The IPod Does Windows
At a Glance
Switch? To a Mac? PC music junkies who lust after Apple's IPod music
player need no longer contemplate that desperate act--the classy device now
works easily with PCs, too. Sure, third-party software eventually made the
first IPod Microsoft-friendly, but with
The version of the smudge-prone, Lucite-and-chrome IPod that I tried costs $499 and is equipped with a 20GB hard drive that holds up to 4000 songs; 10GB ($399) and 5GB ($299) models are available, as well. MP3 audio sounded impeccable on the included headphones, and browsing around my music library was a cinch with the IPod's big LCD and sleek onboard controls (both the 10GB and 20GB IPods include a wired remote control as well).
Though the IPod's FireWire (IEEE 1394) interface is not standard fare on PCs (you can find upgrade cards for around $30), it's quick indeed: My Athlon XP 1700+ desktop took less than 30 seconds to transfer a CD's worth of tunes, versus several minutes for USB 1.1-based players. Apple's ITunes software remains Mac-only, so Windows users get a version of the excellent Musicmatch Jukebox Plus that automatically keeps the IPod in sync with one PC's music collection and playlists. (You can also copy songs manually from multiple PCs.) The IPod doubles nicely as an external hard drive, and it has rudimentary address book and calendar features. On the downside, it doesn't do music in Microsoft's space-efficient Windows Media format, and it can only import Musicmatch playlists. (Creative Labs' Nomad Jukebox lets you craft playlists on the device itself.) Nevertheless, if your goal is to put a massive music collection in your pocket--and if your PC speaks FireWire--this is the mobile audio machine to get.