This past Saturday I braved the holiday crowds
madness at the Jordan Creek Mall in Des Moines. I was doing a little Christmas shopping but only really stopped at three stores in the entire mall. One of those stores happened to be the new Apple Store. This is the second Apple Store that I’ve been to. The other was one in a mall in Denver, CO. The Des Moines store wasn’t as big as that store, but it was pretty good sized.
I really like how they have everything set out in the open for you to play with. I was able to get some good one on one time with the new iPod Photo (which is one of the main reasons I wanted to stop by the store). The size of this beast is a little bigger than the regular 20Gb or 40Gb music iPod. It’s a little fatter and probably pretty close to the size of the original iPod. The color screen is nice and bright. I don’t know how it would look outside since I doubt they’d take too kindly to me “borrowing” one to run outside with it. The user interface which is hard to get a sense for from the online articles and pictures is just as slick as the other iPod’s. The music navigation is exactly the same (why would the change it) and the photo navigation works really nicely. The screen where they display a bunch of small thumnails coupled with the Apple scroll wheel is really nicely done. You can scroll really quickly and easily through a large collection of photos. The slideshow on the screen worked nicely. I would have liked to see how it looked (and navigated) on a TV screen but they didn’t have one hooked up to try. Another thing I would have liked to see was how it handled album art which is a new feature on this little beast. They didn’t have any track on it with album art, which is kind of surprising since this is one of the new features one would think they’d want to show off. I asked one of the friendly folks wandering around in Apple shirts (there were a ton of employees in the store!) and he said I wasn’t the only person to ask that, but really couldn’t help me since he hadn’t seen how that works either. I would have also liked to see its integration with iPhoto or the My Pictures directory on a Windows machine, but I couldn’t find a setup for that either (there may have been one and I just missed it – there were A LOT of people there).
All in all, I think Apple pulled it off again. I know they keep saying that they aren’t going to make a video iPod, but I really don’t think it’s that far off. I agree that the current portable audio/video devices out there are big and bulky and awkward, but in time I think Apple will bring one to the market. If it’s anything like their previous iPod’s, it’ll look nice and it’ll just work!