I recently received a new iPod Classic. This is the latest generation of the full-sized, hard-diskdrive-based iPods. I’ve noticed a few things about it that I believe are a key reason that Apple has managed to retain the bulk of the MP3 player market share, even after all of these years.
First, the hardware user interface is still the best out there. The iPod Classic now comes in 80 or 160 GB versions. The larger unit has 32 times the storage available in the first generation iPods at about the same price as the 5 GB original iPod.
The iPod classic, is basically a larger capacity version of the video iPods which were the previous generation of hard-drive-based iPods. The iPod Classic has improved support for photos, videos, music, and games, as well as supporting some PIM features, such as calendar, contacts and notes. A good reason for the improved PIM features is the iPhone, which is essentially an iPod with an integrated cellular phone.
The iPod user interface is still the best out there. The iPod still focuses on being the best music player out there. Small changes to the hardware and software contribute to its ability to retain its market share. For instance, the iPod now automatically pauses the music or video if the headphone cable becomes disconnected.
During playback of music, the screen displays the album artwork, if you had it downloaded, as well as the song title, artist and album name. It also shows your rating of the song, and how many songs are in the current playlist. Finally, as in the past, is shows a graphic display of your position in the song. It also has icons for whether the iPod is in shuffle or repeat modes, as well as a display of the battery level.
During playback of video, the iPod doesn’t display any further information, unless the controls are activated. If the controls are activated, the title and battery level appear at the top of the screen, the volume or position appears at the bottom of the screen.
The calendar and clock on the new iPod now has time zone and daylight savings options. The iPod also has a screen saver of sort, where it goes through the album artwork, video covers and photos. It is pretty clear that the processor in the newest generation of iPods is much more capable than the original iPods.
I do wish that the new iPods came with the accessories that were standard in the older models. The charging cradle and the remote were both very useful, and are missed with the new iPods. I also wish the new iPods still came with a FireWire cable, as I’ve found that the FireWire connection seems to be a good deal faster for syncing the music and video files than the USB-based cables are.
Overall, I think that music fanatics, like my late wife Gee, would be very happy with the latest generation of iPods. I think her CD collection could fit on the 160 GB one… it can hold almost 40,000 songs.