U2 iPod Impressions: Better looks, cleaner audio? | iLounge Article

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U2 iPod Impressions: Better looks, cleaner audio?

While the release of a different colored version of an existing product typically isn’t something to get excited about, there’s reason to believe that the iPod U2 Special Edition will be an exception to that rule. Actually, there are a couple of reasons.

Like a number of other recent Apple products - and in no way the fault of the company’s generally superb photographers - the U2 iPod just looks better in person than it does in official publicity shots. For one, Apple’s switch from white to black plastic adds a subtle mirror-like quality to the front of the case, unexpectedly enhancing the iconic appeal of the iPod’s body design. Then there’s the Click Wheel. The white iPod’s use of a gray Click Wheel was more practical than stylish, but the red and white U2 Click Wheel - red background, white letters - is positively more attractive, if not as elegant. U2’s engraved names and the U2 logo on the case’s rear are nothing extraordinary, but the front casing is almost exactly the hint of Mont Blanc we’ve wanted Apple to more fully embrace for some time.

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There aren’t any secrets in the box. Most unfortunately, the U2 iPod didn’t surprise us by coming pre-loaded with any U2 music, such as the band’s newest album, again calling into question whether a last-minute deal fell through before the device’s announcement. The presence of a $50 coupon towards a $149 U2 box set is no consolation prize from our standpoint, either, nor is the included poster which features a set of band photos on one side and a seemingly hasty monologue from U2’s Bono on the other.

Packed-in accessories in the box are otherwise identical to those shipped with 20GB fourth-generation iPods. There’s no Dock, for example (let alone a black one), and the headphones remain Apple’s iconic white. The biggest change is the manual holder that ships on the left side of the box, which is now black rather than white, and in our box was actually filthy with brown dirt or dust streaks when it was opened. Unlike early 20GB and 40GB fourth-generation iPods, some of which were reported to have shipped with adhesive goo and scratches on their front and rear surfaces, the manual holder was the only tarnished component in the U2 iPod’s box, but inexplicably so.

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But there may be some other good news for potential U2 iPod buyers. Preliminary audio testing on our U2 iPod suggests that Apple may have remedied or at least dramatically reduced the presence of the audio defect we’ve previously reported in fourth-generation iPods. While the defect seemed to materialize in only a subset of earlier units, and therefore we’ll need to wait for more reader input before concluding that the defect has been fixed, we haven’t heard it at all in this unit. Please feel free to use this thread to report your findings on this issue.

Our gallery of iPod U2 Special Edition photos can be viewed here.

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Comments

1

ipods can’t come preloaded with music. The DRM doesn’t work that way. Your music has to be in itunes first. So there’s no resaon to be disapointed and you should explain it that way instead of that, the deal allomost feel through bs!!!

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 9:20 AM (CST)

1

Yeah, iTunes doesn’t let you transfer songs from iPod to PC/Mac, so wy would they preload the music?

Looks cool, but why White Ear Buds? and would it kill them to throw in a Dock?

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 10:11 AM (CST)

1

And the other cable’s could have been black to match as well, It’s not like they would have a hard time finding Black Wire!

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 10:13 AM (CST)

1

Actually, the reason the iPods don’t come with music on it is because it isn’t formated. No way to tell if it’s connecting to a mac or pc.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 10:37 AM (CST)

1

Um… being a programmer, i know there are very, very easy ways to get around the whole “can’t preload songs on an iPod” thing.  Saying it’s “not possible” is ignorant.  It can easily be done… afterall, the iPod simply stores what files it has in a database.  At the very *worst* they could flag an entry so that it cannot be removed and then respect that flag during synch.

This is all assumed, of course, that the iPod were to come pre-formatted.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 10:46 AM (CST)

1

I think what we are saying is that Apple’s iPod doesn’t offically allow songs to be transferred from iPod to iTunes.

If they preload songs then they’d have to support it (or offically recommend using a third party solution)

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 10:49 AM (CST)

1

I’m waiting for the iPod Sha Na Na Special Edition.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 11:09 AM (CST)

1

The earphones are white because they are what clue people in that you’re ‘part of the club’. White earphones are the true iconic fashion element of the iPod on the street, not the color of the shell. It’s a wonder to me that someone (*COUGHDELLCOUGH*) hasn’t come out with a device with white earphones…

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 11:12 AM (CST)

1

Perhaps it would have justified the extra $50 a bit more if the purchase came with a coupon valid for $50+ worth of downloads from ITMS. They could still promote U2 as a part of that, but in fact the customer might spend it other ways. How about a contribution to one of Bono’s many charitable works?

I would wager that most fans of U2 who would buy the special edition iPod are somewhat diehard and thus already own most of U2’s collection in one form or another, rendering preloaded songs redundant anyway.

I do like the look.

I understand a Britney Spears edition is in the works. Hot pink, but it doesn’t stay connected to your computer for more than a few days before it moves on.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 11:48 AM (CST)

1

Mine came today, and I definitely agree that pictures do not do this justice.  The finish is a nice glossy black combined with a matte red wheel; it looks great.

And yes, as a die-hard U2 fan, I already have everything so the complete discography box-set does me no good.  Oh well.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 11:53 AM (CST)

1

If someone came out with a device that came with white earphones (and would probably be a white device as well) it would look so much like a rip off, I don’t think a company wants to look like they are TRYING to rip apple’s look off.

The iPod is going to look stupid with white ear phones. But you’d probably want better earphones anyway, now it will be easy to match!

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 11:56 AM (CST)

1

m. sherman, is the backlight still blue? Wouldn’t red be cool?

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 12:00 PM (CST)

1

The music could have been included on a CD in the black manual holder. Or handled as Cranley explained above. Or pre-loaded on a Windows-formatted iPod, given that ~90% of iPod buyers are PC users.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 12:13 PM (CST)

1

croooow,

The backlight is blue.  Yes, red would have been killer, but the blue doesn’t look bad at all.

Also, the white earphones do not actually look as stupid as they sound.  The red/white/black is actually a nice combo.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 12:23 PM (CST)

1

i guess im the only one who finds it funny that ipod users went on for so long how all the other mp3 players were “plain” for being black colored and the ipod was better because it was white.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 3:21 PM (CST)

1

Just got mine last night.  I love the colors.

Although I had trouble formatting it, I was up till 2:00 am till I finally got it working.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 3:38 PM (CST)

1

shiny black plastic is the ultimate WORST for handheld devices—its a scratch-happy fingerprint smudge-factory.  take a good look at your new u2 ipod when you take it out of the box, because thats the first and only time it’ll ever look new… or clean for that matter.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 4:05 PM (CST)

1

I pickedup the U2 Ipod from the Apple Store near my house. I got the $30 discount as my wife is a nursing student, so it was $319 total. I also own the Ipod Photo 40GB but I really love the black/red contrast, very nice.

It DOES scratch VERY easily. I have scrathes already and its been in the case from the moment I opened it. So I bet within a few weeks it will look much worse.

BUT I love it anyway. If I was buying a new Ipod today and didnt own one, I would go with the U2 as I like the colors.

I wish they would of either mae the display glow red, or used teh color screen from the photo Ipod. The Ipod photo’s screen is just amazing.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 4:15 PM (CST)

1

Maybe it should come pre-loaded with White Stripes songs because they’ve nailed the colour scheme perfectly.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 7:13 PM (CST)

1

How did you guys get one?  I looked at the Apple store last week and they didn’t have them.  Should I try again?

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 17, 2004 at 7:16 PM (CST)

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