Review of the Apple iPod Touch – Redux: Our iLife
I bought the Apple iPod Touch about a week ago at a local Best Buy. I asked the blue-shirted-one “What is the return policy?” He said “30 days”. “No questions asked?”, I replied. “Don’t worry”, he said, “You won’t return it”. He was right!
After a week of use I can say that the Apple iPod Touch has changed the way I interact with the Internet for some subset of common activities. For example, tiny things like checking my e-mail, checking the weather forecast, checking breaking news, finding out what’s happening in the financial markets, checking who was on-line on Skype – all these things used to take me to a painful trip to my laptop.
No more trips to the laptop
Now that has fundamentally changed. With a home wireless network and the Apple iPod Touch all of these capabilities – and more – are now in my shirt pocket or a short reach away on the table. Even if the iPod Touch is powered off it only takes 15 seconds to boot.
Untethered at last
For those of you that listen to a lot of podcasts on iTunes you are now free – free at last – free at last. With the supplied iTunes application on the iPod Touch you can now download podcasts to the iPod without using a PC intermediary. What’s even better is that once the iPod knows what podcasts you listen to it asks a nice polite question “Would you like me to get more episodes?”. Well, yes, I would like you to get more episodes. The new podcasts you select will download in the background and you don’t have to wait for one to finish before you ask for another. No more trips to the laptops to sync with iTunes – I can get my podcasts directly to the iPod over my home wireless network.
After you get these new podcasts you can make a new “On-the-go” playlist, listen and enjoy. Got an iPod dock? All the better.
Buying your iPod Touch gifts
The first date went so well, and keeping in mind the prophecy of the blue-shirted-one, I went and bought my iPod Touch a couple of gifts. One being a $29 mic/earbud so I could use Skype for phone calls and chat. The other gift was an iPod Dock.
Buying an iPod Dock
The iPod dock accomplished many things at once. First, most docks will power and charge the iPod at the same time. A small “connected icon” shows up on the battery icon when the iPod is in the dock and being powered by the dock. The icon in the battery changes to a lighting bolt when the dock is both powering and charging the iPod.
Second, docks made for the iPod usually come with a remote that understands iPod navigation. You can navigate albums, artists, playlists, and so on with the remote from a distance without touching the iPod.
Third, most docks have video out. You can watch your iPod videos on any device that has a RCA composite (yellow) jack for video in.
Fourth, most docks have bass/treble/EQ controls and some decent sound. Typical would be 10-50 Watts of audio output from the iPod docked. Much better than using the iPod built-in speaker or earbuds.
Fifth, many docks have a built-in AM/FM radio with clock and alarm.
The iPod dock that I picked up from Walmart for $49 had all the above features with 50 Watts audio out. Surprisingly, no AM radio in the dock. FM radio with 20 presets. AM is not dead. Don’t iPod’ers listen to AM talk radio?
I was really not a fan of Twitter until I got the iPod Touch. The reason for this was that I had to go to my PC to check on people I was following – a painful trip out of my way. Now the iPod is in my pocket. Checking Twitter is not an inconvenience at all.
There is some fun commentary about Twitter – for and against. Like any new thing you can make fun of it or you can try to discover the value. Is the glass half empty or half full?
Of course, Twitter can be used by exhibitionists obsessed with self-importance – “who cares” what you are doing! On the other hand, Twitter as social networking, is a sort of connected / unconnected virtual community. You connect, make a tweet, and go off-line. People who are following you connect, check, and see what you are up to, and disconnect. It’s like Post-It notes for/to the global community.
Social networking is still an experiment. But early results are in. There is more of a community with it than without it. The limitation of associations, friendships, collaboration, and so on has now broken the constraints of local geography. You are free to share, collaborate, and communicate globally. The device to accomplish this fits in your shirt pocket.
iPod Touch cost/benefit
You should keep in mind that I am writing this from the perspective of the evolution of an appliance-design MP3 Player. The capability of the iPod Touch is eclipsed by the Apple iPhone.
The important difference between the Touch and the iPhone is that, to get all that I have described an more, you don’t have to spend a penny beyond the cost of the iPod Touch – retail $229 at the big box stores. If you have an iPhone, well, that is going to be about $50+ per month in perpetuity. I am not going to count the cost of the wireless network needed for the iPod Touch to get you connected to the global community. Everyone who has home Internet access should already have wireless. So the Touch rides for free.
There can be no gainsaying about the fact that a great revolution is taking place in the world today…That is, a technological revolution with the impact of automation and cybernation…Modern man through scientific genius has been able to dwarf distance. Through our genius we have made this world a neighborhood. And yet we — we have not yet had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this.
– Martin Luther King Jr. 1968
The iPod Touch is one of those devices that will widen the gap of the Digital Divide – those that have the technology and those who don’t.
Those that “have” are continuing to evolve a new language – “Twitter me”; “Skype Me”; “BlackBerry Prayer”. They are evolving new ways of communicating – YouTube; MySpace; Facebook; Twitter; blogs; vblogs; Wiki’s. And perhaps, those that “have” are discovering new ways of existing, living, and being. Those who know about Linden Labs Second Life know what I mean – commentary on the long term affects of Second Life on traditional social life suspended for now.
The rapid pace of technology is creating a new language, new ways of thinking about the world, about people, about relationships, and about what is possible. This rapid pace of evolving everything will only be matched by the decline of relationships and communications with those people who have chosen not to participate.
Is there any turning back now? Is it inevitable that some groups of people will be left behind? Has there ever been a time in history where there was a class-less society? Time marches on – unimpeded, and waiting for no one. For those on one side of the Divide – the iPod Touch and iPhone are now an integral part of Our iLife – not My iLife, but Our iLife.
…Modern man through scientific genius has been able to dwarf distance. Through our genius we have made this world a neighborhood…
Read about my First Date with the Apple iPod Touch – Review of the Apple iPod Touch: First Date
If you still don’t know what Twitter is – Twitter in Plain English in 2 min 23 seconds
And of course the other side of Twitter
Read about the Digital Divide
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.