As Switched On approaches its first anniversary later this month, it's an opportune time to visit that greatest of
digital pack rats Google and look back at my first Engadget
column. Written on the heels of Apple releasing the iPod photo (and, let me tell you, there isn't a lot of space to
write on most heels), I argued that Apple was on a slippery slope toward a video iPod despite the company's many
protests to the contrary. As I rhetorically noted in October 2004: "Apple need not even stray far from its music mantra
in order to justify adding video to the iPod. Like other players with color screens, the iPod photo supports album art.
But iTunes supports music videos; why shouldn't the iPod?" Perhaps one reason why not was that there was no way to make
money offering them, but Apple is now changing that with iTunes 6.
In any case, the persistent have finally been rewarded. Or at least some have. Apple's offering is not a "video iPod" in the generic "portable media player" vein that that product was often discussed. It's a video-enabled iPod that evolves the specific product that owns the digital audio player market. Like the original iPod and iPod nano, it breaks ground in terms of form factor, coming in at a fraction of the size of video competitors, but compromises on the screen size. Its 2.5-inch display is sharp and saturated, but relatively small compared to other hard disk-based portable video competitors. "Han shot first" protesters who want to commiserate in Greedo's altered aggression with friends enjoying a ripped Star Wars DVD should look elsewhere.