Magazine article Newsweek

The New iPod

Magazine article Newsweek

The New iPod

Article excerpt

Byline: Steven Levy

Veteran Podsters understand that at least once a year Apple performs a feat that at once infuses them with dread and delight: an iPod upgrade. The delight comes from a new look and new capabilities. The dread comes from the realization that you're a step behind the cutting edge and must consider whether to buy your way back on it.

And here it goes again. The considerably tweaked fourth-generation iPod will roll out this week, and NEWSWEEK got an advance peek. It looks a bit different, operates more efficiently, has a few more features and costs less. Here are the highlights.

The click wheel. The iPod keeps getting slimmer and more streamlined. While the initial version had a relatively boxy feel, subsequent versions have been curvier and smaller. This one is about a millimeter thinner and, more significantly, eliminates the control buttons that sat under the display screen. Instead, it uses a "click wheel," where the controls are placed on the compass points of the circular touchpad that lets you scroll through menus. This is an innovation carried over from the diminutive iPod Mini. "It was developed out of necessity for the Mini, because there wasn't enough room [for the buttons]," says Steve Jobs. "But the minute we experienced it we just thought, 'My God, why didn't we think of this sooner?' "

More efficient menus. There's less thumbing required to get to your favorite stuff. "Music" is a first-level entry, and now a single click initiates the popular technique of shuffling your library for playback.

New features. …

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