I-Pod competitors- nothing ventured, nothing gained

When oh when are these stupid tech companies gonna learn that they're not gonna outdo Apple with tiny bells and whistles? Evidently, they're not gonna learn any time soon as Samsung is about to take the plunge and get their butt kicked.

Their new Z5 Flash player is the latest attempt to overtake the I-Pod. Nine months from now, let's see what kind of music toy everyone's gonna want under their Xmas tree. Hint: it's not going to be the Z5.

An interesting New York Times article details how the programmer who came up with the I-Pod's software is working on this new and supposedly improved product. With him on board, they gotta beat Apple, right? One problem that the article notes is that the I-Tunes interface is part of what makes the I-Pod so attractive to consumers.

Another thing is that, I never get tired of saying this, the I-Pod simply has this ultra-chic aura to it that other MP3 players can't match (at least yet). There are players with much larger capacities for songs, ease of use, lower prices, etc. that are made by name-brand companies who've been making hand-held electronics much longer than Apple but that doesn't mean squat. It's the design, stupid! It's also that by now, the name I-Pod and the idea behind it is so burned in our psyche that it overpowers the idea of competitors- that's why the device owns a overwhelming majority of the MP3 player market.

If you want a nice simple lesson on how and why Apple kills the competition in this regard, there's a really funny faux-commercial at You Tube showing what would happen if Microsoft were packaging and marketing the I-Pod. They'd make it look like a fine-print ridden mess that no one would give a 2nd thought to. Need more proof? Dig this Business Week article that explains how Japan is falling over itself for the I-Pod, despite the threat from MP3 players crammed into the latest cell phones.

It's not that I-Pod will always dominate the market but it's kind of funny and sad to see these electronics companies keep thinking that they can take back their own turf just by making a better product. That ain't how the market works all the time. Perception and glossy, surface style mean a lot too. How else could you explain Tom Cruise's acting career?

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.