Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A New iPod

I lost my iPod. What happened is that it came out of my pocket in the first Chinese acupuncture place I went to last month. I had it in my sweater pocket, but had to remove my sweater as I lay down on the bed so that I wouldn't be too hot - for some reason, they have heat lamps on you while they put the needles in.

We went to dinner, and that's when I realized the iPod wasn't in my pocket anymore. However, the place was closed, it was a Saturday which meant they wouldn't be open until Monday, and we left a message. After calling them on Monday, we knew it was gone. They checked the bed, looked all around, saw if it fell between the bed and the wall, and no. I'm going to go ahead and say that since I was likely the last patient of the day, the night cleaning crew took it. I hope whoever took it enjoys Kanye West, Harry Connick Jr., and Bright Eyes.

I can't really deal with the prospect of riding the subway as much as I do without my iPod. I needed a replacement. Thankfully, my Saturday class and the extra money I make from marking essays for it allowed me to get a replacement. Losing stuff sucks, and there's not a lot more to say about it. I look forward to my next skype call with mom and all when I'll be reminded to put things in zippered pockets. It's disappointing to have to replace a fairly pricey electronic device, but life goes on.

Anyway, I considered a few things - read on only if you are one of the nerdy among us. Knowing that I hope to be spending some significant time in Canada within the year, I considered getting either an iPhone 4, or a new 4th gen iPod touch. Reason being that the free wi-fi - especially in Seoul - is something I can really take advantage of. If I'm going to be away from the rabbit for a significant stretch of time, I thought it might be worthwhile to look into a device that would help bridge the gap in in some way. Some of the things I thought about...

iPod Touch

- A great little machine that's improved remarkable since its first incarnation in 2007.
- Tons of application available. Many are true time-wasters, which I don't need as I already have a Nintendo DS, but many are also really useful.
- It has Maps operated by google to help find things nearby, but as it only approximates your location based on the nearest wi-fi tower, it's not a true GPS system.
- The screen is great for movies on the go etc.
- You can use the internet freely from any wi-fi spot. A great feature for trying to get i touch with friends etc.
- It has facetime, a new feature from apple that turns your iPod into a camera phone. Of course, your friend would have to be using a facetime apple product as well, but it's cool if you can.
- The price is ridiculous. You can get 8GB model for 319,000won, 32GB for 429,000won, and 64GB for 579,000won

The iPhone 4

- Aside from internet bitching about dropped calls if you hold the phone in a certain way, it's still the best smart phone on the market - despite challenges from Samsung and the Google Nexus 1. Over the iPod touch, the iPhone 4 has a phone (yup), which of course includes the ability to text on the go. You can also use true GPS which, for me, would be huge for long bike trips. You can track the path and distance on a map and know exactly where you are at all times - not just that, but should I ever venture out of Seoul on a long haul, it would be golden knowing that all of the internet features available on the iPod touch would be available even if wi-wi isn't. Some of the best applications utilize the GPS and camera - for example, while in Pohang last Spring, Johnny was able to use an application to find a pharmacy in a very cool way. Using the iPhone with the camera enabled and holding it out in front of him like a flashlight, the app used GPS to throw arrows on the screen of what his camera was reading, telling us where to turn and how much further it would be. This is good, useful stuff.

Sadly though, the only sensible way to get an iPhone 4 is to do so on contract - here, only a 2 year contract is available. Should you wish to buy the phone outright and pay a for a monthly plan off-contract, you'd have to be much richer than I. the 32GB model is approximately 940,000 won, then you'd be paying 35,000 won per month just to operate it. This would allow me to take it to Canada and not break contract, but I'm not THAT stupid. Regardless, after looking into things a bit more, I knew I would have to put my short-lived iPhone dreams on hold until I return to Korea for a solid 2 year plan, which will happen - just not now.

So, it came down to the iPod touch or the ipod Classic (a newer version of the one I lost) which has now grown to 160GB as the only choice in size. The price in Korea is 379,000won. Basically, my justification is this: I'm replacing what I lost, and tempting as it is to "move-up" to the touch functions, I would rather pay 379 for 160GB of storage space than 579 for 64GB. Apps be damned.

The thing is, an ipod is for music, and TV shows on trains. My new iPod Classic (I went for black) can easily do that and more. Plus, if there's an iPhone 5 in my future (which I can insure against loss, theft, or damage for a small charge on a monthly plan), I can justify still owning my ipod classic whereas having an iPod Touch and an iPhone would be redundant as hell.

Anyway, in the end, I made the reasonable and most cost-effective choice. Look at me being all responsible. Plus, I really love what now seems like an almost retro look to the iPod Classic. It's simple and classy. So, good.

As a side note, it's remarkable how much South Korea has turned into an Apple-loving country. When I moved here in the summer of 2007, it was truly challenging to find any store in the country that dealt with Apple products or would even agree to look at my MacBook computer if it was acting-up. Now, it's not an exaggeration to say that you can't walks through the city without being blinded by the sunlight bouncing-off the white apple earbuds that come with every new iPhone 4. Seoul is simply rotten with them. If you're on the subway, look-around and you'll be sure to see what seems like 50% of smart-phone users plugged into a brand new iPhone 4 - many of them probably having recently shed last year's iPhone 3G 'cause it's just not new enough.

Starbucks is the same - if you walk in looking to meet a friend for a coffee, good luck to you. Every 2 or 4 person table is taken up by either one person with an apple computer using the free wi-fi, or a couple of conversation-challenged love birds staring deep into their iphones instead of each other's eyes. It's hard to be original here. Kinda makes me happy to have decided to put-off the iPhone for another year or more.


Douglas said...

Have you considered a nano? A refurbished one should be no more than 120,000 won. I never understood having anything over 20GB worth of storage space. I mean, are you really going to be listening to all that music in one go? If you need space, simply switch some bands/songs in and out.

Then again, you mentioned you like to watch movies and or shows so they do take up a lot of space.

George Bailey Sees The World! said...

I considered a nano, but the new ones, are not what I'm looking for. They are touch screen and if I'm going to go with a touch screen device, I want that screen to be large enough to watch videos on.

The best nano design was the old biscuit from about 3 years ago. I find the tall one too flimsy and those older models aren't compatible with video formats being released now.

I also really dig the Genius function, which is on all iPods now, but this is the first time I've had that feature on the go.

It's tough to argue the size issue, but to be honest, half of the fun of having an ipod is hitting shuffle and uncovering parts of your music collection that you haven't heard in ages. I'm closing in on 8000 songs in my collection, so it's nice to at least have access. I don't think I could be bothered with stopping every now and then to specifically re-synch everything at the laptop level just to keep things fresh. Sometimes the Davey wants Public Enemy, and sometimes the Davey wants the soundtrack to Field of Dreams. You know what I'm saying.

Plus, I look at a large storage space like having an extra hard-drive for music and photos. Not a bad thing.

There ya go - my justification.