iPod Photo quick review

jsw

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My friendly neighborhood Apple Store had the new iPod Photos in stock (40GB and 60GB models on display, only one 40GB and three 60GB left in stock as of an hour ago). I played with both for a few minutes each. As expected, the 40GB and 60GB versions are identical in size and, although technically bigger and heavier than the 40GB 4G iPod, they feel the same - the differences are negligible and unnoticeable unless you have a 4G in one hand and a Photo in the other, and even then you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference with your eyes closed (I tried).

The screen is amazing. Incredibly clear. In non-photo mode, the improved resolution makes all the text (as expected) look much sharper. There is no real use of color to add interface capabilities outside of photos and some minor tweaks to some of the apps and settings, but it all looks much better anyway.

Photo access is stunningly fast. The 'pods had thousands of images on them (demo from Apple or supplied by that store, I don't know) and scrolling was very fast in thumbnail (or, I guess, mini-thumbnail - where tens of images are on screen at once) mode. Scrolling in full-screen mode was just stunning. Essentially instantaneous. Very, very, very fast - I was expecting lag, and there wasn't any to speak of. The scroll wheel lets you fly through pics as fast as you can fly through song titles. Just amazing. Speaking of songs, seeing album art as a song played was a really nice touch. Also, the photos looked a lot better on the 2" screen than I thought they would. Yes, they were small - but big "enough" and very sharp.

All in all, I rate them a home run. Thumbs up. 5 apples. Whatever. If I hadn't just bought a 40GB 4G, I'd have one in my hands right now.
 

jsw

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Jovian9 said:
Sounds great. Thanks for the review. I just sold my 4G 40GB on eBay today. I'm going to order one of these ASAP.
You'll love it. If I may be so bold, how much did yours sell for? I'm considering doing the same thing....
 

SiliconAddict

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Jun 19, 2003
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GRRRR. I ordered my 60GB about 5 minutes after Job's little presentation. First thing I did was call all 3 Apple stores in the area. None had them in stock. So I ordered online. I'll suposedly get mine the third. shipping from China or some place. WTF? Why is it that Apple has this nice cache of iPods sitting around to ship to their stores but none ready to ship in the states. Yah its only 6 more days but still. If I had known I would have waited.
 

SiliconAddict

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atif.muhammad said:
yea the iPod photo might be amazing good. but in 2yrs time, the battery will be so crap so wont be able to switch it on

That's what the 2 year Applecare is for. And talking to a rep at the Apple store I don't have to get it for 6 months. So I'll have 2.5 years of coverage and after that its $100 or so to replace. *shrugs* All MP3 players, PDAs, and laptops have this issue. There is no way to get around it.
 

johnnyjibbs

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Sep 18, 2003
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Interesting there is no lag.. Do you reckon these things have got RAM in them to cache the images? Or maybe it uses the flash skip protection to cache the images? I wish they could do that to iPhoto!
 

iJon

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Feb 7, 2002
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SiliconAddict said:
That's what the 2 year Applecare is for. And talking to a rep at the Apple store I don't have to get it for 6 months. So I'll have 2.5 years of coverage and after that its $100 or so to replace. *shrugs* All MP3 players, PDAs, and laptops have this issue. There is no way to get around it.
I don't think that is accurate. You have until the end of the 1 year warranty to purchase AppleCare for the iPod. Once you buy that you get a extra 1 year on your warranty, bringing your total to a 2 year warranty no matter when you buy it. Someone needs to give him a lesson on AppleCare.

iJon
 

cluthz

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Jun 15, 2004
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The iPoh photo is great, but i don't think its a mature product yet.
I'll guess we see it delivered with diffentent cables to connect different models of digital cameras. I really like that is has video out, but hopefully we kan have more features uing this connection.

The thing that is making me want an "photopod" is the larger capacity, since i own well over 40GB music.

Lets hope these features has arrived when my still-working-after-some-soldering-sessions 1st Gen 10GB ipod plays its last song..
 

jsw

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johnnyjibbs said:
Interesting there is no lag.. Do you reckon these things have got RAM in them to cache the images? Or maybe it uses the flash skip protection to cache the images? I wish they could do that to iPhoto!
I think that the software just does an amazing job of fetching the images - note that they're pretty small - and maybe uses the cache to some extent. But, given the speed at which I was scrolling through them, immediately after playing music, I can't see how they could have been cached. Could be wrong,though.
 

jsw

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atif.muhammad said:
yea the iPod photo might be amazing good. but in 2yrs time, the battery will be so crap so wont be able to switch it on
By then, I'd be on my 3rd iPod since the original purchase, and someone else would be dealing with the battery issue. ;)
 

Chaszmyr

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Aug 9, 2002
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Glad to hear a good review. Unlike others, I think the iPod with a color screen is a great idea (if for no better reason than that it looks better) and I expect it to sell well. It's always good to know that Apple got it right again though, so many other companies screw up good ideas.
 

wordmunger

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Sep 3, 2003
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johnnyjibbs said:
Interesting there is no lag.. Do you reckon these things have got RAM in them to cache the images? Or maybe it uses the flash skip protection to cache the images? I wish they could do that to iPhoto!
Actually, the process of syncing with the iPod involves resampling the photo at a MUCH lower resolution. This makes sense, because both TV monitors and the photo iPod have very low resolution. Here's the quote from the NY Times review:

Before shuttling your photos off to the iPod, the iTunes software does quite a bit of preprocessing, including scaling down your huge multimegapixel digital pictures to fit the iPod's two-inch screen. Because the resulting files are so tiny, Apple says that up to 25,000 of them can fit on the iPod Photo. (You can choose to include the full-resolution photos on the iPod's hard drive, too, which is handy when you want to transport them from one computer to another. In that case, of course, the iPod holds far fewer than 25,000.)
So the iPod is so fast because it's only using tiny images.
 

jsw

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Chaszmyr said:
Glad to hear a good review. Unlike others, I think the iPod with a color screen is a great idea (if for no better reason than that it looks better) and I expect it to sell well. It's always good to know that Apple got it right again though, so many other companies screw up good ideas.
I agree (well, obviously ;)).

