Jen's Musings

Friday, January 21, 2005

Mp3 Mutterings

There are several noteworthy news items that have come about in the past week or so. The first being the new Apple iPod Shuffle. This Mp3 player about the size of pack of JuicyFruit is Apple's answer to the masses who adore flash memory-based Mp3 players (or for people who don't want to shell out $250 for a mini). The Shuffle comes in two models, a 512 MB version for a mere $99, and a 1GB version for $149. The Shuffle is already a success because there is a nearly 6 week long wait to get higher capacity version. Flash-memory Mp3 players have traditionally had one advantage over hard-drive based players: there are no moving parts, thus they don't skip. This would make them the ideal music delivery system for athletes and people on the go.... or are they? What most people don't know is that the regular iPod and iPod mini both feature a 25 minute memory cache. The hard drive only spins for a few seconds at a time every few minutes to re-load the cache. That's pretty good anti-skip protection if you ask me. The hard drives of these products only spin I've had my pink mini since Christmas, and I've given it quite a beating at the gym and it has never skipped once. So if you can't decide between the Shuffle and the Mini, pick the Mini because it's very unlikely to skip, comes in 5 different colors, has a higher capacity, and has a display.

Next on the agenda, Sony has admitted that their stance on Mp3 players was wrong. Finally! Until last December, Sony didn't have a single hard-drive Mp3 player that ACTUALLY PLAYED MP3's!!! The "iPod killer" NW-HD was anything but because only music format it used was it's proprietary ATRAC format (which stands for Adaptive Transform Accustic Coding). So a person such as myself who already had 5 GB of Mp3's on their computer from the glory days of Napster (don't steal music), would have to go through a lengthy process to convert all the Mp3's to ATRAC before transferring them to the device. That's bad because it just eats up precious hard drive space storing duplicate files. Although Apple has its proprietary music format (AAC - which are actually MPEG4 files, but please don't ask me what AAC stands for. Best guess: annoying apple codex), iPods have always been able to play Mp3's. So, good job Sony for finally realizing they made a mistake. Maybe they should just focus their hand-held device energy on the PSP. I have $200 burning a hole in my pocket just dying to pre-order it!


Post a Comment

<< Home