Many mac users scoffed the day it came out. I was one of them. Partly because everybody expected a Newton, and partly because it was pricey. CmdrTaco from slashdot was among the first to weigh in; "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame." He was quickly proven wrong as it became the best-selling mp3 player to date.

I got one for Christmas. All your objections to its features vanish when you actually get to turn one on and use it for a while.

It really is smaller than you picture it, a deck of cards, extremely easy to fit in your pocket. And it's so light, as good as a minidisc player, but with a better buffer and 20-minute skip-protection. Besides, it actually holds more than the advertised 1000, 2000, or 4000 songs, if a good deal of your mp3 collection is 128kbps. (What you find more often online than ripping yourself)

The interface is just so incredibly easy to use. Moby put it best when he said he could figure it out in less than 45 seconds. And not just the basics, the whole thing is that simple. Pixo designed the built-in OS and licensed it to Apple.

What's best is how my family and friends can use it instantly, they don't have to ask me what to do, except how to turn it off (Hold down the Play/Pause Button). It automatically syncs to your mp3 library with iTunes, and functions as a firewire Hard drive.

People keep ranting about how pricey it is compared to an Archos Jukebox. A couple of things swayed my decision. First, it's beautiful. The front is this polycarbonate, clear plexiglass. I've dropped it with nary a scratch. (Mine gets scratched anyway, but from use and pockets and keys, not from drops). The back is polished metal, it's like the hood of a car or a polished motorcycle. Beautiful. Archos Jukebox is this dull metal with plastic combination.

Second, the interface. The iPod's jog dial looks better, and the screen is far easier to read. I can get to a song with the iPod's menus faster. Also, the iPod connects with one Firewire cable. It charges over that cable, and copies music over it. Plug it in, and the computer does the rest without you, even charges it as you leave it in.

The third is Firewire and USB 2.0 support. I have to mention this again because it's so much better than any other mp3 player out there. Aside from the charging, it's blazingly fast. I copied almost all 5 gigs to the drive in 10 minutes, while it takes hours for any USB 1.0 player, including the Nomad. My Nomad owning friend said he only loads it once, and that's not an issue. Well, I've managed to boot off the iPod's hard drive, by copying my System Folder over to it. I can boot off the iPod and repair my internal drive, all while charging the iPod. It took about the same amount of time to boot, versus the 5-10 minutes you'd get with a USB 1.0 drive.

At Macworld New York 2002, Apple announced three types of iPods, the 5GB, the 10GB with remote and a belt clip (1mm thinner), and the 20GB with the same remote and case (1mm thicker). Also, they all have upgraded 1.2 software that allows you to copy an address book and calendar to your iPod.

Later on, they announced a special U2 Edition iPod, all in black and pre-loaded with U2's albums. They also released an iPod photo, with perhaps more to come.

For those of you who can't afford one, you can make your own at