iPodservations – A Week in the 'Pod

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Date: Tuesday, November 20th, 2001, 02:43
Category: Archive

The operative thing to remember about the iPod is that it rocks – but don’t get me wrong, something this great can’t be perfect…


The operative thing to remember about the iPod is that it rocks – but don’t get me wrong, something this great can’t be perfect…

First order of business, nothing beats quality rips of your tunes, it’s like the old Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO) acronym from school. Listening to your own rips at 192 (or higher) will give you a new appreciation for fidelity and suddenly make you much more critical of the quality of your downloaded MP3s.

iPod makes me want to rip all my CDs – then throw them away.

You will want to master the art of editing ID3 tags before using iPod as both it and iTunes are much more usable and faster when you have perfect ID3 tags and less playlists. This makes zipping around by artist and genre much easier.

In just more than a week of rigorous use my iPod’s operation has been perfect with the exception of one crash and one false alarm. Gently carrying it (on “hold” and in a case) from the gym to home resulted in a hard crash that forced me to reboot the iPod [hold “menu” and “play/pause” for 10 seconds]. Plugging it into my TiBook/667 “rebooted” it again, the iPod logo always pops up when you connect it to FireWire, and it came up just fine.

The false alarm was when I thought that it crashed again, but it had only run out of battery power and did not have enough juice to turn on. The problem is that I didn’t think I had used it for 10 hours yet and there is no easy way to tell the difference between a dead battery and a crashed iPod. There is a cool 3D icon that displays briefly on the screen if you unplug it from power when there isn’t enough juice to run it.

Prior to reports that I’ve read, the iPod does not require a special iPod-only FireWire cable. It works just fine with a standard clear 6-pin model I had laying around. It would be nice if iPod had the same cross fade capabilities as iTunes 2.0.1. Also, iTunes 2.0.1 skips a little when playing tunes while syncing iPod or ripping a CD.

Some shortcuts you should know:

To quickly turn the iPod off: hold “play/pause” for two seconds. If you get into trouble you can reboot by holding “menu” and “play/pause” for 10 seconds. If you get especially bored, check out Breakout easter egg hidden in iPod: on the About screen and hold “enter” for about 5 seconds. [“Enter” is the center button].

The omission of a “carrying device” (note that I did not call it a belt clip) is huge oversight by Apple on such a thoughtfully designed piece of hardware. Some people quickly shrug off the idea of “an ugly belt clip” as a disgrace to the iPod’s shiny beauty, but I don’t think it should come with a clip at all, but instead a way for someone to attach a clip – or whatever.

A tiny, recessed, screw hole in the top center of the back, just above the logo would be enough. It would be almost invisible and immediately open the market to literally unlimited different and unique designs. I don’t want Apple to make the belt clip, I have already seen numerous impressive Japanese accessories for five or ten bucks!

There isn’t even a screw hole on the back of iPod to latch onto, like there is on the Ericsson T28. Sure, third parties are already developing ‘slip-on’ case designs for the iPod, but Apple didn’t have to make third parties jump through hoops like this. Besides, there are times when I would prefer a less intrusive clip as opposed to a case to carry the iPod.

Lacking a solution for a clip or other device, I am currently using the Incase MP3 neoprene, belt-style case and it works well, I have also used the (similar) Sony neoprene hip case but it is a little to big for the iPod. A neoprene case is pretty much mandatory for any sort of physical activity with iPod, unless you want to see what US$400 looks like smashed on the sidewalk. The only problem with belt-style cases is that their hard plastic (Molex) connectors can be uncomfortable in your lower back when using certain gym equipment.

One accessory that I am on the hunt for is a good pedestal-type car mount to secure the iPod while driving in my car, but not the section-cup kind that sticks to the windshield. The pedestal UniMount from Revolve Design is the closest yet, but they do not currently make a model specifically for iPod.

The FireWire port is the larger 6-pin style (which carries power), the problem is that it is on the top of the unit, and open all the time – potentially a problem if something foreign, like dust or debris, gets lodged in there. Not to mention sweat or moisture. Perhaps an opportunity for an iPod port protector?

Say? What’s missing from the box? If you have unboxed an iPod your probably noticed the square empty space in the foam block with a piece of silver card board covering it. Looks like something seems to have been left out…

Conspiracy Theorists Unite!

My theory: Apple is saving that space for a professional pair of headphones with a built-in remote or Bluetooth wireless – both could utilize the “four secret contacts” that surround the current headphone jack. The new pro headphones could appear any time, as they will work with current iPods, but most likely they will come with the release of the SuperPod (or TiPod, as I affectionately call it.)

What is your conspiracy theory on the iPod? Does it need a belt clip or the ability to add one? Sound off in the Go2Mac iPod Message Board.

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