iPod Cheers

Once a Skeptic, Now Baptized Into the Mac

By Scott Sternberg
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, October 22, 2006

I've gone from being an iPod-hater to a full-fledged believer.

When Steve Jobs launched his first-generation iPod, I was still in high school. I didn't buy into the hype early; I already had a PC-based MP3 player that was marginally functional. The hip advertisements didn't faze me and I knew iPods had problems with batteries.

But in college, I was baptized by the Mac. Apple sold me on two things none of my previous audio devices could give me: cool and easy. I've been through two iPods so far, selling a 20-gigabyte iPod to a friend (thus converting him, too) and buying an iPod Shuffle, which is still rocking for me today. I'm even in the market for a Pod-upgrade.

My conversion to iPod is like a proverb: You can't criticize something for being "too easy."

The iPod completes my conversion to Mac in general -- even though I held on to my PC beliefs long after my friends had switched over. ITunes is so functional, whether for managing songs or listening to friends' music. It's simple, seamless integration. And maybe that makes me less hard-core -- a sellout who bought into the marketing and joined the bandwagon. It's not because I can't figure out computers -- it's just easier. I may never buy another PC again.

Since moving to the District earlier this year from Louisiana, I have begun to truly appreciate my iPod. Every morning I wake up, plug my iPod into my Apple laptop and download my morning podcasts. On my walk to the Metro, I listen to sports pundits Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, some NPR news, and then I top it off with some Pink Floyd or Kanye West.

The critics have launched their salvos, but five years later, the success of the iPod single-handedly has shown us there are other options beyond bug-ridden Windows-based PCs and the bulky music players that once dominated the market. You also can't beat Apple's unyielding service and support. Comparatively, the price can be hefty, but this iPod generation has learned that you get what you pay for. Jobs, of course, already knows this: I certainly will come back for more.

Scott Sternberg, 22, lives in Washington and works at the Student Press Law Center, a nonprofit group in Arlington.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company