Lacking the wide-screen wonder and connectivity of the iPod touch and the 4G iPod nano's gee-whiz accelerometer and shake-to-shuffle feature, the iPod classic doesn't feel new or innovative. Rather, it's a tested and reliable way to carry around your digital media.

Something new
I said nearly, not completely. The new features it does include are also found on the new iPod nano and are just as worthwhile. First, the iPod classic supports the Genius playlist feature. Select a song you want to build a related playlist around, press and hold the Centre button, and a screen appears that offers these choices: Start Genius, Add to On-The-Go, Browse Album, Browse Artist, and Cancel. Choose Start Genius, press the Centre button and the iPod creates a playlist of 25 related tracks.

You can save the Genius playlist by selecting Save Playlist and a new playlist is created with the name of the selected track. To populate the playlist with other tracks related to your originally selected track, select the Refresh command in the Genius playlist screen and press the Centre button.

The Add to On-The-Go command indicates how On-The-Go playlist creation has changed on the latest iPod classic. Select the item you want to add to the On-The-Go playlist and press and hold the Centre button. In the resulting screen, select that Add to On-The-Go command, and press Centre again.

I admit that I miss the old behaviour when all I had to do was select an item and press and hold Centre until that item flashed, telling me that it had been added to the On-The-Go playlist. Under the old system I had one less screen and command to futz with.

But it's nice to see the addition of the Browse Album and Browse Artist commands on this screen. Just as with these commands on the 4G iPod nano, they make it easy for those shuffling through their music collection to quickly move to the album or artist from which the currently playing track comes. I've longed for this feature during those "I love this song, I wish I could listen to the rest of the album in the press of a button!" moments.

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