David Pogue, Mac author and expert, says in his latest
New York Times column that the iPod may not be, as Apple described it, “a breakthrough digital device,” but it may be the finest portable music player ever built.
The iPod is “ravishing” in appearance and extremely compact in size, but the key to its success is its capacity, given its size. Pogue says that a typical pager-size player offers 64MB storage, but the iPod contains a 5GB hard drive, or about 78 times as much room. At standard MP3 quality, 128 kilobits per second, that’s enough to hold 66 hours of music, 130 albums or 1,300 songs.
“Of course, Creative Labs’ Nomad and Archos’s Jukebox 6000 have that much storage and more, but they’re the size of CD players and weigh twice as much as the 6.5-ounce iPod,” Pogue writes. “Don’t try jamming one of those players in your pocket unless you’re going for the shredded-jeans look.”
The columnist says that the other remarkable feature of the iPod is its synergy with a Mac via iTunes 2.0, which serves as the “loading dock” for the device. The software not only fills in the names of your songs and albums (by consulting an Internet database), but can also “convert the songs in your CD collection to MP3 files, burn them onto new, custom CD’s if you like (even the new-style MP3 CD’s, which can hold far more than 74 minutes of music) and search, sort and organize your entire music library into subsets called playlists.”
Pogue also likes the FireWire capabilities of iPod, supplying both power and a way for the iPod to show up on a users desktop as a hard drive. This means the music player can double as a ” very fast, extremely chic-looking backup disk,” Pogue says.
He also likes the “ear bud” earpieces though they’re hard to keep in place. And, amazingly, he says that the iPod outlasts Apple’s claims of playing music continuously for 10 hours on a charge. Pogue says his ran for 13 hours.
He also likes the tuning dial for navigation and iPod screen, but laments the lack of a belt clip. He adds that the device’s “glamorous” chromelike finish show fingerprints and streaks easily. And even for all its capabilities, Pogue thinks the US$400 price tag is a bit steep.
“If Apple ever lowers the iPod’s price and develops Windows software for it, watch out: the invasion of the iPod people will surely begin in earnest,” he concludes.