By Robert Menta - 10/23/01
The product that Apple has been hinting at over the last week was finally unveiled today. Called the iPod, the unit is a jukebox MP3 player that may set new standards for digital music portables.
Most prominent among the features, the iPod transfers files to the units 5GB of space via FireWire, which is 45 times faster than USB and can download an entire CDs worth of tunes in about 10 seconds. Apple claims 1,000 songs - the unit's rough capacity - can be downloaded in only 10 minute. The iPod can even recharge its internal rechargeable battery through the FireWire connection. No need to hook up a separate power pack, the recharge can be accomplished as you download files to the unit.
For those who want the straight stats on this, Firewire's theoretical throughput is 480 Mbps while USB's theoretical throughput is 12 Mbps.
Another promising feature is the iPod's 10-hour lithium polymer battery. As Jukebox units tend to have a thirst for power, a better battery only improves the user experience. Both Creative with its Nomad Jukebox and Archos with its Archos Jukebox use NiMH batteries that only only offer 4 hours of play. To avoid downtime between charges, both supply a second set of NiMH batteries for their units.
The iPod comes in a stainless steel case. It's 2.43 by 4.02 by 0.78 inches dimensions are less than half that of the Nomad Jukebox. It's considerably lighter too, weighing in at only 6.5 ounces versus the Nomad's 14 ounces. On top of the 5GB, the iPod has an additional 32MB of memory allocated specifically for anti-skip protection.
"This is going to be the hottest gift this holiday season" for Mac fans, Chief Executive Steve Jobs said.
The iPod comes packed with the latest version of the company's digital music software iTunes2 that was also introduced today. The player will work with Macs using the Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X operating systems. Jobs hinted that a Windows version may come in the future "when we get some free time." In the meantime, Windows user will have to make do with the Nomad Jukebox and the Archos Jukebox, units that in our reviews proved to be fine players.
Selling for $399, the iPod is a also bit more expensive than its Jukebox competitors who have dropped into the $250 price range over the last several months.As the product seasons, look for the iPod's street price to be comparable. MP3 Newswire plans to do a full review on the iPod soon.
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