For a while now I have been looking for the ideal device to play music at home. I have an old fashioned stereo system with a record deck, a broken CD player, an amplifier and speakers. I need to go digital but I don’t want to replace my amp and speakers so what do I do? I have been plugging my phone into the stereo and this works fine. I have also plumbed my PC into the stereo and this also works. The problem with these two methods is that they are fiddly. If I crack open a beer and sit back and want to put on some music I do not want to be either booting up my PC and clicking away at a keyboard or fiddling around with a device with a screen the size of a postage stamp.
I’d looked at some of the products available such as the hand held controllers from Sonos but they don’t seem to get it. When I am relaxing I don’t want to be reading a lot of bloody menus.
Get an iPod? Well, maybe, but the screen is still pretty small and even then I would have to plug it in….or so I thought.
Recently I went downstairs. The pop star who lives there is into Apple macs in a big way and I asked him what h does. He showed me that he had plugged a little gadget known as an Apple Airport into the back of his amplifier and now plays music direct from his macbook. Hmmmm….wireless ay? Very interesting. He had a spare airport which I hooked up and sure enough I can play music direct from my macbook. Hmmm……we were getting there.
I am still left with a fiddly interface but if I got an iPod this could also play music wirelessly but I want a big screen.
The latest useless device that Apple have just launched might fit the bill. Since it’s launch I have not been inspired by the iPad. I am not going to carry it with me on a train as it’s too big. If I go on holiday I wouldn’t take it as it has no keyboard. OK, if you have too much spare cash, it’s a fun device but I can’t see a market for it. Then the penny dropped.
One could get an iPad, load it up with music and hang it on the wall. Whenever you want to play music you rub your fingers over the iPad and hey presto! This scenario is almost possible. I am told that, as yet, the iPad does not have that nifty interface for music that the iPod has. The one when you can flick through the album covers. I’m told that this interface will be available in the next version of the iPad software.
So is that it? Is the iPad the answer to my music playing problem? Has the iPad found it’s niche?
Not quite. It is odd just how much we are prepared to pay for this sort of technology. A modern amplifier costs about £150. A speaker system perhaps £200. A CD player about £75. So why would I spend £500 on a control panel?
This is also my main gripe about book reading devices such as the kindle. They are so expensive that you would be scared of leaving it on a bus.
Well India may be about to help us out. The Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi and the Indian Institute of Science in Bengalooru have developed a touchscreen device similar to an iPad but costing around £23!