But, out of stock. At least 4 weeks back order, the salesman told me. High demand everywhere.
So I bought a silver iPod Mini instead.
What a gorgeous gadget! About the same size as a pack of Marlboro Lights but half as thick, 4 gigs of storage on its hard drive (unlike the Shuffle which has flash memory), LCD screen with backlight, click wheel for navigation, weighs just over 100 grams (full specs).
Setting it up with a Windows PC was pretty easy, although getting it to work was quite tricky and required some fiddling which would present problems and concerns to someone who isn't too familiar with trying out workarounds.
And one major thing - on a Windows PC, if you don't have a Firewire port, you must have a USB 2.0 port. It will not work if you have only a USB 1.1 port. So if you don't have a very recent desktop or laptop (built within the past six months or so) that comes with USB 2.0 ports, you'll need either an add-in card (for desktop) or something like a USB 2.0 PC card (laptop) which I have. Works just fine connected to that.
While following the instructions in the setup guide was straightforward - install the iPod and iTunes software from the included CD and then connect the iPod - what happened was a continual warning on the iPod screen not to disconnect it. Nothing else happened: iTunes didn't recognize it and the iPod software installer just said it couldn't install the software as 'another process had locked it' (one of those really helpful Windows alert messages).
After delving into the online help on the Apple site, I finally just disconnected it (after listening carefully and not hearing any hard disk sound) and rebooted the PC. Then I visited Apple again and downloaded the latest iTunes there plus iPod Mini software, even though the iPod software I had reported it was the latest version. Reinstalled iTunes and the iPod software and went through the setup process again.
This time, the iPod software did install with the message on-screen saying I needed to connect the iPod to a power outlet so that the firmware could be upgraded. Even though I bought the device just two days ago, developments happen fast with hardware and software. So I did that and connected it to the PC again.
And this time, iTunes opened and recognized the iPod. It then proceeded to sync the music I already had on the PC plus the podcasts I had as well.
And what a listening delight! The interview podcasts Shel and I recorded in Napa with Fergus Burns and Jeremy Wright sound just perfect. Next up - setting up the ipodder software so that podcasts will automatically download and synchronize on the iPod into a playlist.
Oh, and the iPod Mini is also pretty good for listening to music ;)
(A quick word on pricing. The price differential US/Europe is astounding. I paid $269.54 including 8.25% sales tax. Compare that to Apple's pricing here in The Netherlands: €269.00 including 19% VAT. That's the equivalent of $350 at the latest euro/dollar exchange rate.)