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Reader Comments on Apple's iPodReturn to News Page

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Reader Experience with Apple iPod
(and Links to iPod related software)

Last Updated: 1/14/2002
Archive of iPod Software Updaters/Listing of Fixes/Bugs: (from the 1/14/2002 www.xlr8yourmac.com news page)
iPoding.com notes that the iPod Updater v1.04 reintroduces the Whine in silent passages of MP3s that was fixed in 1.03 (1.03 was pulled quicking after reports of problems from B&W G3 owners). Not all users will be able to hear this noise. One reader thought it was related to VBR MP3's. (Apple has a Kbase doc titled iPod: Noise in Silent Passages noting the issue.)
There's also a link at iPoding.com to an iPod Updater Archive page with the v1.03 updater included. The page has notes on each version as far as fixes/bugs, etc. The comments on that page said that 1.03 fixed the whine, but added artifacts at the high end.

iPod Updater 1.0.4 (1/7/2002) (Note: V1.02 Fixed the issue of waking from sleep with low battery power reportedly, v1.04 solves issues seen with 1.03 which was quickly pulled.) See the readme and download links at Apple's iPod Software Updater 1.0.4: Information and Download.

How to Copy MP3 files from the iPod to your Mac: There's a freeware utility called Xpod available at http://bitcom.ch/products-xpod-e.html.
(Other copy tips from the 11/13/2001 www.xlr8yourmac.com news page)

" Just wanted to report that my experience copying MP3's from my new iPod to my Pismo was a success. All that's required is using a utility like TinkerTool to allow hidden files to be shown. Afterwards, you'll see a hidden directory called iPod Control. Inside there is the Music directory and all of my songs seem to be arranged in subdirectories named F00, F01, F02, etc.

I just dragged the Fxx folders to my laptop and added them to the iTunes library. QED.
Ed A."

(11/9/2001 comments follow) Several days ago a reader sent comments and a few photos on using Apple's iPod MP3 player. (Due to the volume of mail and workload I'm late posting this.)

" Heya Mike, I got a sample iPOD from a news journalist for the evening (saturday) and have to return it in the morning (Monday). This unit is a very kewl to use, The interface is very simple and fast once you get accustom to the built-in menus. The LCD was bright and clear to view. Battery life was also very good.

My main compliant of the iPOD is that the white face edge is very sharp to the touch. It won't cut, But I would have expect better from apple.

Also the iPOD lacks a lanyard for some type of wrist strap. Bad move on Apple. It owner had already drop it once while picking up something from the floor. It was in his breast pocket.

Furthermore the unit would not boot a Ti Book with 9.2.1 installed the drive portion. Startup Disk CP saw it as a available disk. No boot. Also the unit was prone to crashing every few hours. I would have to hold the menu & pause button for 11 seconds for it to reboot Overall the unit looks like another hit for apple except for it is 90 DAY WARRANTY and lack of lanyard. David"

The 90 day warranty is disappointing for a $399 product - granted some appliances have that for labor but parts are usually 1 yr. I know I drop my cellphone several times a month from having it in my shirt pocket... I'd definitely be more careful with a $399 iPod.

I asked David for more info such as if the iPod survived the drop and if the 'sharp edge' he mentioned was what appears as a channel on the front of the iPod in his 2nd photo below. He later wrote:

Sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner. I was a away from my mac and out of touch.
I can't say that the ipod has a tunnel on the edge of the surface. I use to work in the manufacturing industry. The surface edge of the ipod was unbroken. Traditionally this would not be an acceptable part to supply a customer with, unless specified by the customer. Normally the the edge would be broken either with a deburr knife or sandpaper. The other possible reason for the sharp edge is that the outfit that machined (milling machine) the OD did not either have the correct milling program (CNC) or tooling to machine a radius on the edge. It had to say what Apple or the outfit that manufactured the ipod was doing. Hopefully future ipod units will not have this sharp edge on them.

[I would expect the iPod housing to be molded rather than a machined part. For my reply to another reader's comments that the housing was machined - see below-Mike]

As to your inquiry about being dropped. It is unknown as what kind of surface the ipod was dropped on. I could not see any visible damage on any of the corners when I received said unit.

