10,000 Pixels In Your Pocket

I wrote another article for SFist, this one about Apple’s announcement and the new video iPod. The comments section is pretty funny. As angry and bitter about computers that I am, I’ve got to laugh at being called an Apple-hater, as I’m sitting here using Safari on my Mac mini hooked up to the second iPod I’ve bought and an iSight camera and an Apple wireless keyboard and two variations of Apple mice sitting next to my second PowerBook and knowing that I sold a PowerBook to one friend and convinced another friend to buy an iBook. Part of me wonders what you’ve got to do to be a real Apple devotee, but then the rest of me doesn’t want to know because I’m not sure I could afford it.

Oh yeah, and the guy who said that the obsession with expensive gadgets is a manifestation of a greater socialogical (sic) ill of consumerist excess and social withdrawal? Well, no shit, Brainiac.

Anyway, the new iPod. No, it’s not that big a deal, just a thinner version of the iPod with a wider screen. It’s actually really nice, from what I’ve seen, and the best design of an iPod yet. It’s just not the big “video iPod” that all the blogs were leading up to. Great product by all accounts, just nothing astounding. Not even I can justify getting one, unless something… happens… to my existing iPod.

I was never convinced that any mobile device could play video worth seeing, until I saw the Sony PSP. I said it before, but including Spider-man 2 with the thing was a great move on Sony’s part. I don’t think it sold people on the idea of buying movies on UMD — it didn’t sell me on the idea, anyway. But it did show that it’s actually practical to watch an entire movie on a handheld. The problems, as I’ve said enough times now that I’m already sick of hearing myself saying it, are that UMDs suck and memory sticks don’t hold enough. It’s going to take a real video iPod, with a hard drive and everything, before you see people getting excited about mobile video.

Just for yuks, and to see what the video quality was, I did download a couple of videos from the iTunes Music Store. They’re nothing to get all excited about — they didn’t draw much attention to it in the press releases, but did mention it at the actual presentation, but the video is only 320×240. (And I’ll admit that the two videos were “Limp” by Fiona Apple, and “Least Complicated” by the Indigo Girls.)

Browsing through the video store was kind of neat, because at this point it’s still mostly old, old stuff that makes you say, “Oh yeah, I remember that video!” I’m having to flashbacks to sitting in the living room watching “Night Tracks” on TBS waiting for them to play “One Thing Leads to Another” by the Fixx again. As soon as they have “The Warrior” by Scandal Featuring Patty Smythe, I’m totally buying the hell out of that.

As for the TV shows, I’m skeptical I’ll ever use it. If I were using something like an iMac as my whole home media center, I could see how it would be cool — but then if you’re using an iMac instead of a bigger TV, then are you in the market to pay two bucks a pop for episodes of TV shows that were broadcast the night before? All the shows are DRM’ed with Fairplay, so it’s not as if I could copy the video file to a PSP, either. Or burn it on a DVD. They’ve still got to work that part out, I think.