Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Since my trusty, three-year-old 20G iPod has started acting shirty (it's been skipping songs randomly, refuses to synch more than two or three songs at a time, that sort of thing) of late, I took notice of the recent announcements of new iPod models. But after seeing the new ones up close at an Apple store last night, I'm less than impressed with all of them.

Let's start with the iPod Touch -- basically, it's an iPhone without the phone. It looks cool and I thought it might make a decent replacement for my aged Palm Pilot. But the interface on it is maddening -- my attempt to get it to go to wound up looking like waaasgo, and then I gave up. I'm sure I could get used to the touch keyboard in time, but for many hundreds of dollars I don't want a steep learning curve, I want something that WORKS.

Then there's the iPod Classic, most notable for the insane amount of memory it has -- either 4 or 8 times as much as my current iPod. Basically, one of these could hold all of the music I own and lots and lots of videos, too, although watching a video on an iPod is the most ridiculous thing I've heard of since Oz suggested attacking the mayor with hummus. But the clickwheel is really, really slow, at least compared to my current model. If I were tech-savvier I'd be inclined to wonder whether the enormous memory makes the whole thing slower, but all I know about computers I've learned from reading Neal Stepehenson and Cory Doctorow and Wired. Again, though, for lots of money, I want something that works smoothly right out of the box.

And that brings us to the new iPod Nanos, which work fine and look great but have relatively small amounts of memory - 4G or 8G. The only problem here, really, is the price -- I'm not sure how much I'm willing to pay for such a small amount of memory, relative both to what I have now and to what's available for $50 more in the larger iPod Classics that don't appear to work very smoothly.

So the long and short of it is that I went from excited to underwhelmed about the new iPod options in about 20 minutes. Disappointing, to say the least.

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