Culture

The Other Box that Changed the World

It’s been called a phenomenon. It’s been praised as a piece of highly desirable innovative design. It’s been regarded as inferior and hard to use. It became an instant pop icon and has changed the streets of every metro city in the country. Beyond its significant price tag, substantial amounts of money is spent accessorizing this accessory. It’s sleek and smaller than a breadbox, it’s about the size of your hand. Its translucent white case with stainless steel back lays the foundation for its undeniably powerful brand.

What is it? It’s my iPod.

Its white headphones are the thread that ties together a nation of iPod users. You can spot them everywhere. Walk on the streets of New York for five minutes and you’ll identify at least as many iPod users. On flights across the country you’ll find people popping them in as soon as electronic equipment is approved for in-flight use. On a recent snowboarding trip with 14 people in the cabin we had a collection of seven iPod’s on hand.

Accessories are big for your iPod. From plastic skins that some refer to as iPod condom’s, to indestructible rugged plastic cases, there is an industry built around protecting this precious device that’s become a staple in your day-to-day life. Then there are all the little things you can get to maximize your iPod usage. You could customize your car with direct input into your stereo to relay the iPod sound to the car’s speaker system. Or a slightly cheaper alternative is a wireless FM transmitter that will just broadcast what the iPod is playing locally. Then when you’re at home ideally you’ll want to listen to the iPod through a home stereo system. Well then you could buy a cable to connect the iPod directly into an existing setup, or you could get a Bose stereo dock for an optimal sound experience. If you’re at the gym, then of course you need the runner’s setup… a band that straps your iPod safe and secure to your arm. The options to accessorize your iPod seem endless.

Just as endless are the number of add-on’s you can get to customize how the iPod itself works. There’s a tool or software built for pretty much anything you can come up with. You can import your address book from Outlook. You can sync it with websites to read news content. You can download web casts to listen to at your own convenience. Oh, and of course, you can use it for its primary function… to download music to carry around with you and listen to.

Now that I own an iPod I’m always interested in chatting with my friends about their music collections. I have shared music recommendations for great new artists, and even swapped music with a few people. Recently I saw a commercial on T.V. where a guy is sitting in at the bar by himself drinking a beer and listening to music on his portable player. A cute girl enters the scene alone. After she’s been sitting there a bit he offers to share one of his ear plugs. As they listen with one ear plug each a connection is made. It’s a beer commercial, but I thought it was cool how people can use their iPod’s as a pick up line. Last summer, before I got mine, I was in Greece and I’ll never forget my friend sharing with me… giving me one earplug so we could both listen to Bob Marley and fall asleep. I think iPod’s have created a new means of connecting with people.

In short, the iPod is the other box that changed the world.

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