I still fondly remember my first MP3 player. It was an iRiver H320, which replaced my trusty Sony Discman. This was in a time before we used one single device as our music player, point-and-shoot camera, email machine, GPS navigation system, time waster and everything in between.
Smartphones might be the epitome of convenience, but it wasn’t until I recently rekindled my love for a dedicated portable music player that I realised what we had lost along the way. And no, it wasn’t just the headphone jack.
The transition to wireless headphones and streaming services has made it difficult to get high quality music through your smartphone, but the greatest cost of convergence is focus. When opening Spotify on our phones we’re bombarded with notifications and apps calling for our attention, to the point that music has become mere background noise. It’s simply too hard to block out the noise and temptation of competing applications.
Since moving back to a dedicated portable music player, I’ve found myself listening to music more deeply. In other words, it’s made me listen to music the way we used to. If you, like me, are trying to reduce your screen time, walking out of the house without an all-in-one messaging / social media / game machine like your smartphone may be exactly what you’re after.