Available stocks of the product sold out before midday. Resellers expressed "satisfaction" at the response. Apple's iPod customers seemed happy, too, with some purchasers taking time to share their initial reactions with Macworld's roving reporters on the show floor.
iPod is Apple's first foray into a non-Mac digital device. It's an MP3 player with a 5GB drive that doubles up as an external FireWire hard-drive. Encased in a white shell, the lightweight (6.5 ounce) product can hold up to 1,000 tracks with 20 minutes skip protection and a battery life of ten hours. Because it hooks up to the Mac using FireWire, it transfers music files 30 times faster than USB-based players. Apple claims the product integrates seamlessly with iTunes 2, Apple's digital music software.
Dr David Coker arrived at the show, MP3-stuffed PowerBook G4 in hand, to be among the first UK residents to pick up the £349 device. He enthused: "The packaging's amazing. It makes it clear that this is no general consumer-class electrical product. iPod has the Apple Edge. It's so fast, I like so much about it.
"The show's fantastic, too. Everything's here, I like it because it is so compact compared to the larger shows."
Drew Pettican, a software systems engineer, and Jim Noble, a hardware designer, both work for UK processor manufacturer ARM. Apple's Newton carried an ARM processor, and Apple once held extensive interests in the firm. Thrilled at their new purchase, the ARM boffins sat PowerBook G4 in hand, transferring music files to iPod. They said: "It's got an ARM processor inside – it's not our software, though."
Missing formats Both impressed by iPod's high-design values, utililty and ease of use, they shared one major criticism of the product. "Obviously, iPod's fantastic. But it is a shame that it doesn't support more music formats, such as the Dolby AAC codec, or the recently-launched MP3 Pro codec. These offer better music quality over conventional MP3, and are available today. I guess it's because iTunes 2 does not support these codecs, but we know they will run on ARM processors. We think it's possible Apple could introduce such support in future, though, as iPod is flash upgradeable," Pettican mused.
Apple PR manager David Millar explained the situation for those who had pre-ordered the product. He said: "Anyone who pre-ordered iPod will begin receiving it today (Thursday). The resellers here had stock, but sold out within hours. It's good we were able to launch something at MacExpo."
Ease of use iPod owner Tim Dunton said: "It's pretty good, it's got some really good features." Matthew White was thrilled at how iPod matched his top-of-the line iBook. "They look great together, and iPod does exactly what Apple promised – it transfers files incredibly fast. It sounds great too, and now I'm used to the controls I'm finding it ever so easy to use."
With stock sold out yesterday, show attendees gathered three deep to look at the iPods marshalled at Apple's huge stand. There's constant traffic here, and throughout the show. Macworld advises attendees to allow time to travel through the crowd in order to see what they came to see.