Summary: Steve Jobs wants you to be cool!
Review: Apple's always at the top of their game - whatever game that is - and this top of the line iPod is no exception. Let's pause a moment for the analysis:
40 GB. That's roughly 40,000 megabytes. Using today's AAC or mp3 music encoding technology, a 72 minute album rarely consumes more than 80 megabytes - even at near-CD quality. What does that mean to you? Yeah, you did the math right - 500 albums. You could sit there and play music 24/7 for nearly a month without repeating. Or head down to your local club and be DJ for the night - just slip the iPod out of your pocket and plug into the sound system!
OK, so it'll hold all your music. But what the numbers don't tell you is that it holds your music in STYLE. About the size of a stack of 8 credit cards, and only a trifle heavier, this'll fit on your belt, in your sleeve, in your backpack's cellphone pocket, in your purse, or wherever else you want to put it with no hassle. The controls lock so jostling around doesn't accidently push buttons. And what cool buttons they are - the 'scrollwheel pad' and no-click touchbuttons make for an easy, fun and durable interface.
Also, the thing just looks darn cool - with its white front, silver back, and little backlit screen, it's got instant 'bling bling' credibility, day or night.
It comes with everything you need - belt clip, earbuds, dock to recharge the battery and transfer music over from your Firewire- or USB 2.0-equipped computer. But I'd recommend two additions: first, the optional FireWire cable makes this into a portable 40G hard drive, highly useful in today's information age. (I carry a copy of the human genome around on mine.) Second, ditch the included headphones and grab a pair of the Sony neodymium-magnet earbuds, model #MDR-EX70LP. They transform your iPod from merely great to INSANELY great.
Cool tunes to ya, my friend!
Summary: Excellent product. Poor bundled software.
Review: The iPod is one of the first Apple products I have ever purchased...before the iPod the only apple product that I had the displeasure of using was QuickTime. However, with the extremely favorable reactions that the iPod recevied from many different magazines I went out to a store and decided to at least give it a shot. I fell in love instantly with its ease of use and look.
So I purchased the 40 GB model. The first thing I noticed about the product was its rather...unique packaging. After finally realzing how to open it and finding the rather small unit I followed the directions located in the iPod manual and connected it up to my PC. Installation was anything but easy. The software automatically overwrote a newer version of MusicMatch jukebox and any time I tried to open MusicMatch it only would crash on me. Thus, I was forced to uninstall Music Match completely download a new version off the internet and install it. Once this was completed I succeeded in getting the iPod connected successfully and working properly. However, using Musicmatch to transfer files to iPod was a horrible experience in general.
Via a tip from a magazine I installed Apple iTunes which is now available for the Pc and found an excellent very fast product which worked with the iPod flawlessly. If not for iTunes exteremly excellent intergration with the iPod it is quite likely I would have returned the unit however iTunes completely changed my opinion of the iPod and made it actually a pleasure to use.
The actual iPod unit itself is very nice. A exteremly stylish exterior and very easy to use controls and designs make it a pleasure to hold and use. Except for the fact that it can get dirty very easily there is almost no trouble at all in transporting it around. I have gone over quite a few bumpy roads and some quick jogging and found there to be absolutely no skipping even after a 10 minute+ exposure to conditions that make my Sony CD player skip like crazy.
The only problem I really experienced in the use of the product was the lack of ability to create and SAVE a playlist directly from the unit. For example you can select and browse through all your songs and make a temporary playlist using the iPod itself. However, in order to save a playlist it is required that you use iTunes or Musicmatch and import it in that fashion. This can be quite annoying when you are like me and like to make many playlists on the fly corresponding to your emotions. However, this is a small problem when looked at regarding the rest of the unit.
One other small qualm I had was that I have quite a few WAV files that are themselves compressed in mpeg layer 2 format within the WAV format. These files do not play properly on the iPod so if you have a lot of these for some reason (I do) be prepared for lots of converting.
The last issue I had with the iPod was that it only contains 1 Dock connector to firewire plug and this plug is required to both dock the iPod to a computer and also to connect the iPod to an AC socket. If another Firewire plug was connected it would be quite nice.
All in all I was pleasently surprised with the iPod in general. The player works quite well. My main tip to other users is to not even bother with the Music Match jukebox and instead download the new Windows version of iTunes available on Apple's website.
