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So back in 2004 when U2 where the biggest thing to walk the Earth and Bono's was leaping round the world, saving humanity and his back had yet to twitch, Apple decided that they needed someone to front their new advertising campaign. U2 were about to start touring having recently released the soon to be platinum selling 'How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb'. And lo the creative genius at Apple devised an advertising campaign featuring the band and also produced this little masterpiece.
The front ios finished in a glossy jat black with a fiery red Apple Click Wheel, the colours being representative of the ones used by the band on the tour. On the reverse, The steel finish is augmented by the autographs of each of the four band members. Now it had a memory of 20Gb and at the time it was released came with all thhe necessary bits and bobs such as the USB 2.0 wire, Fire Wire cable, ac adapter, cd containing iTunes and of course the white earphones.
Also included in this bundle was a voucher which gave you a discount off the entire U2 back catalogue. Oh the fun we had downloading that!! Now at the time I seem to remeber that this cost around £200, whereas today for that amount of money you can pick up an iPod at half the cost which has twice the hard drive space of my desktop. I mean really 160GBS, isn't that every song released.
I'm still using mine after all this time and it still works without too many problems. Obviously it suffers the same battery life as all ageing Ipods, but it still has at least 6 hours of life. In terms of carrying it around, it weighs only 158g, but you'll probably want a cover for it as well to protect the finish.
It still looks as classy today as it did then. In fact it's probably in better shape than the band at the moment. Works fine with both Vista (I know!!) and the latest update of iTuens (9.01 I think). One thing though was that it was marketed as a special edition rather than limited meaning that the value is unlikely to rise, so you can pick one up for about £50 these days. But with whats available out there, why would you want to. It was goood at the time, still looks good now, but it has been overtaken and is probably just one for the collectors out there.
Buying an MP3 player is a complete minefield at the moment. Every electronics company seem to be churning them out with various sizes and differing prices. I guess you really have to shop around and take on board consumer opinion. Id had a play with the Apple Ipod and here are my views.
As a piece of kit its pretty smart looking. The player itself is quite lightweight and will fit into your pocket whilst not feeling like a pocket full of loose change. The front is a cool white with a nice sharp colour screen and a deft control wheel. The back is metallic and looks cool. But there is a downside to this, the back is very easy to mark and looks really dirty after a few touches. This is due to the ease the back picks up grime and grease from the grubby paws of its user.
Now the difference with the U2 version is the casing. You get black and red instead of the usual colours. Its all down to personal preference but you get nothing extra in the Pod in comparison to the standard retail version.
The Ipod comes packaged with the Itunes software, a USB connection cable and a mains charger connection. Its all you really need to get started but there are many accessories available on the market at wildly differing prices.
The Itunes software is quite easy to use. You install it and then adding tunes from cds in a case of simply placing cds into your drive and Itunes will do the rest. Then when you hook up your Ipod to the computer it will update itself. I have to say the speed of transferring files from the software to the Ipod was pretty swift. The only downside is that 20Gb of storage is a lot more than you think. It will take a lot of your time to actually put your cd collection into Itunes and even then youll more than likely have space left to fill.
Sound quality from the Ipod is surprisingly good when sampled through the supplied headphones. I found a lot of clarity in the music, compared to other portable walkmans Ive hard in the past its miles ahead. The in-ear headphones may look flimsy but they surprised me, I dont see a reason to change them for any others on the market.
Using the Ipod on the go is very easy. The navigation wheel is light to the touch and you can scroll through the contents of your Ipod very swiftly. There are several menus you can go through in order to access various tracks. Itunes lists tracks in alphabetical order, album order, and composer order to name a few. With such a lot of tracks I prefer to use the shuffle option and let the Ipod do the choosing. Once your track is selected the screen will display the title and artist. If youve downloaded a track from the Itunes store then it is also likely to display the tracks cover art.
As an MP3 player the Ipod should definitely be towards the top of your list. But there is a big negative point I must bring up having used the player for a number of weeks. A glance on the Apple website suggests that you will get 14-hours use from the Ipod battery when fully charged. I have to say I dont know where Apple got that benchmark. Ive had far less use from the battery than Apple suggested before requiring a charge. This is definitely something Ill be keeping tabs on should it continue. Its also worth pointing out that the battery can only be replaces by sending your Ipod back to Apple. These are definitely two things you may want to consider when comparing the payer to the opposition.
These players are being phased out now in favour of the new video models so keep an eye for a bargain. To be honest the 20GB version is more than enough for anyones use but the Ipod is by no means the best all-round player out there.
The U2 iPod was commissioned as a special edition (note the word special and not limited) which many people purchased thinking production would stop after a few months. How wrong they were!
The model is now in it's second incarnation which now includes a colour screen, which is great for viewing album covers, or even your own photographs.
Other than the obvious cosmetic differences, Black case with Red click wheel, laser engraved band autographs, the U2 iPod is no different to a run of the mill 20GB unit.
Personally I think it looks better, and it will eventually become a collectors item, now that Apple have started to produce limited edition iPods such as the Harry Potter with Hogwarts crest engraved on the back case.
The headphones are the standard white iPod affair, sound quality is excellent, and the battery life improved over the monochrome screen version, which is unusual.
I would recommend this to any U2 fan, or anyone in the market for an iPod that's a little different.