Article: The Staff Reacts to iTunes 5, iPod nano, ROKR

Posted on September 8, 2005

After an informal questioning of our “staff” members about their thoughts on Apple’s announcements yesterday, we decided to compile them here. Since none of us actually have an iPod nano or Motorola ROKR in hand, these are more or less our responses to the famed “Reality Distortion Field“.

Eric Schwarz (publisher, 3G iPod)

  • iTunes 5: I’m not liking the changes…yet. It seems too much like Mail, and things aren’t where they belong. I do like the new features, and it seems much more responsive. Give me a few weeks and I’ll be used to the interface. I do like the more iPod-like display of songs (with the time elapsed/remaining right there).
  • iPod nano: I like it, but then I don’t. It’s certainly a revolutionary piece of hardware from Apple, is very slick, and can kick my 3G iPod’s butt (except in capacity). I just am not crazy about the headphone jack being at the bottom, lack of video-out (for the photos), higher $-per-GB ratio, and the lack of a remote connector (for all those old accessories). This would be a good addition to the iPod family, but not a replacement for the mini. The accessories seem kinda cheesy at best.
  • Motorola ROKR: It’s cool. If I used a cell phone (yes, I’m weird like that and don’t have one), this could be it. It’s not the fanciest thing around, but having 100 songs stored on a phone is cool—I also hear the interface isn’t that bad. If it had a RAZR form factor and worked with other carriers, that would make it more appealing.

Chris Lawson (writer/editor, 1G iPod)

  • iTunes 5: I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the interface changes. Smart Shuffle sounds interesting, and folder organisation for playlists is a great idea. I’m reserving judgement until I get a chance to play with it more.
  • iPod nano: Someone please tell Steve he skipped “micro.” “iPod nano” is one of the worst product names to come out of Cupertino since the Performa 6228CDXLR10-ST2 Education Edition. A colour screen in a mini-sized package is nice, and the lighter weight is great, but cutting the maximum capacity from 6 GB down to 4 GB is a mistake. Unfortunately, the choice of solid-state storage dictated this due to simple economics—nobody would buy a $400 iPod with only 6 GB of storage.
  • Motorola ROKR: The name for the official “iTunes phone” has been one of the worst-kept secrets in technology. Were it not for the fact that Motorola, not Apple, was responsible for the development and naming of this overpriced little device, this would take the title of Worst Product Name Since the Amelio Era from the iPod nano. On the plus side, the phone holds four times more songs than initially predicted (but did anyone really believe that 25-song rumour?), although it’s obviously a product of Motorola’s industrial design, not Apple’s. That Cingular is the only U.S. carrier with the phone, and that they’re requiring a 2-year contract, is, as Ellen Feiss used to say, “kind of a bummer.” Not getting too excited about this one.

Eddie Black (writer, iPod-less)

  • iTunes 5: The new look will take some getting used to. It reminds me of the Power Mac G5—its kinda metal-ly looking (but not brushed), square, and neat. Oh, and i like the auto size columns feature (right-click a column header).
  • iPod nano: That…is…tiny. For $200 bucks it’s not too bad, especially for the “big iPod” capabilities. I wouldn’t get one because it doesn’t hold enough.
  • Motorola ROKR: Since the similar E398 sells for about $200, this isn’t bad at all. If I needed a cell phone, I’d probably buy it.

Marggy Griffin (behind-the-scenes consultant, iPod-less)

  • iTunes 5: I’m really disappointed in the fact that iTunes no longer matches any of the other windows. I am probably in the minority, but I actually like brushed metal. Now the only thing that it matches is Mail. But besides that, I think the rest of the interface is…different. The Spotlight-like searches are nice and fast. The display at the top is square, which is going to take some getting used to. And the preferences list is completely rearranged, so that was weird. But I always like getting a new iTunes.
  • iPod nano: I’m not too happy with this iPod nano. I actually thought it was a joke when iI first went to I haven’t seen one close up, so to me it kind of looks like someone took an iPod and Photoshopped it. And where the heck did the colorful iPods go? People like to have a choice of color. I also have an issue with the price. The 4GB nano costs $50 less than a 20GB iPod and holds 4,000 less songs. That does not in any way see like a good buy to me (but then I suppose the same was true for iPod minis). Overall, I’m not too pleased with it. It seems too thin and very fragile. It’s really nice in theory, but they shouldn’t have used it as a replacement for the mini.
  • Motorola ROKR: People already buy really expensive cellphones so if you’ve got the cash for this I won’t blame you. But it definitely doesn’t have enough bells and whistles to draw me in. It don’t think it holds enough songs for the price. I don’t know much about it though. It just seems kind of useless. Get a shuffle instead. The idea is kind of cool though.

Well, thanks again to all of our staffers who shared their thoughts, and we’ll just have to see where all of this ends up once people get their hands on these things!

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