The Apple iPod is unquestionably the most popular MP3 player to hit the market, with 71% of market share, according to the NPD Group.
So what could Apple do to improve the world’s favorite music player as it continues to define the portable music player? Quite a bit, it turns out.
For starters, the 80 Gbyte iPod Classic ($249) is thinner than its 60 Gbyte predecessor. The 160 Gbyte ($349), only slightly thicker than the previous generation 60 Gbyte model, can hold up to 40,000 songs or 200 hours of video.
The elegant faceplate is made of anodized aluminum instead of glossy plastic (sadly, the display is still scratch-prone plastic, unlike the optical glass used on the iPhone and iPod Touch).
Once turned on, a new, better looking, and easier-to-use menu system is presented. The split-screen menu displays selections on the right and an image related to the selection on the left. It also features new timers and alarms and a far more detailed breakdown of how storage space is being utilized.
Coverflow, which allows you to use the Click Wheel to scroll through your music, has been added to the iPod; while it’s a bit of a gimmick and slower if you have a large collection, it does add visual relief.
Otherwise, features are largely unchanged from the previous generation. Getting it set up was simple: all I had to do was plug it into my computer and iTunes handled the rest, transferring all of my music onto the device and making it ready for my next trip. Visit www.apple.com.
–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.