Sony Electronics has introduced a new Mac-compatible, battery-operated portable CD-RW drive that works as a standalone CD and MP3 player when it’s not connected to the computer.
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The MPD-AP20U sports a Memory Stick slot and works using a rechargeable battery. It connects to the computer using USB 2.0 — still a third-party only solution on the Mac, though it is downwardly compatible with the USB 1.1 interface offered on Macs.
When operating on the faster interface, the system burns CD-Rs at up to 24x speed and burns CD-RWs at up to 10x. It also reads CDs at 24x and reads DVD-ROMs at up to 8x as well. The drive features Sony’s own brand of buffer under-run technology and shock proofing, as well.
The device works as a standalone CD player when it’s not on the Mac or PC, and it can play back standard audio CDs. If you’d prefer to burn MP3 or WAV files to CD you can do that too, or you can use the Memory Stick. Sony said the battery is good for writing about nine CD-R discs or for about four hours of CD audio playback before it needs to be juiced up. The MPD-AP20U also features DVD movie playback, but only if you’re using it with a Windows PC.
The MPD-AP20U also includes a wired remote control with a backlit LCD display that shows ID3 tags or CD Text information when encoded; it also supports playlist function and programming. The drive comes bundled with a pair of compact earphones.
Mac software included with the MPD-AP20U includes B’s Recorder Gold, which lets you make backup copies of CD and customized video, music and data CDs; Retrospect Express backup software; ArcSoft PhotoBase image organization software; ArcSoft PhotoStudio image editing software; and other Windows-specific utilities.
Look for the MPD-AP20U to hit stores in November for less than US$300. System requirements call for a G3-based Mac running Mac OS 9.2.2 or higher.