I listen to a lot of music, be that when I’m working, typing furiously away at my desk, when I’m reading a book, or even when I’ve chosen to sit down and just listen to music.
The last one is one of my favorite things to do, and when I do, I don’t want to be disturbed. My phone is turned off, my laptop closed, and the door firmly shut – nothing gets in the way of my listening time. Unless the house is on fire. Or my Uber Eats arrives. Sometimes, I don’t even want to use Apple Music, excellent as it is.
Why? My love for my iPod, that’s why.
For this purpose, just doing nothing else other than immersing myself in my favorite tunes, an iPod is perfect. It’s not connected to the internet, so I can switch off from the outside world and listen to music in my own personal universe. There are other options to do this with sure – and some of them may even be better. In the long run, however, I can’t see my iPod going anywhere anytime soon – and here are five reasons why.
Disconnect from the outside world
I’ve spoken about it already, but there really is nothing like dedicating some time to listening to music and zoning out from the world around you. In my case, that means shutting everything off that has a connection to the internet or cellphone towers, and just getting comfortable with nothing but some music or some thoughts. Sometimes, this looks like playing a record on my HiFi, sometimes a CD, and sometimes it’s pressing play on my iPod and sitting back. Often, in fact.
The simplicity of the device and its single focus on music means that I can disconnect. After all, I spend all my time at a desk, connected to the internet, and typing away at massive screens. Something that’s got nothing to do with any of that is huge for when I want to relax. No calls, no Slack messages, no emails, nothing. Just me and my tunes.
It can work well with my other hobbies as well. I like to read, and playing music on my iPod again lets me focus on the book at hand, instead of playing around with internet settings and streaming apps. It’s simple bliss. Not a MacBook Pro in sight.
The form factor
The iPod video, the model I have, is small. The screen is, in modern terms, postage stamp sized, and the rest of the device is smaller than the iPhone 13 mini. It fits perfectly in a pocket, seamlessly into a car center console, and slips super nicely into your palm. There’s something almost organic about its smooth, pebble-like aluminum plate back, and it remains a pleasure to use a device that truly only needs one hand to operate.
I’ve changed some bits and bobs on mine. The front panel has been replaced with a red one, and the battery swapped out. Beyond that, nothing has been changed in terms of the way the device feels in hand. It’s one of those devices that’s a pleasure to hold, and you can imagine the work that went into making it both as palm and as pocket friendly as possible.
The battery life
This little box of tricks lasts for days. I could charge it up now, and then I’d have a few days of listening to music before it conks out. Admittedly that’s after I changed the battery, but I don’t mind doing that every few years to keep it going.
Think about it this way. How long, realistically, does your iPhone last? You plug it in the evening, unplug it in the morning, and it just about lasts through the day. Even the best iPads don’t last that long. For my needs with my diminutive portable music player, I don’t feel like that’s enough – and thanks to its power-sipping components, it doesn’t need as much charging.
Seriously, these devices last ages on a single charge. It’s mad.
The DAC, or digital to analog audio converter, in the iPod video is very, very good. That’s the bit of the insides that takes the digital track of the song I want to listen to and turns it from ones and zeros to a listenable track that my headphones and I understand as music. The better the DAC, the better the music sounds, and as I said, the iPod’s DAC is good, so the music sounds good too.
It really is as simple as that – while my favorite small player may not have the most juice inside to run the more powerful headphones, the replication of high quality tracks is excellent.
If only it knew how to play Flacs.
Honestly, how could I have left this feature off the list? The Clickwheel is what makes an iPod an iPod, what sets it apart from all the other digital audio players out there. Nothing had anything like the joyfully tactile wheel that clicks slightly as you use it, no control method so smooth and simple with the easy-to-use UI.
The Clickwheel is one of the greatest pre-touch screen input methods, there are no two ways around it. It’s a lovely piece of design and it’s one of the primary reasons the iPod sticks around in my pocket and on my desk. Even though the UI on my iPhone 14 is great, I still miss something about physical controls. The iPod gives me just that.
Will anything ever replace it?
Never say never – but until that time, something is going to have to do a great many things before I consider ditching my beloved iPod. I would miss the lovely screen, the Clickwheel, and the size. I’d miss the UI, and to some degree, I’d miss Parachute, the weird game that comes installed. To me, not even the best iPhones come close.
Someday, there may well be a device that topples the iPod as my music-listening device of choice. Until then, however, my iPod shall remain my trusty companion – even if I can’t connect a pair of AirPods Max.