Apple’s “latest iPods, which were released along with a major update of the company’s iTunes software, address several concerns that users had about previous models and can easily be described as the best iPods released to date. Ironically, iTunes 7 actually sports more new features, most notably that the iTunes Store now allows users to purchase and download feature-length movies in addition to its stock of TV shows and its large catalog of music,” Ryan Faas reports for Computerworld.
“Very few products live up to the estimated battery life listed by their manufacturers. These estimates usually assume perfect battery-saving conditions, such as low screen brightness and limited interaction with the device’s operating system. Apple’s previous video iPod models were no exception to this rule. However, the latest iPods come closer than many products to meeting Apple’s claims,” Faas reports.
Faas reports, “In testing the 80GB video iPod on a fully charged battery, I was able to watch nearly five and a half hours of video with the screen at full brightness, pausing or adjusting the volume several times and occasionally skipping forward or backward during playback. It appeared that the source or type of video content didn’t affect performance. I tested a copy of the movie Flight Plan and several TV shows downloaded from the iTunes Store as well as video from several DVDs that was encoded for use on an iPod. Although the iPod failed to reach Apple’s six-and-a-half-hour estimate, I believe that with lower screen brightness, it might have come very close.”
“The screen brightness is also incredible compared to any previous iPod and many other portable devices. Screen brightness is a challenge for many portable color displays, particularly if the device is to be used outdoors. Many laptops, PDAs and cell phones have screens that can be difficult to see in bright sunlight. I was able to watch video outdoors on a sunny day without too much squinting,” Faas reports.
“Like the video iPod, the Nano line had few major changes in this revision. Screen brightness and battery life were both improved, and the search feature and new headphones were included. An 8GB model was also added to the lineup. However, the biggest change is the design of the case,” Faas reports. “Responding to complaints that the Nano’s surface scratched too easily for a device that is carried around in a pocket, Apple reverted to using a metal case with a choice of five colors: silver, green, pink and blue, with the 2GB model made available only in silver, and black reserved for the 8GB models. The new case makes the Nano significantly more durable, and though it can be scratched, it will take a good deal more punishment than the original Nano.”
Faas reports, “iTunes 7 also introduces iPod games for the original and new video iPod models. Apple is currently offering a handful of games for $4.99 each. While I think the price is a little too high, I have to admit that the quality of the games is incredibly good. The image quality and design of the games are all very solid as is the implementation of the ones that I tested. The Texas Hold ’em game may actually be one of the best computer-poker games I’ve ever seen.”
Faas reports, “Apple has released the finest set of iPods to date and it has done so by listening to the needs and concerns of its customers. This new generation of video iPods has raised the bar for many types of portable entertainment devices. Likewise, the new iPod Nanos and the iPod Shuffle illustrate Apple’s ability to listen to its customers and deliver an excellent product. If you’ve been holding off buying an iPod of any kind, now may be the best time to finally spend the money and treat yourself to one.”
Full chock-full review here.
PC Magazine’s 19th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards for MP3 players: Apple iPod line – September 25, 2006
USA Today reviews new Apple iPod nanos, updated iPods, iTunes 7 (each earns 4 stars out of 4) – September 21, 2006
CNET Editor’s Choice: Apple fifth-gen updated iPod – ‘best, most attractive iPod to date’ – September 20, 2006
CNET Editor’s Pick: Apple’s new 2G iPod nano – ‘sure to be top choice among wide range of users’ – September 14, 2006
Apple debuts new iPod in 30GB and 80GB with Hollywood movies, games and new lower price – September 12, 2006
Apple intros new iPod nano with new aluminum design in five colors and 24-hour battery life – September 12, 2006
Apple unveils new iPod shuffle: world’s smallest digital music player – September 12, 2006