A look at the iPod mini

A look at the iPod mini 1

While at Macworld, I had the chance to check out Apple’s brand new iPod mini. Straight from the show floor, here’s iLounge’s first official take on the little player.

Just Big Enough for a Scroll Wheel

The pictures show just how much smaller the iPod mini is by comparison to its older, bigger brother. As Apple notes, iPod mini is about the width and height of a business card, but thicker (3.6” high by 2.0” wide by 0.5” deep). As noted by weblogger John Gruber, “The iPod mini weighs 33 percent less (104 vs. 158 grams) and takes up 41 percent less space (3.6 vs. 6.1 cubic inches).” Despite my large hands, the mini fit comfortably in my palm: its rounded sides and footprint evoke a small “candybar” style cellular phone, and I found the newly integrated wheel with buttons to be easy to use.


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As the iPod mini represents an entirely new case and body design for Apple, most of the older iPod’s features have been moved or made smaller to accommodate the smaller body. The touchwheel is roughly the same size as the iPod’s, but now has four integrated function buttons (Menu, Play/Pause, Back and Forward) to replace the four face buttons from both prior iPod designs. But how does it feel? In our limited preview, we thought that the new wheel design was great – scrolling and pushing the button with one motion is a joy. You still slide your finger around the wheel to scroll, but each icon on the wheel represents a button; simply depress it and the corresponding action occurs (Play/Pause, Back, etc.). Those that found the touch buttons on the iPod to be a bit over-sensitive will agree that this is just a better way of navigating menus.

Tradeoffs: Saying Goodbye to Old Conventions and Peripherals (Again)

The pictures show it all: for the first time in iPod design, the LCD display on the iPod mini has been shrunk noticeably in order to accommodate the smaller form factor. At a 1.67” size (16.5% smaller than the iPod’s 2” LCD), the new screen somewhat hinders the readability of long song names in your playlists, truncating song titles by 2 or 3 characters under the iPod’s larger display. The LCD has the same backlight and greyscale output as the iPod. Is it going to glow white? Blue? Well, we won’t open that can of worms right now.

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Peeking at the top of the mini, Apple has moved the earphone port to the right and flipped the ‘Hold’ switch to the left. The positioning (and changes to the technology inside the mini) may well complicate or preclude the use of older iPod peripherals such as Belkin’s Voice Recorder, though Apple’s going out of its way to say that the mini is merely a music player, nothing more. The top and bottom of the iPod mini are covered in a white plastic, as opposed to the iPod’s metal finish. The bottom of the mini features the same dock connector as the iPod, albeit with less iPod on either side, making the device unsuitable for use with older iPod docks.

New Metal, New Holes, Less Smears

If you look closely at the bottom of the mini (above), you’ll notice two small holes. One’s on each end in the metal, both just outside of the white plastic area. Their purpose: to attach 3rd-party add-on devices. A small FM transmitter? …An extra battery pack? The mind races.

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You’ll also notice all the fingerprints on the iPod 20GB (above) compared to the mini. An Apple representative said that the mini depicted above was handled by people all day long, but it shows no sign of smudges or finger prints – a nice feature of the mini, and a potential boon for all of us who have been obsessively cleaning and shining the rear mirror surface of our original iPods. The metal casing of the mini is anodized aluminum with a matte finish.

Even an iPod Owner is Anxiously Awaiting iPod mini

All in all, I was pleased with the new iPod mini. Teens and the fashion conscious will be buying minis to “accessorize,” and surely this will be the workout-ready iPod athletes have been waiting for. But how about the rest of us? Only time will tell if the mini can equal the iPod in sales and ‘cool’ factor. I’ll have a full review posted as soon as my mini (silver) arrives. Apple says it will begin to ship minis in February, with worldwide distribution to follow in April.

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100 comments
  1. If Apple intends to market the mini to people who work out with it, my question is this: Are there any improvements in the skip protection with the new one?

    Until I got an armband for my 3G iPod, it was somewhat useless while wearing it on my belt, as after 20 minutes or so into my run, it would skip badly. If this deficiency was improved, it might motivate me to get one.

    Does anyone have any info about this?

  2. After seeing the 1GB Microdrive in the posts above, I still think Apple made a HUGE mistake in making a 4GB Mini as the first model for $249.

    I understand about selling coolness and size and agree that the mini vs. 15GB is a stupid argument.

    I have owned two 10GB iPods, Gen 1 and Gen 3, and when I was at Macworld if Apple introduced the Mini in a 1GB size for $169 or less, I would have bought one on the spot for it’s small size and form factor.

    I have a 10GB 500mhz iBook and a 867 Quicksilver and use a keydrive to move small files and use the iPod to move larger files and to sync documents.

    If I could have a 1GB firewire Hard Drive that is SMALL and PLAYS MUSIC, for less than $150, I’d be in HEAVEN!

    They should have used the 1GB micro drive at a sub $200 price point and introduced the 4GB later.

    Think of the ads, 4 times the space for only $50 more! Everyone would have been happy including those who argue about the 15GB vs Mini.

