Apple iPod (20GB, fourth generation)

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Apple iPod (20GB, fourth generation)
Apple's newest iPod gets a makeover, adds some evolutionary upgrades, and delivers more bang for the buck. But are these changes enough to make a big splash?

The fourth-generation Apple iPod was unveiled to the world on the cover of the July 26 edition of Newsweek magazine, confirming a growing chorus of whispers and rumors that had been percolating for weeks on various Apple enthusiast Web sites. The new iPod will be available in 20GB and 40GB versions for AU$499 and AU$649, respectively. No firm release date was provided, but Apple is already taking orders via its online store.

The revised pricing means entry-level iPod buyers will be able to fit more music in their pockets than ever before -- an additional 33 percent over those who bought the soon-to-be-phased-out 15GB iPod at the same price. Not surprisingly, the new models feature the same integrated scrollwheel found on their wildly popular sibling, the iPod Mini; the clickable wheel gives tactile feedback, which many users find more intuitive than the feather-touch controls of current-generation players. In addition to a body that's said to be about a millimeter thinner, Apple is claiming the new models deliver 12 hours of music on a single charge -- significantly longer than the 8-hour rating of their predecessors. Rounding out the list of improvements are a new menu system, enhanced playlist options, and variable speed control (for digital DJs who want beat matching in a tiny package).

The bigger hard drive capacities at lower prices and the addition of the Mini-style scrollwheel are predictable upgrades, not radical, stop-the-presses overhauls. And aside from the silver-coloured scrollwheel, the full-size iPod remains an all-white affair, unlike the multiple colour schemes available for the Mini. More quibbles: Where's the built-in MP3 encoder to make voice memos or to record our band's jam sessions? What about a wireless component to tie in with the recently announced AirPort Express? And is a video iPod ever going to happen, or is Apple ceding the portable video player market to others?

We'll need to do our own hands-on testing of the new iPods before we can make a definitive judgment, especially on the issue of battery life, which almost always falls short of manufacturers' promises. However, despite our nitpicks, Apple's fourth-generation iPod delivers what looks to be some worthwhile improvements to an already excellent product. That it's more affordable than ever is icing on the cake.

Apple iPod 20GB
Company: Apple Computer
Price: AU$499
Phone: 13 36 22


Interface Supported FireWire, USB 2.0
Available Body Colors Silver
Digital Player Type Hard drive based
iPod Generation 4G
Weight 5.6 oz
Color White
Included Accessories IEEE 1394 cable, USB cable
Software type Apple iTunes for Mac, Apple iTunes for Windows
IPod Generation 4G
Display illumination Yes
Digital Media & Network Players
Supported Digital Audio Standards AAC, AIFF, MP3, WAV
ID3 Tags Support Yes
Playback Modes all tracks repeat, one track repeat, playlist, random play / shuffle
Edit Functions Erase
Supported Bit Rate 32 Bps
Response Bandwidth 20 Hz
Digital Player Features variable bit-rate compatible
Carrying Case
Case type Optional
Required Qty 1
Rechargeable Battery Rechargeable
Battery Enclosure Type Built-in
Technology Lithium ion
Recharge Time 4 hour(s)
Audio System
Audio Formats AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, Audible, MP3, WAV
Sound Output Mode stereo
Additional Features battery level indication, built-in games, calendar, hold button, notes, phone book, playback speed control, rechargeable capability, upgradeable firmware
Built-in Clock digital clock, timer
Type digital player
Digital Player Type hard drive based
Functions digital player
Power Device
Nominal Voltage AC 120/230 V
Frequency Required 50/60 Hz
CD type none
Playback Modes Skip playback, Random play, Repeat one/all
Supported Digital Audio Standards MP3, AAC, MP3 VBR, Audible, AIFF, WAV
Brand Apple
Product Line Apple iPod
Packaged Quantity 1
System Requirements
Additional Requirements IEEE 1394 FireWire port, USB port
OS Required Apple MacOS X 10.1.5 or later, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional SP4, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Clock & Alarm
Timer sleep, wake
Digital Player / Recorder
Shockproof Memory 1500 seconds
External Hard Drive Function Yes
Built-in Display
Type LCD
Diagonal Size 2 m
Resolution 160 x 128
Display Illumination Color white
Display Menu Language Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish
Features adjustable contrast
Display Diagonal 2 in
Display Diagonal (metric) 5.1 cm
Color Support monochrome
Timer sleep, wake
Color White
Equalizer Yes
Equalizer Factory Preset Qty 20
Video Playback Features
Games included None
Video software included None
Type none
Cassette System
Type none
Remote Control
Type None
Audio Specifications
Type Digital Player
Frequency Response 20 - 20000 Hz
MD System
Type none
Form Factor external
Internal Storage
Capacity 20 GB
Type Hard disk drive
Form Factor Built-in
Microphone Form Factor None
Flash Memory
Installed Size No built-in memory
Digital Storage
Capacity 20 GB
Audio Output
Product Type headphones
Headphones Type binaural
Headphones Form Factor ear-bud
Connectivity Technology Wireless
Sound Output Mode stereo
Frequency Response 20 Hz
Impedance 32 Ohm
Sound Output Mode stereo
Frequency Response 20 Hz
Impedance 32 Ohm
Audio Input
Type none
Microphone Form Factor None
Type docking station, headphones, remote control
Connector Type Apple Dock connector, mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
Qty 1
Battery / Power
Run Time (Up To) 12 hour(s)
Type power adapter
Dimensions & Weight
Width 2.4 in
Depth .57 in
Height 4.1 in
Weight 5.6 oz
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Full Contract Period 1 year

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