“Kids React To The First iPod” Video Proves We're All Getting Impossibly Old — VIDEO
Sometimes I wonder why I keep making myself watch all these “Kids React” videos from the Fine Brothers. They just make me feel so. Old. Case in point: The popular YouTube channel's latest video, “Kids React to the First iPod.” It does pretty much exactly what it says on the label — that is, depict a bunch of kids between the ages of seven and 13 trying to figure out how the people of the world managed to live when all they had for their portable music needs were gigantic, brick-sized iPods — and, as always, I have walked away from it all feeling almost unbearably ancient. If you, too, would like to feel like a dinosaur, come with me on this terrifying journey into the Land That Tech Forgot.
Apple released the very first iPod in the fall of 2001. I was in high school at the time, and I'll be honest: The first time I encountered one courtesy of a friend who had just gotten one, the only thing I could think was, “Why on earth would I ever need that?” I asked my pal that question, too; he assured me it was the way of the future even as I pondered, "Why? Why does such a thing need to exist?"
File that one under “Famous Last Words.”
It would be a few years before I finally got one of my own — I wasn't a Mac user, so they were more or less useless to me until they became PC compatible. My first iPod had a habit of breaking a lot due to the fact that it had an actual hard drive inside (the folks at the Genius Bar at the Soho Apple Store — then the only one in Manhattan — and I got to know each other really well during my sophomore and junior years in college), but it went through a lot with me before I finally swapped it out for a third generation Nano. As is often the case with new technology, iPods got smaller as time went on; when I got my Nano, I could hardly believe I'd ever walked around with anything so huge and clunky as the old iPod Classic in my pocket. I still have that Nano, by the way; it still works, and it is still weird for being the only Nano model released that's shaped like a square, rather than a rectangle. I kind of love it.
But if I thought my old iPod Classic was huge — I think it was a third or fourth gen — that was nothing compared to the very first one. Clutched in a pair of tiny, 9-year-old hands, the first iPod looks enormous. Seriously, you guys — it may as well be a Game Boy. An original Game Boy. It's that big.
Speaking of Game Boys, here is a small selection of things the kids think it might be when they first encounter it:
1. A Video Player
I'll admit that I'm not entirely sure what she means by “an old video player,” since just about everything plays videos these days. Does she mean a portable DVD player, maybe?
2. A Phone
“One of those old kind of phones,” to be precise. To be fair, he's not entirely wrong; the iPod is more or less the iPhone's ancient ancestor — an iPhone minus the “phone” part.
3. A Camera
She calls it an “old camera or phone thing,” which, again, isn't entirely wrong. I do, however, find it hilarious that “phone” and “camera” are more or less interchangeable now. When was the last time you saw a cell phone that didn't have a camera attached to it? It's been well over 10, maybe 15 years for me; I have to think back to my very first cell phone. It looked like this:
4. “The Grandfather of iPods”
Ding ding ding! Give the boy a prize!
When asked to describe what an iPod is, most of the kids said that it was like a phone, with the ability to play apps and games; the only difference was that you couldn't actually make a phone call on it (although you can text or email if you have Wi-Fi). Very few of them listed the fact that they play music as the devices' primary function, and most of them had trouble figuring out how to turn it on. The lack of touch screen freaked them out:
The thing they had the hardest time dealing with, though? Is the fact that it only does one thing. In some ways, I feel like these kids had an easier time coping with a Walkman — Walkmen are a completely different device, not a totally prehistoric version of something with which they're already familiar. As this girl put it:
The horror! The horror!
The really mindblowing thing, though, is this: An original iPod cost a whopping $399. Don't believe me? That link right there leads to the very first press release, direct from Apple, announcing the device's arrival on the scene. The iPhone 6 only costs that much if you get a whooooole lot of bells and whistles on it. My, how far we've come, right? Technology has not only improved, but also gotten more accessible.
So I guess that's what these videos are for: Reminding us where we've been so we can keep an eye on where we're going. Technology is inextricably part of our world, and it's both terrifying and amazing. Sometimes it's worth going back to basics to remember how powerful it is, right?
Watch the full video here: