Off to Apple, to see the iPod. It's a hastily arranged launch, we're told, because there's only one iPod in the country, it arrived that afternoon and nobody was really expecting it. You'd be forgiven for thinking it a bit so-whattish: it's an MPEG player that integrates with a Macintosh over Firewire. And that's it.
The iPod is much cuter in reality than it appears in pictures. It's got a shiny stainless steel wraparound back and a clear Perspex front, backed by a panel of vestal virgin white. The ergonomics are superb, the sound fabulous, it really can hold 1000 songs, it really does take seconds to update it over Firewire and you can't really grasp how small it really is until you hold it. And the anxious Apple man tries to prise it away.
It'll be on sale on the 22nd November, for the wallet-puckering price of £329. Which is more than I can afford, even if I had a Mac to plug it into -- although we will be trying to get the complete set out of Apple for review purposes.
But there is a mystery: I scrolled through the iPod's About... menu, and saw some unfamiliar names with copyright notices. I scribbled down a couple, which provoked near-apoplexy in the Apple minder who was looking on. "I'd really rather you didn't do that" he said, somewhat too late. Interest piqued, I checked the unfamiliar company names on the Web a little later... and they're not the sort of people you'd expect to be writing software for the thing.
Investigations are ongoing.