At a special event held Thursday in San Francisco, Calif., Apple unveiled new features for its
iPod, both through a free software update and new accessories available from peripheral maker
Belkin. Now dockable iPod users can use their devices to store hundreds of hours of voice recordings and thousands of digital photos.
The iPod software — version 2.1 — is
available for download
from the Apple Web site. It adds support for Belkin’s new accessories, which enable iPod users to use their devices to store digital photos and record voice data. The new software is available for both Mac and Windows, and adds other new features as well.
With the Belkin Voice Recorder attached, iPod users can now record and review more than 600 hours of voice content on a 40GB iPod, according to Apple. The voice notes are automatically synchronized to the computer the same way that songs and playlists are synched in the itunes library. Stored in WAV file format, the voice files can be edited or sent via e-mail. The Belkin Voice Recorder itself is equipped with an omnidirectional microphone and 16mm speaker, and works with all dockable iPods through the headphone connector, indicating recording status through the iPod’s own LCD screen.
Belkin’s own Media Reader attachment enables iPods to import, store and back up digital photos from cameras that use five of the most common memory card formats — CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, SD and MMC. A 40GB iPod can store up to 20,000 digital photos from a 3-megapixel digital camera, according to Apple.
What’s more, Apple’s own iPhoto software enables Mac OS X will treat iPods like cameras — iPhoto recognizes the iPod as a media storage device and prompts users to transfer photos to the iPhoto library for further cataloging. Users can even erase photos after the transfer through iPhoto.
Besides support for the technology that enables these new Belkin peripherals to function, Apple’s new iPod software update also includes faster browsing and access to large music libraries, the ability to synchronize On-The-Go playlists back to iTunes, and even a new Music Quiz game that tests your knowledge of your own iTunes music library.
The new Belkin accessories can be purchased either through
Belkin’s Web site
or the online
Apple store. The Belkin Voice Recorder carries a retail price of US$49.99, while the Belkin Media Reader costs $99.99.