So, I finally gave in and bought an iPod. The release of the Windows version (the difference is only in software supplied). Here’s some things that surprised me (other than this everything you’ve read is true). Observations refer to 20GB Windows version purchased from Micro Anvika on Tottenham Court Road, London, UK.
- Spinning wheel in the centre is not like all those I played with in displays in stores – it is solid state and in some way touch-sensitive. Its just as cool if not more so and will probably last longer now
- Formatted capacity is actually 18.xGB but holds more than the stated 4000 songs (I think they’re estimating for 5min songs at 192kbit/sec whereas my songs are shorter on average and mostly encoded at the more common 128kbit/sec)
- The Windows software (MusicMatch jukebox) is crap. Really slow to recognize the iPod and with my setup only transfers at about 1MB/sec (MUCH less than the ~50MB/sec I was expecting) – but there is 3rd party software that’s better. I expect the iTunes/Mac experience is a lot better than any PC alternative though
- Transfer speeds are generally lower than I expected – I managed to get 4MB/sec with ephPod and others online have reported up to 10MB/sec. I’d love to hear from anyone getting nearer to the apple quoted speeds of up to 50MB/sec
- Because the HDD in the iPod is formatted to FAT32 for Windows but HFS+ for Mac you can’t take your iPod between Macs and PCs unless you use something like XPlay on the PC
- I now have to sort out all the ID3 tags on my MP3z as iPod relies solely on them to categorize your music. There are tools to help you do this (its MusicMatch Jukebox’s only strong point) but its still a pain with 4000 MP3s to sort out
- PCMCIA firewire cards can’t pass power through so the battery drains when using it connected to a laptop
All that said, its an amazing machine and the UI is just fantastic. Once its plugged into your computer its less fun – especially if you’re using it on two machines like I am. But the thing in and of itself is just brilliant. And the “wow” factor from the non-technical is quite funny too: “What have you got on it?” “Well, name something – I’ve probably got it”.
If you’ve got any questions you can’t find the answer to I’d be happy to answer them for you: