Gadgets: Ipods For Everyone

Steve jobs is no stranger to hyperbole, but he had a point when he introduced the latest line of iPods last week: "It's our third generation and no one's caught up to the first," he said. Apple's new digital music players--which sync perfectly with Apple's new music-downloading store--are sleeker than the originals, about the thickness of a slice of toast. You can now create a playlist on the fly. Windows users can connect to their Bill boxes via the USB 2.0 standard. And prices are down: $299 for a 10-gigabyte version that stores 2,000 songs, $399 for 15 gigs and $499 for a monster 30 gigger. So what's the catch? Smaller batteries. The old models nearly rocked around the clock--10 hours--before recharging. On new models the music dies in eight hours.