But I will say that the ipod is prone to scratches. I noticed immediately that the ipod had scratches and nicks on the menu surface from being withdrawn from pocket which had some coins and so dimms. Don't ask. I had iPod while at work.

[I asked if he tried booting with the Option key-Mike]
And yes the Option key was held down at boot. Nada.

Most consumers should start seeing their iPOD by today or tomorrow. Oh yeah, The ipod I got to check out last saturday had a version rev. of either 1.3b or 1.8b in the about menu when I got a hold of it. Oh yeah, I'll buy my ipod at circuit city and buy their extended warranty program through them.
David "

Since this was an earlir iPod and I think the iPod FAQ at Apple noted it was bootable, perhaps the production models will be (for Macs that can boot from FW drives.)

Another reader wrote about an "easter egg" in the iPod. (I think an Italian web site noted this last week, but in case anyone missed it.)

" Just hoping to be the first to write in about this one.. I had my first chance to play with an iPod today, and I stumpled accross a useless but fun easter egg!

Go to the "About" screen in the iPod and hold down the "Enter" button for about 5 seconds

Up pops brick out! You have your paddle and the ball is already in motion! Cool!
s Dan Jensen"

Several readers noted their iPods were shipped recently (one said it was shipped from Taiwan).

iPod photo 1

iPod photo 2

For more info, specs and even QT movies on the iPod, see Apple's product page.

iPod Related Apple Docs:

iPod Related Software: (other than iTunes2 of course which it ships with)


My comments on why the housing is probably molded:
I've worked in engineering and mfg for over 20 years (until a few years back) - I would never expect a mass produced product like this to be machined.

My father also worked as a Tool and Die maker for 40 years - he made molds/dies for very very intricate parts - much more complex than the iPod's housing. I would bet that it's molded - not machined, but that 's my opinion and based on many years of experience and from my father's work which is exactly in this area.

Cost wise (and from the shape) there's no justification for such a relatively simple housing to be machined. You should see some of the intricate molds my father made for the company he worked for (a telephone company - very intricate plastic pieces far far more complex than the iPod's simple housing). Even in their smaller production runs, they always made molds due to the much higher cost of machined parts.
The iPod housing is trivial in complexity to the parts he made molds for. A machined part would be far more expensive and not necessary
- there's no real reason to do that and I seriously doubt Apple would have chosen that method unless some early prototypes were done that way. (Maching is common for prototypes, but for mass production molds are made due to massive cost savings. Of course the mold/die for the housing is usually machined.)
Mike

Other iPod Related Items:

DrBott's iPod Auto Charger and iPod Connection Kit: (from the 11/20/2001 www.xlr8yourmac.com news page)

(press release) "Dr. Bott is proud to announce Auto Charger for iPod(tm) and iPod(tm) Connection Kit.

Dr. Bott's Auto Charger for iPod(tm) ensures that you are never far from a full battery nor will you be caught on the road without the power you need to keep your music flowing. Auto Charger for iPod(tm) connects to the standard 12 Volt DC cigarette lighter found in most any car and provides power to the FireWire port of the iPod(tm).
http://www.drbott.com/prod/ipodauto.html
Availability: Dr. Bott's Auto Charger for iPodô retails for $24.95 and will be shipping in mid-December.

Dr. Bott's iPod(tm) Connection Kit includes everything you might need to bring your music anywhere you might want it. iPod(tm) Connection Kit provides most every option for connecting to iPod's 3.5-mm stereo headphone jack to automobile stereo systems, home stereo systems, mic input of computers and other devices, boom boxes, and clock radios. The kit includes an Auto Charger, FM Transmitter, various audio cables and a carry pouch.
http://www.drbott.com/prod/ipodkit.html
Availability: Dr. Bott's iPod Connection Kit retails for $49.95 and will be shipping in December."

I hope their FM transmitter works better (higher transmit power) than the one I owned (and returned to Radio Shack). Weak transmit signal - only one free station here, and it picked up noise from the car's ignition system, etc. - useless... (other readers noted similar experiences as noted in the news a week or two back).



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