Saturday, February 23, 2013

Apple Nano and alternatives

With the untimely demise of my fairly new Apple Nano (gen7) I've been wondering if I could jump out of the Apple iTunes music eco system entirely.

Here is what I found:

Note: not just 1 device!
As the proud owner of a Nexus 4 smartphone why not just use that?

Anybody who exercises frequently WILL require more than 1 player.

Race player: Smallest and lightest possible
Swimming:   Waterproof Player!
Gym:             Able to select the music you want  (needs a display!)
Office/Travelling: Able to listen/view and download podcasts/ music /media  (needs Internet)

Hardware Alternatives
NB:(1CHF  swiss franc is about 1 USD  US dollar)

Archos 14 vision

At less than 50CHF I nearly bought one as a test. Very compact, with display, and radio. Only cheap looking construction and difficult to select volume and track buttons whilst cycling has stopped me so far.
manufacturer link
weight 25 grams, volume 45.4x45.4x10.5=21642

Sandisk Sansa Clip+

+ Capacity upto 8GB
- A bit cheap looking!
+ clip good for races?
+ weight 24 grams, volume 34.7x55x15.33=29237

Apple iPod Nano
+ Bluetooth connectivity to speakers and headphone
+ sync to multiple devices using iTunes
+ Minimum holes (headphone and lightening) good sweat resistance
+ very small 
+ controls allow to pause/play, volume up/down whilst cycling
+ able to play videos if desperate
+ Weight 31grams. Volume 76.5x39.6x5.4=16358

Apple iPod Touch
+ It would be a change from the iPod Nano
- The size: Diffcult for races
= The size: probably okay for gym, but how sweat resistant is it?
+ For training: Can use runkeeper app natively to record runs/cycling
-- cost.  May only select 32 and 64GB versions.  With associated super high cost.
- Weight 88 grams. Volume 123.4x58.6x6.1=44110

After extensive googling it seems that only iTunes has the killer feature which is that it will synchronise all your podcasts and music and media to multiple devices.

If you tell iTunes to keep only unread Podcasts for example, then listening on one Apple player will mean the Podcast is immediately deleted from the server copy and from all syncing devices on next sync.  Simple. Logical. Great!

Example: There are many Android Podcast managers (e.g. Dogcatcher) but if you have multiple devices you need to download to each! and then another mechanism to any non android players  (like those above).

And this is just for Podcasts, same would be true for music content.

It's such an obvious and fundamental requirement, I can't understand why no music&podcast manager can do this.

NOTE: I'm going to fully document the hybrid iTunes and doubleTwist replication solution shortly.

The Relative Cost Argument
Whilst the Apple Nano gen7 costs 180CHF in Switzerland one should see this cost in relation to Swiss prices:

A weeks food shopping for 2 == 350 CHF
A tank of petrol == 120 CHF
1 skipass for 2 at Champery = 114 CHF
Dinner for 2 at O'pur Lausanne = from 120 CHF
A 1 hour massage for 2 = from 180 CHF

So you can see that if this weekend you went shopping on Saturday, had dinner than skiing on Sunday, followed by a massage, the cost of a new Nano would be the least of your worries.

And So with much reluctance, the winner is:

Apple Nano, 16GB, black.

Back in Black Baby