Let me just preface this post with: I really can’t stand Apple. So there’s that.
My company gave away free I-Pod shuffles for Christmas one year when they first came out, and I was thrilled to death with the idea that I could take my music with me wherever I decided to work out physically and/or creatively. I could finally put my old boom box/skippy cd player to rest forever, and don’t even get me started on the “I can buy only the songs I like” thing. No more of that $15 to $20 bucks for a CD and you only really like 2 songs bullshit.
At home, we listen mostly to Pandora because I like to be surprised and I like a steady infusion of new music. Now don’t get me wrong, I do get nostalgic at times, and I do have quite a few CDs left even after the great purge of 2016, but I really only listen to them in the car. The plan was to rip all of them to the music player eventually, but here’s what happened.
I initially loved the i-Tunes music program. I bought only about 50 songs from them over the years, and I also bought songs from Amazon and other places, depending on who had what and who had the best price. Mp3 is just more portable, so I wasn’t a big fan of Apples’s M4a format, and converting a purchased song to Mp3 could often be a burn-rerip nightmare if there was DRM involved, but what pissed me off to no end was when Apple forced updates to the software and would conveniently delete anything you purchased outside of their eco-system. Yes. They did this. Look it up. Allegations denied of course, but the coincidence and incidences of it were overwhelming. People who didn’t back up their shit were pissed. I do, back up, but that was the beginning of the end for me with Apple. Amazon used to do the same thing in the early stages of Kindle, and they would delete any side loaded apps you installed, especially ePub readers. I no longer use Kindle Fire Tablets.
Anyhoo. My i-Pod shuffle is at its end of life. It never did hold too many songs and managing the damn thing just took too much time. Time I don’t have. So a new music player was in order. I wanted something that shuffled. Would hold at min 128 gigs of music. And was a bit more modern and easier to navigate than the shuffle.
- The i-Pod Touch with 128 gigs is $399.00. You can’t replace the battery and you’re still dealing with i-Tunes.
- I looked at Sony’s, which were lovely, but the 128 gig model was $699.99. It’s really for hi-res audio and my ears are shit, so, too rich for my blood and my inclinations.
- I looked at Sandisk and many other sub $100.00 players but the reliability issues and overall performance issues were overwhelming. Who wants to buy a player they have to throw away every year? Not me.
I started researching tech recycling options and came upon many articles with the title “What to do with that Old Smart Phone,” and I immediately thought, “What about a New Smart Phone?”
- Something not too cheap, but say sub $200.
- Something not locked into a cell service.
- Something with Wifi for Pandora in bed.
- Something that could run the music apps I wanted and/or came with a decent offline music playing app.(Offline is important.)
- Something with a decent amount of expandable storage capacity.
- Does such a thing exist?
Yes. It does. I ended up buying a Samsung J3, which is basic enough but not too basic to be a decent Mp3 player. It retails (unlocked) for $180.00. Buy a 128 gig micro sd card and you are all set to go. It’s unlocked and so it’s sans a sim card, but you don’t need it to play music you download to the device. It comes with Google Play Music, which is a decent player, and I added Amazon Music and Pandora, which I can use through the wifi for streaming. I have a Samsung tablet, so I am familiar with their devices.
I figure I can get my entire CD collection on there and then some. I like Windows Media Player and always have found the interface wonderful for managing my media library. Once I get everything ripped and loaded, I can just flip it into airplane mode, kick back, and enjoy. (I did disable all the apps I won’t be using and modified the home screen to something simple with just the file explorer and music apps.)
So Finally. Bye Bye Apple. Delete my shit once, shame on me; delete my shit twice, well, people don’t like that. Apple loves to say it’s a glitch or bug, but this has been going on for years.
So if you are considering your Mp3 player options, don’t leave out the basic unlocked smart phones. Or your old one for that matter. Sans cell service, they are basically tiny tablets anyway.
Note: Make sure to get an official “unlocked phone.” You might think that buying a super cheap pre-paid phone will work but they don’t always. Many carriers lock up their pre-paid phones completely until you activate service, so you may not even be able to get into the operating system without an unlock code.