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iPod, the Swiss Army Knife of Digital Devices

Apple's ultra-cool iPod is a great tool for professionals, too! By Paulo de Andrade
The iPod is about the size of a deck of cards.
Apple's iPod is a true object of desire. It's definitely a device I would expect to be carrying around this new millennium: very futuristic in design and features. But why am I writing about an MP3 player for this professional publication? Because the iPod, believe it or not, is a great tool that offers a lot more than MP3 playback.

The first thing that people say about the iPod is "so cool!". The next thing they say is "but it?s so expensive!". Well, that's very relative. Personally, I think that the iPod is reasonably priced. It wasn't too long ago that I paid $400 for my first (Palm) Pilot and it offered a small fraction of what the iPod does. Why am I comparing it price wise to a PDA? Because Apple's latest software added some PDA functionality to the iPod. You can now synchronize it to Entourage, the Palm Desktop or OS X's own address book and carry all your contacts with you. And with third-party software (most of it freeware) you can have your appointments, driving directions, daily news, e-mail, notes and more. Best of all, you can enjoy very high quality MP3 music while you access any of those extra functions.

iPod's menu structure makes navigation quick and easy.
There are two models of iPod currently for sale. The 5GB model lists for $399 and the 10GB model for $499. But there's a way (for a limited time, probably) for you to get an iPod directly from Apple for less. If you go to the Apple store on Apple's web site (www.apple.com) and scroll down the page, you'll notice a little "Save" red tag on the left side. Click that and you'll find the refurbished 5GB iPod selling for $339. That's the one I purchased and I couldn't be happier. The little electronic marvel arrived in a sealed box, just like a brand new unit, and carries the same warranty. It was wrapped in the same clear plastic as the new one and everything in the box was new. In fact, opening the iPod box you get treated to the same Apple experience that you have when you open one of their G4 workstation boxes. Everything is about design; a visual and tactile experience that includes all the parts being wrapped like a fine gift with clear plastic. Even the ends of the FireWire cable come wrapped. It truly gives you a sense of pleasure, the feeling that you definitely have something special in your hands.

So what else is so special about the iPod? Besides the things mentioned above, the iPod is also a portable FireWire hard drive. That's right, you get a 5Gb or 10GB hard drive about the same size as a deck of cards (iPod measures 2.43 by 4.02 by 0.78 inches and weighs 6.5 ounces). The transfer rate is very fast and it is the ideal transportation medium for you to carry work-related files around. Even the 5GB model offers plenty of storage. Mine has hundreds of contacts, daily news, some file backups, a decent part of my CD collection (472 songs) and it still has 2.6 GBs of available storage. That's even enough for some short video files that I can exchange with associates. Heck, that's actually the same capacity of 26 Zip disks but several times faster than a Zip drive. And if you don't mind leaving your songs behind, even the 5GB model has enough capacity to carry a full DVD image. Using the iPod as portable data storage is also much faster and a lot more convenient than burning CD-ROMs. Best of all, it fits loosely in a shirt pocket, is self-powered and a lot smaller then a regular FireWire hard drive.

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Related Keywords:iPod, Apple, Special Effects, Mac, Macintosh, editing, FireWire, Portable Storage, DVD

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