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The Therapy Sessions
Thursday, February 10, 2005

Apple flubs one

I was once a huge fan of Apple Computers. So many things made them easier to operate than clunky PC's. But over the years, I have become convinced that no matter how fashionable and trendy Apple makes its computers, Apple is doomed long term as a computer maker. It's not just opinion. There are major technical issues that Apple will not be able to overcome.

I agree with Steven Den Beste (whose writing I seriously miss) that Apple's Ipod is an exit strategy. And as far as escape hatches go, it's not a bad one. But it has to change with the times.

Apple will come to regret this:
Mel Karmazin, chief executive officer of Sirius Satellite Radio, has had discussions with Apple about incorporating satellite radio into iPods, although there is currently no interest in adding such a feature.

Mr Karmazin told a conference in New York that Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple Computer, currently did not believe iPod users needed anything other than the ability to download thousands of songs.

Huge mistake.

I considered buying an Ipod a year ago. I loved the operating system. I loved its built in FM modulater, aloowing it to broadcast itself onto the dial of any nearby radio.

But there was one major problem: it could not do real-time mp3 recording.

Why was this a problem?

My wife and I have a huge CD collection. But when you listen to music 8 hours a day (yes, I listen at work), even 8000 songs are going to a get a bit stale after a year or two. At this point, you want radio: new music and different music constantly thrown at you.

But commercial terrestrial radio has gotten so bad I can't listen to it anymore: too repetitive, too many commercials and too many DJ's who think you want to listen to them.

A few years ago, I got XM satellite radio. It is the greatest thing ever.

Unfortunately, I can't get satellite reception in my office or lab. (Wy windows open to a sunny atrium (great) but the attenna can't see the satellite from there).

The real-time mp3 recording capability of some mp3 players offered the next best thing: hundreds of files of half-hour snippets of radio music (I record them myself when I have free time). The files play randomnly, interspersed with my own music. (These files are good quality, but they are not perfect. Piracy issues are not a factor with files recorded in this way.)

I ended up buying this, and I haven't regretted it.

It's like having my own radio station. And whenever I hear a shitty song, I only have to hear it once.

If I was an advisor to Steven Jobs, I would tell him this:

The new Ipod should have the FM modulater and the cool operating system. In addition, it should have satellite radio (XM or Sirius) with the ability to record the radio signal directly onto its hard drive.

Oh yeah, and it should have about 40 GB of memory.

That would be really cool. Way cooler than what I have now.

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