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There are a few reasons why Apple should make a new iPod. For one, it would allow the company to capitalize on some nostalgia for the iPod age that seems to be coming around, based on recent iPod-themed web players, apps, and mods.
The other, perhaps more obvious reason, is that the iPod is a music-centric device, and Apple literally has a service called Apple Music. The company is currently in love with services revenue, but many of its devices just aren’t that great at playing music. The iPhone makes it difficult to plug in many types of headphones, and Siri interrupts what you’re listening to when you’re asking it to do something simple that doesn’t really warrant an audible response (like turning on HomeKit-powered lights, for example).
Most of, if not all, of Apple’s devices also can’t play the highest-end lossless files that Apple Music can now deliver without additional hardware. This means that Apple doesn’t sell something it can point to and say “this is the best Apple Music experience you can get, period.” An iPod could be just that.
While Apple Music should be tightly integrated into a modern iPod, it would also be great if it could play music from other services, and if it had a totally Classic mode that just played files synced from a computer.
Not only would opening the iPod up avoid some terrible optics for a company that’s being scrutinized by the government and competitors (like Spotify) for abusing its role as a platform and service designer, but it would also help avoid some of the weirdness that comes with streaming music. A lot of the times I use my iPod these days are because Apple Music is acting up, forcing me to restart the app because it claims that content is unauthorized, or completely fritzing out when trying to play the lossless music Apple recently introduced.
(Seriously, is anyone else having this problem? Randomly, but very often, the song I’m trying to listen to will devolve into a flurry of high-pitched, digital-sounding squeals, like I’m listening to a 100 Gecs song playing on a Discman that’s being vigorously shaken.)
Of course, Apple does still sell an iPod, after all these years: the iPod Touch. Now, don’t get me wrong, the iPod Touch is a very good device, especially for children, and people who just want a non-expensive iOS device. But that’s just the thing — the iPod Touch isn’t a purpose-driven music player, it’s an iPhone without the phone.
But so what? That just means it can use its headphone jack to listen to tunes from Apple Music, as well as Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Prime Music, and anything else, as well as play games, surf the web, read books, etc.
And that’s the rub for me: the iPod Touch is a good computing device, one that Apple should arguably update more often, but sometimes the best tool for a job isn’t the one that can do everything. It’s the one that’s designed to do one thing really well.
For example, when I’m listening to music on an iOS device I often find that I’m not actually listening to the music, but scrolling through Twitter with it on in the background. That doesn’t happen with my 2006 iPod. The focus that comes with something that’s not offering you everything, all of the time, is the same reason some people prefer e-readers over just reading on a tablet or phone.
And, practically speaking, making a dedicated portable music player without a smartphone OS and touchscreen would mean that Apple wasn’t competing as much with Android-powered players from the likes of Sony and Fiio.
There’s also the matter of hardware — if Apple made a new iPod designed for just listening to music, it wouldn’t have to make it powerful enough to run 3D games or Safari, and could instead put resources to a better DAC and amp (perhaps one that could play Apple Music’s aforementioned 24 bit, 192 kHz lossless files).
I don’t think that a new iPod would ever reach the dizzying heights of popularity that the older models did. Most people are perfectly content to listen to music on their phones — if they weren’t, Apple probably wouldn’t have stopped selling iPods in the first place. However, Apple’s a big company — it could stand to make a niche, music-focused device, even if its last one didn’t do so well. And as an old iPod enthusiast, it coming out with a new one would be literal music to my ears (I had to).
P.S. — I’ve also found the Apple Music experience on the Apple Watch to be pretty mediocre, and I don’t want to take my phone on a run. I’m not saying there’s room for an iPod Shuffle with the new offline Siri instead of VoiceOver, but...
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04 July, 2021 - 12:05pm
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After leaked builds and through-the-roof anticipation, Windows 11 was formally unveiled on June 24 and released in preview build capacity to Insiders in the Dev Channel on June 28. The promise of a forever-OS has been canceled now that many users are actively running Windows 11, a creation Microsoft long ago dismissed as not in the cards. The future has arrived, and it has everything from curved edges to a fresh Start menu (and a whole lot more).
If you're one of the Insiders who's been toying around with the latest operating system from Microsoft for the past few days, we want to know: Are you digging it? Are you hating it? Are you completely indifferent about it?
Earlier this week, two Windows Central mainstays shared opposing views on the hype surrounding Windows 11. Robert Carnevale (yes, that's me) gave thoughts on why the hype for Windows 11 is overblown, while Sean Endicott took the opposite stance and argued that the hype is warranted. You've heard from us, and now it's time we hear from you.
If your opinion on Windows 11's preview build is a bit too nuanced to fit within the confines of the choices provided in the poll, feel free to leave a comment outlining your thoughts on the operating system. As evidenced by previous polls, some of you love to give super detailed, in-depth takes on our weekly poll topics, and we love to read them. So don't hold back!
And if you want to catch up on everything and anything Windows 11-related, be sure to check out our extensive coverage of it. Do you know how to get a file explorer with tabs on Windows 11? Are you armed with the best Windows 11-ready apps?
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If your PC somehow does not have trusted platform module (TPM) support through firmware and your UEFI BIOS, we'd recommend checking your motherboard manual for a TPM header. If you have one present, you can try to see if one of these will be compatible to get you ready for Windows 11.
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