Gathan Beaga

Recently Geeked Out On: iPod Touch

the iPod TouchInformation:

I’ve wanted one of these ever since the product announcement back in September. So, combining the opportunity of a short business trip to Aussie with the excuse of it being close-ish to Christmas, I scored one on my way back through duty free. The price I got was the equivalent of $100 off over the New Zealand price, not enough to make it cheap, or even reasonable, but enough for this Apple Fanboy.

I’ve had it for a week now, and I love it. It’s an experience to use, slim, black, tactile and glossy. It plays movies. It displays your photos (it even knows how you are holding it – portrait or landscape – and alters its display accordingly). It surfs the ‘net, and if you find a wireless hotspot to connect to there’s another world of other stuff you can do on it. It even plays music. Yep.

It’s not without its faults though, and some of these are annoying.

  • the headphone socket is on the bottom, preventing the (rather inadequate) stand from working while the Touch is sitting in portrait position – but putting the Touch into landscape position to free up the headphone socket causes the music display to change to Coverflow mode – and while it’s like this there are no volume controls. Often I listen to music while working… and if I need to change the volume for any reason I have to physically pick up the device, rotate it 90 degrees, and manipulate the touch screen appropriately. Clumsy and irritating.
  • only 16Gb? That’s not really enough for a decent music collection and a few movies and TV shows. I had to ditch some songs from iTunes.
  • no FireWire connectivity, only slow USB 2.0.
  • for some reason the Touch won’t “remember” any wireless connection that has a hidden SSID. For probably bogus “security” reasons my home wireless network is hidden from immediate view and has to be connected to by name. Until I altered this setting and started to publicly broadcast the network’s name, the Touch required me to enter the network name and passphrase every time I needed to connect.
  • it appears that the Touch has trouble connecting to weak wireless networks – it will appear to connect happily, but then not allow any connection to websites (some sort of DNS issue). This seems to happen a lot in town on CaféNet, but only at what I suspect are the edges of hotspots. Other times (such as very close to cafés) it works just fine.
  • I have a feeling that the music sound quality is just slightly not quite as good as my third generation iPod… but I have no way of quantitatively measuring this (although I am not the only person to have issues with the sound). The sound seems slightly less “spaced out” and clear, although there does seem to be adequate frequency response across the range. I tested both using my reasonably good set of Sennheiser PXC-100s, so it’s not the ’phones…

Despite all this though, there’s no going back. Among the many things I love:

  • watching the IT Crowd on the bus to work. Using a program called ffmpegX I was able to convert episodes thoughtfully provided by American friends to a format that plays well on the Touch
  • having my favourite movies, ripped from my own DVDs (thanks, Handbrake) on call – I’m working through LotR, the entire series of Firefly, and Nick Cave’s The Proposition at the moment.
  • the sheer geeky coolness of surfing on the thing; the Vulcan nerve pinch interface
  • today’s new additions to the useful apps – in particular the astounding Google Maps app is very impressive. And let’s not forget the web apps and the way these can now be turned into widgets on the home screen.
  • the all round coolness of the thing.

I can’t leave it alone, despite its imperfections. Get one if you can.