Shuffling Priorities

Since my post about gadgets, apparently the hype surrounding the Ipod Shuffle has raised somewhat, inducing me to make a special post about it.


Now, here’s my take on the latest jazz of the fazz:

the Ipod Shuffle, coming in 2 different memory sizes, 512 MB and 1 GB, is decidedly a good product with a comparatively good price. We’ve seen many flash-based MP3 players in the market, and when the largest size they come in so far is 256 MB with about a Rp 2 million price tag, the 1 GB Ipod Shuffle comes in at about Rp 1.7 million. So for under-1-GB MP3 players, you get value for money, and perhaps, if important to you, the prestige of owning an Apple product (apparently).

This product makes accessible a product once only belonging to those who could afford it, since the cheapest Ipod, the Ipod mini, still comes at a price of around Rp 2.4 million; a pretty hefty price for something not necessarily a daily need. So those longing for an Apple product, perhaps even specifically an Ipod, can get their own affordable version (with prices comparable to a mid to low-end cellphone). And due to the distinctively different design, and even marketing approach, those already owning a larger-sized Ipod would not lose prestige; I think even they would buy a second Ipod in the form of the Ipod Shuffle for just the fun of it.

So Apple has finally released products for the budget-concious, but not letting go of style and prestige, in which Apple has put in huge efforts in building since the advent of iMac.

Now, the downturn is, as mentioned above, you can get a 4 GB Ipod for double the price of a 512 MB Ipod, and even a 20 GB Ipod for triple the price. See? For those who don’t understand the technology behind these MP3 players, the math doesn’t add up. The Ipod Shuffle, and other similar-sized MP3 players use flash-based memory, which is typically a computer chip. Every time you want to increase the memory size, you have to double the miniaturization and thus almost double the cost; hence, if you notice, flash-based memory always comes in factors of 2 (16,32,64,128,256,512 and the 1 GB Ipod Shuffle should be acutally 1028 MB). The larger Ipods use more or less the same technology as computer harddisks, hence the capability for storage space up to 60 GB in the latest Ipod Photo. It just costs a bit more expensive than your usual computer harddisk, even a harddisk for a laptop, because it’s even smaller than standard harddisks, and you also have to consider the hardware and software for running the Ipod itself (notice that it took a while for other electronic vendors to make a harddisk-based MP3 player).

So, if you just want an MP3 player, and you’re not too worried about storage space, get the Ipod Shuffle. You get value for money. But if you need the extra space, forget about it and save up for at least a 20 GB Ipod. Both have the same functions; it’s all a matter of storage and budget.

You choose;… for now, I’m putting my lust for the Shuffle on hold, as I already have a flash disk, and an MP3 player on my P900. We’ll see lah…

About barijoe

Failed Musician, Reformed Gadget Freak and Eating Extraordinaire.

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