  3. It should be called the chavpod or the pauperpod, bringing out a cheap version is like bringing out a budget version of a Jaguar car.

    Apple, Noooo!

  4. Dont think that there is any difference to the skip protection… it will still skip after 20 mins…

    Apple really needs to fix that!

    FiZZ

  5. “It looks ok I couldnt be any happier than I am with my 3-day old 10GB,It’s nice though.”
    really? i thought you would’ve been happier getting a 15GB iPod for the same price.
    BTW jogging with a hard-drive based player is not cool, no matter how good the player looks. just get a small flash player that takes memory cards.

  6. So have I got this right, iPod mini is currently available in stores in the US? My friend is going to LA next week, do you think he will be able to get one for me or have they sold out or something?

    (i’m from sweden and they are not available here until april and then it’s probably cost more than $349)

  7. GearHead and especially Chococat STFU!!

    Like so many have said, dont like it dont buy it!

    and chococat, stop trying to pretend your clever by doing a little bit of maths. Shut UP!

    If your really dumb enough to think that all the ipod is, is a hard drive, then ok. however you fail to realise that youve still got the SAME capacity, battery, processor, Screen, chipboards etc.etc., not to mention the fact that they’re all smaller, and so are likely to cost more.
    Seriously, stop trying to be big, and LOOK AT OTHER PEOPLES POINT OF VIEW!!!
    its no use saying that the ipod minis are crap and no-one wants them compared to the 3rd gen ones, when sooooooo many people are buying them!!

    At the end of the day, either come on and discuss why you dont think theyr that good, NICELY, not like “I fail to see the logic behind most of these posts… ” DON’T insult people, unless of course you cant get past your little world of insecurity and closed-mindedness that you have to attack people believes.

    on a final note chococat- “Apple are making a huge marketing mistake.”
    HAHAHA – retard

    Beedle

  8. GearHead and especially Chococat STFU!!

    Like so many have said, dont like it dont buy it!

    and chococat, stop trying to pretend your clever by doing a little bit of maths. Shut UP!

    If your really dumb enough to think that all the ipod is, is a hard drive, then ok. however you fail to realise that youve still got the SAME capacity, battery, processor, Screen, chipboards etc.etc., not to mention the fact that they’re all smaller, and so are likely to cost more.
    Seriously, stop trying to be big, and LOOK AT OTHER PEOPLES POINT OF VIEW!!!
    its no use saying that the ipod minis are crap and no-one wants them compared to the 3rd gen ones, when sooooooo many people are buying them!!

    At the end of the day, either come on and discuss why you dont think theyr that good, NICELY, not like “I fail to see the logic behind most of these posts… ” DON’T insult people, unless of course you cant get past your little world of insecurity and closed-mindedness that you have to attack people believes.

    on a final note chococat- “Apple are making a huge marketing mistake.”
    HAHAHA – retard

    Beedle

  9. Oops, sorry bout that double post guys.

    slight warning here, if your thinking of getting a mate to ship you an ipod, youll have to declare it and pay some stupid amount of tax. and if you dont, and they find it which they probably will, then theyll confiscate it. Same goes for if theyr comeing through the airport, the only possible way i can see of getting round that one, is if they take it out the box and flat pack the box and say that its their own player.

    beedle

  10. I predict the mini will drop to $200 very shortly…

    Buy.com has the Creative Muvo2 4GB Mp3 player for only $198.82.

    Amazon has Creative Muvo2 4GB Mp3 player for $199.99.

  11. If you wanna c teh actual size of the mini go to
    [url=http://www.cdw.com/webcontent/hubs/MW/family/ipod.asp]http://www.cdw.com/webcontent/hubs/MW/family/ipod.asp[/url]

    A little too expensive I think but I can’t stand buying it (in APRIL!) Stupid releasedate..

    Peace

  12. hey. ive heard some rumors that the ipod mini’s screen is not very big and its hard to see is this true? I dont think so though

  13. Alex Heaton, thank you for your point of view, although it does outline your own primitiveness and insecurities it was much appreciated to read another point of view on the Mini iPod.

    However, if you calmed down and actually read my post you should have picked up that I was not being insulting at all but merely stating a slight confusion, and only wanted to be set straight in a dignified fashion (which an individual managed to do, thank you Atomic Bomb also various other people) and on that point I admit I was wrong to say that “apple are making a huge marketing mistake” I had nt realised who they were marketing to in the first place.

    Anyway, it was my BELIEF that it would make a much more effiecient purchase if one was to obtain the 15GB iPod as opose to the new Mini iPod, and also that the 15GB, 20GB and 40GB iPods are better looking. But there is a fine line between belief and opinion and it is “closed-mindedness that you have to attack [my] believes”

  14. The mini is pretty cool, but not my cup of tea. I have about 1GB of music, selectivly culled from my entire CD collection, some audibooks and downloads from iTunes on my 20 GB. Why do people carry around music they will never listen to? I don’t know. But I’m happy with all my extra space- I could record every single lecture I sit for for years and have them immediatly accessable, or extract pictures from my digital camera on trips, and still have enough room for music. Even 4 GB is great, 13 hours of music! If apple releases a white (as opposed to silver) mini, I’d buy it. The colors do irk me a little- they bring to mind easter eggs and such. The iPod, and Apple in general, survive because of the interface, lightyears ahead of the others. I just think the people who bash it are kinda jealous…

  15. Stupid people exist everywhere in the world. When a PDA comes out with a 4gig flash it will wipe out the IPOD completely. COMPLETELY

  16. Jarred! I know ur hiding behind that atomic name! Get home right now! were all at the dinner table! You are in so much trouble!

