By NICK BILTON
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I still remember my first iPod. I purchased it for $400 in the winter of 2001 and haven’t bought a CD since.
The first version of this venerable device came with a tiny gray screen and the iconic navigation wheel, and was a little heavy in its deck-of-cards-sized casing. Nine generations later, Apple has sold over 260 million iPods, and its latest iterations look less like a deck of cards and more like a hand of poker.
Now the company’s newest generation of music players is set to be released into the wild, and the Web’s technology reviewers are offering their assessments.
Joshua Topolsky of Engadget expounds in great detail about the inner workings of the latest generation of iPods and shares some wonderful side-by-side photos and videos of the latest versions compared with past models. He says:
If you own the last version of the iPod touch, the design of the latest version shouldn’t come as a major surprise. Instead of aping the iPhone’s new glass-sandwich looks, the touch hews close to its roots with a super thin profile made up of one part glass screen and one part all-metal back. The device still bears the smudge inviting chrome rear panel, and continues the trend of shrinking the thickness as far down as possible. We thought the iPhone 4 was crazy thin, but the new touch looks like a toothpick by comparison.
Katherine Boehret at AllThingsD seems to like the latest iPods, specifically enjoying the front-facing camera of the iPod Touch, but was “less enthusiastic about Ping, Apple’s first attempt at social networking, because it didn’t do well enough with the socializing aspect.” Ms. Boehret says:
Ping’s other socially awkward characteristics include its inability to notify you when other people comment on or like something you’ve posted or commented on. Apple says these will appear in the Recent Activity page within a week — but not as easy-to-see notifications at the top of the page.
The Times’s David Pogue points out that some changes to the iPod, which is updated each year, have seemed forced, but that this year’s updates are welcome:
There are no design missteps this year, though, at least none as egregious. The 2010 iPod crop takes some design risks and, in some cases, subtracts some longstanding features. But in general, the tradeoffs are worth it.
Macworld’s Dan Frakes offers his own in-depth review and description of the iPod lineup, but asks why the new Nano’s screen is so small:
Given the existence of the iPod shuffle, there doesn’t seem to have been a compelling need for another as-small-as-we-can-make-it iPod, and a slightly larger design would have allowed for a larger screen.
Of course, battery life would suffer a bit with a larger touchscreen, but the nano’s battery life is impressive enough that losing a few hours of playback time would be an acceptable compromise for many users.
Wired’s Brian Chen briefly discussed the iPod’s latest software upgrades, but had more fun asking Wired readers to redesign the latest iTunes logo. He says a “number of fans” have groaned at the new icon design.
Source: nytimes.com, September 8, 2010