Apple Updates iPod Firmware To Version 2.1, Adds Support For New Accessories

Apple has updated the firmware of the iPod (with Dock Connector), bringing it to version 2.1. The new version, available for both Windows and Mac, adds support for Belkinis new line of iPod accessories, faster access to larger music libraries, the ability to sync On-The-Go playlists back to iTunes, and a new game that tests your knowledge of the music on your iPod. From Apple:

Apple today announced a free software update for iPod, the worldis most popular portable digital music player. The iPod software update adds support for new Belkin voice recording and photo storage accessories for dockable iPods, allowing users to record hundreds of hours of audio and store thousands of digital photos on their iPod. Available for both Mac and Windows, the iPod software update also includes faster browsing and accessing of large music libraries, the ability to sync On-The-Go playlists back to iTunes and a new Music Quiz game which tests a playeris knowledge of their own iTunes music library.

"Appleis latest iPods have been a huge hit, becoming the most successful digital music players ever. With these new added features there are even more great reasons to get one," said Philip Schiller, Appleis senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "We have worked together with Belkin to provide a simple and elegant solution to iPod usersi two most requested features, digital voice recording and photo storage."

With the new voice recording features, iPod users can use a Belkin Voice Recorder to record and instantly review over 600 hours of lectures, interviews or notes on a 40GB iPod. Once the iPod is connected to a Mac or Windows PC, the voice notes are automatically synced with the computer just like songs and playlists are synced in the iTunes library. These audio recordings are stored in WAV file format and can be easily edited or even sent to others via email. The Belkin Voice Recorder for iPod is the first third-party voice recording accessory to take advantage of these new capabilities in iPod. Belkinis ultra-compact Voice Recorder for iPod is equipped with a high-quality, omnidirectional microphone and 16mm speaker, works with all dockable iPods through the headphone connector and indicates recording status through iPodis LCD screen.

iPodis new photo storage feature allows users to use a Belkin Media Reader to import, store and backup over 20,000 digital photos from a 3 megapixel camera onto a 40GB iPod and take them anywhere. This frees up valuable camera and memory card storage space so users can continue to take pictures without the hassle and expense of buying and carrying multiple memory cards. Once the iPod is connected to a Mac or Windows PC, the digital photos are easily transferred to a useris computer and photo editing software. With Mac OS X, iPhoto will automatically recognize the iPod as a media storage device and prompt users to transfer their photos into the iPhoto library?just as if it were a camera, allowing users to erase the photos after transfer if desired. The ideal tool for professional photographers and people on vacation, Belkinis new Media Reader for iPod is the first third party iPod photo storage accessory. The Belkin Media Reader for iPod connects easily though iPodis dock connector and supports the five most common memory card formats?CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, SD and MMC.

iPod firmware 2.1 is available for download now from Appleis Web site.