An exposed slot (the Dock connector) on the bottom of the iPod Mini attaches to either the included USB 1.1/2.0 cable or an optional Firewire cable. Alternatively, you can hook up via a cradle (sold separately), which in turn connects to the FireWire or USB cable or directly to a stereo through the line-out jack. Unfortunately, Apple no longer includes the power adapter, but you can purchase one separately if you prefer not to charge up through your computer. The Mini snaps into an included white belt clip for on-the-go listening. Apple also offers an optional armband for exercise, which uses the same cool, snap on design. As with all hard drive-based MP3 players, the iPod Mini isn't the ideal choice for extreme physical activity.
Other than the Belkin voice recorder and flash adapter, most third-party accessories designed for the latest round of white iPods also work with the Mini.The Apple iPod Mini's playback features are all accessible and programmable from the main menu. You can browse by song, artist, album, genre, playlist, or composer. With the On The Go function, you can create a new playlist without a computer. When you sync the player to iTunes 4.2 or later, the new playlist uploads to your PC or Mac and can download back to the Mini automatically for later listening. In Autosync mode, iTunes sizes up your iPod Mini's available storage space and creates a playlist that fits the capacity perfectly, consisting of songs you've rated highly or listened to more frequently. This is crucial, since both the 4GB and 6GB capacities (which can each hold between two and four days' worth of nonstop music) are smaller than most serious digital music collections. It also means that if you've already used iTunes to listen to music on your PC or Mac, the first time you connect the iPod Mini, all of your favourite songs automatically transfer to the player until it's full.
A Playlist function lets you rate a song on a scale of one to five while it's playing; songs with higher ratings play more frequently in Shuffle mode (you can also rate songs within the iTunes application). Library/device syncing is still as smart as ever. When you plug in the Mini or drop it in the optional cradle, iTunes launches and automatically syncs your music collection or selected playlists. With iTunes, you can also create MP3 and AAC files from your CDs. The iPod Mini handles AAC files as it would MP3 files, but AAC sounds better at the same bit rate. The player also supports WAV/AIFF and spoken-word Audible files, which can now be purchased from the iTunes Music Store. The software can also resample songs to a certain bit rate, apply volume leveling (a.k.a. normalisation), and digitally enhance songs while transferring them.