Technology and the changes it brings can have a very big effect on our lives. The technological change that has had the largest effect on life in this country, I think, is the iPod. The iPod is a brand of digital music player developed by Apple in the early 2000’s that revolutionized the way we can carry our own music with us wherever we go.
One of the very first portable music players was the Sony Walkman personal stereo. It was capable of playing radio and cassettes. As time and technology worn on, the stereo improved. The CD Walkman came around as the cassette generation became phased out. First generations of these portable CD players saw no skip protection and did not make good portable units. Skip protection became known and widely used as on-board computers helped to read the information on the CD and prevented the CD from being read as it got bumped. As technology improved further, the codecs of MP3, AAC, and WMA became prevalent. Users burned CDs of MP3s as the first generations of MP3 capable CD players became the most noticeably used music player on the market. (1)
As conveniently as the MP3 format started to take over our way of life, so had to be a way to play those computer files. Embedding hard drives and flash memory into players was only the start. The players themselves had to be easy to use, and of utmost importance, extremely portable. The time was ready for iPod. Sony had tried to make their own Walkman with flash memory capability but eventually was deemed too expensive and too constricting (their computer software interface was very buggy and the memory was lower than expected) vs. Apple’s iPod. (1)
Apple’s iPod made all aspects of playing your music files better. They had more memory than all other portable units at the time, which meant you can transport more of your music than ever before. It also boasted more battery life, although critics were quick to denounce this as the numbers just could not be reached in real-life. Newer technologies continue to make these units better, with more and more memory, and increased user-friendly features. (2) With the advent of iPod and all of its’ permutations, iPod accessories and attachments have become very prevalent and seems to be something that can’t be lived without. This has had the most lasting effect of technology I’ve seen.
(1) Walkman entry, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkman
(2) iPod entry, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPod