iPodded long before you

I used to be the only kid on the block with an iPod. Now I'm old and uncool, and salespeople don't understand me.
Written by Ella Morton, Contributor

ZDNet HQ sounded like a nightclub today, with the brand new iPod Hi-Fi cranking out house tunes at high volume.

Apple has been releasing a slew of iPod add-ons of late, perhaps having realised that third-party vendors are cashing in big time on the little white jukebox's massive success.

The products that most reflect Apple's image makeover since the dawn of the iPod are the iPod socks. For just under $50, you can encase your precious Pod in coloured cotton. Apparently 13-year-olds around the world are digging it. I feel old.

Now I find it supremely irritating when people try to prove their superiority by dragging out the tired "Well, I was into it before it became popular" line, but...I was into iPods before they became popular. Well, at least before every second person in Australia had one.

On January 4, 2004, I purchased a 10GB, third-generation white wonder at the truly beautiful Apple Store in New York's SoHo. I had just spent three weeks working as a retail lackey in a women's clothing store off Times Square and was cashed up and ready to reclaim my musical integrity after being subjected to noxious festive music for eight hours per day.

New York streets were lined with posters featuring dancing silhouettes of iPod owners, their aural freedom delineated by two snaking white lines that represented earphone cables. I wanted a piece of that freedom.

Thanks to extended holiday retail hours, hundreds of American dollars were at my disposal. It was time to get Podded.

I got back to Australia and felt like one of those "Early Adopters" I'd read so much about. Strolling down the main walkway at uni, an American exchange student saw my white headphones and gave me a knowing look. "Hey, a fellow Podder," he said, a look of respect and solidarity gracing his visage.

Two years later iPods are as common as sliced bread, and it's all about the Nano. Though tempted to buy one, I tried to rise above fickle aesthetic concerns and that nagging, irrational "I want it because it's new" feeling, and decided instead to buy a charger for my "old" iPod, having lost the original. I went to Myer, and tried to sound cool by telling the salesperson I had an "old skool" iPod and needed an AC adapter. When he gave me a blank look, I confessed sotto voce that it was one of the four-button ones, and he lifted a $48 USB charger from the shelf and placed it in my hands.

Of course, I got home to find that the charger is only compatible with fourth-generation iPods and above. I felt like Grandpa Simpson -- old, irrelevant and a bit misunderstood. But hey, at least I can say I was into iPods before they were popular.


Simpler times: Your blogger purchasing her iPod at the SoHo Apple store

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