¹ Apple's 10gb iPod: Does The Legend Measure Up to the Product? - Thoughts Media Forums Digital Home Thoughts

Digital Home Thoughts - News & Reviews for the Digital Home

Register in our forums so you're ready for our next giveaway contest...

Zune Thoughts

Loading feed...

Apple Thoughts

Loading feed...

Laptop Thoughts

Loading feed...

Go Back   Thoughts Media Forums > DIGITAL HOME THOUGHTS > Digital Home Hardware & Accessories

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-19-2004, 08:00 PM
Kent Pribbernow
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 911
Send a message via AIM to Kent Pribbernow Send a message via MSN to Kent Pribbernow
Default Apple's 10gb iPod: Does The Legend Measure Up to the Product?

Product Category: Digital Audio Player
Manufacturer: Apple
Where to Buy: Amazon [Affiliate]
Price: $249.99 USD
Specifications: 10 Gigabyte storage capacity, slim design, touch-sensitive controls.

  • Elegant design;
  • Slim form factor;
  • World class jukebox software;
  • Lots of storage space for personal music library;
  • Simple user interface.

  • Pricey;
  • Mediocre battery life;
  • Lucite shell shows fingerprints and smudges;
  • Finicky touch controls.
Apple Computer set the portable audio player market on fire with its original iPod design which focused on ease of use and sleek industrial design. The third generation iPod extends that design philosophy even further with an innovative touch-sensitive scroll wheel and thinner design.

What’s in the box:

One thing you can count on with all Apple products is well designed packaging. Not only is the hardware sexy and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but so is the box it comes in. iPod is no exception. The box is a simple black cube with a removable jacket that houses a clam-shell egg carton with iPod + accessories on one side, and software CD on the other. The process of opening the packaging is much akin to a child opening up his gifts on Christmas morning. Every aspect of the carton is carefully designed and bustling with hidden treasures. Inside you’ll find the iPod itself with the included pair of earbuds (which are all but useless) and a travel AC charger/adapter.

But enough about the box. On to the iPod…

Say Hello to iPod

The first thing you will notice about the iPod is its stark snow white motif. Clad in a beautiful white Lucite shell, and highly polished stainless steel back, the iPod sports a truly gorgeous industrial design. One that is often copied by imitators. The front face plate is exceptionally clean and simple devoid of any clutter, with a centralized solid state scroll wheel adorned by a row of navigation controls above. It is this lack of clutter and unnecessary buttons that make the device so simple to understand. On top of the unit is a Hold button for locking user control access, and a headphone jack. Below the device is the innovative Dock connector which provides both connectivity with the desktop and recharges the unit as well. Apple offers a $40 Dock station that works similarly to a PDA cradle. Allowing the iPod to sync and charge from the same base station.

iPods are compatible with both Mac and PC out of the box. However, the iPod only supports Firewire by default. An additional USB 2.0 connector can be purchased from Apple’s Website for around $20. I recommend purchasing an inexpensive 6-pin Firewire (IEEE1394) PCI card for your desktop PC, provided there is room for one. This will enable you to recharge your device without having to use a separate cable. But be forewarned: if you are using a laptop that lacks Firewire (IEEE1394), you won’t be able to use the iPod without purchasing the USB 2.0 connector from Apple.

Sync and Listen
Setting up your iPod couldn’t be simpler. Just plug the dock connector to a Firewire port (Mac) and iTunes will launch. The PC version will prompt you to slip in the included CD which contains a Windows installer. Give your iPod a name and register online. Once all those details are out of the way, you can begin copying your music to the audio player. If you haven’t yet created a music library on your computer, now is the time to start. Just slap in a CD or two into the tray, and start ripping tracks to your playlist.

With over 10GB of storage, there is a decent amount of space for any modest sized CD collection. Unless you have volumes the size of the Library of Congress, space really shouldn’t be an issue with either the 15 or 20GB versions of the iPod. But if you can afford the cost, go for higher end iPod models. 40GB is currently top of the line.

