As sure as the seasons change it’s become almost as much of a certainty that Apple will nip, tuck and generally tweak their iPod range on a semi annual basis. Whether it be completely overhauling the range or just giving the end user an extra colour to choose from there is usually something on the horizon from the boys and girls at Cupertino to satisfy their faithful.
This time round there are changes more or less across the range, with the exception of the Shuffle but then again what more can you realistically do to something that small that has no screen (although it does have a sound quality that belies it’s size) and such a teeny form factor.
Kicking off with the iPod classic, this is now almost the curmudgeonly grandfather of the iPod brand. The original might not be quite as exciting as it’s followers but it does pack a hell of a lot of capacity. Now available sporting a 120Gb hard drive that’s a theoretical 30,000 songs or 150 hours of video or even 25,000 photos. Hell, there are laptops that don’t have a footprint that big, It is of course as thin as Posh Spice (pixie haircut optional) and still sports the lush screen that does images and film (surprisingly enough) justice. Nice.
Moving up the range the latest iPod, the Touch enters it’s second incarnation. With price reductions in all but the base configuration this model has undergone a slight cosmetic revamp (it’s now eight and a half millimetres in thickness with volume buttons on the side and a built in speaker). In truth this iPod is more than just a music player. Thanks to the size of it’s screen and the hefty presence of third party developers this device is rapidly gaining a respectable array of applications and games which make it something of a contender in the PDA stakes. Add to this the existing functionality that the original iTouch possessed (wifi, youtube friendly, mobileme synchronisation) you have something of a killer device. With prices starting at £169 it’s surprisingly affordable as well.
Finally the Nano is the last machine to get a revamp and for my money it’s surprising to see Apple’s mid range ‘baby’ player get such a makeover so soon. In fact if anything design wise it’s taking something of a backward step. Tech followers will have noticed the last Nano took on a decidedly squared off shape as opposed to the traditional rectangular appearance of it’s predecessor. Up until now that is, the new Nano has returned to the ‘long’ form factor but now with a bigger screen. Storage sizes are up as well with the top end machine now carrying a respectable 16Gb capacity. It is of course film compatible and for those with healthy inclinations it retains the Nike+ compatibility (which incidentally is now introduced to the Touch as well). There is also a new feature (again also on the Touch) called ‘Genius’, lets say for example you have just listened to a track by the Ting Tings and you want to hear music from your library that compliments it in terms of style and genre. By selecting the ‘Genius’ feature your Nano will compile a playlist from your library that compliments the original track. There’s also the new ‘shake to shuffle’ feature built in on this new model. As you might have already guessed shaking the device will randomly select a new track from your library courtesy of a built in accelerometer (Apple are really getting into these devices, they are turning up everywhere). With a choice of nine colours to suit your aesthetic desires the new iPod starts at £109 for the base model (4Gb) although for my money you really want to be looking at the 8Gb if only to future proof yourself against running out of space.