Summary: iPod versus Zen
Review: I just got a new 40gb iPod to replace my 20gb Zen. Both are on a WinXP machine, both have Firewire connection. The Zen's software is Creative Media Source Organizer, the iPod is running iTunes for Win. Here's what I think:
Form Factor - Of course the iPod can't be beat here. Smaller and just feels better in your hand. The Zen looks and feels like a portable hard drive with buttons stuck on it. The iPod feels like it was designed to be a portable player from time zero. Rio Karma looks pretty cool too, but a little plasticky.
Player controls - Zen is better here. While the iPod's interface is slicker, it is less functional. For example, I have a several albums with long titles (I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (An Anthology) (1 of 2)), which the iPod cuts off and there's no way to scroll to the full title - same thing with the song titles. Or the fact that you can't delete things directly from the iPod, you have to do this with software. Or the "track details" feature that appears on the Zen, not the iPod. Or the iPod's lack of a scrollable playlist. You can't see what's coming next or get back to where you were if you mistakenly hit the wrong button (see below). Or the inability to create multiple playlists directly from the player and save them in the computer software. Or the fact that the iPod touch pads are way to sensitive. Just brushing a button lightly will activate it. While you can use the hold button to get around this, then you can't scroll through your library to line up your playlist. Once you get used to the Zen's controls, they really are more functional.
Software - iTunes is really nice with the integrated Music Store feature, burner, and ripper. Even without the iPod, it is a great way to organize and play music. Incidentally, Creative Music Source Organizer is a quantum leap improvement over the original Play Center although it won't burn audio CDs. Only beef with iTunes - you can't individually review the files to transfer to the iPod in the automatic setting. For us control freaks, we really like to see what the software is going to do before it does it.
Misc - The iPOD recharges through the Firewire connection. While it can be plugged into an AC adapter, you're going to need to buy a separate cord if you want to travel with it - unless you like to crawl around under your desk to unplug the cord every time you travel. The new Zen's have a replacable battery, good idea depending on the life of the rechargeable. iPod won't play WMA files, so if you've got a lot of those, be prepared to do some conversion. The Zen also has full access to its controls through its protective cover, the iPod does not.
Price - This one is also obvious. You can now get the 60gb Zen for $50 less than the 40gb iPod.
Bottom line - You pay for beauty. If functionality, price, and storage capacity are your top priorities, then go Zen. However, I can't stop stroking my iPod, never felt that way about the Zen. I just wish the iPod's player controls were better.
Summary: Good, but could be better
Review: By now we all know what the iPod is and what it does - but just in case you don't, it's a device similar to what the walkman was 20 years ago that plays music from an internal hard drive instead of a cassette tape. You can currently get an iPod in 3 different sizes, 15, 20, or 40 gigabyte hard drives (not including the new mini iPod which holds 4 gigs). It will play several different file formats, not just mp3s. You can play full quality (16-bit) wav or AIFF files, as well as AAC or Audible files. The unit can also be used as a standalone hard drive.
This is all controlled from a simple touch-sensitive interface that allows you to scroll through your songs in a very organized way - either by song name, artist name, album name, or according to your own playlists. You will control the songs uploaded into the iPod from a computer, either a Mac or a PC, and Apple limits you in your ability to upload a song from an iPod onto someone else's computer (i.e. it knows which computer is yours). This is to prevent illegal file sharing.
It works well in general, and will hold thousands of songs. The exact number it will hold depends upon the quality of the files you import into it. I have the 15 GB model, and I mostly use full quality AIFFs or the highest quality MP3s and I've barely gone over halfway. By the time I fill the thing up, I'm sure they'll have something else for me to buy.
There. Now that's out of the way I can get on with the opinion side of things. It's an overall great product that has helped revolutionize the way we listen to music, some of it good, some bad. Most of my complaints about the iPod center around its lack of features, rather than current features that don't function properly.
The unit seems to offer very little compared with the technology that's available today. Why isn't the screen in color? Why doesn't it offer more PDA-like features? These are incredibly inexpensive features to install and would make it a far more valuable piece of equipment. Why doesn't it communicate wirelessly with Airport systems? Why isn't there an easier way to manage playlists from within the iPod itself, not just from a computer? Why isn't there a touch screen/stylus interface for even easier, less cumbersome usage? With all the technology coming to life today, the iPod seems to be remarkably less than what it could be.