  17. I love how heated the debate is as to personal satisfaction. I bought a pod and it hated me, I returned and bought a rio karma. Its acceptable. The cool thing is I had the choice and I made it. Now when are the 4th gen pods coming??

  18. The 4g ipod are coming out on feb 27! they cost 900 spankers…. but pepsi is having a constest and 3 in every 5 pepsi bottles win you a 4th gen iPod…. I have a freind who works for pepsi so he already got me two ipods!

  19. Well my name is on the waiting list at my local Apple Store and I will be standing in line Friday to pick one up. I guess that qualifies me as one of the stupid people who care more about style, size, and color versus having one that has a capacity that is 15 times the size of my music collection and is just a little too big and a little too heavy to comfortably wear on my arm while walking, working, etc.

    But then again I’ve been accused of being stupid for using a Mac too. I mean, why buy an elegant 17″ widescreen 1 Ghz iMac which is a joy to use and never crashes, when for a third of the price I could have had a clucky buggy Windows pc that runs (sometimes) at 3 times the speed (and yet has an apparent speed 5 times slower) has double the memory and is compatible with hundreds of thousands of software titles I never use?

    We all have different priorities when selecting hardware, but from my perspective the ipod mini is a more perfect choice than a 15GB iPod, and I suspect a lot of other people will feel the same. Would I be happier if it was priced 50.00 less? Of course! I’d also be happier if the 12″ Powerbook was priced less than the 14″ 1Ghz iBook- after all the same argument applies- it’s smaller, has a smaller screen, 20GB less capacity… But it aint going to happen so just get over it!

  20. some of you people are not understanding the sales and profit that apple are amking from this genius piece of technology. the product comes out on friday and there are over 100,000 orders for it already in a previous statement sometalked about it selling to ipod owners already. well if this is true where have these 100,000 customers come from.

    it is obvious that the ipod mini is excellent, because it smaller and it is for the average perso non the go that is why it only holds so many songs wo is going to go out on a dayily run and listen to all 1000 songs it takes three days to listen to the whole collection of songs.

    thanks matt302

  21. I’m just wondering if it’s just me, but to me the mini doesn’t look that much smaller than the 3g iPod. I like the whole color scheme thingy, but couldn’t they have made a white one as well? And it does look like it’s been cut off at the top. I can understand the release of a smaller player in order to gain a greater market share, but I don’t understand all the hype. It’s not all that.

  22. Well, I for one prefer the iPod Mini over the regular iPod. I only have 200 MB of music right now, and occasionaly buy some music from the iTunes store. I just can’t justify buying the 15GB model when I will probably only use 5% of it’s storage. As far as ergonimics go, the mini is much better. With the aluminum case that doesn’t show fingerprints as badly it is a better choice. Its size is much smaller and the ClickWheel is an improvement. The touch wheel was much too sensitive.

  23. i agree with me2 i have large music collection and will probably load all that music onto the ipod mini, but im seriously doubting listening to a thousand songs, and seriously can anyone tell me that they have completely filled there 40G ipod 3G. Anyway im really siked about the ipod mini and am ordering one, i like all the colors and will probably go for green blue or silver the size is imense!. the only problem is i live in the UK.

  24. hye raven flight ive a windows computer and it works like a charm. i mean who wants a 4 ghz wondows with 200Gig hardrive it rules s dont diss, plus there are more progrmas for it then imacs but i do liek them.

  25. hey all, sorry for all the questions but, i was just wondering if there is any reason y an american ipod mini wont work in the UK except for the charger? Will i have to use an adapter or what? And, does any1 know a good website where they do cheap shipping to the UK?*gasp* Final one, does any1 know exactly when they will be available in the UK and how much they will be?

  26. The mini still only has 20 minute jog protection if I remember what I read rightly, you could always try running faster for smaller periods ;p

  27. is der such thing as a ipod coming out with a radio??????? i love the look of the ipod but really do want a rado, can any e mail me about this quiry as soon as possible PLEAASSSSEEEEEEEE…….

  28. Sweet! The ipod mini is so cool! I wonder if it comes with the ability to instantly download songs instead of having to use the software? Who cares? I want one!…….

    …………………oh, right, I need money…

  29. I can not wait to get my silver ipod mini on june 29th!!! I ordered it today and I do not want to wait any longer. Its size will make it easy to take ANYWHERE! It is also good that it has free shipping!

  30. i guess i read this a little late, ’cause i got one. and anyone reading this right now (not that many) that is thinking of getting one for a person who has less than a 1,000 song collection, BUY THIS IPOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

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