This page used to have a long story about my experiences with the Apple iPods I've had, written when the devices weren't quite so ubiquitous as they are now. However, it seems completely redundant nowadays, so I've reduced this page to the few points below. Please don't send me email about problems with your iPod, or (as one person did) copy me on giant and tedious email missives to Apple. Almost everything comes up on the IpodLounge forums so try searching there or using Apple's iPod support pages.
- Basically I'm pretty happy with iPod ¹ and I'm glad I've got one, so all the negative points below should be set against that.
- The build quality of the iPod's bundled accessories is shockingly bad. The two part plug + power supply breaks incredibly easily. The lead from the iPod to the remote control also quickly became frayed and the remote stopped working for me. (Pictures of both these types of wear are shown to the right.)
- In any case, you'll want to get headphones that sound better than the bundled white in-ear type. They're so common now that they've probably lost some of the unpleasant ostentation they had at one point, but it's still the case that no one (bar potential muggers) cares that you have an iPod, so the one possible remaining reason for using them doesn't apply...
- The iTunes for Windows software is utterly bollocks, even by the shockingly low standards of other Windows music players. Some of the brokenness is due to the designers sticking to Mac OS user interface conventions on Windows: for example, the first click on the application window when it doesn't have the input focus isn't transmitted to the application - clicks are only listened to when it has the focus. Anyway, I can't use it any more since I don't have a working installation of Windows and thankfully gtkpod on Linux has been working fine with my iPod for ages. I hope Apple don't attempt to break that.
- At some point Apple stopped using buttons that actually moved and switched to solid state buttons. These are a pain in the neck, since you accidentally hit them the whole time without meaning to. (With proper buttons you can do things like temporarily turning off "hold" and switching to the next track with the iPod in your pocket the whole time - that's almost impossible with the new style buttons.)
- The iTunes Music Store is of no use at all to me, given that I don't use iTunes, but in any case I'd never "buy" any music from it, since I'm not prepared to put with the ridiculous restrictions they encumber your music with.
- I had terrible problems with dodgy firewire cards, although now that iPoda talk USB 2, this is no longer an issue.
- Often the iPod refuses to play a song the first time and skips over it; if you return to the song it will play it.
- The fact that none of the iPods support Ogg Vorbis audio is still shocking; if it does need a faster processor to be able to decode them (which seems to be a debatable point) you would have thought they would have brought out a version that does that by now.
¹ In an interesting linguistic tic, "iPod" is consistently used in the documentation as a proper noun; it never takes an article. For example, an instruction might say, "In order to recharge iPod", as if "iPod" were like "Geoffrey". This seems to be a fairly recent branding fad - other examples include "TiVo" and Tate Modern.
I gather that the documentation for other Apple products isn't quite consistent about when they drop articles. For instance, the documentation for iBook uses "iBook" without articles, but then refers to "your iPod" or "the iPod"...