New iPod: Smart or dumb?
So, if you're into MP3 players, it likely won't have escaped your attention that Apple have once again updated the iPod. Short version: it's a bit thinner, the battery life is up from 8 to 12 hours, and it's 100 dollars cheaper.
When I first heard about this, I was underwhelmed. The sorts of features I had been hoping Apple might consider for the iPod included:-
- Line-in recording for use at gigs or round at friends' houses.
- FM tuner
- Recording from the tuner (and although I'm not desperate to see it myself, doesn't it seem logical that once you have a hard disk, an FM tuner and a powerful OS, that you might as well throw in Tivo-style recording for the radio, so your iPod could automatically record every episode of The News Quiz for you?)
- Simple removable hard disk operation rather than stopping me seeing the MP3s on its disk.
- SD card slot to archive my digital photos on to its hard disk.
But perhaps I'm wrong: there's a cogent analysis here suggesting that Apple have in fact fixed exactly the two things that they needed to. The only area where iPods lag behind the competition is battery life and price; 8 hours is right at the bottom of the scale for MP3 players, and $500 (for the 40GB model) is right at the top of the price scale. So maybe what they've actually done is opened up the market to a larger proportion of the population, for whom the existing aura of cool and the new lower price might be enough to persuade them that now's the time to buy.