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iPod, you have a problem

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It’s called irock!830, and I’m here to tell you why the Apple’s got a worm they haven’t yet acknowledged – but they will! As followers of my sad iPod saga in my blog may recall, I have recounted, over the past five months, my experiences with failed iPods not once, not twice, but THREE times: yes, yours truly has three iPods, $1,200 worth, all of which have suffered repeated freezes while jogging, and all of which have required repair, at an additional “diagnostic” charge of $50 apiece: we’re now up to $1,350, and they STILL freeze unexpectedly. The problem, as many websites noting this problem will attest, is that the iPod is, at heart, a computer: it has a hard drive spinning around inside, and therefore there are moving parts. Moving parts freeze when they’re jolted, like when you’re running with an iPod. But that’s why I bought them, to listen to music while I run.

The solution is obvious: a flash memory mp3 player. But Apple just keeps shoving larger capacity hard drives into its faulty-by-design device. All the flash mp3 players – up to now – only worked with PC, or were horribly clunky and expensive.

That’s then: the irock!830 is now. I bought one here last week – excellent service, arrived the next day – but was too scared to open it up and try and use it: it came with a CD with software you have to load first, and lots of other gibberish that made me, techno-retard boy, uneasy. Today I bit the bullet and opened the package: it’s beautiful! Less than half the size and weight of an iPod, runs 30 hours on 1 standard AA alkaline battery, and has flash memory: it passed the bookofjoe drop test (accidentally) with flying colors, playing uninterruptedly. Sound quality is indistinguishable from the iPod, and the earbuds that come with it are more comfortable and stay put better than Apple’s.

But here’s the best part: you don’t need to put in the software or do anything if you have a Mac with iTunes. I just plugged it into the computer with the included Firewire cable, and just moved songs from iTunes right into the device, about 5 seconds to load a song. Sure, the capacity is limited: 128 megabites, or about 32 songs, but hey, that’s two hours, a lot longer than I can run! Oh, did I mention the price? $99! Yes, $99. Apple’s cheapest iPod is now $300, and you get all the liabilities I noted above. These guys are going to eat Apple’s lunch as they bump up their flash capacity: they already have a 256 meg device coming for Christmas, for $150. Works with PC too, by the way. Oh, and it has a built-in FM radio with 20 presets. Very, very slick.

This just in: when I went to amazon for a link, I found they’re selling it for $89.24!!! Deal. Wow. This is da bom.

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About bookofjoe

  • Eryk

    So basically, because you repeatedly put a good product through the stress of jogging and it failed. I highly doubt the product was designed for such stress in a consumer situation. (Did you ever think to check the manual for the list of “Do Not’s” that come with most electronic equipment?) They were, however, designed to replace clunkier devices such as CD players and stereo equipment. Try jogging with one of those.

    If you want something you can run with, fine get a flash player with it’s puny 32-64 song capacity and sit back frowning at your “inferior” iPods. In the end, bookofjoe, you have the problem. You bought not one, not two, but three of these so-called “faulty by design” devices and then were upset when you broke the third one. Perhaps you should look up the definition of insanity. There will be a picture of you in an Apple store handing your credit card to the cashier.

    Flash players have been out since the MP3-player market opened and they’ve yet to receive any substantial recognition from anyone. Why? Because they are cheap, nearly-capacityless devices that are often not cross-platform capable. Innovation vs. 1st generation technology? I think I’ll go with innovation and take my chances.

    There are few things you cannot bash Apple on. One is style, the other is build quality. Just take a look at the iPod packaging material next time you see one and try to tell me that they don’t know exactly what they are doing.

    P.S Best Buy sells iPods and a 5 year warranty from them is less than $100. Hindsight is 20/20, eh Joe?

  • cjones

    Eryk, I think you are a little too evangelistic in your defense of Apple’s products. Yeah they are nice but they are not saving any lives. Lighten up.

  • Tom Johnson

    Personally, I’m glad book-o’-Joe did this review, because it’s an issue I never even imagined would present problems with these things. I’m not a jogger, but knowing that shocks could kill my expensive little box-o’-music certainly helps me decide that it’s not for me. And besides, if the box doesn’t warn you that you can’t use it jogging or any bumpy situation, what good is reading in the manual? Most stores will only take back an open electronic item in exchange for a replacement, not for refund.

  • Jim Carruthers

    Last night a DJ saved my life, and she was using iTunes. So There!

  • Mac Diva

    I hesitate to say too much when it comes to bad product stories because each individual has different experiences. However, having owned three iPods so far and having had each one last until I upgraded to the next, I will say my experience has been just the opposite. (In fact, my 5GB and 10GB are probably stil going strong for the people who own them now.) Also, iPods are warrantied by Apple for at least three months and they usually repair them for longer than that. There is no diagnostic charge most of the time or even a shipping charge. Apple will send the owner a shipping paid box.

    In addition, one can buy an extended warranty from a big box store such as CompUSA. Their policy is to hand you a brand new iPod if yours breaks while under a two or three-year warranty. It seems odd that a person who had an iPod break would not buy an extended warranty for the next two.

