The Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg and his colleague Katherine Boehret have been testing the latest iPods and iTunes for a few weeks, and in their review they note how Apple has risen to the challenge of the upcoming Microsoft Zune. Overall, they like what they see and hear:
Our verdict: the new iPods are more versatile and less costly than ever, but the new iTunes software is an even bigger improvement, although it has one big downside — its coolest new feature is so graphically demanding that it doesn't work right on some older computers.
It's hard not to dig hardware that was already great and has always been superbly integrated with its software, and now you get a lot more storage space for the same price and a 60% brighter screen, too. But so what if the iTunes Cover Flow feature is graphics-intensive? That's why it looks so cool. Anyway, shed the DRM nonsense that winds its way through iPod/iTunes, and the iPod would actually deserve its runaway popularity. – Charlie White
Update: Sorry, Katherine, spelled your name with a C instead of a K. Fixed now!
The New iPod: Ready for Battle? [The Wall Street Journal]