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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…

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    While the original iPod was a superb product that stood high above its competitors, Apple has gone an extra step with their newer models to improve upon small flaws and quirks with a facelift for this generation iPod. This section will outline these improvements; however, most will only be noticeable to owners of previous generation iPods.

    The first things that you will notice are its new button layout and the thinner sizes. While the layout on the old model was both sleek and functional, the new layout improves on this by being a little easier to learn.


    If you are worried that the buttons won't be as accessible as they were on the old iPod, you can be assured that your thumb will still be able to easily travel from the wheel to all of the buttons. Apple also freed the buttons of mechanical movement in the same fashion they did with the wheel in the older iPod, by making them touch sensitive. It seems that this may have been a reason for moving the buttons away from the wheel, where they may have been accidentally activated. While the new touch-sensitive buttons keep the iPod safe from dust and mechanical failure, they are a bit more troublesome to use. Occasionally-particularly if you have the audible "clicker" option off-you will press a button but not be sure it actually worked. This is especially noticeable when accessing a function that takes the iPod a while to load, such as accessing the notes or opening a folder that contains a large number of songs, because it's not immediately apparent that the iPod has missed your button press. Also, makes it impossible to navigate the buttons by touch: you need to look at it while you use it to make sure you don't press the wrong button.


    The new iPod doesn't really have a "hard" shutdown feature anymore like the older model did when the play/pause button was held down for a few seconds. On the old model, this caused the program to lose the current song, which was frustrating. Now, when play/pause is held the iPod simply goes to sleep, and when it restarts, it does so instantly, remembering the current song.

    The main menu can now be customized from the settings menu. This means that the root menu can now contain shortcuts to anywhere in the user interface you wish to go (i.e., Playlists, Extras, any sub-menus of those, Backlight, etc.) This is useful if you do not have any playlists on your iPod, in which case you can just remove that item from the home menu. Also, if you access your calendar or contacts frequently, you can just add it to the main menu.


    Another nice feature added to the new iPod is the On-The-Go playlist, which is basically a playlist that can be customized on the iPod itself. This may not seem like anything very special, but the original iPod notably lacked this feature, and it's a nice addition. Now you can just scroll over songs or folders and hold down the select button, which will add that selection to the On-The-Go playlist.

    Any veteran iPod user has had their iPod crash or freeze on them, because Apple's newer firmware versions are not entirely stable. When the old iPod was reset it would lose it's time and date settings, on the new version the time settings stay intact, which is nice because the player occasionally locks up. Some settings return to their defaults after a short rest, but they are easy to fix.

    For Windows, Apple streamlined their software into one package. Instead of a separate iPod updater to upgrade the firmware, the updater is now located in the iPod Manager, which is accessible from the system tray. The new manager has customization options for which program (if any) to open when the iPod is detected, and some other small features. This makes the new package feel more professional than the old one.

    In terms of accessories, everything is pretty similar (except the dock, mentioned in the components section). The only difference with the remote is the jack that plugs into the iPod. Instead of the concentric ring around the audio jack, the new plug is to the side of the mini-jack. This may seem like a minute detail, but a common problem on the old iPod was the remote plug not seating completely into the iPod, resulting in a loss of remote functionality with the audio still intact. The belt clip is the same as the old one, just a little smaller to accommodate the slimmer model. The headphones and AC adapter have not been changed, and are completely compatible with older iPods.

    Starting Up 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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