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IPods were first introduced to in 2001 and has since grown into a recognized cultural symbol. Designed and marketed by Apple Computer, iPod is a brand of digital audio/video players that stand apart from the rest due to their user friendly interface and sleek design. Customers can carry their entire music collection and more in their pockets. Although Apple Computer already had a huge following of loyal customers, the iPod has created a new generation of Apple fanatics that simply cannot get enough of the iPod and all of the iPod attachments that have since developed. The iPod has grown faster than any other music player in consumer electronics history and accounts for half of the company's revenue from the sales of hardware and content; it has also generated a "halo effect" increase in sales of Mac desktops and laptops.

Object Analysis: IPOD

We might as well use video iPods as a case here, since it seems to be the example everyone else uses. iPod Video screens are actually quite large as these things go - 320 × 240 pixels (H.264 format) or 480 × 480 pixels (MPEG-4). By comparison:

* A fullscreen NTSC DVD has a resolution of 720 × 480 pixels, and typical subpicture captions are 24 pixels high at cap height. 24 ÷ 480 = 1/20 screen height.

* Line 21 captions are 26 total lines high on a screen that's 504 visible lines tall. 26 ÷ 504 ˜ 1/20 screen height.

* DVB pictures are commonly 544 × 576 pixels high, with 24-pixel-high captions (in, sadly, Tiresias most of the time). 24 ÷ 576 = 1/24 screen height.

* A previous source recommended that captions be 1/10 to 1/25 screen height (0.04 to 0.1). While the actual research basis of this declaration is open to question, all of the foregoing examples fall within that range.

By those proportions, iPod Video captions in the H.264 format could be anywhere from 10 to 24 pixels high to be of a size comparable to DVD and Line 21 captions. Move up to MPEG-4 and even captions at 1/25 screen height are 19 pixels high.

If TV is famously a lean-back medium and computers famously a lean-forward one, then handheld video is a scrunch-forward medium. You will probably hold your video iPod at half an arm's length from your eyes, or hold it up in your lap, which again will be less than an arm's length away. At those distances iPod screens are quite large enough to read. Unless you have a CrackBerry, your cellphone's screen is smaller than that and you hold it at that distance to write or read a text message. Even if you think - erroneously - that there aren't enough pixels to play with, you need to weigh that against the fact that the screen is close to your eyes.

If you're watching video on a computer, things change, but not by much. You're still closer than if you were watching on a handheld player, and your video screen may be ...
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