On December 25, 2006, I opened up my first real iPod: the 80GB 5.5th generation iPod with Video. It was a device I wanted ever since getting an iPod Shuffle and realizing that Apple really knew what they were doing with hardware and software.
I used and loved this iPod daily until 2012, when I got my iPhone 4S. In the weeks and months leading up to getting my iPhone, I thought frequently of how awesome it would be to consolidate all of my various devices into this one master device. At that time, I had a Blackberry Bold 9700 as my phone, everyday carry camera and Internet Communicator; a Flip Ultra HD camera for video; and my trusty iPod for music. The iPhone would replace all of these devices. From then till now, I’ve enjoyed the iPhone 4S as the ultimate consolidated device.
While feeling nostalgic yesterday, I took my old iPod out of storage, charged it up, and plugged in a pair of headphones. It hadn’t been synced with my Mac for a while and was thus a time capsule of my musical preferences back in 2012. I found some of my favourite songs and started listening. I was struck by how little this device actually did: all I could do was pick a song, press play, and adjust the volume. There was nothing else to distract me. I couldn’t switch apps and start browsing the web or check my email. I just put the iPod down and let the music take my full attention, and it was really, really fun.
Using my old iPod has given me a fresh perspective on the technology I use daily. I often wonder what people used computers for before the Internet1. Wouldn’t a computer without a Internet connection have been rather limited in purpose? After using this iPod, I see that computers did have a limited purpose. Limited purpose, however, is not necessarily a bad thing like I originally thought.
A computer with a Internet connection is not just a computer. A Internet connected computer is also a reference library, a source of entertainment, a social hub, and pretty much anything else you can think of, and thus can be almost endlessly used. But with all of this power comes the potential to get stuck doing practically everything except for the thing that you should be doing. Sometimes, having a single purpose is preferable. And perhaps, even with the endless possibilities of the Internet, a modern computer can be used with a purpose in mind. Thanks for that, iPod.
I got my first computer in 1998 and I didn’t get a Internet connection until at least 2000, so yes, I am old enough to have used a computer. I don’t even remember what I used it for. ↩