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The colour of money

Here comes the iPod Mini, the bright and tiny new MP3 player from Apple. James Smart takes a look

and listen and finds its ideas are inspirational.

hey say looks aren't everything. but iPods are proof. like

iMacs before them. that they count for a helluva lot.

Apple’s portable MP3 player was among the must-have (‘hristmas gifts of last year. and throughout our towns and cities. smug-looking young men (and it usually

is young men) are strolling. with the telltale white headphone leads stretching

into their pockets: at perverse status ; symbol of sorts. The hi-li equivalent of a ' . Louis Vitton bag.

Aesthetics aside however. the il’od is a . treat piece of kit. The I5. 20 and 4() L w. .. igabyte models can store between 3.7()() and l().()()() songs. You can download your own (‘l)s in a matter of minutes. share files online with ease. flick from song to song at the touch of a button and organise playlists for any conceivable occasion. The product‘s explosion is. inevitably. as much about effective marketing and good packaging as it is about technical specifications. although that‘s not necessarily a criticism: one of the key appeals of the iPod is that. with its cold white flesh. smoothly futuristic control wheel and rounded form. it looks pretty damn cool and if you‘re walking around with


MN 15

Rega’s revamped P3 turntable

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sound in your cars. you want to feel good about yourself.

The next development plays even tnore strongly on Apple‘s cosmetic nous. The il’od Mini was released in the ['8 in February and comes ottt in the PK this April. At 3.6 inches long. 2 inches wide and half an inch thick. it‘s smaller than many mobile phones. [is four gigabyte hard drive holds around l.()()() songs. and it comes in silver. gold. pink. blue or green. l'K prices are expected to sit at around £200 which is pretty steep when you consider that the ['8 price of 324‘) should eqttate to around £|~1().'l‘hat‘s not the only criticism of the product: you can get a capacity of five times the size for an extra £80 by picking up the 20 gigabyte version. And who. with the possible exception of gay hairdressers and society girls. is going to want a pink il’od'.’

It‘s easy to scorn frotn afar. but il’ods are seductive pieces of kit. The Mini still has enough room for 8(l—odd albums. won‘t make a bulge in your pocket and will almost certainly evoke gasps of wonder when it arrives on these shores. The (‘1) may not be dead yet. but it‘s starting to look pretty damn quaint. Just how up-to-date the Mini will look in 25 years time remains to be seen.

The marketing nous of Apple and its revolutionary v- and let‘s face it. bloody simple -~ idea of steering computer and music hardware away from battleship grey and beige tones to embrace the rest of the colour spectrum has not gone unnoticed elsewhere. UK hi—li manufacturer Rega came tip with the idea of revamping one of its biggest selling turntables. the P3. introducing the already slick deck in a variety of vibrant shades: yellow. aqua. green. white. magenta. purple. and of course. the traditional silver and black. These are excellent quality turntables anyway. with a l3mm plate glass platter that gives superb sound qttality and retail at a wholly reasonable £348. But for those who rcul/v need to be co-ordinated. a turntable at home and an iPod mini to match for being on the move would have to be the perfect solution.

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