The word iPod is more than enough to start a gossip. I am not sure how many Indian users own an Apple iPod or intend to buy one in the future, but there is no denying the fact that Apple is one of the best makers of portable digital players. Being a pioneer in large capacity audio players ranging from 10 GB to 40 GB, Apple finally decided to think small and has come out with its 4th generation iPod, dubbed the iPod Mini. This 4 GB player claims to store a thousand songs in AAC format making Apple fans the world over go crazy. Finally, we get to lay our hands on what I can certainly term a small beautiful beast.
The 4 GB iPod Mini that we received had a striking gold shell, though it also comes in pink, blue, silver and fluorescent green. The predominant white shell has been ignored this time. The 1.67-inch (diagonal) grayscale LCD screen (138 x 110 pixel resolution) has a vivid backlight that adds an extra sparkle to this beauty. Standing 3.6 inches tall and 2 inches wide as against the earlier versions of 4.1 x 2.4 inches, this 102g player is just 0.5 inches thick and fits easily in your pocket or can be worn alongside your belt with the clip provided, the latter being a better option.
The package included a USB 2.0 connector cable, a FireWire connector cable, earphones, an extra pair of earphone form covers, power adapter, belt clip, manual and the CD containing the iTunes 4.5 software (version 4.7 released yesterday). The docking station has not been provided this time, but you can get it as an optional accessory.
Enclosed in an aluminum casing with rounded edges, the player's most striking feature is the new Click Wheel for navigating through the menu and playlists. The earlier iPods had buttons for these functions. The click wheel features the Pause and Previous/Next track button that doubles up as the Rewind/Forward button. Trust me; the wheel is an amazing invention for such a tiny device. Being very sensitive, a slight turn of the wheel can scroll through the entire song collection.
On downloading the songs to the iPod Mini using the iTunes software, the player quickly sorted them in the respective categories using the ID3 tags. Make sure the ID3 tags are properly filled before you hot-sync the player with the PC. Music formats supported include the proprietary AAC (16 - 320 Kbps), MP3 (32 - 320 Kbps), Apple Lossless, WAV and AIFF. The player has 25 minutes of skip protection.