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    Apple iPod MP3 Player Review
    Author: Matt and Brian
    Date Posted: May 12th, 2003
    SLRating: SLRating: 10/10
    Bottom Line: Most of you have probably heard of Apple's iPod, it is small, it is white, it plays MP3s from a hard drive instead of a CD, and-unsurprisingly-like all Apple products, it is expensive. Read on to find out if the newest revision of the iPod is worth your money…

    Find the lowest price for this product
    Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6
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    Starting Up:

    The new iPod is both Mac and Windows compatible right out of the box, which is a refreshing change from the first iPod which either required a firmware update or the purchase of a Mac or Windows specific unit.

    Unfortunately, loading songs onto the iPod is not as simple as copying songs directly onto it as if it were another hard drive. The job of copying songs and making playlists rests in the hands of the venerable iTunes on the Mac or the unwieldy MusicMatch Jukebox on the PC.

    While the iPod is expensive, well made and probably the best MP3 player to date, it is still a computer and therefore is susceptible to crashing. When I first tried to get my computer to see my iPod it crashed. This is not so bad as one might think, as it simply requires you to toggle the hold switch, then hold the menu and the play/pause buttons simultaneously until it restarts. None of your songs should be lost.

    This review was conducted on a Windows computer so our accounts will be primarily based on our interaction with MusicMatch. While MusicMatch can be a bit intrusive at times, once you get it under control it is extremely helpful for organizing and cleaning up your song collection. I began by throwing all my MP3s directly into the MusicMatch playlist, and to my dismay a good 25% of them had bad ID3 tags. ID3 tags are labels in the song files that contain information about the artist, song title, album, track number and so on. The iPod uses these tags to display the information about a song while playing, so I personally like to have all my tags correct and uniform. Fortunately MusicMatch has the means to change the tags of numerous songs at once, either through manually editing them, or by attempting to gather track info directly from the file name. Once I cleaned up my song collection I was ready to "Sync" with the iPod.

    The iPod has always come with a Firewire connection, which is capable of up to 400Mb/s transfer speeds. This alone could make the iPod worth getting over other MP3 players. Originally, most multi-gigabyte MP3 players came equipped with standard USB 1.1, capable of a measly 12Mb/s. This resulted in transfer times on the order of TENs of hours when copying many gigabytes. With Firewire however, copy times tend to be around 1 hour for a 10GB transfer. I personally copied my entire MP3 collection of 6GB in about 35 minutes, a vast improvement over letting it sit overnight to copy. In the future, a USB 2.0 cable will be available, allowing Windows users to connect to their iPod by means other than Firewire. Performance of the USB 2.0 connection should be about the same as the Firewire because with these connections the bottleneck is the hard drive's transfer speed and not the interface.

    Even the early models could be used as external hard drives, appearing in your list of drives when mounted. While you can't copy songs this way (because the iPod uses a special file system to catalog all the songs on it), you can use it for carrying huge files and whatever else you use hard drives for. I have even heard that employees at Apple are known to use their iPods as backup boot disks.

    Usability/Functionality Go the the next page
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    1. Comparison
    2. Starting Up
    3. Usability/Functionality
    4. Components
    5. Conclusion
    6. Gallery

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