I also find the problem of non-sharing between computers to be annoying. While I appreciate and agree that such elements should be controlled, cars still drive over 70 miles per hour - we leave it to the consumer to decide not to speed and break the law. Apple shouldn't decide for us. I'm a songwriter and I store song ideas in my iPod to take to writing sessions. The problem? When I want to leave a copy with a co-writer for him to work on, I can't because the iPod won't let me transfer a song to a computer that isn't mine. Here is a completely legal transaction being blocked by Apple's stringency. It can be very annoying.
I'm looking forward to what Apple does in the future with this device. Hopefully they'll make it more functional, incorporating the current and inexpensive technology available right now.
Summary: Windows ME users beware!
Review: I just bought the 40 gig, 3rd generation model from J & R (excellent price and service, by the way). After having the installation crash my Windows ME system 5 times in a row I finally logged onto the Apple website for help. After spending an hour looking for a number to call for Technical Support (which must be non-existent), I finally discovered that, contrary to the skimpy manual that comes with the iPod that says you can have Windows ME, the software is version 2.1 which only supports Windows 2000 or Windows XP.
I eventually found the 2.0 software but not through the Apple website, it was by clicking the Export to Removable Media button on MusicMatch. Since the iPod, at this point wasn't recognizable to my PC, it took me to a site to download iPod 2nd generation software. After several hours from the start of this adventure, I finally got Windows ME to recognize the iPod.
In summary, the manual and requirements on the box list Windows ME but the Apple website conveniently ships software that only recognizes 2000 and XP. And customer support?! I never did find a number.
MusicMatch isn't the easiest software either and after transferring about 10 CD's over to the iPod, I can't seem to be able to sort by anything other than the group name followed by the name of the song (which is frustrating since the iPod cuts off the listing so most of my Depeche Mode songs look like this, "Depeche Mode - I Just" the "Can't Get Enough" is not present until you actually choose the song. So after having the iPod for a day, I can't sort by Group, Album, Genre, or any of the other choices. Maybe purchasing the after-market manual will help but I think this is more of a MusicMatch issue than an iPod issue.
At this point, I've had more bad luck with this whole adventure than anything.
A WEEK LATER:
OK, the iPod went back to the Apple Tree in the sky. Everyone on the Apple discussion board demanded that I upgrade to XP (which I see no reason to do) and the darn iPod NEVER DID load Album Name, Genre, etc.
There's also A LOT of discussion about the battery life and I share in the same concern. After about 40 minutes (and, YES, this would be 40 minutes of sorting through songs -- playing with the thing as opposed to sitting it down) the battery indicator was down a bar. I SERIOUSLY don't think the thing would hold out for 8 hours.
Oh, and I ordered the FM transmitter. What a joke, they sent me the version for the older models so I have no idea how well it works. I'd stick with the cassette adapter next time (if there IS a next time).
Nope I got my [money] back from J & R and am on my merry way.
Summary: Wanderful piece of technology and style!
Review: Before I've owned my Apple computer I have been wandering why it has been pricey relatively to cheapo PC. No questions anymore. There is absolutely no way to compare. Apple has proved to me its stunning quality, speed and amazing improvements from release to release. The iTunes software is really piece of wonderful engineering and I have been enjoying it for quite long time. So I've been shopping for digital music box. It is not true to say that I had no concerns about high price of this iPod and carefully checked characteristics and features. Eventually I have decided to try, partially because Apple store has 10 days return policy. The sound quality is nothing to compare to! I own most advanced KOSS headphones, but after trying those tiny Apple's ear-bugs! WOW! Sound is reach, full of dynamic and exceptionally clear and precise. The navigation is SO SMOOTH that you take it for the first time in your palm and it's it! I'm browsing through huge number of records with 2-3 moves.
I would like to say that since I have started with Apple equipment I started to believe again that human being are intelligent! It is not crappy piece of hardware that you have to struggle to make it working.
To those who are looking on anything else and maintaining some skepticism about futures/price I would say: try it! It make you music listening just plain fun. You think about music, it's it. The integration of iTunes and iPod is example of well thought engineering.
