It’s not just the issues of battery life or questions over just how much storage their devices really have. The main issue is whether users find the devices useful and functional for their own purposes. Hubby’s verdict: Not any more.
By now we’ve probably all heard the news that Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit over misrepresentations of storage capacity actually available to device users. We probably have all been very aware, for years, that Apple batteries tend to be notoriously short-lived, and even their most recent devices and operating systems have failed to address that. But these are not the only reasons that I suspect that Apple is losing its edge.
What consumers want when they go shopping for a new device is functionality. Hubby is an avid exercise buff, and has long been a fan of the iPod Nano to listen to music while he works out. His most recent Nano (the 6th-generation version) was lightweight, it had a built-in clip that he could attach to his sleeve, collar or waistband, the storage capacity (8GB) was good, and he could easily feel the buttons to navigate through his listening selections without having to stop what he was doing or look at the device.
Alas, all things come to an end, and his older iPod Nano died. No problem, he thought. I’ll get a new one, and hey, the new one comes with twice the storage capacity, 16 GB! (unless it’s one of those devices included in the class-action lawsuit, in which case 16 GB might be more like 12-ish GB).
But… wait. The 7th-generation iPod Nano is physically larger than the old one, something Hubby wasn’t excited about. There is no clip to attach it to one’s clothing for a workout. There are no navigation buttons that one can feel; one must activate the touchscreen and then swipe it to navigate to the desired selection. Despite the “built-in fitness” marketing angle that touts the inclusion of Nike+ and a pedometer, this thing isn’t really all that fitness-friendly. Hubby wanted to make it work, he really did. He might have considered buying fitness clothing with a pocket for an MP3 player, or buying one of those armband-pocket things, even though he detests them; but the killer was that he would not have been able to navigate through his selections easily. Having tactile navigation buttons was non-negotiable.
Hubby even briefly considered “downgrading” to the iPod Shuffle. The Shuffle has a clip. It’s small and lightweight. It has navigation buttons that you can feel. But its capacity was less than 2 GB, far too small for Hubby’s tastes. He wants to load up all his exercise tunes and keep them available, not to sign himself up for the kind of “maintenance” that would be needed to routinely free up space on the Shuffle and then add different selections for his next workout session. The Shuffle was a no-go.
In the end, he went with a SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip 8 GB MP3 player. It’s lightweight, it has a built-in clip on the back, and it has navigation buttons that you can feel. It has half the advertised storage of the new iPod Nano, but then again, 8 GB was exactly what Hubby had on his old device, so he lost nothing… in fact, he came out way ahead, because the SanDisk has a slot for a micro SD card which allows you to expand its capacity by up to 32 GB… giving it 2.25 times the storage of the Nano.
The best part? The SanDisk cost him under $50, just one-third the cost of getting a new Nano (and the same as an iPod Shuffle would have cost).
Hubby has been a big fan of the iPod, until now. Consumer brand loyalty only goes so far, and now that Apple has failed to meet Hubby’s needs for a workout MP3 player, SanDisk has his attention. If he’s happy with its performance, then when that device eventually dies, SanDisk will be at the top of his shopping list; and that’s a problem for Apple.