Something I've been wondering about: People are always going on about how Steve Jobs was obsessively devoted to quality and design, how Apple products are these beautiful examples of perfectionist design. The iPod is often held up as an exemplar. It was so successful, it contributed to widespread adoption of the MP3/AAC format over CDs. Many people started buying songs and albums in compressed format directly from iTunes, instead of buying CDs first and then ripping them to MP3. This may be the standard for Kids These Days, I don't know. Do KTD still buy CDs?
But here's the thing about MP3s/AACs. By definition they have poor audio quality compared to CDs. They're created by a process called, hilariously, "lossy compression" (the data is compressed because some of it is lost). According to one study, KTD actually prefer the sound of MP3s to CDs. This is probably analogous to the average person preferring vanillin (artificial vanilla extract) to real vanilla beans. Basically, most people take simplicity over complexity if they're used to it; familiarity is a kind of pleasure. But doesn't this kind of suck? Does anyone care? When people play iTunes on their computer or hook up an iPod to a speaker system, it sounds distinctly worse than a CD. How does this (cumulatively) enormous loss of sound quality jibe with the whole perfectionism thing? This is a serious question. Am I missing something?