Macworld’s Jonathan Seff has had some time with an Apple iPod and posted his thoughts in a new article on Macworld’s Web site entitled
First look: iPod.
Seff called the iPod one of the most exciting products to come from Apple in years, noting that the device is “a compelling balance of size and capacity.”
The iPod’s 32MB RAM cache makes it impervious to skipping, said Seff, but don’t shake it too much — after all, the iPod still contains a hard disk drive that can get damaged from excessively violent action. The large RAM cache also helps to extend battery life because the hard drive spins down when it’s not needed.
The iPod’s bright, legible screen got high marks from the reviewer. Seff said that the iPod’s interface “can be awkward at first,” but once he got used to it, “the interface’s ingenuity was apparent.”
Apple got dinged for not including a belt clip, case, armband or any other apparatus suitable for attaching the iPod to one’s body — an amenity expected on other MP3 players. And while the headphones sound and look great, Seff said they’re uncomfortable when used for long periods of time.
The big benefit the iPod has over other MP3 players is its tight integration with the Mac thanks to iTunes 2, and its FireWire connectivity. Seff said the iPod fared well on both counts — transferring 1.35GB of MP3 files to it took only 3 minutes and 5 seconds using iTunes under OS X, and 4 minutes 58 seconds under Mac OS 9.2.1. It synchronizes iTunes 2 playlists and libraries — and Seff noted an interesting limitation of the iPod’s copy protection scheme. In manual mode, he said, you can transfer files to and from the iPod. In automatic mode, it’s one way only.