iPod. They might as well just call it iCon. The ubiquitous little white (and of course, now black, pink, green and blue) box has taken such a hold on the world that newspapers and trade magazines call each new rival product “iPod-killer”.
So far, none have succeeded. Many are, probably, better products. But iPod’s success lies in that rare combination of substance with lashings of style.
Think of the Porsche 911. Old Ferdinand got it pretty much right over 40 years ago, and each new incarnation has just been a tweak here or there - bringing the previous model up to date. Each new model has a new name – the latest of the Stuttgart super cars is actually the 997, but everybody calls it a 911.
As it is with iPod – it may be a Nano or Mini or a Video you have in your pocket or handbag, but everybody sees those little white headphones and thinks “iPod”.
With both Jonathan Ive’s and Ferdinand Porsche’s iconic designs, the originals still look as good today as the day they first hit the market. The newer models just have a little more refinement and a lot more oomph. And, as is Porsche’s motto: “there is no substitute”.
And so we come to the enhancements. We have iDocks, iTrips and iSkins – in fact if you can put a little “i” before it, it’s pretty much been done.
Memeo’s iExtend (there it is!) is a useful little enhancement that brings some refinement to iPod’s data storage capabilities. Most users know that you can use iPod for keeping contacts and notes and even a calendar, but how many do? Many users won’t want to sacrifice precious space for anything other than media files, and with so many other gadgets out there that will undoubtedly do a better job of it, why should they?
But if you do want everything in one place, iExtend is an affordable and likeable option.
Once loaded you simply tell it which files you want backed up to iPod and every time you plug your player in, your files are updated. You can even specify how many days worth of emails to carry with you, and the beauty of it is that if your files have been updated on your desktop, they are automatically updated on iPod at your next synchronisation.
Once updated, your files are stored in folders within iPod’s menu structure and finding things, although a little long-winded if there’s a lot to scroll through, is simplicity itself.
The software is undoubtedly aimed at iPods with colour screens, as it brings with it some attractive iconography, but my trusty old 20GB 4th generation workhorse benefited nicely from the elegant and easy to use interface.
The only slight grumble I had was the desktop software’s insistence that every time I put my laptop to sleep was an “improper shutdown”. Improper language resulted every time.
Makes a great gadget a little bit better, but not by much.