The iPod As A Digital Wallet Gateway Drug

by Hadley Stern May 28, 2003

Pick up your iPod for a moment. Whether you have a 5, 10, 15, 20, or now 30 gig put it in your hand. Now marvel at the fact that you have so much storage space in the palm of your hand.

It’s absurd.

I still remember hooking up my 30MB SCSI Hard drive (which was a large metal box) to my Mac Plus and thinking, 30 Megs. Wow. I’ll never need that much storage space.

And yet now we have these gigabyte devices that really do hold a tremendous amount of data. With the iPod this data is primarily music in the form of mp3/AAC files or computer files. My 10GB has about 7 gigs full of music and 1 gig of files that I shuttle back and forth to work at any given time. That leaves 2 gigs that are just empty. Greg, who has a 20 gig iPod will attest that, even at his level of music fanaticism (he is about to have a party celebrating the reaching of CD 5000), the iPod is tough to fill.

So what to do with all that space? Apple has an unique opportunity at this time to make it available for different uses. Digital cameras are a great place to start. Most of them use expensive flash cards, buying a 256 mg one is quite pricey. Remember those gigs on our iPods? Apple, let us use them with our digital cameras. The same goes for Digital Video cameras. How cool would it be to record directly to your iPod instead of to tape and then transferring it to your machine. With the new iPod’s connection, the iPod can now connect to either firewire or USB devices. The iPod could become, with the help of some good software and firmware, not only the best mp3 player in the world, but also the world’s favorite digital wallet. This would open up Apple to even more markets, including professional photographers and videographers (as well as the lucrative pro-am market) who may buy the iPod initially for storage, but then move onto Macs for digital editing of photography and film. The iPod is the perfect gateway drug that Apple needs to exploit more.

There surely are other uses I haven’t mentioned here. Share your ideas for other uses for the iPod.


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