How the iPod ate the world

Happy birthday, little box. The iPod has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. I can barely believe it was a whole decade ago my trendy friend Todd Wong turned up one weekend clutching an off-white box, the size and shape of a cigarette packet. When we saw it was an Apple product, we lost interest. Apple stuff was for geeks, not cool people.

Todd then confirmed his geekiness by spending the following weekend duplicating his entire CD collection onto little box. What a waste of time!

Two weeks later, he showed me how he could transmit music from his little box to any music player, even the one in his car. The music system in my car rarely worked, so the only sound which livened our journeys was the horrible tinny buzz of pocket video game music from my son’s Gameboy. In contrast, the glorious strains of Vivaldi flowed from Todd’s car windows. “Name any song,” he said. “I’ve probably got it.” I named a Black-Eyed Peas song. He had it.

Then came the day I was out jogging and was passed by my Scottish neighbor Iain Carmichael. The iPod strapped to his arm urged him on in Tiger Woods’ voice, using all sorts of Tiger Wood-ish phrases, such as: “Go for it!” and “This is your fastest time ever!” and “Wow, I bet I could bed that cute waitress without Erin finding out!”As Iain approached the end of the run, the iPod burst into applause. I was amazed.

The apps got cooler and cooler. Top four:

1) Bulletflight turns the gadget into a sniper’s gunsight, so you can pretend to shoot your boss’s head off. Irresistible.

2) iDrunktxt provides ready-typed messages so you can text people even when you’re drunk. To make it realistic, there’s a random button so you can send the wrong messages to the wrong people.

3) Honey It’s Me sends you fake messages from a fake girlfriend. (Men are pathetic enough to enjoy this.)

2) If you already have a real woman, My Girl’s Day calculates her “time of the month” so you know when to expect moodiness and tread carefully.

Today, everything is different. Apple is cool. The little box in my pocket is my timepiece, my phone, my music collection, my bookshelf, my newspaper, my coach, my calendar, my camera, my map book, my barometer, etc.

Three new apps I’d like to see.

1) Jet Pack App. You download this app, tape your iPod to the back of your jacket, and you can fly.

2) Scarlett Johansson App. You click this icon, and whoever you see through the machine looks like Scarlett Johansson.

3) User Clone App. Double click this one and the thing projects a holographic clone of the user, which can be sent to work in your place, while you busy yourself with more important things, such as watching Scarlett Johansson ironing your shirts.

But you have to be careful who you lend the thing to. Last month my children got hold of it. They downloaded Angry Birds and lots of other games. Now every weekend we drive along the streets listening to the horrible tinny buzz of pocket video game music.