What is noticeable is how much thicker the 160GB Classic is than the 80GB model. The latter's a svelte 1.1cm at its thickest point, and less at the edges, where the curves make it seem thinner. The 160GB Classic is only 0.3cm thicker, according to Apple's numbers, but it looks much more than that. It isn't, but at a glance you'd swear it was twice the thickness of the 80GB model.
Apple's iPod Classic: still shiny, still thin
The Classic's screen size - 2.5in across and 320 x 240 pixels in resolution - is the same as last year's 5G iPod and again backlit by LED to help conserve battery power. Apple's newest earphones are included, along with a USB 2.0 cable - this time with a slightly more compact dock connector, not that that matters much - and an adaptor for Apple's universal dock system. Once again, there's no iTunes CD, but the software's just a download away.
Turning the Classic on really rings in the changes. Fresh from the iPhone, Apple has re-purposed its graphic designers' work for the new iPods. The updated iPod user interface doesn't simply borrow the iPhone's visual style, it clearly works the same way, albeit through the clickwheel rather than a touch-sensitive display.
Click on a displayed world clock face, for instance, and up pops a slider with 'Add' at one end and 'Delete' at the other. Sliding your thumb on the clickwheel moves the selector back and forth between these two choices, but what you really want to do is move it the selector by sliding your finger on the screen.
Powered on, the standard iPod colour menu now fills just the left half the screen, with the right-hand side devoted to graphics. The text is again rendered in smooth, bold lettering, while the images are given that grey gradient background tint and vaguely glassy looking iconography familiar to anyone who's seen a Steve Jobs keynote speech. Interestingly, the menu bar casts a drop-shadow onto the image space, clearly implying a visual hierarchy between the two.
Apple's iPod Classic UI: iPhones affectations
The pictures the iPods displays are context sensitive - move the cursor down the list and the images change. Top of the menu is the 'Music' sub-menu, initially showing a bold 'No Music' icon and message, but quickly replaced with a dynamic slideshow of album art once you copy over some tracks.
"Incidentally the new nano coped much better with this."
Which is rather strange; I'm sure the people that do such things pulled them both apart and found the same (Samsung) CPU in the two machines. Oh well.
Wait for version 2!
The processor in this is terribly slow and really can't cope with the interface.
It chugs through menus, and coverflow feels like scrolling through molasses.
If you should dare and try to scroll through with coverflow with a song playing (I'm always searching for the next song to play) it will start to Porky Pig through the song you're listening to: pppeeerrggger-dddddeeerggggerrrr
Incidentally the new nano coped much better with this.
I'm looking to replace my ageing 4G 20Gb, but the new nano while splendid is too small (storage-wise), and I would not pay money for the Classic in this state.
What do I do now? When's the next refresh due?
@ Scott re compression
Few people own sound equipment advanced enough to to be able to project the difference between AAC @ 192 and CD audio - even fewer have the ear to tell the difference if they did have the equipment. My point wast that the real weak point in digal audio reproduction is the DAC, not the data loss in the compression format. Without a high end DAC, the extra fidelity of CD quality audio is wasted. In fact what people often think they are hearing as imperfections in the compression format of tunes on their iPods, is actually the result of the DACs interpretation of the uncompressed binary stream. So carrying around lossless tunes on an iPod is just plain silly.
I do agree that good headphones are a worthwhile investment though - although I'm not sure that picking ear wax out of Etymotics is everyone's cup of tea!
Actually on a related rant - another real kick in the arse sound wise is the recent practice of boosting the volume on tracks and using compression to clip the waveform, in order to have louder recording then the next guy (aka the loudness wars). CDs are getting hotter and hotter and the sound quality is plummeting. I can see a market emerging for the old CD re-releases from the 80's / early 90's with no crazy wave compression.
I also just upgraded from a 3rd Gen 20GB. Really like being able to play the odd video (although I don't like the way I can't categorise tv show/movie/music video myself), also the 160GB storage is ace.
There are more UI inconsistencies than the review noted. I love the 24-hour clock, and also have the time set to be in the menu bar.
So I start some music, put the ipod out on my desk at work in front of me and this bloody clock comes up! Oh great. It shows me that it's playing something, the battery charge and the 12-hour clock. Even though everything else on the iPod is set to 24-hour, this is 12-hour... great. The worst part is that I don't want to see the time by looking at it (or if I do, it's in the menu bar) - I want to see WHAT'S PLAYING! but noooooo there's a screensaver now. That's great. Can't turn it off either... =(
Nice but ill be even better when v1.1 software is released...
I've just upgraded from a 20GB 3rd gen to a black 160GB classic, noticeably nicer UI and certainly got lots more room. Am using Sennheiser CX-300 headphones (black to match) and am really enjoying it.
My only complaints are more to do with the way that apple seem to do digital upgrades to their product lines without notice. I very nearly got stuck with an 80GB 5G which I'd bought in advance of my birthday but managed to take it back and get a classic from the apple store. (Also a slight issue with an email telling me that they'd dropped the price of my headphones by £20 received the day that mine arrived - nice apple refunded the difference though). Doesn't exactly encourage early adopters...