Backstage: Cowon iAudio X5, previewed
The write-up on Cowon’s iAudio X5 is coming later, but for now, I wanted to share a handful of interesting photographs with those of you who are interested in the iPod’s competitors, and the possible directions Apple could take with upcoming iPod technologies. People really seemed to like our look at Sony’s iPod shuffle challenger, which according to news reports today has apparently beaten the shuffle in Japanese sales - only one territory, but one where the iTunes Music Store has long been overdue.
This recently-released iPod competitor from Korea’s Cowon offers 20GB or 30GB of storage capacity, support for major music formats, and the ability to play back photos and MPEG4 movie clips on its color screen. It’s PC, Mac OS, and Linux compatible - the latter two only for data transfers, but that’s enough.
The screen looks pretty good, but varies based on viewing angle. Controls are situated on the unit’s front and right sides; the headphone port is on the left, with a USB -input- port. More on that point later.
It’s quite comparable in size to a 20GB iPod - thinner and thicker at points because of its curved casing and elevated joystick - but it does some seriously interesting things with its screen and firmware. Click on Read More for a few of the key features.
Graphic equalizers with (generally) easy to understand presets along the left side.
Real recording capabilities, individually programmable by bit rate for voice recording (up to 128kbps from the internal microphone), line-in recording (up to 320k with the included cable), or FM radio recording (up to 320kbps from the internal tuner). Yup. Yup. Yup. Recording is the one big choice Apple needs to make with future iPods: support real integrated recording, or become the screwed-up Sony of the next generation. Everyone’s asking for something better than the crippled voice-quality sampling found in current iPods.
Not too big, is it? The list price of the 20GB model is $329, but you can find it for $299. A 30GB model is $379, discounted to $349. Only one hitch: they run for 14 hours, according to Cowon, and you’ll have to pay $30 more for X5L versions with better (35 hour) battery life.
Cowon humorously tosses in advertisements for its other MP3 players as sample video clips - one would imagine there will eventually be silhouettes (and hopefully something better, like the 1984 commercial) on an iPod’s screen too. But hey, whose team is U2 on, anyway? (wink, wink)
A couple more screens of that interface. Gotta love the integrated FM tuning, and the old 320Kbps number in the bottom corner of the other shot. We’ll have more to say on the iAudio X5 soon.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Apple Q4 earnings call coming October 20
- European magazine gets blacklisted by Apple for posting “Bendgate” video
- “Reset All Settings” in iOS 8 may also erase iCloud Drive content
- Apple’s tax deal in Ireland may be illegal according to EU regulators
- Apple releases first iOS 8.1 beta to developers
- iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus hit China Oct. 17, pre-orders Oct. 10
- Report: iOS 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 in simultaneous development
- French fashion retailer Colette to hold in-store Apple event
- iLounge Weekly coming Monday, sign up now
- Apps of the Week: OmniFocus 2 for iPad, Transmit, Asphalt Overdrive + more
- Griffin Survivor All-Terrain, Core, and Slim for iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 Plus
- Griffin Identity, Reveal cases for iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 Plus
- Orbotix Ollie by Sphero
- IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD
- JBL Charge 2 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
- Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2 In-Ear Headphones
- Urban Armor Gear Composite Case for iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 Plus
- Speck CandyShell, Card, Grip + Inked cases for iPhone 6
- Incipio DualPro Shine, Edge for iPhone 6 + NGP for iPhone 6 Plus
- PureGear DualTek Extreme Shock Case, HIP Case+ and Slim Shell for iPhone 6
- iLounge’s Top iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 Plus Case Picks (Fall 2014)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.0
- Multi-Editorial: On Apple’s iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus + Apple Watch
- What’s New In Apple TV 7.0
- What’s New in iTunes 12
- iLounge Picks: Five Great Summer Party Speakers
- Editorial: Endings And Beginnings
- Live From CE Week 2014: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!
- What’s New In iOS 8 For iPad, iPhone + iPod touch
- iLounge Multi-Editorial: WWDC 2014’s iOS 8, OS X Yosemite + More