Slick new iPod even better

Apple makes the best hard-disk-based MP3 players, and the company’s redesigned, third-generation iPod elegantly drives home that point.

I squeezed my entire MP3 collection onto the 30GB unit and fell in love with its evolved looks, great display, intuitive interface and high-quality sound. Regrettably, it’s a love that can never be, as I don’t have $999 to spend on an MP3 player.

In addition to increasing the capacity of the iPod (up from 20GB), Apple tweaked its exterior, replacing the push buttons around the touch wheel with four red, glowing touch-sensitive buttons that reside under the display. I like the new layout and controls, but some users may miss the earlier version’s tactile response.

Software improvements include additional customised menu options, on-the-go playlists, and a few extra games. Apple includes MusicMatch software for the PC; later this year it will launch a Windows version of its slick iTunes program, which lets you access its online music store.

Finally, the iPod’s new dock simplifies syncing and offers an audio line-out jack. I connected the player via a FireWire port; alternatively, you can use USB 2.0 with an optional cable (though you must power the iPod separately).

Apple has improved upon an already great product, creating an MP3 player that I’d be happy to own. Nevertheless, the price tag seems artificially high.

Price: $999
Vendor: Apple
Phone: 13 3622
URL: www.apple.com.au

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Tom Mainelli

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