The iPod from Apple Computers Inc., Cupertino, Calif. (www.apple.com), is for those who can't think of leaving home without their favorite tunes. The MP3 player plugs into a Macintosh or PC and downloads music at the speed of 10 sec/CD. It comes in 5, 10, and 20-Gbyte versions that hold between 1,000 and 4,000 tunes. A rechargeable lithium-polymer battery gives 10 hr of power. The iPod automatically recharges using a FireWire cable when connected to a Mac or PC. All iPods carry iTunes software with automatic synchronization that keeps music and playlists up-to-date.

The iPod measures 4.02 3 2.43 3 0.78 in. and weighs only 6.5 oz. It sits in a polycarbonate/ABS top with a polished stainless-steel bottom. Its large, high-quality LCD is illuminated by a white backlight for viewing up to six lines of text. A touch-sensitive scroll wheel adjusts scrolling speed based on song-list length. A 60-mW amplifier is said to give CD-quality sound with a wide dynamic range. iPod headphones carry neodymium transducer magnets for bass response, smooth midrange transitions, and accurate high-end reproduction. Price: $299 for 5-Gbyte version; $399 for 10 Gbyte; and $499 for 20 Gbyte model.