Gabba Gabba One of Us

I finally stopped resisting and bought an iPod, the 15 gigabyte model.

Although I was probably doomed to buy the “regular” iPod rather than the Mini, simply because Minis are not readily available enough to satisfy my desire for immediate consumer gratification, I did actually go use a Mini before making the choice. A lot of people talk about the superior controls of the Mini; coming to both of them cold, I thoroughly disagree. While the position of the controls on the Mini might be superior – I couldn’t say for sure without using it for a few days – the feel isn’t quite as nice, to my taste. The buttons and scroll wheel on the bigger iPod are outlined with ridges (I almost said “are ribbed for your pleasure”) so that it’s easy to locate the control you’re looking for without looking. If the Mini has any similar tactile cue, it was too subtle for me to notice. Also, just from handling the two of them side by side, the wheel on the mini didn’t connect as well to the on screen cues. I’m being vague there, but it’s hard to describe. I was able to use the bigger iPod wheel perfectly, but with the Mini I kept overshooting my target. That could simply be because I have big hands.

After a couple of days with the 15 gigabyte iPod I’ve come to the conclusion that 4 Gb is plenty of space. It turns out I really don’t listen to my entire collection of MP3s – about 40 days worth – in any one session. It is nice being able to have an extra complete backup of the archive, though, so I don’t exactly regret having the space.

For me, the difference in size between the Mini and the standard iPod wasn’t great enough to convince me to go small, but I can surely see how that would matter to a lot of folks. For me the problem with the iPod isn’t its size, but the mere fact that it is a separate device at all. My problem is that I generally have barely enough brain power to remember to pick up exactly one portable device when I leave the house; it turns out that that is almost always the cell phone. This is, basically, why I stopped using my Palm Pilot – a personal information manager that is never with you isn’t much use. I’m less worried about the iPod since (for me) it’s basically for working out, and just needs to be kept with the rest of the gym stuff.

I’ll be first in line for the combination iPod/Pilot/GPS/Phone, though, once they’re cheap enough to give them away at McDonald’s.