I ordered the 60 gigabyte model from the online Apple Store as soon as it was announced. It took a few days, but on Saturday Apple sent me email confirmation that the iPod Photo had shipped from Shanghai, China.
The only problem with that is my impetuous streak (I’m working on it). Friday night I’d stopped by the local Apple Store. They had a few iPod Photos in stock so I bought one; thinking I’d have time to cancel the other order.
No such luck. The good news is that I can honestly say this has been a good experience as far as iPods go. I had an original 5 gig model, then a 20 gig. Then an iPod mini. Then a 30 gig. Now the iPod Photo. Am I running all these iPods at the same time?
I don’t have that many ears but I do have that many relatives. Hand-me-downs are a tradition, even with Apple products.
OK, first, the iPod is packed well but similar to others. The box remains a cube and feels a bit heavier than previous iPods. That’s probably because this box contains the AV cable, the case, the belt clip holder, the iPod, USB and Firewire cables, and other goodies.
Apple says the iPod Photo is about 80-percent charged and mine was about that, so it worked fine right out of the box.
Upon start up, the first thing to notice is the Apple logo. It’s ain’t black on gray no more. This is color, baby! The screen is drop dead gorgeous. It’s not as sharp as some of the LCD screens in digital cameras (notably, the Canon 20D), but crisp and clear.
I took everything out of the box first and laid components (cable, case, dock, et al) out on my desktop, next to the Mac display.
The iPod Photo menu is notably different. It’s Aqua-like with blue menu selections. There’s also more selections than with the regular iPod.
The first thing I did was set the time, then browse around the menu items. Nothing under anything yet because music and photos hadn’t been transferred from the Mac.
Fixing that was easy and took a little over an hour. I plugged the iPod Photo into the Mac via the included Firewire cable. That brought up iTunes and a dialog box. I had to name the iPod, click a few settings, and iTunes did the rest by copying over nearly 3,000 tunes.
This is where more surprises came in. I expected the iPod Photo to ask me about synchronizing the digital photos in iPhoto. It did not. In fact, iPhoto is nowhere to be seen. All the copying action takes place in iTunes.
Immediately after downloading the last song, iTunes began “optimizing” the photos in iPhoto. As I understand it, thumbnails get made, and images are compressed and moved to the iPod Photo. iTunes does NOT copy the full-sized iPhoto images in your collectin. Yet.
That process took another 20 minutes or so. Upon completion, I started to browse iTunes Preferences and came upon an unchecked selection to allow for the full images to be copied. Hey, it’s a 60 gigabyte iPod and I have less than 7,000 images, so, why not?
That took still another 20 minutes.
All total, about 90 minutes disappeared but all music and all photos were now on the iPod Photo and there was about 30 gigabytes to spare.
Hmmmm. Time to backup the rest of the Home directory? Later.
Otherwise, it’s just an iPod that holds digital photos, right? Not quite. It was easy enough to backup digital photos on any iPod with sufficient space. This is the iPod that will auto sync with iPhoto AND display the photos on your TV with a slide show (automated or manual) AND do so with background music from iTunes.
On to Page 2 and a couple of surprises. One that looks very promising for users who want to import photos directly into iPod Photo, and another that might save you a few images.
Click Here for Page 2.
Continued from Page 1…
The iPod Photo is not without a few surprises, one of which I don’t have an answer (for).
Notice the iPod Photo menu to the left. See anything different?
Yes, there’s a “Photos” menu. That’s not surprising. This menu is accessible only through the Settings/Main Menu/Photos selection.
There’s two selections. The first, “Photos” simply turns the iPod Photo function on. Below it is another menu selection.
This selection says Photo Import.
That’s one of the surprises. There’s been some squawking from iPod users already that there’s no way to import digital photos directly from a digital camera or a card reader direct to the iPod.
That’s not quite true since even older iPods could do that through drag and drop (from the desktop) or from an external Card Reader (like the Belkin reader that some think is crummy).
Such is the case here, too.
On Page 35 of the iPod Photo manual, there’s a heading: “Storing Digital Photos From A Photo Card Reader.”
Basically, what it says is, you can store photos on iPod Photo and then delete them from the photo card (assume a Compact Flash here; that’s what I have). However, you can’t view those same photos (transferred from the Flash Card to the iPod Photo) in iPod Photo. Yet.
They can be copied later to iPhoto and they would get synchronized with the iPod Photo on next startup.
This is an important feature that is probably coming to iPod users in a couple of steps. Step 1 would be getting photos off a card reader and into the iPod Photo. The manual says it can be done but I haven’t figured out how. Yet.
Step 2 would be to get those same photos into the iPod Photo “iPhoto” sync without having to manually transfer them back to the Mac, then back to the iPod Photo again.
Here’s what I tried (no success): I took some photos with my digital camera which stored them on Compact Flash. I move the Compact Flash card to the Lexar card reader (Firewire), and plugged that into the iPod Photo.
iPod Photo has another menu selection called Photo Import (which shows up only when the other Photo Import selection is turned “on.” When I click that menu selection all I get is a blank white screen on the iPod Photo.
The PDF manual says that iPod Photo should be able to read a list of photos from a card reader. No go here. I’m using a Lexar Firewire Compact Flash card reader but the contents of the Flash Card never show up on the iPod Photo. The green light of the card reader never flashes, either.
It’s possible I did something wrong or the Lexar Compact Flash card reader isn’t supported. If there’s a way this works, let me know.
Regardless, I’m right about those two feature requirements. Step 1—get photos off a card reader and into the iPod Photo. And, Step 2—get photos inserted into the iPod Photo “sync.”
OK, what about playback of photos. It couldn’t get much easier. Plug in the AV cable (left and right channel audio, and video) into the TV. Turn on the iPod Photo, select the Photos menu, then select Photo Library.
You’ll see a list of Albums from iPhoto. Select one. Two clicks later the photos show up on the TV screen and play music, too. The Settings menu allows you to adjust the output, the transition, and a couple of other goodies.
It’s also necessary to get direct camera import, too. My Canon comes with a USB out and connector. It would be great to simply plug the iPod Photo into the camera and suck the digital images off and store on the iPod. Not yet, apparently.
Oh, one more thing. Don’t change iPhoto’s Preferences while you’re downloading images from a card reader. Mine didn’t like that and the PowerMac crashed—and wiped out all the images on the Compact Flash card. Poof. Gone.
Your mileage may vary. Any other reader experiences on the iPod Photo? What are your thoughts? As always, if you’re willing to share (anonymously, of course), click on the Comments link below.