Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The new video iPod - or iPod video

I checked out the new video-enabled iPod at CompUSA. I believe "video-enabled" is the proper term because the immediate previous iPod is apparently capable of video but the feature has been turned off by Apple who, naturally, are interested in exercising maximum control over "user experience." They certainly wouldn't want you to suffer video on the smaller screen, of the previous (4th generation?) model, right? That's Apple for you -- always looking for the user.

Anyway, the VE iPod is a beauty. It's design is more in line with that of the iPod nano than was the 4G iPod. The screen looks big, although it is just a mite larger than that of iPod 4G.

The top surface of the iPod VE is flat, like the Nano's, and it has relatively sharp edges, unlike all previous fullsize iPods which have always had smooth, rounded edges. The smooth edges made them very comfortable to hold in the palm. The iPod VE is thinner and lighter than its predecessor. Lighter is good, so I have no complaints on that account. It is not, however, quite as comfortable to hold in the palm. Smooth is good, sharp is bad, in this department, anyway. And the thickness of the old iPod was optimal -- there really was no need to make it thinner, or sharpen its edges. I can see why the edges were made sharper -- to accommodate a larger screen.

So we lost something, and gained something in the redesign. Oh, the scroll wheel is a mite smaller too. The larger scroll wheel is easier to use. I found the nano's tiny scrollwheel quite useless for playing games -- I couldn't scroll fast enough. Not that playing games should be the primary function ... but, here again we see how we give up something (a usable scroll wheel) to get something (smaller device).

Design is always a compromise. What compromises do you plan to make today?

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