Everybody loves the iPod, which perhaps explains why one of this week's top tech stories was the launch of some iPhone wallpapers that make your iPhone look like an iPod Classic. But if you're more interested in listening to iPods than looking at them, a new crowdfunder could be just the thing.
With an estimated price of $249, the Tangara music player is similar in price to the refurbished iPods recently sold by Urban Outfitters. But this is a brand new product, not an old one made good again.
Unlike any iPod, the people behind it are also quite happy for you to customize it, take it apart, repair it, change its software or completely transform its inside and outside, which is not something the best MP3 players let you do.
What does the Tangara music player deliver?
Beneath what looks like a highly sue-able exterior design somewhere between the original iPod and the iPod Photo, the Tangara can play MP3, FLAC, Opus and Ogg Vorbis and supports slightly better than CD quality – although not over Bluetooth, as that only has the very basic SBC audio codec.
You're going to want a pair of the best wired headphones to get the best out of the music here. The 1.8-inch display is as low resolution as the Bluetooth, delivering just 160 x 128 pixels. Music is stored on a 2TB microSD card. While the Tangara looks like an iPod, it lacks the iPod's compatibility with AAC files – so if you have iTunes songs you want to listen to, you'll need to convert them first.
One of the big draws here is that the hardware and software is open, so you can customize it or upgrade it as you see fit: there's a build-your-own option as well as the fully assembled version. As Crowd Supply, the firm behind the player, puts it, you can "tear it apart and put it back together again... experiment with alternative user-interface patterns, new types of content, tracker-based music production [and] much more".
The crowdfunding campaign is about to launch in early 2024. You can register your interest here but in the meantime, you can download the open-source software and hardware details to start making your own.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.