Mitch's Blog 7.0

Mitch's Blog


Sunday, November 28, 2004

What Was Inside My Package?

Even though I received it about a week and a half ago, I suppose I should at least say something about the package I previously posted about.

I ordered Apple Product M9282LL/A, otherwise known as the 20GB version of the IPod. In case you’re wondering, the reason why my IPod was shipped from China is due to a longstanding Apple tradition of shipping its products directly from manufacturing center to customer. IPods are assembled in China, so if you order one directly from the store (which is what I did) your IPod will be sent directly to you from China. I know of other Apple products that are sent directly from the manufacturing center to the buyer as well; the majority of the computers ordered on Apple’s internet store are sent from Malaysia. I’m surprised Apple does business this way, since ordinarily I would think a business would be better off sending bulk shipments of electronics overseas and then setting up distribution centers to distribute the products to the individual customers in the United States. But, then again, maybe the costs Apple saves by manufacturing products in Asia make up for the expenses associated with sending individual packages from the manufacturing center across the ocean to the customer. In any case, Fed Ex is probably glad to have Apple’s business.

Speaking of Fed Ex, it’s pretty obvious this company has the advantage over the other delivery companies when it comes to speed. Whenever something I’ve ordered has been shipped with Fed Ex, I’ve received the package very quickly, faster than if the package would have been sent with UPS or the Postal Service. Fed Ex’s ability to get my IPod from Shanghai, China to Brainerd, Minnesota in 4 business days and only 3 airplane rides is quite a feat, I think. Had the U.S. Postal Service delivered the same package, I’m pretty sure I would have waited much longer for my IPod. I wonder how DHL, the new-to-the-United-States-but-not-really* alternative to UPS, Fed Ex, and the Postal Service, would have done delivering my package. I think DHL would have done just as good of a job as Fed Ex, since DHL has not only firmly established itself in just about every major country but the United States, but is also a German company, part of the Deutsche Post conglomerate. Now all you have to do is remember to patronize DHL and T-Mobile (operated entirely by Deutsche Telekom AG) if you want to support Germany in the United States.

Getting back to discussing my IPod, I must say that I couldn’t be a happier customer. I really enjoy having my IPod with me. For any of you considering buying an IPod for yourself, I would genuinely recommend you buy one. However, I would stay away from the IPod Minis, since I really don’t understand why somebody would rather spend $249 to get 4GB of storage when the 20GB version is only $50 more. Also, though Apple only features one color on its regular IPods, there are third-party companies that offer color cases that not only protect your IPod, but make it just as purrty as the IPod Minis as well. In addition, my regular IPod is anything but large. It’s about the size of an ordinary playing card, with a width about equal to a half-deck of cards.

The main reason I purchased an IPod over the other, similar MP3 players was not because of the IPod’s iconic status in popular culture, but rather the fact that I had already purchased some 100 songs from the ITunes Music Store. Without spending some time getting around the encryption system, these songs will only play on an IPod. I was also very familiar with the ITunes program, the most popular program used to transfer music onto the IPod.

Something I was a bit surprised to find out after I got my IPod was the ability for me to use my IPod as more than just a personal jukebox. The IPod can also be set up to be a portable disk drive, meaning I can carry files around on my IPod besides just music. Also, the IPod can also be synchronized with Microsoft Outlook. This means that any contacts in Outlook’s address book or appointments in the calendar can be put directly onto the IPod. The IPod even has an internal alarm that will notify you if you’ve missed an important appointment or wake you up in the morning. A program called IPod Agent also provides the ability to put RSS feeds, weather reports, movie listings, and horoscopes onto the IPod. This means I can catch up on the latest news from the BBC and check when a movie is playing right from my IPod. Of course, everything good must have a limitation: the IPod is no exception; it can only be synchronized when plugged into a computer.

The IPod also comes with a few games, but this feature was no surprise to me, since Apple advertises this feature prominently on

Putting music onto the IPod is a very straightforward process, thanks to ITunes’ simple operation. Also, finding the music on the Ipod once it has been put there is also an easy process, due to the highly organized menu system on the IPod.

All in all, if you’re interesting in getting an MP3 player this holiday season, go out and buy an IPod**, you’ll be glad you did.

*DHL gained footing in the United States after purchasing Airborne for $1.1 billion in 2003. Much of DHL’s U.S. infrastructure previously belonged to Airborne, which was the fourth-largest U.S. shipping company.

**If you do buy an IPod, it’d be best to buy from the store. Many other retails have not yet received the newest, fourth-generation IPods and continue to sell the third-generation IPods for exactly the same price as the fourth-generation ones. In addition, the store lets you put a custom laser-engraved message on your IPod, often for no additional charge. Shipping is also typically free through the store, though state sales tax must always be paid.


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The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of Mitch Wahlsten and the participants
Mitch's Blog began on December 23, 2001