new iPod

The 10gig iPods that were recently discontinued by Apple (replaced by the 15gig) have been going cheap in various places, and I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and bought one from Amazon. This is my second iPod; I’ve had a 1st generation 5 gig iPod for almost two years now and it has
completely changed my life. I originally bought it on impulse — $399, ouch — and have not regretted it. So getting a new one at double the size and nearly half the price? Sold.

Nice to have all the new space. I was starting to run out on the old ipod and now I have lots of room to breathe (I don’t keep my entire iTunes library on the ipod but I do keep a lot of stuff on it. Funny how at one time I used to think a 6-CD changer in the car was PLENTY of stuff!)

The new touch buttons are a mixed bag. OTOH they are much more responsive than the 1gen’s mechanical buttons. For play/stop/FF/RR this is nice. I’m not so sure about the wheel; I have trouble overshooting stuff. The scroll wheel was a little more…tactile in that respect. On the other I was starting to have difficulties with the old scroll wheel sometimes deciding to turn on its own when I was running (the 1st gens do this, apparently).

I Do NOT like the buttons arrayed across the top on the 3rd gen. I think this is a terrible design. With the buttons around the wheel on the 1gen it was easy to find the button just by touch, in the dark, in the car when you need to be paying attention to other things. With the buttons along the top they are much harder to find and since they activate just from the lightest touch I am too easily hitting the wrong button. I have to see them to touch them. This is bad.

I’m also not too pleased about the dock connector. The firewire connecter on the 1gen was awfully convenient because you could use any standard firewire cable. I think the dock connector is an excuse to sell accessories. :/

One thing I do really like is the line out through the dock. I had been using a cassette adapter for it iPod in the car; I bought a Belkin charger for the new ipod that also has a line out plug. Wow! The sound is SO much better through the line out than through the headphones. Really, really much better. Its pretty much CD quality now. I’m hugely pleased.

I have an Xtreme Mac case for the thing. I had one of these for my 1gen and it was OK, not great. If I dropped it flat on the face the buttons would still get some damage. I was also for a long time irritated with the flap that folded over the front until I discovered — a week ago — that the flap folds over the back and out of the way. oops. I looked at a bunch of cases for the new ipod and ended up with the same case. There’s more padding in the new case, particularly in the top flap, and it fits with all my old belt clips and connectors. My only problem with it now is that you have to take the ipod out in order to put it into the dock for charging/syncing (if I used a plain sync cable it would just slip in through a hole in the bottom of the case). Interestingly enough although the 10gig is a smaller ipod than the 5gig, because the new case is more padded they’re about the same size overall.

Syncing: trivial. it worked just like my old ipod, plug it in and it worked. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of conflict between the old iPod and the new ipod, although my mac doesn’t seem to like both of them plugged in at once.

Other: I really, really like being able to set ratings on the fly and the software seems to be better overall. It comes back from a pause much quicker, skips songs in shuffle faster and the sound levels are much more even when sound check is on (that never seemed to work right on the old ipod) and audible books actually FF and RR properly. Small things are definitely more up to date here.

Overall I’m glad I got the new ipod. My old ipod was definitely showing its age technology wise (although I had no battery trouble and it was still working just fine for what it was). I have some usability quibbles with the new ipod but mostly it is a good step up for me. Thumbs up.