The Miracles of iPod Product Placement

by Erica Sadun


So last night on "Heroes", a blue iPod nano was featured prominently as part of the ongoing story. Take it as a given that much of Heroes requires a suspension of disbelief: people flying, villains eating brains to acquire superpowers[1], etc. Last night, though, stretched the credulity of some viewers to the limit.

Upon returning to the scene of a crime that had taken place the previous evening, an iPod nano was still blasting away its music the next morning. Either the reality of Heroes must operate in an alternate universe from the one we live in or that nano must have genetically-altered super batteries. You tell me. Was that nano "on the list"?

[1] Magically delicious!


2007-02-20 12:52:33
why super batteries? apple claims 24 hours of audio playback.
Erica Sadun
2007-02-20 12:57:35
No: She'd been using the battery all day the day before (when Sylar and Mohinder visited her) as well. Also (someone will correct me on this, I'm sure) isn't this one of the older generation, before the battery upgrade?
2007-02-20 12:58:04
I'm confused. Are you saying that a nano can't play for 8+ hours continuously? Because if so, they must be packing mega-hero-batteries into the Nanos here in Canada. I can get 12 hours of continuous playback on my nano *easily* (tested on several roadtrips). Actually, it's not unusual for me to get 14-15 hours on a charge. Nowhere near Apple's current claim of "up to 24 hours" of playback, but still...

Keep in mind that being dead, Dale (IIRC) would be unable to operate the thumbwheel and activate the iPod display, which would considerably add to the playback time. Those backlights suck power as much as Sylar sucks grey-matter.

2007-02-20 12:58:50
Erica: and you assume that she didn't have the ability to charge her iPod in between? Or maybe, like my girlfriend, she has 3 of them. :)
Erica Sadun
2007-02-20 12:59:44
Mike: When would she have recharged the battery? She'd already put in a full day of playback when Mo & Sylar visited her in the shop.
2007-02-20 13:17:52
I recently used my iPod pretty much continuously on a 9 hour flight, followed immediately by a 14 hour flight. I'd guess probably 20 hours of use all together.
2007-02-20 13:21:08
Assuming Mike's claim that iPod Nano batteries are known (to him) to play uninterrupted for 12 hours, a claim that I'm inclined to believe, and assuming that she had in essence depleted the battery at some point in the day, it would take a mere hour, which amounts to a simple lunch break, to bring the charge back up to approximately 80 percent (as claimed by Apple and as experienced by me give or take a bit) that would leave easily eight hours of playback in a worse case scenario, and is easily believable. Assuming an even greater capacity, somewhere between the twelve hours Mike has seen and the twenty-four hours Apple claims, it becomes a no-brainer that it is not only possible that it would still be playing, but likely.
Erica Sadun
2007-02-20 13:26:59
I hereby concede to the majority--although I'd imagine more that she owns multiples (Mike) than she takes the dinner break to recharge suggested by Willexi.
2007-02-20 15:00:31
complain about my product placement.
2007-02-20 17:05:35
It's not like she was watching movies on a Zune. or something.
M. David Peterson
2007-02-20 20:16:39
I would like to officially take a time out to proclaim each and every one of you the most Superest of *All* Super Geeks!

Holy Hannah!

Of course, this is only meant in the nicest, most complimentary sense of the phrase Super Geek, but none-the-less... *DAMN!*

From Wikipedia "Scandals", to both sides of the ODF vs. EOOXML "Don't Believe the Hype!"-Fest, to whether or not the battery life of an electronic device highlighted on last night's episode of Heroes, complete with technical breakdown's of both "was there enough time for a quick charge" and "if yes, then there was time" and "if no, well then there's also still a chance based on the data received from ..."

Who needs TV anymore? We've got all the entertainment we could possibly ever want right here on O'ReillyNet!

2007-02-20 20:27:40
The nano is flash based. There is not much guess work when it comes to battery life. A new nano should get 24 hours of continuous playback with the backlight is off (which was exactly the case here). I don't own a 2nd gen nano myself, but reviewers consistently confirmed the 24 hour benchmark Apple set, so assuming that nano is fairly new, not only is it possible that the nano lasted, it is unsurprising. Even if it was played all day the day before with no recharge or replacement, that is what, 12 hours? Add 8 hours over night, and you are still only at 20 hours of playback, entirely reasonable. And that is of course assuming she played it continuously all day. How likely is it she stopped frequently to talk to people, have a bite to eat, or what have you. How many of us would actually listen to our iPod straight, without cessation, for the whole day?

I'm sorry Ms Sadun, but I am going to have to award you no points on this attempt at humor. The exposition leading up to your punchline is simply too implausible.

Erica Sadun
2007-02-20 20:32:49
Hey Zac: It's actually part of the plot that she has it turned on at all times because she's got super-hearing and needs to mask the sound. That means by the time of her death, it was probably on for a good 14 hours already (unless it was swapped out) and her body wasn't discovered until the next day, probably at least another 12 hours later.
2007-02-20 22:35:01
Duh!! She had super hearing. She could use the iPod at its lowest volume setting, which certainly would extend the battery life.

And anyway, maybe Syler once ate a brain of a mutant with battery-recharging abilities. Did you ever think of that?

Wayne Winquist
2007-02-21 02:28:25
Dumb thought: there are a couple of possibilities, given the super heroe's needs. First, either her, or a friend of hers, could have hacked it with a means, either internally or through another source we don't see, to keep constantly charging. Given the problem, it's plausablesomeone would have had to come up with the solution beforehand.

The second - and this is based on what I have not seen - is that it could be running something other than the iPodOS on there (maybe a variant of Linux) designed to start and stop at given times to keep from using up the battery after extended periods.

Again, I can only speculate, since I can neither watch it personally or record it - no Tivo, only one VCR, and I work at that time. (I videotape 24 - been watching that since day one, and I am pissed that NBC and Fox are butting heads against me!) Oh well - can't wait for the DVDs!

2007-02-21 15:14:58
I assumed that the death had taken place in the morning hours, before Dr. Suresh and Sylar were due to arrive. The blood was still dripping, after all.

But, hey, extreme sports lovers can rest easy, knowing that their iPods are blood-proof! :-)

2007-02-21 17:01:20
VCD Cutter
2007-10-10 13:17:43
Are they nano batteries or nano energy batteries? I guess they are both or maybe they have used some cheap medications in order to increase their super power. I guess they were the duracel teddy bears, weren’t they?