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Monday, March 31, 2008


iPhone playing a Charly Garcia tune on top of a CD rack. March 2008.
iPhone - 8 Gigabytes of Memory
(Apple -not the Beatles one-, 2007)

Once again, the consumers are moving towards the magnetic control of the big corporations, even thought their products look friendly and useful at the beginning, and they have the coolest features to stay connected, even when we might not have too many people to connect to.

First, it was the expensive and overrated compact disc format, claiming it sounded way better than vinyl and cassette, and forcing us to digitize our senses and forget about the wonderful warmths of analog recording. Then, by 1998, the MP3 format claimed it was more efficient to keep your songs in your computer, not in your shelves. Lots of people sold their CDs and they're about to become history. A piece of the past. Just like cassettes.

In 2001, the iPod, an MP3 player created by Apple, shook the world being just a small hard drive with an audio card and a screen. Better than a discman? yes. better than listen to vinyl? fuck no. It's not the same and we rock and rollers know it. Eventually, an iPod that could be a cellphone would be created. So Apple created the iPhone. A cellphone that plays music? Awesome, 8 Gigs will hold approximately 1400 songs (or more, I am very picky with audio quality so i tend to have them ripped on 192 Kbps) and I will be able to listen to them while I browse the internet, take pictures, text message and even check the stock market. The iPhone is at this moment the most advanced cellphone in the world; but at it's $400.00 retail price, available only at the Apple stores and the AT&T retailers in the U.S., it might be a rip-off for music lovers and freedom fighters. You definetly would want to buy a protection plan to cover the potential damage of drops, sit-ons, water, toilet falling... yep, my other cellphone got wet on a rainy night and died; that's why I decided to upgrade to an iPhone, even thought it had more to do with an annoying and stubborn AT&T associate who wouldn't help me replacing my cellphone since I didn't buy a protection plan.

Back to the iPhone: I can't add music from my work computer if I already synchronized it on my home computer (lack of options here). I can't create my ringtones without buying them off iTunes (one dollar for a 15 second yell?). iTunes controls my iPhone the same way it controls the iPods. An iPhone can't sow the seeds of love from one pc to another; some mp3 files ripped on variable bitrate tend to stop during playing and even if you decide to buy music from iTunes, the quality of the Apple designed mp4 format is lame and, the icing of the cake: the iPhone can't play Windows Media Files, so iTunes must convert them for you.

Seems cool? Not exactly if you can't share your music with other people unless you buy the CD and make a copy... but hey, that's piracy. You might as well go back to your old cellphone or any other media player. One that can share. The record labels, the electronic manufacturers and the artists won't starve, believe me.

I got the iPhone because of the conveniance of having a cellphone and an mp3 player, plus an internet browser and a wireless card that can detect local networks (that's really really good if you're travelling abroad and don't want to blow your paycheck in connection charges) ; but somehow I see it a little bit fragile and desperately looking for upgrades. The first weekend of usage, it crashed on me and no matter how much i tapped the glass, the damn thing wasn't responding at all. I had to reset it with another PC which, oh, forgive me Mr. Jobs, wasn't the one I used to put my songs in it so I had to erase them. I added a few for the road and later, at work, I re-erased them and refill with my usual favorites (see? hazzle.)

The iPhone will keep the recording industry happy for a while until somebody develops a cellphone with cool features, where you can transfer your mp3 files to your computer back and forth. Just imagine this: a Microsoft cellphone that updates the status/ cover of a song connecting to a music info service. You like the song? buy the CD from Amazon.com right there. Too expensive the damn piece of plastic? See if there's any used available. See? Options. People want options, not features.

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