ANDREW’S PERSONAL LOG, STARDATE 0801.09–After having my previous fifth-generation iPod suffer a hard drive failure for the second time in a year, I decided it was about time to look for a replacement.
Luckily, this past holiday brought me a solution to my problem in a brand new 6GB iPod Touch (although there is also an 8GB model). The new flash memory was definitely a cause for celebration as my HD problems would soon disappear.
Upon first view, the new iPod Touch is definitely an improvement on my old white brick. The device is slim and lightweight. The back consists of the standard metal casing, which like usual scratches easily and looks unsightly if you hold it in your hand for any reasonable amount of time. However, the front has been replaced with a nice glass screen — a huge improvement over the plastic scratch-fest that Apple has used in previous generations.
The new operating system, borrowed from the illustrious iPhone, is a great platform for the new iPod. It is fast, clean, and responsive to even the largest of fingers. There were some issues, the most notable being a bug with the photos program causing it to show only a single photo when viewing a slide show. Other than that, the keyboard and controls work well, although it takes a little time to get acquainted with them. Safari is definitely missing a page up/down key, causing me to scroll with my finger extensively for larger websites.
One of the biggest features that the iPod Touch touts is it’s wireless capability. Being on a WiFi college campus 24/7, this was a huge plus in my favor, allowing me to access teh intranets anywhere on campus, including lecture. However, I am saddened that Apple decided not to include an IM client with the device, something I sorely miss. Wireless capabilities also allows one to purchase music from the iTunes store from your iPod directly. Podcasts are not included in the mobile iTunes store, a feature which is another aspect of disappointment on my part.
Other features include a simple four-function calculator, a calendar (probably my favorite), stop watch, alarm, contacts, and photo and video storage. The iPod Touch also makes use of the eponymous touch capability with a new hold function that requires you to slide your finger to unlock the iPod, a feature which is both intuitive and simple. Optional locking via a pin allows you to make sure no one else is able to use the iPod, possibly deterring would-be thieves.
Is the iPod touch a precursor to the Star Trek PADD (Personal Access Display Device)?
In all, the iPod Touch makes me feel one step closer to a dream that Jason and I share — the Star Trek lifestyle that every geek has dreamed about. It’s more than a simple music device; it is the true geek device and one that reminds me of the famous Star Trek PADD. However, I believe it stops just short of its potential. The removal of several iPhone applications makes me wonder if Apple realizes the potential of the device. For those of us not willing to pay the heavy bill that the iPhone carries, the iPod Touch makes a great gadget for all geeks to consider. However, the small storage capacity may cause users to opt for a larger HD model such as the iPod Classic.
EDIT: Apple just recently announced a January Software upgrade which includes applications such as e-mail, weather, stocks, notepad, and customizable home screen. For $20, I readily jumped on the chance to upgrade, albeit a little upset that they charged existing users for the software while future users would get it for free. I am happy that Apple realizes the potential they have in the device and hopefully we will get more features to come (hopefully unlocking the device, although it seems unlikely). The applications, especially the mail app, is a great addition and just further adds to the desirability of the device. If you have an iPod touch, the upgrade is a must.