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September 12, 2006, 9:56 AM PDT
Updated 5G Apple iPod--it's better
At Apple's media event, Steve Jobs jumped right into introducing an
updated fifth-generation iPod. Not a tremendous surprise here, as we
believed the sixth-generation
"true video iPod" would not be announced until later in the year or even
early in 2007. But the new "enhanced" iPod looks like a tremendous
over the last one, which debuted last October. The iPod has many
incremental improvements, including a brighter screen and better battery
life, but probably
the most appealing aspect is the new price points of $249 for the 30GB
version and $349 for the huge 80GB version.
Let's talk about battery life first, since the pre-enhanced iPod has
been dogged for its 2-plus hours of video battery life. Now you'll get
75 percent more
battery life with both sizes--that means you'll get up to a rated 4.5
hours of video battery life for the 30GB version and up to 6.5 hours for
Boosting battery life will always make a product more appealing, and it
looks like Apple responsded to all the complaints. Basically, this
brings the iPod
in line with other players, such as the Creative Zen Vision:M and the
Toshiba Gigabeat S, in terms of video battery life. And now you can
watch a couple
of movies on a plane trip, plus have some extra juice for music and
The new iPod also has a brighter screen--by up to 60 percent. Not that
the iPod had a dim screen in the first place, but brighter is always
when it doesn't come at the cost of battery life. Gapless playback is
probably one of the most requested features in any MP3 player. Those
with dance mixes
can now rejoice, and the feature works with virtually all the compatible
formats. Previously, the now-defunct Rio Karma had this feature. Today,
04 series of PVPs has gapless playback. While this should have been
added a long time ago, we commend Apple for turning the corner (the new
iTunes 7 also
has gapless playback).
The iPod's software has been enhanced as well, and these new features
definitely make the iPod better. First, you can search tunes using an
instant search. OK, we've seen this on Creative and other products for a
while, but it's nice that Apple has observed the market and integrated
feature. Another "borrowed" feature is that as you scroll through
tracks, the first letter of the track section appears as a graphical
Remind you of the Toshiba Gigabeat S? Finally, Apple has added a refined
games section, which includes titles such as Bejeweled, Tetris, Texas
and Pac-Man. New games will be available online today and will cost
Just about every reviewer despises the bundled headphones. So Apple
responded and will be shipping better-designed headphones--we can't
vouch for their
comfort level and performance at this point, but any improvement is
So that's it--while the 6G "true video" iPod will still be a figment of
the tech world's imagination, the enhanced 5G iPod looks more attractive
with its incremental updates. It looks virtually the same, but
underneath the hood, you have an iPod that makes the original 5G iPod
look very rusty. Pricing
is a huge aspect here; the $249 for the 30GB iPod, as far as I know, is
the best price for a 30GB player I've ever seen. And for another $100,
80GB! Nice job there, Apple. For me personally, the gapless playback and
better battery life make the iPod the most attractive one to date.
Check out our other first takes of the second-generation iPod Nano, the
new iPod Shuffle, and iTunes 7.
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"Still no integrated FM radio???"
See profile) -
September 12, 2006 11:21 AM PDT
Big oversight, Apple!
I know at least a few people over on ilounge.com who wi...
See profile) -
September 12, 2006 10:59 AM PDT
September 2006 archive
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Sarai D. Bucciarelli
Received on 2006-09-12