Audio quality is superb. With a built-in equalizer accessible from the settings menu, you can choose from a large selection of presets including; Classical, Rock, Hip hop, Electronic, R&B, etc. Volume is very loud and offers good fidelity. Music piping through the headphone jack sounds rich and full with no loss or audio artifacts like cracking or popping.


iPod syncs natively with Apple’s own jukebox software, iTunes. Available for both Windows and Mac, iTunes serves multiple purposes including: allowing users to manage, organize, and playback music on their PC or Mac, and serve as a portal to the iTunes Music Store where users can purchase and download “legal” music tracks for $.99. Apple is fighting hard against music piracy, and iTunes offers a compelling user experience and high quality audio.

All audio tracks are encoded in AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), though iPod is capable of playing MP3 audio as well. In addition, Audible books can also be played back on the device and purchased directly from iTunes Music Store as well.

I’ll be posting my iTunes review in the coming days. So keep watching.

Touch me, baby!
Clearly the most innovative feature of the third generation iPod is its new solid state controls which are touch sensitive. Just tap one of the controls with your finger or thumb and the iPod will react to your every motion. Slide your finger in a clockwise motion on the center wheel, and volume will increase. Slide your finger counter-clockwise, and volume decreases.

Above the control wheel are four buttons which control Back Track, Menu, Play/Pause, and Forward Track.

Navigating through the user interface shows why this product has become such a huge success the world over. Even the lowliest gadget neophyte can easily comprehend the brain-dead simple structure and layout that all but guides you through the process of accessing your music library and playlist. Hitting the Browse option allows you to drill down into your playlist, sorting by one of many specific fields; artist, song title, album, or genres, etc. It’s all right there at your fingertips. To call up the main menu, or back out of a song, just tap the Menu button once or twice and you are instantly taken back from where you came.

Very simple.

All that glitters is not gold
No audio player is perfect, and the iPod is not without its share of really annoying and quirky shortcomings. For starters, the Lucite shell and mirror-like stainless steel backing show fingerprints like crazy. I’m not talking a few little smudges here and there, I mean we’re talking McDonalds French Fries style grease smudges. You will soon find yourself suffering from what I call “iPod Hands” (I am patenting that name). An obsessive compulsive disorder which causes the user to nervously rub the iPod on their shirt sleeve in a desperate but futile attempt to keep the unit looking clean and smudge free. Family and friends will soon recommend seeing a therapist to work out your “issues”.

Another downside is the solid state controls which are sometimes more a curse than a blessing. If you so much as bump these controls inadvertently, even just a glancing touch, any number of things may happen. The song will pause, or jump to the next track, or replay, or…well you get the idea. Needless to say, you will soon become quite familiar with your new friend, the Hold button.

Then there is the issue of battery life. If you are used to audio players with 12+ hours of playback time, you’re in for a major disappointment. At best the iPod gets a few good hours of play time. After that, you’ll be looking for the nearest power source.

Another issue that I find a bit disconcerting is Apple’s refusal to support Microsoft’s WMA audio format. Yes...yes, I know. Microsoft is evil oppressor to the masses. Blah blah blah. Whatever. But let’s face facts: Nearly every legal music download site this side of the sun uses WMA as its audio format of choice. This means that while the iPod will work just fine with Apple’s own iTunes Music Store, that’s about all it will work with. And as great as iTunes is…I like competition and choice more. Being locked into one music service is no fun.

No matter how you may feel about the iPod (or Apple in general), one thing cannot be denied. iPod is a true cult icon, immediately recognized the world over no matter where you go. And for good reasons. More than just a pretty package, iPod is a world class product that literally sets the standard by which all audio players are judged. Offering an excellent industrial design, superb software, exceptional ease of use, and a user experience that quite simply can’t be matched.

The iPod is a winner.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 05:45 PM.