Summary: Awesome capability
Review: I'm using windows XP with an adaptec fire wire card and the interface is perfect. Like anything computer, this too will require some initial tweaking on the user's part. On the advice of Apple's tech-support, I went through four different fire wire cards before determining on my own that the slow uploads were due to something called "volume leveling" which robbed system resources. De-selecting that in Music Match sped up the process immensely. I loaded my 28-Gig collection in about 3 hours. Because of Apple's clueless tech-support, the gizmo loses a star in my rating.
The controls are intuitive, and of course the design is elegantly simple. It's lighter, faster and easier to use than my previous MP3 player, a Nomad Jukebox, which lasted just 2.5 years before the hard drive crapped out.
The included headphones have excellent sound quality -- superior to my expensive noise-cancelling Sony's -- but are uncomfortable and don't block environmental noise. The volume cranks up loud enough to drown out most airplane racket, however. To avoid sore ears, comfortable noise-cancelling earpieces would be a good idea.
I also bought the FM transmitter, car kit and spare battery pack.
Now, I have my own radio station, loaded with 6500 of my favorite songs. It's amazing to think back to the days when I filled half my trunk with CD's on long driving trips, and now I have my entire collection at my fingertips, in the size of a pack of cigarettes. Right now, it's the best thing out there, but the competition is coming. Dell is working on its version and Creative is sure to follow. If Apple really wants to perfect the Ipod, they could include more comfortable, noise-cancelling headphones, a removable battery with longer life and reduce the unit's size even more.
As is, though, this is the device I think all of us music-crazy travelers have been waiting for.
Summary: Bad seed from Apple
Review: Nevermind the crappy title and let's move on. I was just wondering why people insist on writing a review for something they haven't had for at least a month or two. The Ipod is way way overrated. It's funny how people can complain about a product and still give it a good review. Let's be honest, the Ipod is overrated and overpriced. Most if not all of the features on the Ipod DRAIN the battery so what's the point?
My friend bought hers last year. She saved up for it and was excited when she got it. A month later her files did not want to save into her Ipod. She returned it and got a new one.
A month later either the program or the Ipod itself deleted every single song she had, not once, but twice. She returned it. The tech person at the counter suggested getting another one and admitted to liking the Ipod, but his friend returned his three times. My friend wondered about it, but got another Ipod seeing as how she could only use the store credit, and her Ipod was around 5 or 6 hundred dollars, while the other MP3's were around 2 or 3 hundred (she couldn't get a lower priced MP3 and get the rest of money).
So, she got another Ipod, about six months later she decided to clean it and put it on lock. When she finished, she couldn't shut it off, reset it or stop it. It kept playing, so she had to wait for the battery to die. She took it too the tech and said they had to ship it and she wouldn't see it for 2 weeks.
For the first month of playing with her Ipod it was fun, but as time went on, we noticed how crappy it was. Sure it looks sleek and nice, and has some nice features, but is it's quality as nice as it's pretty features?
Summary: Convenient, nice design, but plenty of room for improvement.
Review: I've had my 30GB ipod for 6 mos. & use it all the time. Overall, it has been worth the purchase price, but I was able to pay significantly less than the MSRP (before Apple stopped letting retailers that significantly discount from selling them).
The Good: For the average person, iTunes is a pretty good and simple way to create & manage your music collection. The ipod does fit in your pocket (i.e. front jeans pocket) & is an easy way to carry a lot of music w/ you while in the car, at the gym, etc & frees up time & energy from fussing w/ CD's while on the go. The sound quality is pretty good out of the box....it might not be audiophile quality, but the ipod is more about convenience & if you want to upgrade to better headphones you can. iTunes (on the Mac platform) rips tunes extremely well (i haven't noticed any glitches yet) & Apples propietary format, AAC, does sound better than mp3. The remote is very helpful to have, so that you don't need to pull it out of you're pocket to change songs or volume. It is easy to hold in one hand & maneuver the controls. Being able to store other things (address info, notes, etc.) & use it as a firewire drive is an added bonus. Not having too many interfaces to the iPod might seem to reduce it's portability/usability, however it is also probably the reason why it is more durable than other mp3 players. More connectors of different types would mean that there are more things that could go wrong & Firewire connectivity is better than USB as it dispenses with the need for making separate connections for data & for power. The 1 year warranty is better than many other mp3 players & the ipod is pretty durable.
The Bad: 1. No Gapless playback. Ipod & iTunes can't play an album without introducing a gap in between songs. Annoying in live recordings & concept albums and dj mixes become ulistenable. The workarounds are either to use the cross fade feature (which overlaps the 2 songs being played) or to import the whole CD as one track (making an extremely large track that taxes the ipod's memory buffer & battery, but neither option is satisfactory.
2. Actual battery life is even shorter than advertised. Unless you use a car to go everywhere (& by a car recharger) or have access to an outlet & carry a dock with you, the ipod will deplete its charge before you get back home.
3. It does scratch easily. If youre buying it for the pristine glossy look, you'll soon learn to get over this after the first scratch. The more you use it, the more it scratches.
4. Battery indicator doesn't work. Some times it shows a full charge, but then falls to 0 quickly, other times it shows no charge but plays for more than an hour afterwards.
5. Ear buds & remote tangle easy. There is no way to store these things without them getting completely tangled & you have to spend 5 minutes untagling them before you can listen to your ipod......every time you want to listen.
6. The remote control clip is not well designed. Functionally it's fine, but the gripper is too small to really attach it to anything & it comes off w/ the slightest amount of activity & so you get an extremely long cord falling to your feet on the treadmill...
7. No way to record with the iPod itself. You can use a third party attachment....but you have to pay out....and apparently the quality of these recordings are not very good...or am I the only one who'd like to record a conversation on the fly?
8. No support for FLAC or Ogg vorbis. Many audiophiles & music lovers have already copied music to these formats because of ability for gapless playback or for the wonders of open source.
9. No way to flag poor music files. Using the music rating feature to do this is a workaround, but cuts into the usefulness of using the music rating feature to rate your music. In fact there is no input ability at all, outside of rating your music.
8. Itunes needs significant improvements to accommodate the more serious music lover or archiver if it is ever to become the sole Application for music in one's digital hub. Allowing a song to be tagged with several music genres, allowing for multiple musical libraries (i.e. one for my archived music in lossless format, another for those files I convert to AAC to listen on my ipod), having different options (converting music into different formats, burning different kinds of cd's etc.) without having to change Preferences all the time, having information on the actual CD's you own (not just the music file info) or whether you converted the file to digital from an LP & how or other cataloging information that would eliminate the need for creating an Excel database....and I could go on with about 100 other features that it could have, but you get the point.
Summary: Not Perfect, but Best in its Class
Review: Compare the iPod to any other portable mp3 player in its class (meaning the price and storage capacity). The iPod beats them all in the areas of:
1 Durability (hard drive harder to ruin than on other players)
2 Ease-of-use (intuitive interface)
3 Aesthetic appeal
4 Highest quality audio output (great equalizers)
5 High Quality backlight
6 Useful palm-like organizer (but could be better)
7 Built-in compatibility with iTunes, audible.com, and other audio services
Unfortunately, the battery life could be better. I also have a complaint about the syncability of the iPod with multiple computers. The ease-of-use is also a downside, as the iPod does so much for you, if you do something unexpected, like sync with two computers, the results can tend to be unpredictable.
Nevertheless, the quality of the sound (it seems like you can get a louder output on the iPod than other players, which may contribute to the shorter, but acceptable, battery life) is better than other players. The size and ergonomics are the best. The price is a little higher, but justifiable considering the benefits.
Finally, my recommendation is to understand the player's downfalls before you purchase. Realize that this is a hard drive and even though it is better at standing up to a beating than others do not shake it vigorously, throw it, drop it, or put it in water. Just like any piece of electronics, especially those with precisely moving parts, it will break. I do not normally advocate buying a warranty, but in this case BUY THE LONGEST WARRANTY YOU CAN. If you use your iPod or any other similar player, the chances of you dropping it or it breaking from normal wear-and-tear are high. The warranty will be cheaper than replacing the unit. With all of those warnings etched upon your mind, go ahead and make the purchase. It will drastically increase the personal value of your music collection by making it more useful than ever to you. You will not regret this purchase.