No more iPods: The end of an era


Apple has announced that it will no longer launch any new iPods. They just sell out the ones still made and it will be over. It’s the end of an era, though few could say it’s the unexpected end.

Just as it is joked that Apple invented personal computing, it is also sometimes said that Apple is responsible for the rise of digital music. This, of course, is nonsense, even though Apple has done what Apple does best: It created an integrated, highly closed service that was convenient enough for customers and acceptably secure for publishers, so it succeeded with a comprehensive solution that suited customers and partners. The components and technologies were ready, but putting them together and calling it “magical” – Apple simply does it best.

And how does he do best? This is probably best explained by Steve Jobs at the Apple Music Event 2001. Please note that his presentation shows that there were already several classes of different digital music players at the time. And the people at Apple thought about it, determined their position – and then they did. Also, please note that Apple initially openly supported open formats – from MP3 to FireWire.

But let’s take a step back. Digital music has accompanied us theoretically since the creation of the CD – mid-1982, but in practice our country did not intervene until the fall of socialism, because under socialism only a limited number of desktop players were produced and the rest was smuggled. Portable CD players have been manufactured by Sony since 1984, but portable players were a rarity under socialism, despite many technical problems.

First of all, there was a problem with movement. The rotating disk behaves like a gyroscope, has a fairly large momentum, and when moving and especially hitting, it is very difficult for the reading head to keep track and return to its original position. In order to use it at all, buffering was used, but it worked as ever, model by model and disk by disk. That’s why “skip free playback” was so important to Apple that it advertised when the iPod Mini was launched at Macworld San Francisco 2004.

Hard disk players, of course, were something completely different. The turning point was the lossy MP3 codec, full name MPEG1 Audio Layer III, developed by the Fraunhofer Society in 1991. It revolutionized psychoacoustics and specifically camouflage curves, because the human ear has limited perception, so it is possible to extract information that would normally it was audible, but perception masks it.

It is this effect that allows you to brutally reduce the size of the files being played. Human perception is imperfect, true audiophiles claim to hear everything, which is possible for individuals, but they do not mind combing acoustic information, they are satisfied that they finally get a small player. Before him, the most common alternative was a cassette walkman, which played terrible things during playback, depending on the resistance of the cassette and falling battery voltage, for example, there was fluctuating playback speed – especially .

Skip free was also important for hard drives, because even if you use a small hard drive, you still have to check if the player’s acceleration is fine, and if it looks bad, you have to park your heads immediately so they don’t hit the plates. If this has ever happened to you, you know that to destroy a hard drive, it is enough for it to crash to your side during the activity – and if the drive is not enough to park in an emergency, it may be final at first.


Source: Pctuning – Všechen obsah by pctuning.cz.

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