As iPod fanatics look forward to owning the latest version of the device, will the fact that there are no major improvements to the product sway them from the thrill of acquisition?
It can be argued that the iPod became a cultural phenomenon, since the very first year of its release. In fact, PBS declared it so, just a few years after the item became a household name.
"Apple's iPod has become a technological phenomenon that has been growing since it first hit store shelves in 2001," PBS PBS correspondent Jeffrey Brown reported in 2006.
This year, with its sleek new eye-catching white models, Apple has put forth an esthetically appealing device, but although the company considers its iPod touch line to be, as the familiar phrase would express it, “"new and improved," the product lacks any real substantial changes.
Some have pointed to minor revisions to its Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and gyroscope features, but beyond that, there is apparently not much to shout about.
Still, a high sales volume is expected for the item, especially since Apple announced changes to its pricing plan, dropping the price of the 8GB model from $229 to $199.
According to Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, "iPod has revolutionized the way we listen to music and with over 320 million sold is the world's most popular music player, iPod touch, now available in both black and white, is the best selling iPod ever, and with iOS 5 and iCloud it is better than ever."
Schiller's enthusiasm is probably expected considering the source, still the tangible benefits of owning a device such as iPod, seems far more than its specific technological applications. For some, it is akin to being part of a cultural pact.
James T. Katz, Ph.D., chair of the Department of communication at Rutgers University, had this to say in the PBS broadcast:
"Most people use them, of course, to listen to music. But like most aspects of human behavior, it doesn't exist in isolation. What's really important to a lot of people is how other people see them, how they see them consuming music or walking down the street. And, therefore, something like the iPod is considered part of a personal statement."