Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Putting the iPod Cart before the Horse

So I spent a significant part of my weekend acquiring and setting up a new iPod. Not for myself. Not for my wife. Not for my parents. For my uncle. Who lives in India. In a small town. Without a computer.

Last week my dad called me to tell me that his brother had asked for an iPod from America. Now, it's not odd to get requests from my uncles before heading to India. In fact, my dad takes a significant gift for one of his brothers every time he goes to India. However, it's usually a really nice watch or something like that. So when my dad told me about the iPod request my first question back to him was, "Do they even have a computer?"

Well, earlier I told a white lie about them not having a computer. There is actually a computer in the house, but it's quite old and I suspect it would have a tough time running the latest version of iTunes.

Nevertheless, my dad said he still wanted to get him an iPod since he asked for one. I proceeded to remind him of the cost of a new iPod ($300), the requirements for said iPod (computer, MP3s), etc. And then finally asked (multiple times) if he was still sure he wanted to gift it to my uncle.

I'm not sure why I wanted my dad to be so hesitant about getting this iPod. It wasn't the expense of it since my dad generally gets something nice for one of his rels (although the $-to-size ratio is pretty high for an iPod). In fact, I've given one of my uncles a nice film SLR for his photography business. The hesitance also wasn't because I wanted one. In fact, even while I spent time setting up the new iPod and playing with it a bit, I didn't feel any desire to have one of my own.

I think the main reason was because getting an iPod for them was sort of like putting the cart before the horse and having a feeling that the iPod wouldn't really get used much. Referring back to the computer situation, I think my uncle will have a hard time really getting good use out of the device since he doesn't have a library of songs already ripped to MP3s. Sure, he can rip tons of songs and put them onto the iPod, but I doubt he understands how much time and effort it would take. Heck, I decided to do that with my library last year and I gave up after two dozen CDs. It just takes too much time! Forget about having a library of MP3s, regardless of how much my uncle is a gadget freak (which is definitely is), I don't think he's really comfortable with the concept of digital music.

And regardless of how easy it is to use an iPod (very easy if I may say), I think there's a certain experience you need to have before being able to get much use out of it. So there you have it. While I was happy to set up iPod for my uncle, I really don't think he's going to get a tremendous amount of use out of it. I suspect he'll go back to popping in a CD into his CD player since it's just so much easier.

Heck...remember those 5 CDs I got last week for my birfday? Well, I've got 5 jewel-cases sitting in my car and I've been switching CDs every time I want to listen to one of them. I haven't ripped them to my computer. I haven't created a single MP3 CD which could hold about a dozen CDs worth of music and which I could leave in my car stereo.

Will my uncle go through the process of ripping or acquiring a library of MP3s? I certainly hope so. He's got a shiny new iPod that he needs to use :)

No comments: