New iPod Details

Sunday, 2004-08-22; 00:50:00

Some technical notes about the new 4G iPod

I just wanted to say a few technical things about the new 4G iPod that I recently bought.

First off, I love it, as I did with my first iPod. But despite the fact that it's being billed as the "fourth generation", I wouldn't be so generous. Sure, there have been a lot of improvements since the "first generation", but they're fairly minor in my opinion. In relation to my old iPod, it's gotten thinner, the edges are rounded, the scroll wheel changed to a click wheel, the iPod's FireWire port is non-standard (so the iPod can be thinner), and there are a few software improvements (on-the-go playlist, games, main menu customization, alarm clock). But for the most part, the experience is pretty much the same. Not that that's bad or anything. A few other notes:

-- The click wheel obviously rocks. I'm still getting used to the fact that the wheel is now solid-state instead of moving (as in the first generation), but I'm really glad that I don't have to use the buttons across the top. It's much more natural to have them around (or on) the wheel.

-- The 12-hour battery life estimate is generous. On Friday I used it continuously from about 9:30 to 6:30, with a few minor breaks in between. However, I almost exclusively used the on-the-go playlist feature which eliminated any unnecessary accessing of the hard disk. I did play solitaire a few times and accidentally started a song without using the on-the-go playlist, but I think I conserved power as much as possible. So I'd say a 9-hour battery life would probably be more accurate. I'll see what happens on Monday. That's not to say that the battery has not improved, but I don't have my old iPod to test anymore.

-- Apple always has the nicest touches to its products. Case in point: when you remove the headphones from their port on the iPod, the iPod automatically pauses the music. Slick! (It usually takes a full second before pausing, so it's not immediate, but it's very nice nonetheless.)

-- I'm also pretty sure that my 4G iPod doesn't have the audio defect issue, but I haven't tested it with the Apple Lossless Encoder yet. I did force the iPod to access the hard drive, though, by just skipping forward a bunch of tracks; I didn't get the static through the headphones, so I'm guessing mine's fine. It seems that their estimate of 42% of 4G iPods being affected is ridiculously high, though, because the vast majority of comments from people who have bought 4G iPods say that theirs is not affected.

-- I'm really glad to have an iPod back. Sometimes music just makes things go by so much faster. :)

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