Oct 25 2007
I would not have thought to post a review of the touch after so many others, except that I keep running into review after review that does nothing but list the iPhone features not in the touch. So, in an effort to promote good, rational buying decisions and give the iPod touch a fair look I’m going to run down my impressions of the new iPod.
The touch is NOT an iPhone
If you dig down into the comments on most of the reviews where the touch gets beat up, you find someone pointing out that the touch is not an iPhone minus the phone. It does not include the same feature set or applications and never will. As much as we can demand as consumers that everything Apple makes have every feature we can dream up and still be stable, there is something called product differentiation. And our slim friend must sink or swim on his own virtues. That doesn’t mean things aren’t missing, though, read on.
The touch is the Sexiest iPod Ever Made
If you haven’t held one in your hands, you just don’t know how well crafted this iPod is. It makes the iPhone look fat. I can (and have) spent ten minutes just holding the thing, admiring the weight, balance and smooth surface. And that’s before you turn it on. Coverflow and animations in the OS make the interface a match for the exquisite shell.
The touch is Almost the Best Internet Tablet on the Market
Safari on the touch is fantastic. It is the best handheld browser available. It is more stable, faster and easier to navigate than Opera on Nokia’s Internet Tablets. And it makes Pocket Internet Explorer look ridiculous. Thanks to great developers making the most of the “webapp” guidelines from Apple, just-for-iPhone web interfaces are almost as good as the iPod’s own interface. So why almost? Wifi takes its toll on the battery (about 2x the drain of off-line use) and without support for Bluetooth tethering – so you can use your phone’s internet access – once the wifi goes, so does the fun. But that leads me to my next point:
Off-line, the touch isn’t Half as Fun
The iPod touch is an iPod right? So we should be listening to U2 and watching episodes of the Office, right? But that’s no fun. We could do that on our old iPod videos. Unfortunately, the new added functionality we love on the touch (including webapps) vaporize with our internet connection. What do we need? Off-line applications (the kind that come from 3rd parties hacked now, or legit SDK in February) to allow us to play with downloaded content while saving battery life between hotspots or on a plane. Until then, its nothing but boring podcasts, songs, videos and photos.
The touch isn’t a PDA, but will Replace the PDA
With the smart-phone and personal media + browsing device duo, Apple brings doom to the product category is created. Introducing the web (and soon 3rd party apps), Apple has turned the gadget everybody is dying to have into the gadget that can do anything. From corporate intranets to Facebook, the fruits of a web interface in a grown-up browser make the touch infinitely more powerful than a PDA.
Go, now and buy! Or don’t. Either way, be sure to evaluate the touch on its own merits.