The holiday season is typically the time that manufacturers pull out all the stops in an attempt to produce the perfect holiday gift. Consoles from Nintendo and Microsoft finally hit the shelves after much anticipation, chipsets from AMD and Intel provided new motherboard solutions, and new PDAs bedazzled technology lovers. Even an unlikely company managed to wow a large number of electronics enthusiasts around the globe with the launch of a product touted as revolutionary. That company happened to be Apple and the product happened to be named iPod.
Announced on October 23, 2001, the Apple iPod received raved reviews well before it hit store shelves. The Wall Street Journal proclaimed the iPod "simply the best digital music player" while The New York Times called the iPod an "absolutely ravishing machine." The critics were quickly impressed with the iPod's ease of use, small form factor, and striking looks.
Although the bulk of most iPod reviews were filled with words of praise, almost every article included at least one sentence that pointed out what many felt was a fatal flaw in the iPod design: it would only work with a Macintosh computer. This left the majority of computer owners and MP3 listeners out of luck, since out of the box an iPod would be about as useful as an expensive paper weight when hooked up to a PC.
What the reviews did not point out is that there is a way to connect an iPod to a PC. A company named Mediafour has been working on PC software for the iPod and is currently on their third technology preview of their product, entitled XPlay. Today we take an AnandTech look at Apple's iPod and show you how the iPod works with a PC, picking up the slack left behind by previous iPod reviews.