Obama’s First Major Political Controversy: Zune or iPod

A couple of days ago, Philadelphia City Paper inadvertently ignited the first big (tongue in cheek) Obama presidential controversy when it reported that Obama, who had evidently said he used an iPod, was seen using a Zune when he exercised. The formal position, evidently, had been that Obama was an iPod man, and that Apple was a big contributor to his campaign. Later, a supposed Obama spokesman reported to the Wall Street Journal that the Philadelphia reporter was mistaken, and that Obama is, in fact, an iPod user.

The Philadelphia reporter then reiterated that he did in fact see a Zune, but speculated that it may have belonged to a Secret Service Agent, or one of Obama’s children. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t picture using someone else’s tunes, particularly from a child’s or bodyguard’s MP3 player, while I exercise. But it is interesting that no one apparently asked Obama which system he used, and, well, Microsoft did also contribute a significant amount to his re-election campaign.

Apparently this was spreading in forums, and The Motley Fool started asking whether Obama, along with his other responsibilities, would be able to save the Zune. Somehow I doubt “saving the Zune” is particularly high on his list of things to do. However, search on Obama and Zune, you’ll see words like Zunegate used in forum after forum as this story captured people’s imaginations. The question of Obama’s MP3 loyalties remained largely unanswered, until the WSJ reported that he had both. Goodness, he has bridged the Microsoft/Apple gap and truly reached across the aisle – in fact he may even run Windows on his Mac!

The Tech President

I really don’t care whether he uses a Zune or an iPod, or whether he runs Windows or OS X. I do care a lot that he uses technology aggressively, and let me explain why. Obama is the first U.S. President that seems to actually use technology that way. The U.S. is a country which has led the world in technology in the past, but has watched that lead slowly erode, at least partially, because administration after administration didn’t give crap about it outside of defense. And even in defense, past administrations were largely funding weapons systems and related technology that was decades out of date with regard to what was actually needed.

As a nation, we have a serious economic problem, and a number of us believe that one of the likely ways out is to eliminate much of the inefficiency that has built up in the nation and government, and use technology to do things vastly more efficiently. We expect that the waste from our inability to use current technology, or to use technology efficiently, is creating a significant drag on the nation, and that correcting this could use the nation’s tech strengths to more effectively address its financial weaknesses. Before Obama, it appeared that technology might help other parts of the world first.

Things that are now possible include electronic voting, webcast town meetings, telepresence events, more meetings with your elected representatives, and the very real possibility that more of those representatives will be forced to focus more of their time on our needs rather than their own personal perks. He has even promised to give us our first CTO and I, among others, have been wondering who that will be. That kind of focus could bring the nation into the 21st century, and actually make promised programs like universal healthcare much more affordable.

In the end, this truly could be the beginning of building a foundation for a new golden age. And having something to look forward to is one of the most important aspects of any recovery. If we can see a light at the end of the tunnel, but be sure it isn’t a train; anticipating the future can build a sense of optimism. And increasingly, it appears that the future will be bright and vastly better partially because we finally have a tech-aware President-elect.

Wrapping Up

In the end, I think that it is simply great that our new President elect uses an MP3 player, and is technically aware. This further supports the belief that he is vastly more tech-savvy than his predecessors. For a country that still has a technological advantage, and wants to keep it, this is a huge indicator that we may be able to both keep that advantage and eventually flourish again because of it. And that is a reason to continue to hope for a more positive future. You have to admit, it is kind of nice to wonder, for once, about something as simple as an MP3 player rather than the existence of a WMD. February can’t come soon enough.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Product Review

The Division 2 brings the most fun we've ever had to Washington, D.C.

After 55 hours with The Division 2, it’s clear that Ubisoft has improved on the original in almost every way. The world is richly detailed, the story missions are wonderful, gunplay and enemy design are great, and the endgame content is…
Emerging Tech

This sleek new exoskeleton makes walking easier, fits under your clothes

A new ankle exoskeleton that is designed to be worn under clothes can help people to walk without fatiguing — and without restricting natural motion or drawing attention to itself.
Movies & TV

The best new podcasts to listen to on your daily commute

Feel like you’re drowning in podcasts? In this weekly series we’ll help you pick out the best from the rest of the new and returning shows. This week’s picks include a call to arms for creativity, an infamous baggie of crack, and…
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.

Apple’s Netflix competitor Apple TV Plus headlines a barrage of new services

Apple's It's Show Time event in Cupertino, California, is officially over, with the tech giant announcing a new video-streaming service to compete with Netflix and Amazon, a new way to subscribe to paid news outlets, and more.

Check out 22 of the best iPhone 7 cases and covers for your shiny new phone

The iPhone 7 might be attractive, but it’s not rugged. To keep your device in pristine condition, you really need to think about proper protection. That's why we've rounded up some of the best iPhone 7 cases and covers available.
Movies & TV

Apple TV Plus streaming service recruits Hollywood A-listers to take on Netflix

Apple has an ambitious slate of original programming it has been developing, and now we know where we'll be able to see it. Apple confirmed its new subscription service, Apple TV Plus, and revealed some of the projects it will air.

Apple's iOS 12.2 brings support for Apple News Plus and new AirPlay 2 features

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.

Get a new 2018 Apple MacBook Air for $1,000 with Amazon’s latest sale

Online retailer Amazon is currently running a discount on select models of the MacBook Air 2018. You can bring one home starting at $1,000, a full $200 off the usual selling price.

Apple News Plus gives you access to more than 300 magazines for $10 per month

At Apple's services event, the company unveiled a new news subscription service called Apple News Plus. The service gives you access to more than 300 magazines and newspapers and costs $10 per month.
Home Theater

Apple’s new TV app: All of your shows, on (almost) every device you own

Apple is updating its TV App into a truly cross-platform one-stop shop for all of your movies and TV shows. It will appear on smart TVs and devices from Roku and Amazon, but there are still questions about features and price.

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.

Apple Pay will be available at 70 percent of U.S. retail locations this year

Apple Pay is growing rapidly, so we've built a list of all the vendors, retailers, and companies worldwide that plan to support Apple's burgeoning mobile payment platform or already do.
Home Theater

Powerbeats Pro: A first look at Apple’s new true wireless earphones?

Beats will reportedly release a true wireless pair of Powerbeats earphones next month. The second-generation AirPods received the new H1 chip, which is also expected to power the new Powerbeats, and an image has been revealed.