Apple iPod Mini

The latest iPods have created quite a buzz since they were announced. They are smaller than ever, and come in new colors, but aren’t much cheaper than the more capable members of the iPod family. Is the latest from Apple all hype, or are the new iPods taking Apple’s digital music player dominance into new territory?

The specifications for the new iPods are similar to the larger iPods. They have the same battery life, same ports, software and compatibility. The main difference is the size of the internal hard drive:

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iPod Mini iPods
Storage 4GB

15GB

20GB

40GB

Battery life 8 hours
Skip protection Up to 25 minutes
Display 1.67-inch (diagonal) grayscale LCD with LED backlight 2-inch (diagonal) grayscale LCD with LED backlight
Ports Dock connector, remote connector, stereo minijack
Connectivity FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 through dock
connector
Charge time 3 hours (1-hour fast charge to 80% capacity)
Audio support AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 (32 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR,
Audible, AIFF (Mac only) and WAV
Size 3.6 by 2.0 by 0.5 inches 4.1 by 2.4 by about 3/4 inches
Weight 3.6 ounces 5.6 ounces

6.2 ounces

Included software iTunes for Mac, iTunes for Windows
Included accessories Earbud headphones, belt clip, AC adapter, FireWire cable, USB 2.0 cable Earbud headphones, AC adapter, FireWire cable, 4-pin-to-6-pin FireWire
adapter
Earbud headphones, dock, remote, carrying case, AC adapter,
FireWire cable and 4-pin-to-6-pin FireWire adapter
Optional accessories Dock; armband (iPod mini only); in-ear headphones; earbud
headphones and remote; carrying case; AC adapter; USB 2.0 cable; FireWire
cable; USB 2.0 + FireWire cable; world travel adapter kit
Mac requirements Macintosh computer with FireWire port; Mac OS X v10.1.5 or
later (Mac OS X 10.3 or later recommended)
Windows requirements PC with FireWire or USB 2.0 port, or
FireWire or USB 2.0 card; Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4 or Windows XP
Home or Professional
Documentation and support Electronic documentation, getting started guide and one-year
limited warranty

With the iPod Mini selling for about $250, and the entry-level iPod at about $300, the iPod Mini’s don’t look like a bargain. The price per GB of storage is much better on the 15GB iPod. For $50 more, you can get nearly four times as much storage space, and store four times as many songs on it.

If you can afford the slightly higher cost, the 15GB iPod is a great bargain. The iPod Mini’s do drop the entry point for Apple’s digital audio players into a range where they are very competitive with memory-based players. Buyers looking at devices that use memory will find that the iPod Mini’s give eight times as much storage space, or more, for not much more money. For buyers looking to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a digital music player, moving up to the iPod Mini seems like a no-brainer.

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