Dear Tim, It’s time to get lost in the music

Dear Tim,

I bought my first Apple product back in 2004, an HP-branded iPod. In 2005, I purchased a PowerBook G4 and have never looked back. I’ve been an Apple customer ever since, acquiring multiple iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, and Apple Watches along the way. Like many others, I joined the App Store frenzy, becoming part of a global community. My journey with Apple mirrors that of many users; I adore Apple products.

However, I believe we’ve accelerated our technological advancements too rapidly with products designed to steal our attention away from the real world. This concern has weighed on my soul, leading me to stop wearing an Apple Watch years ago. Not because it isn’t a great product but because I grew tired of constant connectivity.

Since 2008, I’ve used a Mac for work, accumulating thousands of hours of use. Working from home means I’m online more often than I’d like, using my iPhone and AirPods to catch up on podcasts, listen to Apple Music, or enjoy Audible audiobooks when off work. The past 15 years felt like living in a world of perpetual connectivity, leaving me exhausted. This fatigue isn’t unique to me; mental health statistics in the US paint a grim picture, especially among teenagers and young adults.

A few weeks ago, my family and I spent some time in Disney World, and it was depressing to see people watching life through their iPhones. On a ride? Selfie. In the line? Scrolling social media. Eating lunch? Screen in your face. Someone living in 2004 would not recognize the world in 2024. I know this wasn’t the world Apple dreamed up, though. We’ve become addicted to our devices. We’ve become addicted to the dopamine hits. 5 minute YouTube videos are too long. We now need 15-second TikTok videos. Forget about watching full movies without scrolling Instagram or Facebook. We all know something is wrong. We all know that this can’t continue. We need to disconnect. We need long periods away from connectivity. We need a break. We need a break for the sake of our mental health.

I knew I needed this, so I started thinking about a change. I wanted to go back in time. I wanted to get lost in the music. Music, Tim, is at the core of who Apple used to be. Yes, Apple Music is a great service. It’s an incredible value. Put it’s part of the internet. It’s part of connectivity. I didn’t want apps. I wanted albums. I wanted to enjoy my music like I used to, so I bought an iPod classic 7th Generation with a new battery and an SSD drive.

There’s no Bluetooth. There’s no Wi-Fi. It’s a pain to use. The device is slow. Syncing music from my Mac feels archaic. The music sounds much worse than on my iPhone with AirPods Pro. Technically, everything about using an iPod in 2024 is a massive step backward, but I love it. I love everything about it. I love scrolling through my albums. I love running without my iPhone. When I am finished with work, my iPhone stays on my desk. If someone calls, I’ll answer. Otherwise, my evenings are smartphone-free. When doing laundry, I’ll pick an album I haven’t heard in a few years and press play. I am rediscovering my love of music. I am getting lost in the music again. This is the Apple I fell in love with. This is the Apple that much of the world discovered 20 years ago. Rip, Mix, Burn. $9.99 albums, $.99 tracks, and syncing over USB. Ditching my iPhone for music and audiobooks has been good for my soul. It’s been great for my mental health. I’ve broken an addiction that I didn’t even know I had. Outside of work hours, I go hours and hours without checking email, social media, etc. When I am done working, I am offline.

Tim, today’s society needs a dose of offline. We need to touch grass. We need vitamin D. We need to get away from our dopamine addiction to likes, feeds, and everything involved. Apple unknowingly led us into the state of the world today. It’s time for Apple to help lead us out. Let’s normalize disconnecting. Let’s normalize going long periods without Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or a pull to refresh.

Using an iPod in 2024 isn’t seamless, but I choose to use something technically worse because I know my soul, mind, and heart need it. Most people aren’t going to take that journey. Tim, what would an iPod in 2024 look like? I don’t think it would be much different than the iPod classic I use today. The form factor. The UI. The experience. It was all perfect at the time, and it can be perfect again. It could even work with Apple Music if you synced it to your Mac once a month to verify the subscription. Let’s go offline. Let’s put thousands of songs back in our pockets. Let’s bring back the iPod and start a conversation about the benefits of taking long periods away from everything online.

Let’s get lost in the music for a new generation

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