Apple iPod Touch Review
I’ve been tempted to get the iPhone just as much as the next guy. So much so that I had to write up reasons to convince myself not to run out and get one when they became available. My main reasons revolved around the limited functionality of the iPhone relative to my business-oriented Symbian device. However, I got what the iPhone was about, and it wasn’t about competing directly with the E-series / Blackberries of the world in terms of biz and app functionality; it is a media consumption device, and one of the best ones out there. I say ‘one of’ because, thankfully for me, Apple put out the iPod touch, a device which, to this day, I’m amazed with every time I play with it.
One of the most striking things for me, transitioning from the iPod classic to the Touch, wasn’t all the new functionality that it comes with (such as the wifi), but how much the Touch helped me rediscover my media. I have to say that the biggest selling point for me has been the ability to navigate my music in an entirely new way. Let me explain.
With my old iPod, I would go to a playlist that I liked, hit shuffle, and I’d be a victim of whatever song came next. With the Touch, however, I can now, via small icon on the top right corner, dig into the album which the song belongs to, even if the other songs are not part of the playlist! That one simple thing makes all the difference. I like the song ‘Beautiful Day’ from U2, for example, and it’s in my playlist, but none of the other songs in the Album were in the playlist because I didn’t update the playlist recently. However, once the song came up, I clicked on the icon, and was able to listen to other U2 songs from that album, but having started off in a playlist that excluded them.
Media discovery aside, the iPod Touch almost delivers on the promise of being the next Apple Newton PDA. I can sync all of my contacts and calendars, and add to them. I browse the web, and use the clock, You Tube, and calculator apps, much like I would with a run of the mill PDA these days. The only apps that are missing to make it a viable PDA alternative, frankly, are the mail, notes, and file management apps. Hopefully with the release of the development kit for the iPhone/Touch platform this upcoming year (Feb 08), we will see a blossoming of apps for the Touch, including VoIP functionality (some people already have a proof of concept working with the iPod Touch).
A quick note about browsing the web with the iPod Touch. The browser and experience is identical to that of the iPhone, for they share the same browser based on WebKit, Safari. Browsing on the Touch is by far THE BEST BROWSING experience EVER on a mobile device. The Apple crew have managed to make mobile browsing a painless activity. Pages render fast with very little content malformed or excluded, and most importantly, it FEELS snappy. So much so, that over WiFi, the Apple iPod Touch beats out my top of the line Nokia E90 (also on WiFi) in terms of web page rendering speed, site manipulation (moving around), and responsiveness. Apple has been promoting their Web Apps which give the iPod Touch additional functionality. However, without a WiFi connection, these apps don’t work, so that is why I am actively looking forward to what will come of the development community once the development kit comes out early next year.
The Touch, does have a few downsides, though.. but they are few:
1) No bluetooth. I wouldn’t expect an MP3 player to have bluetooth, but the Touch is so much more that you would like to have that functionality there just to be able to link it up to a phone and browse the web.
2) Touch Typing. Similar to the iPhone, typing on the screen isn’t an easy affair. You don’t get the WPM count that you do with a typical Blackberry device, but then again, this isn’t that, so no biggie.
3) If you’re one of these people that like to navigate their iPod whilst it is in their pocket, well the Ipod Touch requires you to look at it for navigation, so no discreet iPod manipulation is possible with the Touch.
I didn’t find the battery to be a huge issue, but with the size of the screen, it obviously isn’t going to be as long lasting as those iPod with smaller screens.
If you’re considering an iPod this Christmas. This one gets my recommendation. It is sleek, thing, powerful, and revolutionary. You won’t be disappointed (unless you constantly drop things, are clumsy, or need to use your device by ‘feel’ alone).
For more specs on the iPod Touch, here is the link to Apple’s tech specs page: