I got my iPod yesterday afternoon at work, and though I was busy doing my actual job, I found some time to play around with it and put my music on it. The music on it sounds excellent -- I'd forgotten how good MP3s can sound on a player with a functioning headphone jack. And it really is a triumph of design. I knew iPods were beautiful devices, but it wasn't until I held mine in my hand and used the click-wheel that I realized just how cool they are. One of the first things I did was install Rockbox on the iPod. I have music in a few non-MP3 formats that the iPod won't play natively, and I've been using Rockbox on my iRiver player for about 18 months, so I thought I'd want it on the iPod as well. Unfortunately, Rockbox for the iPod isn't as prime-time ready as it is for the iRiver, and it crashed the iPod a few times last night. It was fine today as I was walking around my neighborhood, but it's nearly impossible to read the display and the OS prevents me from doing cool things like show off my photos and automatically sync podcasts with iTunes. So this afternoon and evening I converted or re-ripped to MP3 my CDs that were in alternate formats on my computer. Now I'm importing all of my music into iTunes and I'm preparing to become a full-fledged iPod/iTunes user.
Maybe my only complaint about the iPod is that Apple doesn't ship it with any kind of protective case. There's a little faux velvet sleeve in the box that keeps the iPod from getting scratched, but in the event of a drop or a fall (like when my cats inevitably knock it off my desk) the sleeve isn't going to be of much help. So on Saturday evening iPod and I went to the Apple store in midtown and I bought it a proper $30 plastic and rubber case. The Apple store itself is a weird place to hang out. It's open 24 hours, which makes me wonder who is in there at 4 AM on a Tuesday. It was crowded with people checking their e-mail and surfing on MacBooks and iMacs, some of them tourists and some locals. And there are iPods everywhere of all makes and models. As much as I like my iPod, the new nano with the curved, brushed metal exterior (like the old iPod Mini) was tempting. All the iPods have music and videos on them, so there's a veritable cacophony of sound. All they need to do is serve alcohol and it would be one of the hippest bars in Manhattan.