The new iPods

Woah… So the thingy finally cooled down. We’ll get on with the hot topic right now, which is obviously, the new iPods!

As we all (or rather, we, the Mac fanboys and fangers) know, the new iPods are looking like a pretty nice update from the previous line. As with the previous update in September 2006, I think we can safely say that the iPod updates are going to settle into an annual cycle as an September event, right before the end of the Back-to-School promotion. As we all know and understand, the annual Back-to-School promotion is really nothing more than a great chance for Apple to dump its existing stocks of iPods for cheap with a rebate given for every Mac purchase by a student. Since students returning to school from the holidays, entering college, will buy their laptops/computers during the June to September period, it is easy for Apple to bundle a rebate equalling the price of a 4GB iPod nano with every purchase of a Mac. This firstly bring up sales numbers for the remaining stocks of old iPods that are by then (in June), largely pretty dated. Secondly it might prompt people to spend a little more money to get a 8GB nano or a Video instead, therefore upping the profits as well. Which is no wonder why most of the remaining stocks of iPods are pretty much gone by late August, therefore making way for the new range of iPods, which came via a major event at Moscone West on September 5th this year. So how does the new range fare against the old ones?

First of all, the iPod Shuffle. Seriously, there is really probably no way they can improve upon this design. Therefore it was not surprising that the design had remained the same. However, I would appreciate if they could up the capacity to 2GB, after all the Shuffle knockoffs on the market, easily found in abundance in Sim Lim Square, have a 2GB option. And they could have easily cut the price as well. The price for the 1GB option for the Shuffle knockoffs is currently 49 dollars, as opposed to Apple’s 139 Singapore dollars for the real deal. So well, they didn’t change anything, except the colours. And introduced a product (red) version. So what does that mean?

Nothing I presume. The new colours are pretty nice, although everyone else I’ve talked to think that they suck. Hahz whatever. I will not be buying one of those anyway, not now nor in the future.

Oh lord! The FatPod arrives! So all those rumors and mockup pics were real! 9to5 Mac really had it spotted on. Seems that they have a chinese spy in the factories. Good for them, but I hope the spy will get caught soon. Don’t spoil the darn fun for us you idiots.

So is it ugly? or even fugly? On first sight, yes. The proportions are all pretty strange for an iPod, and seriously they do not look nice from the pictures at all.

However, things are not so simple. I went to iShop at cineleisure to try out the new nanos and the classics on tuesday, and boy am I amazed.

The FatPod is incredibly, freaking hell THIN! The screen is extremely sharp, and the new interface, while not as amazing as that of the iPhone and the Touch, is wonderful! You have to see and touch the thing real life to believe that it is totally different from what you perceive it to be from the pictures online! The scroll wheel is even smaller than the one on the second generation nano, and the screen, while smaller than that of the classic, looks beautiful. I tried watching various videos on the nanos, and don’t find myself straining my eyes at all. The new interface is just the icing on the cake. Furthermore, with the addition of the coverflow interface into the iPods, there is the possible problem of lagging when coverflow loads the album arts, but from what I have seen, there appears to be no such problem on the nanos. Games and videos load immediately thanks to the flash based storage, everything is nice! I have a 30GB 5.5Gen Video iPod, but I prefer watching videos on the new nano!

The new nano is the best new iPod (except the Touch) definitely.

And then we come to the classic. There is no longer the nice plastic top of the earlier iPods, instead in its place we have a new (or old) nano-style aluminum top. And then we have larger storage, 80GB and 160GB. So what’s new? The interface is the same as that of the new nano, but the screen is the old 2.5 inch one, which means the screen isn’t as sharp as that of the new nano. Furthermore, the coverflow interface lags when loading the album art. Seems like a lot of bad points? Not really actually. With the exception of the sharp edges at the part where the aluminum front meets the shiny metallic back, the behavior of the new classic is just like that of the old Video iPod, with all the cons of harddisk-based storage.

I’ll post something about the Touch when I actually hold it in my hands in a few weeks’ time.


MacRyu is the Mac Blog by Singaporeans and for Singaporeans. It was started in April 2007 as a side project of the then President of the Official Mac User Group of NUS, Ryu, and grew to become possibly one of the most popular Apple-related sites based in Singapore. MacRyu hopes to provide you with more Mac-related info, thoughts and stuff, from the Singaporean perspective.

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