The Apple iPod For Windows Begins A New Legacy

Conclusion - How Much Praise Can You Heap On This Product?

It is no coincidence that the Apple iPod has received so many kudos over the past year. When one starts from scratch and has lofty design goals, as Apple did with the iPod, it is very rare to actually be able to pull it off. Apple deserves the praise that it has been getting for the iPod for this reason alone.

What sets the iPod apart from the others is Apple's continuing attention to detail. Every part that went into the iPod was obviously highly scrutinized for its ability to deliver an overall experience that reached far beyond that of any other product competing in the same product category.

What stand out are the reasons why iPod is better than its competition. It is easier to use, offers exceptional battery life, has a very readable, well-lit display, excellent shock protection with its 32 MB of RAM, speedy transfers with its 1394 Firewire interface, good sound on both the high end and the low end, and, maybe best of all, it comes in a small and very sexy package. When you combine all of this, you come up with a product experience that is well beyond the norm.

While the documentation isn't what we would consider to be best in class, and the Musicmatch Jukebox interface clearly isn't as polished as iTunes, these are minor glitches that will improve over time. We still would have liked to see a cover for the Firewire port on our 5 GB model. While this is perhaps a minor concern, we were somewhat irritated about it. While working on this article we found that was a great resource for iPod owners providing excellent coverage of the iPod scene. In fact we found some of the documentation and FAQs on this site more helpful than Apple's own support resources.

This brings us to perhaps the biggest issue of all with the iPod: the price. The 5 GB iPod for Windows is priced at $299 US, which is a little pricey when compared to other players on the market today. Given what is included with the 5 GB model, it is clear to us now that the $399 US 10 GB model is perhaps a better deal with its better quality ear buds, wired remote, case, and 10 GB of hard drive space. If you purchase the 5 GB model and purchase all of these accessories separately to add to your 5 GB iPod as I did, you will spend nearly $100 more, and you will still end up with 5 GBs less storage than the 10 GB model offers. Although we didn't really like the case that was included with the 10 GB model, it clearly deserves some additional consideration if you are looking to get the overall iPod best value. (The 20 GB model retails for $499 US, by way of comparison.) Also, if you don't happen to currently have a 1394 Firewire adapter installed in your system, you will need one of those as well, which should only set you back about $39 - $49 US.

When looking at the price versus performance, it is clear that the iPod does deliver, but it is expensive. Many might pass on the iPod due to the price alone, but if you are looking for the most easy to use product with the best sound in the most compact format, the Apple iPod is way ahead of the curve. We award the Apple iPod for Windows our Editors Choice Award as a solidly recommended best buy. Although the 10 GB model is $100 US more than the 5 GB model, if you plan to use or purchase any of the accessories as we explained above, the 10 GB is clearly a better option.

Apple didn't really surprise me with their effective design with the release of the iPod, but what was surprising was the way that Apple is able to execute. Even though they were, in my opinion, "late" to enter the Windows market, they were able to do it with a product that users will want to buy. Will Apple enlist any converts to the MAC platform with their release of the iPod? I don't know about that. One thing is for certain, however. People need to pay more attention to what Apple is doing, because they got it absolutely right with the iPod.

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