Music is everywhere. Everywhere you go you hear music. Music is recorded in a studio and then presented in a medium for listening. Different mediums have been used in the history of music playback. The first available to the people were vinyl records where a disk was spun to create a sound. Next were a tracks and cassette tapes where the audio was contained on tape that was moved along a sensor. Compact disks followed these and were read by a laser to send a signal to the speaker. Now, the current method of storage is digital music playback devices, mp3 players. Mp3 players contain a digital encoding of a song and store it either on flash memory or a hard drive, which is similar technology to the cd drive. The storage space started out small but has expanded to the point where a single unit can hold an entire library of music, photos and video.
In the past, devices used to play back music were offered from different manufacturers who produced different brands and models of players. While the same can be said about mp3 players, the Apple Ipod has indisputably dominated the market. It's appeal, accessibility and successful marketing has put the player in the hands of more than 175 million people and is undoubtedly one of the most prominent icons in music culture. This is similar to the sony walkman craze with casettes players and cd players but on a much more large scale and exemplified terrain. The term mp3 player is synonymous with ipod. Other mp3 players have tried to compete with the ipod but the appearance, recognizability and symbol status of the ipod has kept the competition safely away.
There have been many different renditions and models of the ipod. It has improved much since it's first model and added many upgrades, improvements and capabilities. Even the first ipod, however, was a big step from the cd player. The first ipod was 5gb and much smaller than any cd player. With songs compressed at 128 kbps with apple audio codec (aac) this ipod could hold 1000 songs. This is equivalent to about 100 cds and was much less bulky than carrying around a big cd case, and most people couldn't notice the difference between the compressed track and the real song unless listened to with expensive headphones. After this came 10gb, 20gb, 30gb, 40gb, and even 60gb models and the change of the scroll wheel from a mechanical moving wheel to a touch sensitive wheel, and various rearranging of the buttons but all retaining the basic ipod design. A color screen and the ability to view pictures was added at this time. Around the time apple changed to color they released a smaller ipod, the ipod mini, that held fewer songs â 2gb and 4gb storage. Next apple released an ipod that played video in 30gb and 60gb models, later releasing an 80gb model. Along with this came the first flash based ipod players, the ipod nano, which replaced the mini, and the ipod shuffle, similar to the nano but without a screen. Apple has since improved on these models offering 120 and 160 gb models of ipods and 8gb and 16gb models of nanos. A ipod nano now costs half as much as the original ipod, is several times smaller and lighter, holds over three times as much, has several times the battery life, and can now view pictures as well as videos. Other significant developments from apple relating to the ipod are the iphone, an ipod with a touch screen and phone and internet capabilities, and the itouch, an iphone without the phone but still including internet capabilities.
The ipod is very easy to navigate with it's user-friendly interface. To turn the ipod on just press any of the four buttons or the middle button. Once it is turned on, use the click wheel to navigate to the desired song, artist, album or playlist and either press play or the center button. Random play is also an option. There is a line out in the top of the ipod, or in the bottom of the nano, for use with headphones or speakers. Once a song is playing the touch wheel may be used to change volume or change location in song, or change rating. The fast forward and rewind buttons can be used to change the location in a song or to skip to the next song. There are many options in the settings menu such as backlight timer, equlizer and clock. One can also navigate to videos photos and games. On the bottom side of the ipod is a port for the connection to the computer which connects to a usb port to charge and transfer media.
The Apple Ipod is significant to music technology for many reason. It is the flagship product that defines the benchmark for all mp3 players. It is seen in the hands of countless music lovers worldwide. It is a symbol of technological progress and modern entertainment. The Apple Ipod is the modern music experience.