By Richard Menta 1/06/04
After several days of rumors that Apple had a new baby iPod in the works, it's official. The iPod Mini is born.
Like the Papa iPod, the iPod Mini is a hard drive based player. The iPod Mini, has a capacity of 5MB and weighs in at a light 3.6 ounces making it the smallest hard drive based player yet released on the market. This is over an ounce less than the 4.9 ounce eDigital MXP 100 which utilized the 1GB Hitachi (formerly IBM) Microdive technology for storage. Dimensions of the iPod Mini are 3.6 by 2.0 by 0.5 inches as compared to the 15GB iPod, whose 4.1 by 2.4 by 0.62 inch dimensions are still quite modest compared with most of its direct competitors.
Another feature that will be compelling to the hipster digerati sects that embraced the original iPod is the availability of the iPod Mini in five colors. Taking a cue from the color iMacs a few years back, the iPod Mini comes in metallic shades of silver, gold, blue, pink and green.
The iPod Mini offers both FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 connectivity through the included dock, plenty of speed to transfer those files purchased on Apple's iTunes site with which the iPod Mini is designed to work seemlessly with.
If there is one possible negative with the iPod Mini it's the price. This 4GB player is only $50 less than the 15GB iPod, which replaces the 10GB iPod for the $299 price point. $259 just seemed a little too high for this player, though flash players of similar size and weight offer less capacity for the same money. I was hoping for a sub-$200 price tag for those of us wishing for an iPod, but who are a little too light in the wallet.
For the added $50 I find the 15GB unit more compelling, even if it is only available in one color. I am also tempted by competing products like the excellent Archos Jukebox Multimedia whose street price is the same as the iPod Mini, but plays MPEG 4 video files off of it's 20GB drive. The Jukebox Multimedia is much bigger and heavier than both iPod jr. and Sr. so there is a trade off.
All that said those who want an iPod, and want a unit as small and light as possible, and want an iPod, and want a choice of colors, and want an iPod will buy this player. This player should also draw the gym set once someone creates an arm bank holder for it.
Below are the specs for the iPod Mini:
Configurations (Mac & Windows)
|Battery life||8 hours(4)|
|Skip protection||Up to 25 minutes|
|Display||1.67-inch (diagonal) grayscale LCD with LED backlight||2-inch (diagonal) grayscale LCD with LED backlight|
|Ports||Dock connector, remote connector, stereo minijack|
|Connectivity||FireWire 400 and USB 2.0(3) through dock connector|
|Charge time||3 hours (1-hour fast charge to 80% capacity)|
|Audio support||AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 (32 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible, AIFF (Mac only) and WAV|
|Size||3.6 by 2.0 by 0.5 inches||4.1 by 2.4 by 0.62 inches||4.1 by 2.4 by 0.73 inches|
|Weight||3.6 ounces||5.6 ounces||6.2 ounces|
|Included software||iTunes for Mac, iTunes for Windows(5)|
|Included accessories||Earbud headphones, belt clip, AC adapter, FireWire cable, USB 2.0 cable||Earbud headphones, AC adapter, FireWire cable, 4-pin-to-6-pin FireWire adapter||Earbud headphones, dock, remote, carrying case, AC adapter, FireWire cable and 4-pin-to-6-pin FireWire adapter|
|Optional accessories||Dock; armband (iPod mini only); in-ear headphones; earbud headphones and remote; carrying case; AC adapter; USB 2.0 cable; FireWire cable; USB 2.0 + FireWire cable; world travel adapter kit|
|Mac requirements||Macintosh computer with FireWire port; Mac OS X v10.1.5 or later (Mac OS X 10.3 or later recommended)|
|Windows requirements||PC with FireWire or USB 2.0 port, or FireWire or USB 2.0 card; Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4 or Windows XP Home or Professional|
|Documentation and support||Electronic documentation, getting started guide and one-year limited warranty|
The iPod Mini can be purchased on Amazon
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