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July 2004
Issue 050

Special 50th Issue!


Ultra-portable, revolutionary, touch sensitive, backlit, illuminated, super fast, hassle free, durable and stunning, just a few of the generous compliments one likes to receive on a day-to-day basis from one’s co-workers, though this time, they’re all about
a little (i.e. ‘smaller than ever’) digital music player named iPod. Even smaller than the ‘smaller than ever’ iPod, is the iPod mini
(3.6”x 2”).

This duo of gadgets have earned rave reviews from tech-mags, tech-heads, and style gurus across the globe. So, what do they do? It’s more a case of, what don’t they do? Let’s see… they don’t wash the dog or support internet dating. What they can do is store for your playing amusement anywhere from 1000 to 10,000 songs, mp3s from your own collection or new selections bought and downloaded from the iTunes Music Store boasting “the largest legal download catalo-gue” online. They have games, a text-down-load function, to-do lists, a calendar and a contacts list. If turning pages is an issue, try downloading some audio books. Celebrities apparently just adore the opportunity to read books to you — sometimes their own!

Although the list of attributes is somewhat astounding, what one finds more astounding is the emphasis on style when plugging the iPod series. The Apple online store is liberally laced with compliments as you would expect, look a little closer and it almost reads like a fashion magazine. The accessories, the colours, the adjectives, it’s quite endearing. Step outside the bright store lights of Apple and head over to an iPod “community” site such as ipodlounge.com and you can see pictures of people and their iPods from around the world. Funnily enough the top-rated pictures are those involving Speedos and bikinis. Fashion and technology hand in hand is obviously well appreciated.

Apple’s iPod style gurus include the suggestion that attaching your iPod to a lanyard around your neck is, most probably, the ‘ultimate fashion statement’.

“I want it fused to my cranium for easy access,” says iPodian Matt Kaste in an attempt to ace Apple guru’s style law, “to improve my appearance and to offend apocalyptic types who will assume that it is the Mark of the Beast. I will play track 666 continuously in their presence.” Undoubtedly the Apple crew will soon offer such a fusing option. Until then, one option available today is to have your newly ordered iPod engraved with 2 lines at 27 characters max. Your personal motto, your favourite lyrics, your name and telephone number, ‘This is an iPod’, the possibilities are positively endless, so long as they’re under 54 characters.

The iPod Mini’s main sales point other than its size is the colour scheme. A point craftily underplayed, “Oh, one other minor detail, you can choose your iPod mini in one of five trend-setting colours: silver, gold, green, pink or blue. (All shiny.)”
Oh, Apple, you had us at “All shiny”.

Once you select your iPod model, the fun shopping continues with accessories. Cases, covers, cables, connections, carry-bags, clip-ons, cartridges and circuitry. It’s all there, and oh so tempting. Barbie may actually be jealous at the array of extras out there for iPods. Audiophiles into style can check out thinkdifferentstorecom or everythingipod.com. Styling- up or down- styling are at your fingertips and only a click away.

As of June 2004 there are more than 3 million iPods off the shelves and in use. IPodloungecom says “The benefits of a large community are numerous. User groups and discussion forums, including those hosted by iPodlounge, have sprung up around the world, and experienced users have offered their expertise and friendship to a growing global community of digital music lovers.” iPod as stylish world ambassador for friendship?

“When I see someone with an iPod,” says musician Tony Grund, “I feel a kind of connection with that person. We have become siblings, united through the wonders of Macintosh.”
Truly beautiful words, not shiny, but beautiful all the same.

Text & Photos by Jared Olthof


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