I don't think that the iPod Photo is the definitive final evolution of the iPod and that Apple will shut down iPod R&D. I don't think it's perfect, and I think the ability to directly import and view photos would be a welcome improvement. But, looking at (barring discounts) US$399 for a 40GB 4G or US$499 for the same system with a color screen (and a case), it's a no-brainer to me. ~2X the resolution, plus color, plus TV out. And, of course, you can get the photo importing capability for just $999 more in the form of an iBook. :D
 

AmigoMac

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Aug 5, 2003
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Mustafa said:
Yep, mine's on its way. ETA Nov 9 or earlier.
Mine too... is on the way, I ordered within the first minute the apple store came back online after the keynote... but why so long? why? 4500 Songs & 2500 photos waiting for you babe... ;)
 

johnnyjibbs

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wordmunger said:
Actually, the process of syncing with the iPod involves resampling the photo at a MUCH lower resolution. This makes sense, because both TV monitors and the photo iPod have very low resolution. Here's the quote from the NY Times review:

** QUOTING NY TIMES:
Before shuttling your photos off to the iPod, the iTunes software does quite a bit of preprocessing, including scaling down your huge multimegapixel digital pictures to fit the iPod's two-inch screen. Because the resulting files are so tiny, Apple says that up to 25,000 of them can fit on the iPod Photo. (You can choose to include the full-resolution photos on the iPod's hard drive, too, which is handy when you want to transport them from one computer to another. In that case, of course, the iPod holds far fewer than 25,000.) **

So the iPod is so fast because it's only using tiny images.
Sure that is probably the solution. This makes sense because then you have more room for your music. However, if you had no music and just photos, the 40GB model would still be able to store 40,000 1MB images (or nearly that amount ;) ) and a 1MB image files is roughly a 3 mega pixel image, give or take. So, even at full resolution, you should be able to get thousands of full photo images on, seeing as I reckon the average person has 10-15GB or less worth of music.
 

t300

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Apr 10, 2004
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Apple Store SoHo literally had like 50 the day after...All 60gb, though...

Good try Apple, but I'm not falling for that! 40 is enough for me.
 

jsw

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johnnyjibbs said:
Sure that is probably the solution. This makes sense because then you have more room for your music. However, if you had no music and just photos, the 40GB model would still be able to store 40,000 1MB images (or nearly that amount ;) ) and a 1MB image files is roughly a 3 mega pixel image, give or take. So, even at full resolution, you should be able to get thousands of full photo images on, seeing as I reckon the average person has 10-15GB or less worth of music.
Yeah, I wonder if the "25K images" quote includes the full-res versions or is a limit to the file system's ability to store files or whatnot, since, by my calculations, you could fit 25K 220x176x3(bytes per pixel) byte images (->114K each for uncompressed images - the fastest way to load them) in under 3GB of space, implying 500K thumbnails on a 60GB 'pod.
 

johnnyjibbs

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jsw said:
Yeah, I wonder if the "25K images" quote includes the full-res versions or is a limit to the file system's ability to store files or whatnot, since, by my calculations, you could fit 25K 220x176x3(bytes per pixel) byte images (->114K each for uncompressed images - the fastest way to load them) in under 3GB of space, implying 500K thumbnails on a 60GB 'pod.
Yes, you went one step further. I'd imagine the 25k thing is a file limit on the iPod, regardless of capacity. You're probably right.

(Mind you, it's strangely also the same number used by Apple when promoting iPhoto 4.. even though iPhoto is not limited by this to my knowledge).
 

wordmunger

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johnnyjibbs said:
Sure that is probably the solution. This makes sense because then you have more room for your music. However, if you had no music and just photos, the 40GB model would still be able to store 40,000 1MB images (or nearly that amount ;) ) and a 1MB image files is roughly a 3 mega pixel image, give or take. So, even at full resolution, you should be able to get thousands of full photo images on, seeing as I reckon the average person has 10-15GB or less worth of music.
Well, actually, when I take a photo at the highest resolution on my 3.3 megapixel camera, it takes up 9.1 MB of memory, so that would "only" be about 4,000 images (or roughly three times the amount I currently have on my computer). But I do see your point. I wonder if there is some artificial limit on the number of pictures. All the Apple site says about it is this: " photo capacity is based on iPod-viewable photos transferred from iTunes."
 

jsw

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wordmunger said:
All the Apple site says about it is this: " photo capacity is based on iPod-viewable photos transferred from iTunes."
Which would be the small (iPod-viewable) images - I guess (as speculated above) that the limit is due likely to iTunes, since the iPod image size is unlikely to exceed 150K each even if Apple uses the alpha channel and does zero compression (which makes sense) and adds additional information to each image. Even at, say, 250K - which is too large to be true - you're looking at a storage capacity of 160K images on the 40GB.
 

BigEvan23

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Jun 17, 2004
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Uploading my photos right now.

As we speek iTunes is compressing my photos to upload onto my 40gb that I recieved 20 mins ago from FedEx. Ill post pictures and a review later on today!

Oooh its done!