In today’s highly-advanced and technologically dominated world, fewer devices have become more iconic than Apple’s iPod. Millions of people now have access to countless media right at their fingertips. Today, you can literally carry a library in your coat pocket.
What makes the iPod so revolutionary is not what it does, but what it can do. Since its creation, millions have used their iPods for more than just playing music. Students, executives, teachers, children, and many more are capable of having a plethora of information—not just music, at their fingertips. And with the emergence of iTunes, these capabilities are endless.
The iTunes website/download is the iPod owner’s central nervous system. The program can manage and edit music, download countless movies, television programs, audiobooks, podcasts, applications, and more. (apple.com/itunes) And with newer, more advanced versions of the iPod, the iPhone, iPod nano, iPod touch, and the newly-presented iPad (scheduled for release later this spring), the iPod is becoming a handheld computer. Through the iTunes website, users can redeem iTunes gift cards or create an account with any credit or debit card to directly charge purchases. Users can purchase music (legally—no more worrying about illegal “pirating” of music). More than that, iTunes also provides a ratings forum for users to rate and comment on their favorite media. If a movie stinks, they say so. If an album rocks, they say so. Users can even create their personal “favorites” playlist, and upload it to the iTunes website to be put on sale for others to enjoy. The emergence of iTunes as a commonplace social media is extraordinary.
One of the newer, most popular elements of iTunes is the “Apps” section. This is where iPhone/iPod touch/iPad users can download various applications for use on their device. There are hundreds of thousands of applications on the iTunes website already, and the number continues to grow exponentially. Some apps are free; some are not. But their practical, and sometimes fun use, are becoming commonplace in today’s society. “There’s an app for that,” has become synonymous with iTunes. Users can now check their Facebook profile, read their favorite newspaper, play games, or countless other possibilities due to the ease and availability of iTunes applications.
iTunes is not limited as far as it’s practical use. In fact, some universities have used podcasts as a valuable teaching supplement. A podcast is a downloadable “mini-broadcast” that can be downloaded from an iTunes account. Many professors are now able to record classes/lectures, and upload them to the iTunes website for download by students who may have missed the class (for whatever reason). The student can download the podcast, and watch it on his/her iPod.
Results from these podcasts have been positive. In a recent study, students who downloaded podcasts of lectures actually performed considerably higher than students who attended the lectures in person. (Callaway 2009) Does this mean we can go to college through our iPods? Probably not. But as a part of the recent “iTunes university” program, podcasts are finding their place in students’ hearts and minds.
In conclusion, writing a summary of iTunes is nearly impossible due to its ever-changing growth and evolution. Apple has caught on to a major social medium and we’ve not heard the last from iTunes—in fact, I believe the opposite is true. With iTunes being so simple and easy to operate, yet so diverse in its practicality, it will continue to be prevalent and relevant in the distant future as well.
Callaway, E. (Feb. 2009). iTunes university better than the real thing. Retrieved from: