooms away from the families’ computers. The fifth house, apparently owned by an older couple, had neither a computer nor an iPod. None of the homes appeared to have been professionally staged by agents attempting to make the houses look “hip;” all were occupied by their owners.

I mention this only for one reason: in Family Feud terms, you’re statistically unlikely to correctly predict the presence of any specific electronic device in a home besides a TV, DVD player, computer, phone, kitchen appliances, washer or dryer. And two years ago – even one year ago – if you’d listed an iPod as one of the items on this list, the Family Feud buzzer would have gone off. With 100 million iPods out there, that seems to be changing, though my visits were admittedly hardly scientific and limited to one geographic area (Los Angeles). Previously, I was under the impression that some of those millions are more concentrated in the hands of few users than they appear, albeit not quite in the 10-30 iPod-per-person numbers fans might boast, but seeing a handful of random homes with just one apparent iPod becoming a single-bedroom or living room audio solution was really interesting to me.

What about you guys + gals – when you visit most friends’ and families’ homes, do they have iPods, too? Or are you the lucky one in your social circles?