After awarding Apple's iPod Classic and iPod Nano an 8 out of 10 rating over on CNET Reviews, I think it's fair to say that I think both products are exceptional. Still, the iPod is not for everybody. If you're thinking about using that $100 iPhone credit toward a shiny new Nano or Classic, here are five reasons that might give you pause.
5. iTunes 7.4 is required
Requiring the latest version of iTunes might not seem like such a big deal, but if your computer doesn't play friendly with the latest build of iTunes--you're screwed. iTunes 7.4 requires OSX 10.3.9 or later for Mac users, and Windows XP or 32-bit editions of Windows Vista for the PC.
4. No more built-in video output
Gone are the days when you could just plug a $10 minijack AV cable into the headphone output and play photos and videos directly to your TV. While video output is still supported, Apple would now like you to purchase either a $50 Universal Dock or $50 Component AV Cable to enable the feature. The good news is that for the extra cost, the video output resolution for the iPod Classic can reach up to 480p (720x480), better than the output resolution of the 5G Video iPod.
3. Video accessory compatibility
While Apple's 30-pin iPod dock connection hasn't changed, some video accessories made for the 5G Video iPod are not compatible with the iPod Classic or iPod Nano. In fact, according to iLounge, most video-enabled speaker systems made for the Video iPod will not be able to take advantage of the iPod Classic's or Nano's TV output capabilities. Popular iPod-ready portable video displays, such as the Sonic Impact Video-55, are also incompatible. The reason behind all the fuss is Apple's recent insistence on requiring authentication chips in products made by licensed third-party vendors. Without the chip, the video output capabilities of the latest generation of iPod's will remain locked.
2. iPod Touch
Sure, the new Nano and Classic have a cool new GUI, but the coolest interface of all belongs to the as yet unreleased iPod Touch. Yes, the 'iPhone without the phone' (or camera, or full-fledged calendar sync) ships out at the very end of this month, and it is undoubtedly the most gee-whiz iPod of them all.
1. Archos 605 WiFi
Between you and me, the 160GB Archos 605 WiFi delivers what I really wanted from the new iPod. The 605 WiFi is a high-capacity, touch screen navigating, wireless video downloading, 800x480 resolution having, DRM-WMA playing, drag-and-drop file transferring, portable media player. Sure the iPod Touch will get you more chicks, but the Archos 605 WiFi is a celibate media-hoarding nerd's dream come true.
Despite my whimpering, both the iPod Nano and iPod Classic really are beautifully executed products. I'm just playing devil's advocate here to illustrate that the new iPods, though great, are by no means perfect. Still, if you think I'm just being a hater, sound off in the talkback section below. If you think I'm not being hard enough, then here's your chance to extend this Top 5 into a Top 100.