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There’s another iPod on the block. The fourth, and undoubtedly best, iteration of Apple’s popular MP3 player arrives lean and mean. The big selling points are the new click wheel navigation system and the 12 hour battery life. The latest design is slimmer, by a hair, and sexier, with curves where the corners used to be. Those who haven’t joined the party yet can get in on the action at a lower cost too; $399 for a 40 gig player (room for 10,000 songs), $299 for 20 gigs (5,000 songs).

Personally, I’d put the iPod right up there with my Olympus DM-10 Digital Voice Recorder as one of the crucial, indispensable, 21st Century tchochkes. There’s nothing like loading up thousands of your favorite songs, then hitting “shuffle” before heading out for a jog. It’s really like having your own personal radio station. I’ve had one recurring problem, though, with my old boxy 20 gig Pod: playback “crashes” mid-tune, for no apparent reason. Other than that, it’s going strong. Will I upgrade? No reason at the moment. But I’ll suggest that my friends who haven’t bought an iPod yet get in line.

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