installed, I went about configuring iTunes to create MP3's
from my music and to use my existing music archive to populate
the iPod. Here again I ran into problems. I had to reconnect
the iPod several times in order for it to successfully
copy over 1000 MP3s. Only a thousand and I was having problems.
Some of the MP3's are big though due to the fact that I
collect live radio shows and DJ mixes, some of which are
150 to 300MB in size. Eventually it worked and I was able
to listen to the music. I also loaded a number of music
videos and TV shows so that I could compare the experience
to what I've been having on my Pocket PC.
playing some of the audio tracks on my iPod and found
that I actually enjoyed using the ear buds provided.
I found them quite comfortable without the sponge covers.
Apple have done a good job of selecting a shape which
is comfortable and has no edges. Navigating to find media
files is really simple and works just like previous generation
iPods with the exception that it now supports the organization
and selection of video files. I got to grips with the
controls very quickly, but I thought it would really
be nice if you could jump forward through the currently
playing track to get to the parts I wanted. To my pleasure,
I found out that you could, but the process is not as
intuitive as I would like. To move through your current
selection you have to press and hold the center button
to kick it into scrub mode so that you can move through
your selection using the click wheel.
movies on the iPod is a real pain and only an insane
person would do it with any regularity. I felt confined
and a little uncomfortable watching anything for any
length of time on the 2.5 inch screen. It felt like trying
to squeeze my head into a helmet which was just a little
bit too small. Double the size of the display area and
you might win me over. But therein lies my problem. I've
been spoiled by the larger display on my PDA. I think
Apple and many of the other producers of video playback
devices need to take a more effective look at the ergonomics
of the video experience before designing their next generation
solutions. I also found that video format support was
quite limited, with no support for common formats like
WMV, XVID, DIVX or MPG. QuickTime 7 Pro can be used to
convert most video files into iPod-friendly formats.
However there are also plenty of less expensive (and
some free) third party tools out there which support
conversion to iPod-friendly formats like H.264, M4V,
MP4 and MOV.
photos is easy but as I shoot most of my photos in RAW
format, I was annoyed with the fact the iPod doesn't
support RAW. JPG, BMP, TIF and a couple of other popular
formats are fully supported. The interface allows viewing
in a variety of ways including a thumbnail browser and
a slide show which advances with transitions and a variety
of other user configurable settings.
has also created a whole bunch of applications which
take the iPod into territory which was introduced with
the Nano. The additional program functions include a
world clock, a stopwatch, and support for Calendar and
Contact information from your Address Book and iCal on
your Mac, and Outlook or Outlook Express on Windows.
There are even four games in the bundle for when you
really get bored. The iPod Video is not a fully fledged
PDA by a long shot, but seems to hint at the future.
iPod is in my opinion an example of the current trend
in disposable product creation. Use your iPod until the
battery dies and then try to replace the dead battery.
You can't, at least not without an expensive visit to
the Apple service center. Many folks buy a new iPod instead.
Why not design the iPod along the same lines as mobile
phone manufacturers? Because Apple can make money from
replacing a component which should be something a user
can do easily and painlessly (that is if the industrial
designers had done their job properly). Imagine this
scenario: I'm using my iPod and I run out of juice. No
problem. I have an extra battery so I power down the
iPod and replace the low battery with a fresh one. What
an idea, eh?
other problem with the iPod is that I find them a bit
of an incongruity in this age of convergence. I believe
Apple's dominance of the portable media device market
may diminish as more phones with built-in hard drives
and support for large capacity memory cards reach the
market. The Treo 650 is an example of a device that functions
brilliantly as a PDA, wireless phone and music player.
The Treo 650 can also be used, depending on your phone
service provider, to stream TV programs and video. If
Palm manages to add compatibility with Digital Rights
Management (DRM) and some of the online music services,
several years I have been using a Pocket PC on which
I've played music, read books, watched movies and TV
shows, all this alongside the other tasks that these
great little computers allow me to carry out. Okay, it's
not an iPod and does not permit me to carry my whole
music library (or at least a huge chunk of it) with me.
But with a decent sized SD card in the Pocket PC I can
do a lot. In any case, for all my griping I actually
like the iPod because of its clean design and easy usage
and I will most likely continue to use my new toy alongside
my PDA, when, that is, I can carry both. Wait a moment—there's
an idea! Create an iPod-based PDA! Do I hear a phantom
uttering the word 'Newton'?
installation and configuration of iTunes should be easier.
The bundled accessories are uninspiring. Come on Apple!
Why no AC adaptor? Hell, my cell phone, which was darn
near free, came with a lot more than that. No dock or
video cable. Sparse documentation. The supplied case
is a joke. No user replaceable battery. Small screen.
Limited video format support. Even more annoying for
existing 1G or 2G iPod owners, there is no Firewire support.
On the documentation front, I feel that Apple should
be ashamed of themselves for providing only a quick start
leaflet which surely needs to be rewritten with less
emphasis on minimalism.
light and fits nicely in your hand. The user interface
is clean and easy to use. Great small screen—maybe
the best you can get. Useful utilities and applications.
Videos and photos look crisp with accurate colors. Video
playback is smooth. Audio quality is terrific, with clarity
and depth that is truly high-fidelity, and with enough
power to drive volume to uncomfortable levels. The iPod
is, and I say this somewhat begrudgingly, an easy to
use multimedia device which serves its intended purposes
quite well. I recommend Apple's iPod with two reservations:
make the battery replaceable by owners, provide some
decent accessories with the unit and I'll be happy.