Posted Friday, May 02, 2003

Old iPods Finally Get Left Behind

One of the jillion things I've always liked about the iPod is its ability to be upgraded. Each time Apple has added significant features to its new iPods -- the ability to store contact and calendar information, for example -- it has released a software updater that adds the identical capabilities to older models, too.

Alas, this parity has come to an end. The newest iPods -- the ones Steve Jobs unveiled last week -- have capabilities that aren't available to older iPods, not even after you install the iPod 1.3 updater.

Apple has documented the differences between iPod software 1.3 and 2.0 in a Knowledge Base article named iPod 2.0 and 1.3: Software Version Comparison.

Time to buy a new iPod? Maybe not. The 1.3 updater adds the ability to play AAC audio files purchased from the iTunes Music Store. Only a few of the features in iPod software 2.0 (used by the newest iPods) have anything to do with music. So if your iPod primarily does duty as a music machine, don't feel obligated to run out and replace it.

I'll be getting a new iPod soon -- check back next week for reports. And remember, you can write to me with questions and comments that I'll address here.