Sunday 15 March 2009

Where to find new talking iPod Shuffle? Not at the IT Show

You know, I've reached the age where I don't have much to look forward to in life except death, Apple's next iPod upgrade and keeping track of Glenn Ong's potential future ex-wives.

But what still gets me excited after all these years is the IT show.

Not specifically the IT Show 2009 that's going on at Suntec this weekend, but all the four major computer expos that mark the Singapore calendar in place of the four seasons.

Instead of spring, we have the IT Show in March. Instead of summer, we have the PC Show in June. Instead of fall, we have Comex around September. Instead of winter, we have Sitex just before Christmas.

Who needs snow when we've got electronic bargains?

But like snow, these events can create traffic havoc, especially if you're trying to find a parking space.

Human traffic, of course, is no walk in the park either. To say that it's crowded is like saying the ocean is wet.

But that's how it has always been, regardless of the economy, ever since the first computer expo I trudged to at the old World Trade Centre way back when Bill Gates was only a millionaire - oops, I mean multi-millionaire.

I've gotten over the disappointment that our computer expos are not the leading edge technology showcases like those overseas such as CeBIT in Germany (held just last weekend) or CES in the US where major new products are introduced.

For a nation that's so proud of its IT-savviness and ability to attract world-class conventions, Singapore is surprisingly lagging in this respect. Even Taiwan has COMPUTEX. We, on the other hand, can only wipe our noses with Kleenex.

Our computer expos are essentially glorified four-day pasar malams for gadget freaks - not that there's anything wrong with that.

I mean where else do I get my discounted (yet still ridiculously overpriced) Canon printer ink cartridges bundled with $5 NTUC FairPrice vouchers?

But it would have been cool if, say, Apple's new third-generation iPod Shuffle, which was unveiled on Thursday - coincidentally the same day as the opening of IT Show 2009 - was actually unveiled at IT Show 2009.

What's so special about the new 4GB iPod Shuffle? It talks! It tells you the name and artist of the song that is playing. It freakin' speaks to you! How insane is that?

Maybe you can go to the IT Show today and get a demonstration? No such luck.

To my amazement, you can't find this loquacious little MP3 player at the IT Show at all. Talk about a wasted opportunity.

For now, you can only buy the new Shuffle online at for $128.

Well, at least I have my NTUC FairPrice vouchers. I can die happy now.

- Published in The New Paper, 15 March 2009