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Before Apple decided that the future of their flagship Mp3 player lay in music videos and motion-sensitive gaming, simplicity was the key - and the third generation of the original iPod was a design icon. The product represented a perfect blend between the two key elements of design... form and function. I speak of the product as if it were a retro item from the 70's alongside the lava-lamp or space hopper - it certainly is as revolutionary - yet it was only released back in 2003, which shows us how fast consumer technology dates these days.
Complete with a 15GB hard drive, at the time this iPod was fairy spacious - unfortunately, I had to sacrifice mine (when the size of my music collection reached 16GB) in order to purchase an player with a larger capacity for storing songs.
This particular iPod was incredibly easy to use; a thumbwheel made scrolling through albums, songs and general options a speedy process, whilst the four main buttons (which had a cool orange backlight) represented the skip, play, pause and menu controls.
As with all iPod's (or at least the ones I have owned), the sound quality on this model was excellent, and it came shipped with Apple's (now much copied) white earphones.
The battery in this Mp3 player performed to a high standard, although after owning the product for a few years, the time it took to run down was becoming less and less - only offering roughly an hour of playback by the time I got rid of it. Having said that, it was around that time when Apple introduced their battery replacement service for the majority of iPod models - so I could have resolved the problem had I wanted to.
Other features which this particular iPod offered included the Address book - which could be synched with Mac and PC apps, and a selection of games including Solitaire, Music Quiz (addictive), and a 'Breakout' style wall-game which was good for a quick blast.
The 15GB Third Generation iPod is a classic Mp3 player - a real design icon. In terms of its beauty and style, this product would grace any collection. I've seen a few of these models (along with the 10GB version which shares the same body) on eBay for under £50 - and although they wouldn't be that desirable in terms of their performance these days, they are certainly interesting as the predecessors of todays feature rich models.
This ipod is the best gadget I ever treated myself to. As a freelance designer it has allowed me to ditch my laptop and CD player and listen to my music on the way to work and carry all my fonts, files and invoices with me. I love its simplicity, intuative menu system, connectivity, size, weight and style. Apple has done it again and even done the decent thing an let the unfortunate PC users in on the action too. The only down side is it doesn't like to go jogging, but I'll take the cd player instead then.
The Apple iPod is one of the best MP3 players on the market and if certain magazines and newspapers are to be believed, one of the coolest accessories you can buy this year (David and Victoria Beckham already have one etc). This MP3 (see very bottom of article to find out more about what MP3 is) player is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers, although I have only used it on a Windows PC so cannot comment on how it works on a Mac Look The iPod is beautifully designed. The white colour and simplistic design really set this MP3 player apart from the rest of the field. It has a large screen and stainless steel back which make it look stunning It is hard to believe how much music can be stored on the iPod given its small size. It is only about 15cm high and yet can store thousands of songs on it. I have got the 15GB version and have 3000 songs on it and still only used about two thirds of the hard drive. It weighs only about 250g and you barely notice it in your pocket or on your belt. Price At first this seems a very pricey MP3 player, and to be fair it is!! However, given that you can buy MP3 players for around £80 which can only store two albums on, it isn?t too bad. Mine cost £250 although with most things the price is likely to fall with time Computer hardware and software Getting the music onto your iPod couldn?t be simpler. The program Musicmatch Jukebox is included (full version, which normally costs £25 alone), which allows you to manage your music on your PC and then choose which tracks to upload to your iPod. Converting normal CDs to MP3s is also a quick and easy process (although boring!) by using the Musicmatch recorder. On thing to be careful of however, is that your computer needs to have a firewire port in order to connect it to the iPod. My computer did not have one, so I had to get one which added about another £50 to the total cost Sound qual
ity One of the main advantages of a MP3 player is not just the amount of music it can store, but the way you can access any of your tracks instantly as they are all stored digitally. On the iPod each track starts playing virtually instantly The quality of the sound is only as good as the recording, but if using the Musicmatch recorder is very high Menu system The circular menu system was strange to use at first, but after a few days it becomes 2nd nature and easy. It is quite sensitive to use as it is a touch pad, but on the good side, the fact that there are no moving parts makes the iPod more robust You can browse through your music by artist, album or genre either playing your chosen track straight away or saving it to a play list Recharging The play time is around 4 hours which is rather good. It only takes 1 hour to recharge 80% of the battery and a further 4 or so to fully charge it up. You can still use the iPod as normal when it is on charge Other features Although it primary function is to play music, the iPod also includes some games, and a diary feature and notepad feature. However the latter are not that good as they cannot be edited on the move or on your iPod and can only be uploaded from your own computer Headphones The headphones included are fairly standard, although adequate. An attachment is included which allows you to change track and volume remotely too. In addition, the iPod can also be plugged into any ?Line Out? leads allowing you to use existing speakers to play your music on Accessories A standard case is included with the package and I recommend that you use this as much as possible as the screen does scratch quite easily if you are not careful. A wide range of extra accessories are also available on the Apple website but although I have not bought these they do seem rather pricey for what they are Overall
Overall, if you are looking to get a good MP3 player and can afford to splash out a little the iPod is a great purchase. Personally I never go far with out mine attached to me now and wonder how I ever managed with out it and having only one CD to listen to at a time on my walkman!! What is MP3? MP3 is a form of compression. It's an acronym which stands for Mpeg 1 Audio Layer 3. It is based on a psycho-acoustic model which recognizes that the human ear cannot hear all the audio frequencies on a recording and compresses it by removing the frequencies we cannot hear making them smaller to store and quicker to download.