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Unless you have been living under a rock, in a cave, far underground on a moon orbiting Uranus, you will by now be aware of the iPod, the must have gadget of the year, and arguably of the decade! iPod was the biggest-selling consumer item last Christmas and accounts for a sizable percentage of all MP3 players sold. The reason for this is quite simple: iPods are the best MP3 players in the whole world. And now, Jonathan Ive and the team of genius designers at Apple have brought us the diminutive and exceedingly gorgeous sibling - iPod Mini.
The engineers at Apple somehow managed to squeeze a 4GB hard drive - which can hold 1000 songs - into an anodized aluminium case which is smaller than virtually every mobile phone on earth. The crystal clear 1.67 inch (diagonal) backlit screen is recessed into the case to avoid scratches and displays songs, artists, albums and more. As with its big brother, the iPod Mini offers up to 25 minutes of skip-protection (which makes it ideal for running and other exercise.) The battery life is an extremely respectable 8 hours, so you aren't paying a penalty for all this miniaturization. In fact, all the functionality of the original 5GB iPod has been squeezed into a case which is over 30% smaller. Colour us impressed!
One of the most ingenious solutions in making the iPod mini really, really tiny is the way the acclaimed scroll-wheel has been brilliantly refined and redesigned. The boffins at Apple had the brilliant idea of putting the buttons under the scroll-wheel, now known as a 'click-wheel' - this not only makes the very best use of the limited space available but makes one-handed browsing even easier, quicker and more intuitive than with the original scroll-wheel.
iPod mini is destined to become the ultimate accessory for all clued-in fashionistas, and Apple have cannily made it available in five colours: silver, gold, green, pink or blue. (buy one for each outfit, eh?)
Designed to give you the best portable digital music experience ever, the iPod delivers the highest sound quality from input to output. iPod supports the most popular audio formats - including MP3 (up to 320 kbps), MP3 Variable Bit Rate (VBR) and WAV - giving you access to a wide range of audio file types. And iPod is the only portable digital music player that supports the AAC format used by the iTunes Music Store for Mac and Windows. AAC features CD-quality audio in smaller file sizes than MP3, so that even more songs fit on your iPod.
But wait, there's more! So much more. In addition to being a super-fine MP3 player, iPod mini also has many PDA-style functions which allow you to organise your life more efficiently, such as contacts, calendars and to-do lists. You can even download restaurant reviews, news articles and so on to read at your leisure. The built-in alarm allows you to fall asleep or wake up to music, and the four built-in games (Music Quiz, Solitaire, Brick and Parachute) mean you will never be without a much needed distraction when sitting in your dentist's waiting room
iPod mini includes sleek white earbud headphones with a wide frequency response range for high-quality sound. Neodymium drivers make iPod headphones five times more powerful than other headphones, which often use aluminum, cobalt or ceramic drivers. They so distinctive that your fellow commuters will know that you are part of the growing legions of discerning 'pod-people'.
How 'plug-and-play' should be done
No matter whether you use a Windows PC or a Mac, iPod mini and iTunes allow you to synchronize your music and data effortlessly, without having to tweak settings each time you transfer files between your iPod and your computer. It literally couldn't be easier. Simply add new music to iTunes by downloading new music from the web or ripping a CD to MP3 or AAC. Once you plug in your iPod mini, it starts to download these changes. You don't even have to press a button. This seamless integration and ease-of-use is just one more reason why iPods seem to be taking over the world!
Fast and Furious FireWire
1000 songs might sound like a lot, but if you are anything like us you will be wanting to change the music on your iPod mini fairly often. Thanks to blisteringly fast FireWire (or USB 2.0) this needn't be a stressful, time-consuming process. In fact, iPod mini can transfer an entire CD in as little as ten seconds, via it's handy dock connector. In addition, your battery will be recharged each time you connect to your computer - as long as you keep it regularly 'topped-up' you should rarely experience the music-free misery of a dead-battery.
iPod is (almost) universally acclaimed as the finest MP3 player in the world, but it is more than that - it has become a cultural icon and a design classic. iPod owners tend to be overcome with an evangelical fervour when talking about their favourite gadget, and the iPod mini is destined to win a further army of admirers. Resistance is futile, join the iPod-People. Join ussss!