G A R B A G E !
Since there are some people out there baffled as to what my problem is with the iPod and iTunes, especially now that they (finally) support gapless playback. Some have even postulated that I am just being contrary... but I protest that I did give the iPod a good college try. It just failed most of the courses. I shall elaborate:
- The iPod does not support Ogg Vorbis, APE or FLAC. There is now a plug-in for Ogg Vorbis for iTunes, but still nothing for the iPod. With respect to the more efficient Ogg Vorbis compression codec, this means that a lot of space is wasted on the iPod that doesn't need to be.
- I don't like the wheel. That thing is a pain in the ass. It's either too sensitive or not sensitive enough.
- iTunes and the iPod have always had a problem with VBR. This only gets worse the longer a track gets. Ofttimes, if a VBR track is longer than ten minutes, it will simply skip to the next track. This is unacceptable.
- Music at the iTunes store is invariably encoded at inferior bit rates, and often has DRM on it.
- I don't like tag searching, preferring a file tree system. The iPod has no provision for this. If I use a tag system, I have to enter the artist and album fields encyclopedia style (last name first, definite articles at the end of a title), which is annoying.
- The iPod remote control is a flimsy piece of crap with no display on it. It also doesn't actually come with the iPod, and costs a lot for something that doesn't really do much. EDIT: I understand that some iPods now do come with the remote. It's still a flimsy piece of crap with no display on it.
- iTunes does not edit id3 tag information correctly. Changing information in the editor in iTunes, while it will change the data that appears in iTunes and on the iPod screen, usually does not alter the id3 tag on the file.
- The big thing iPod promotes is the shuffle features. I'm not interested in listening to music at random, when I listen to music, I'm listening to an entire album.
- Moving music to the iPod is only one-way (unless you're a hacker).
- The iPod display only displays the track title, artist, album title and timing. It is not customizable to include the year, the composer, the comments field or whatever else I would like to put there.
- You can only use iTunes with your iPod. I prefer the computer to treat the player as just another hard drive, thus allowing me to use whatever programs I like to add or retag the files.
- iPods and accouterments thereof are ludicrously overpriced. And nothing comes with the thing except for those crappy in-ear headphones that surgically remove any hint of bass from the signal.
- The iTunes audio software is awful; I've owned an iRiver, a Creative, a Cowon and an iPod. The sound quality on the iPod can not compare to that of the others. Furthermore, music ripped to the mp3 format in iTunes often has a faint, almost supersonic high pitched tone that does not occur when using LAME.
The real problem now is that because of market saturation of the iPod, alternative high capacity hard drive players are becoming scarcer as time goes on. It is now harder for the more discerning listener to find decent alternatives.