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There's a reason that people always think of Apple's first iPod - 5GB hard drive, mechanical click wheel and all - as the first MP3 player (even though it wasn't by a long way). The navigation wheel was such a groundbreaking and intuitive interface that no other manufacturer ever managed to best it. I guess you really can't re-invent the wheel.
In fact, it took some six years and the launch of the multi-touch sporting iPhone and iPod touch, to see Apple's wheel-centric navigation interface bested.
Love or loath Apple as a company, there's absolutely no denying that the iPod touch was simply the most desirable MP3 player going when it launched. That's not to say that other devices didn't offer better audio quality, or pack more features - they did - but they didn't have that "wow" factor that Apple has such a knack of adorning its products with.
All of which leads us rather nicely to the launch of the second generation iPod touch, of which we've cunningly managed to acquire a 32GB version. That's important because at this capacity I feel pretty confident saying most users will be able to squeeze in their entire music collection. It certainly makes my 4GB original iPhone seem just a little impotent.
On the surface you'd be hard pushed to tell what's new about the 2nd generation iPod touch. It still has the same super-shiny aluminium back which still seems to hunt down scratches - I know denim is tough, but honestly, I'd have thought metal could take on cotton in a fight and win - and it still sports a 3.5in, 480 x 320 pixel multi-touch display, now the yellow-ish one sported by the iPhone 3G. It also has a slightly more rounded design, which is just about noticeable in the hand.
Look a little closer, though, and there's one addition to the left edge of the device which is actually pretty baffling: volume controls. Their addition isn't what's surprising, but rather quite how Apple thought leaving them off the original touch was a good idea is what has me puzzled. I don't know anyone who wants to have to take their music player out of their pocket just to turn up the volume!
The other (arguably) major new hardware additions are a speaker - which is good enough for watching the odd vodcast or TV show in bed but not much else - and Nike+iPod support for athletic types. I'd argue the latter isn't that important in a device this size but if you really want to take something this large jogging with you, so be it.
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