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Review of the Apple iPod Touch – Redux: Our iLife

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ipodtouch_2d_logoProgress Report

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

ipodtouch_2d_vicThere are many iPod docks out there.  I picked one up on sale at Walmart for $49 marked down from $99 – or so they say.

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. 

6156_1_230Second, 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?

Twitter(ific)

twitterrificI 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.

Conclusionipodtouch_2d_digitaldivide

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…

Resources

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
http://www.commoncraft.com/twitter

And of course the other side of Twitter
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN2HAroA12w

Read about the Digital Divide
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_divide

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

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Written by frrl

April 26, 2009 at 4:14 am

Posted in Commentary and Opinion

Tagged with ,

7 Responses

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  1. This review isn’t meant to be technically helpful. I just wanted to say that this is an awesome device!

    A. Scultore

    A. Scultore

    March 27, 2010 at 9:33 am

  2. The ipod touch 3G was the first ipod I had ever purchased. It was a big decision too, as the thing is a bit pricey. However, I just thought I was buying myself a really cool music player. I didn’t realize I was basically getting an Iphone (better than an Iphone if you ask me# that can’t make phone calls!! It surfs the web, gets on itunes directly from the ipod, and plays games/apps just like an Iphone. I do love the large selection of free apps; they are not as good, generally, as the ones you pay for, but still neat. Also, the itunes app is incredibly user friendly, as is everything else on the touch. I forget how much money I’ve spent sometimes!! #minor flaw—it’s almost TOO easy!# The only cons I can think of are that the battery is not the longest lasting–unless you turn the brightness down to pretty dim–the wireless is not as strong as that of a laptop, and you can’t edit playlists/rename songs or really do anything other than play songs using the ipod itself. It all has to be done on the computer. Also, it needs to come with a charger other than the link to the computer. I don’t always have a computer handy, but I almost always can find a wall outlet. It comes with nice headphones that sound great and stay in your ear well #I do love to run with it), and the genius feature is great for this as well.

    A. Meyer

    March 27, 2010 at 9:14 am

  3. Hey, I know that there are a ton of reviews on this thing.This one is for the non techy AARP’s. I’ve had my Touch for a month now. I bought it to replace a Dell pocket PC that I used for my GPS and to carry around some medical programs I use at work. The touch opened a whole new world of podcasts to me. It does all the stuff I need at work,but in addition when I’m in the car I can play podcasts instead of using the radio. The interface with i tunes on my PC is very easy. I also enjoy carrying around all the photos that are on my computer that have been magically transfered to the touch. I can show off my grand chidren to an ever widening audience. I can’t get and Iphone for a bunch of reasons and this thing hooks up to wifi hotspots easily. It has issues with my home wireless,but that is moot since I see now reason to use it in that mode at home. Finally, I’ve dropped it a couple of times and it is none the worse for the trauma. Don’t let the $300 pricetag deter you. This thing is worth its weight in gold. Roger.

    Roger Biss

    Roger Biss

    March 27, 2010 at 9:04 am

  4. Great idea that ou bought an ipod touch. I have never regreted buying mine.!!:-)

    Anderson Singh

    August 18, 2009 at 8:40 pm

  5. Great post. thanks

    itouch 32gb

    July 12, 2009 at 2:03 pm

  6. I’m glad you like the new iPod! Welcome to the community of iPhone and iPod touch users. I’m sure you’ll find a ton of apps that will make you like your iPod touch even more. I guess the blue shirted one was right!

    Apple development center

    April 26, 2009 at 6:17 am

    • Never Leave Home Without It
      I’ve pretty much determined that if this iPod was actually an iPhone, you could probably rule the world with it!

      Iphone Charger 3G

      August 20, 2009 at 4:36 pm


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