    The only reason I can think of for a person being charged for repairing three iPods in their short life history is that Apple believes the product(s) were abused. Yes, an iPod should withstand normal motion, but not being dropped or other extreme motion, especially repeatedly. No manufacturer would cover that under its warranty.

    BTW, I happen to read both PC and Laptop magazines yesterday. Both still rank the iPod as the cream of MP3 players, Joe’s opinion notwithstanding.

    C, don’t be frightened off. The iPod is the bestselling MP3 player in the world despite its price. (The hard drive being maligned here makes it practically two products in one.) And, if I remember correctly, there is often a hint of stinginess in Joe’s opinions. Note none of what he says happened could have occurred if he had bought an extended warranty. Yet, he apparently refused to cough up $35 — three times.

  • Eryk

    I think Apple users tend to be a little “evangelistic” when it comes to Apple products. I was way more inclined to react the way I did when he claimed some flimsy piece of plastic was better than an iPod. Lets be realistic.

    Those of us that do fork over the cash for quality equipment know how well it performs. If you want to say they are slow, fine. If you want to say that compatibility is limited, fine. But Apple is the king of style and build quality with very few exceptions.

  • The Theory

    Macintosh is a cult. Like Christianity, there is a heaven and a hell, only without the mess of the whole “god/jesus” thing. Simply, Mac is heaven, everything else is hell, except Linux, which is purgatory. The Macintosh user objective is to save everyone so that heaven outnumbers hell.

    Noble of us, if I do say so myself.

  • Jim Carruthers

    Well, the Bible does have a book of Job(s).

  • Phillip Winn

    I don’t own an iPod, but I can tell you that my 128MB Rio sat unused on a shelf until I gave it away. 128MB just isn’t enough – it barely holds enough songs to last me through a single workout!

    Right now I use an MP3-CD system, and one of these days I’ll save up my pennies for an iPod or equivalent. 256MB is a step in the right direction, though.

  • Andrew Ian Dodge

    My family has two ipods and we have had no problem with them, ditto my mates. I am sorry you have had problems with yours but yours is not a typical experience.

    Mac is a cult…what a load of bollocks. Any Mac user can tell you its PC weenies who get in your face for being a “loser” who uses a Mac. It is ironic that those who wish to express their personal choice and use a Mac are “cultists.” While those who follow the sheep and use PC are not.

    I am a Mac journalist/critic, however I use both freely and my flat contains two Macs & a PC.

  • steve robinson


    I have to add my comment having bought a 20GB iPod. On style and interface there is no comparison. It’s a classic product, however I did have problems when jogging.

    I love to run and obviously wanted to listen to music at the same time. My iPod would freeze after 20 mins (probably the first time the hard disk was used) when I was looping round the park. Not an assault course just a run. I let the batteries run down and this seems to reboot the device and it works again. I haven’t had to send it back.

    Sadly I can’t use it for running and have had to go back to small memory flash based devices. I would really like to know if anyone who had the same experience as me with an iPod has tried out the iPod mini? It has a different disk, so maybe the problem doesn’t arrise.


  • James Neave

    “These guys are going to eat Apple’s lunch as they bump up their flash capacity”.

    Isn’t it funny to look back in hindsight! This could not have been more incorrect. Did anyone buy this product? Now we have iPod Shuffle completely dominating the flash market. Quite amusing. You were so wrong (at least you tried).

    James…[happy iPod Mini owner]

  • Marty

    I have a Dell DJ first generation, a hard drive player. You are comparing apples to oranges. I don’t run with my hard drive player because it has a hard drive. I don’t have feel at all like I need to run with it. If I decided I needed to run while listening to a collection of music I would go buy a flash player, not run with my semi-expensive hard drive player. Flash players are appropriate for sport use whereas hard drive players are not. In fact, there’s even a waterproof flash player designed for swimmers.

    Please do not think I’m a diehard Apple supporter, I actually don’t own anything from Apple. I just think you’re an idiot for running with a hard drive based player three times.

  • 1p0d 5uxz

    ipod is like not as good as the rio karma because i got a rio karma and the rio karma works at lot more better and faster than the ipod did for my friend because he jogged with it and the screen pretty much exploded when i tried to run with my rio karma it didnt exploded because the harddrive is more good and it has this new “internal-airbag” technology where like if you drop it it forms a cushin and the screen doesnt blow up in your face and stuff so anyone dont suuport appil and just get a rio karma because in the end it works more better overall

  • Phil

    Well, I have an iMac and a Karma and they will not talk to each other and I am spending hours trying to find some kind of geek software so I can get them to work.

  • No name

    the rio sucks that was my fist choice but then it woul ony hold about 50% of my librayr if i got it at that time so why dont u get a shuffle or a nano in 1,2,4,8 gb that is big and applew quality so if u buy 3 ipods you should be abel to buy a nano for 249 and wont have tro worry about skikking lol

  • Nasir

    Come on guys, its time we admitted that God created iPod.. its just.. perfect!