iPod? iCan’t

Nope – just tried again and I can’t justify buying an iPod. Let it be known, iPod Touch, that I was seriously looking in your direction, but still couldn’t convince myself that you were worth a quarter of a really good lens for my camera.

For all they’re shiny, trendy and (according to the media) essential to ensure you have any friends at all, I just can’t see any point in me buying one. To me, the whole iPod ethos appears to be based around how much freedom the device gives you when you’re “on the move”. It therefore seems that my inability to purchase is essentially based on the following fact: if I am moving from one location to another, then 99.9% of the time, I’m driving. No public transport, no walking: just as sole captain of HMS Ian’s Honda.

My car is not iPod compatible, but has a sublime 8-speaker sound system with 6 CD auto-changer. All can be controlled without my fingertips leaving the steering wheel. So I don’t see any point in using one in the car.

When not driving, I live the majority of my life at home or work. At work, the scope for personal entertainment is minimal. I occasionally listen to music from my laptop, but that’s not too often. Anyway, I’m not buying an iPod just so I can listen to the occasional tune while working.

At home I have no requirement for hand-held entertainment. Music? Just pop the stereo on, which can stream any one of the tracks in the 16GB music collection instantly. Or go upstairs and work on the computer and do the same.

More expensive iPods allow you to watch movies. Whooop-a-dee-doo! Let’s peer at a tiny, highly-reflective screen for two hours while getting wrist cramp holding it upright for that long. If you remembered to make sure the battery was fully-charged. No thanks. Should the time arise when I can watch a full-length movie at home (and I believe the last time that happened was 2007), then I’ll do it lying on the sofa with a decent screen, sound, wine, and crisps.

Games? No thanks. I’ve got a GameCube sitting downstairs ready to go and I rarely get on that.

“Surfing the Internet”? Hmmm… With such a silly little screen, I’m thinking it’s going to be less like surfing and more like paddling while lying on a lolly stick. But! they all cry. You can zoom the screen just by swatting your fingers like this! And? Why should you have to? Besides, unless you go for the iPhone (or the monumentally expensive iPad), you can’t surf while out and about anyway.

And that’s another thing. What exactly do people use the Internet for when they’re out and about? Note that neither looking at a picture of your m8 and commenting “OMG!!!! LOL!!!!” on some social networking site, nor cheating with Wikipedia in a pub quiz, counts as real usage. The only real demo of mobile internet I’ve seen and thought “that’s clever” is of maps to get you from here to a given location. And possibly buying tickets online just before you arrive somewhere. Based on recent mobile Internet usage figures, there must be a hell of a lot of lost, ill-prepared people out there.

An iPod would replace my 2003-vintage HP iPaq 5550, which is now starting to show its age in terms of connectivity and compatibility. But at least it had a to-do list application available out of the box.