Deconstructing Product Design
Apple perfected the design of the iPod in 2004, and it has changed very little since then. The iPod Classic is now the portable music player of choice for serious music fans that want to carry their entire collection with them. The only major change left for Apple is to use flash memory instead of hard disks.
I’m addicted to my iPod Classic! It’s the perfect size to toss into any bag, and the weight is bearable to wear on a lanyard or armband. It’s intuitive to use and has held up great to years of near-constant use. This iPod has changed the way I work — blocks out distractions and the music can add some ‘pep’ during those mid-afternoons when energy gets low. It’s changed the way I travel — flights don’t seem so long when I can listen to an audiobook or watch a movie of *my* choice. Yeah, the screen is small, but it’s not that bad to watch something on it now and then.
Does the iPod classic interface in some way reflect music?
The click wheel is rhythm – organic….
Observe the natural syncopation of a user rolling the wheel and clicking – rolling the wheel and clicking….
Intuitive – no friction.
Like your first memorized verse of music.
Once learned never forgotten – natural.
The perfect way to interface with music…..
One of the inherent problems of compact portable players such as the Ipod is the battery life. Infact so many electronics have to be fitted in so less a space that the unfortunate tradeoff a user is getting is on the battery itself, one of the most critical components for ultimate user enjoyment. No matter how good it looks on the outside, if the battery can’t last you on, say, a transcontinental flight from LA to Tokyo, its not really worth all that bling. For a typical international flight preparation, someone may have many electronic items to charge. To bother about getting the Ipod to full charge in this mess, is to me, not very convenient.
There are other hardware issues as well, but from an aesthetic standpoint, I believe it delivers.
The iPod classic is actually quite plain, and yet plainly beautiful. The aesthetic details and materials are simple, well-chosen, and well-refined and the original interface results from an understanding of what listeners wanted from their music and how they want to interact with it on the go and throughout all aspects of their life. The wheel was an intuitive, tactile way to interface with an otherwise static object. Nowadays, considering the programing and feature advancements of the iPod, I could say that the interface is cumbersome and that the wheel is antiquated and will go the way of the dodo, but no one will hear me. No one will hear because the iPod is so embedded in our modern life that it is a social and cultural icon.
This part of the iPod’s success is the child of the one of the best advertising and marketing campaigns to date. The design itself has its pros and cons like any other, but it is so much a part of modern culture that it is no longer a product, it is a statement. And that was the full intent of the product design and of the ad campaign. Individually and between iPod owners it says “I am trendy. I am conscious of my media and design needs. Music is an important part of my life, and so is being a part of the music culture.” What is says socially is that the time of being independent and unique is fading in favor of belonging to the safety of a greater group. Look at the advertisements, the iPod and earbuds are featured and the person is a shadowed, faceless, dancing representation of everyone you or I know, except so much cooler. Don’t you want to be like them? Of course you do, who wouldn’t?
I don’t think it was so good in 2004. The integration wirth itunes was great, but the navigation on the ipod was poor. It is only when the ipod got a touchacble wheel that it became the greatest.
Simply stated, the iPod changed the way the music world regarded digital music. In the days of the original Napster, record companies were scoffing at MP3 and doing everything in their power to steer people away from the format. The iPod came along and made it conceivable and – better yet – easy to have your entire music collection at your fingertips anywhere you go. With the avalanche of success the iPod has enjoyed, digital has become a necessary and, in some cases, preferred method of delivering music product to the masses. It’s rare indeed to see a product receive such absolute acceptance in the marketplace that it forces and entire industry to move to its rhythm. Apple’s brilliant aesthetic design and marketing of the iPod as not merely a gadget, but a lifestyle, has made the iPod a cultural icon.
I’m not sure this image is the first generation as there was a peripheral ring as well. Nonetheless. Clean and intuitive, WYSIWYG at its destiny.
Before I bought one, I didn’t see the purpose of it. After having one I coudn’t live without it. Now that I have an iphone, it’s slowly dying my on my desk.
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