(The following summary applies to both fifth-generation iPod models released in late 2006.)
Although the new 5G iPod isn’t the “true video iPod” many people were expecting, it’s a solid upgrade from its predecessor, offering useful new software features for watching video, playing games, and browsing music, as well as improved hardware in the form of a brighter screen, better battery life, and better earbuds. And you get all of these improvements–plus, in the case of the larger model, 20GB more storage space–for $50 less than each model’s predecessor. I still lament the fact that Apple no longer includes a power adapter with recent iPods, and if you’ve got a well-organized music Library, the new Search feature is more interesting than useful, but if your heart isn’t set on a “real” video iPod–whenever that might appear–the new 5G iPods are compelling products. And they give us a few hints at the directions the iPod line may be heading.