Your smartphone has likely been able to condense a lot of carry clutter for you over the years - well, at least for part of the time. The mobile phone’s main purpose, at least in the traditional sense, was to serve as a communicator between people without having to be confined to a house; more specifically, a wall. However, with the introduction of smartphones, there doesn’t really seem to be a primary function anymore. Smartphones are built to take care of a lot of things that we have grown accustomed to using on a daily basis.
I haven’t used my actual digital camera in quite some time; I hardly ever look at the calendar on my fridge, which is lucky enough to at least be set in the current month (bonus: of the current year); hell, people are even using their smartphone as a freakin' wallet these days. However, probably one of the most prominent gadgets that smartphones have seemingly replaced over the past several years would have to be the stand-alone mp3 player.
Music has always been a crucial part of my day-to-day routine. There’s just something about listening to the right song that can work a lot of moods. Avoiding getting too sentimental, though, my main point is that music is very important to me - as it is for a lot of people. Growing up I used a Sony Walkman Cassette Player, then moved on to a Walkman CD player, then moved to a mini-disc player, and then I eventually graduated to an mp3 player. My iPod Classic was the last stand-alone mp3 player that I ever owned before I completely switched to using my smartphone instead.
I believe I felt safe enough to sell my iPod once I realized that I much preferred using Spotify and Pandora over my own personal music library. Music was easier to discover, playlists were easier to put together, and most importantly it seemed more affordable. I could spring for $10 a month for Spotify Premium because I listened to music that often. It seemed like a good purchase, and I still don’t entirely regret selling off my iPod. Occasionally, though, I do realize that the iPod had certain perks of its own.
The number one thing I miss is probably battery life. Using the iPod instead of a smartphone to listen to music saved battery on my smartphone, and music listening lasted way longer on the iPod than it ever would on my smartphone. Also, if the battery on my iPod died, I would only lose the ability to listen to music. Should the battery die on my phone because I listened to music, a good chunk of my life shuts down right there. No music, for one, but more importantly there’s no data, no texting, no calling, no anything. The occasions where this has happened (and likely will happen again) is usually when I miss my iPod the most.
Another benefit would, of course, be greater storage capacity, especially in the case of the iPod Classics. iPod Classic, and other similar stand-alone mp3 players, were built primarily as media players. This meant there was plenty of room for a decent battery and a huge amount of storage available for your music and video playback. When Apple quickly started increasing the amount of storage available in the iPod Classic, I think a part of me expected the same to happen to smartphones. If the iPod could hold 160GB of music, why were we selling smartphones at such insane prices with only 16GB of internal storage? Probably because smartphones had a much bigger job than iPods ever did. Regardless, we’re just now sort of catching up to that amount of storage with 128GB support, and even then the amount of storage is still unmatched.
There’s also the issue that many people who have switched from stand-alone to streaming music listening via smartphone face now - data usage. Now, this might not be too big of an issue given how much data carriers seem to want to throw at their customers, but not everybody is so lucky. Music streaming services like Spotify are great for finding and creating playlists easily, but it also takes data to do so - data that could be used for other things. I’ve never minded, but I have met a couple of people who would much rather use their monthly data allowance for other things, especially if they have a perfectly good music library that they’ve already accumulated.
Finally, stand-alone mp3 players with large amounts of memory generally cost much less than a smartphone would, for obvious reasons.
I don’t think stand-alone mp3 players will ever be as popular as they once were, but I think there’s still a place in the world for them for the time being.
Readers, when it comes to how you listen to music, do you still prefer a stand-alone music player over your smartphone? Let us know in the comments below!