Apple Introduces Upgraded iPod

Apple today released its beefed-up, fourth generation iPod, the cigarette box-sized, 5.6 ounce, portable digital music player whose widespread popularity has punched up Apple’s profits considerably in recent months.

The hot sales numbers for the device — along with the latest generation’s added features, such as longer battery time and up to 40-GB capacity — have even gained the “Walkman of the 21st Century” the cover spot on this week’s edition of Newsweek. The iPod is compatible with both Macs and PCs.

“The best digital music player just got better,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said. He pointed out that it is now smaller and “puts up to 10,000 songs in your pocket.”

New ‘Click Wheel’

The new iPod features such upgrades as Apple’s patent pendingClick Wheel, which combines the smooth and continuous scrolling of atouch-sensitive wheel with five push buttons for better navigation. Previous generations of the device relied more on control buttons.

The new version also includes a rechargeable, 12-hour battery — a 50 percent boost over previous models. Another new feature is Shuffle Songs, a command in the main menu that gives users instant access to songs in their library.

All iPods work with Apple’s iTunes, providing music fans with a digital jukebox on either a Mac or Windows computer and access to the iTunes Music Store, Apple’s digital music service.

The new iPod sells for US$299 for a 20-GB model or $399 for a 40-GB model.

Wider Range of Use

Despite its music focus, the Newsweek story points out that fans of the device use it for more than tunes.

“It’s the limousine for the spoken word,” Newsweek quoted Audible CEO Don Katz, whose struggling digital audiobooks company has been revitalized by having its products on Apple’s iTunes store, as saying. Computer users have discovered that its vast storage capacity makes it useful for keeping huge digital files — for instance, the makers of the “Lord of the Rings” movies used iPods to shuttle dailies from the set to the studio.

iPod features Apple’s patent pending Auto-Sync technology that automatically downloads an entire digital music library onto iPod and keeps it up-to-date whenever it is plugged into a Mac or Windowscomputer using USB or Apple’s FireWire. Users can transfer two songs persecond from their Mac or Windows computer.

iPod requires a Mac with a FireWire port and Mac OS X version 10.1.5or later (Mac OS X 10.2 or later is recommended); or a Windows PC with aFireWire or USB port, or a Windows-certified FireWire or USB card, andWindows 2000, XP Home or Professional.

1 Comment

  • I didn’t see mention of the "shuffle" feature I read about in the InfoWorld article. I love shuffles, rags, blues and… oh, wait.
    Anyhow, I guess I’d just naively been assuming that iPods ALREADY had a shuffle feature. It’s hard to imagine any media player without it. My first mp3 player, a 32 MB p.o.s. from around ’99 or 2000 had it even though it hardly had room to hold enough to shuffle.
    I was disappointed to find that the iPod didn’t have a crossfade feature, but I guess that’s still not universally available in even software players.
    But that’s a luxury compared to shuffle.
    Does anyone know if the Mini has a shuffle mode?
    After looking around the marketplace, I’d come to the tentative conclusion that an iPod was the way to go. While I’ve run into a lot of users who didn’t like iTunes, I’ve never run into any that didn’t like their iPod. At first the size of the Mini turned me off, but then I realized it had plenty of space for even a short vacation’s worth of even my (rather large) hi fi VBRs and that with FW it shouldn’t take too long to load it at all. And the physical size is great. Almost as small as my cellphone. But it looks like I’m still waiting for that small, practical combo phone/pda/cam/mp3player [and I nixed the cam, anyhow, since I don’t want to have to leave my phone behind when I go into federal and other secure buildings].

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