IPod Touch – Happiness in My Pocket

I have long been a fan of the iPod line of products from Apple.  I owed one of the very first iPods, and several in between.  When the Video iPod (now called iPod Classic) was released, I purchased it with the belief that it would be everything I could want in a portable media player.

Unfortunate a teacher as gravity may be, I learned a valuable lesson two weeks back when my iPod fell five feet to the ground, flush on it’s glass display.  I have long wondered how Apple got it’s hands on glass that was so hard to scratch.  Alas, I broke it plenty good with that fumble.Though I was not looking to pay my twice annual Apple tax so early in the year, I knew that I had to replace my iPod. Sad, I know. I mostly used it for listening to podcasts. Several I recommend below. In any event, I rarely watched video on the device, in large part to the small screen. I started watching a few shows that I was downloading from the Apple Store, but the small screen really limited my viewing – which bothered me a little, because I really wanted this to be my travel buddy.

The first time I handled the iPod Touch, I wasn’t that impressed. It seemed a bit clunky, and not as pretty or slim as her sister, the iPhone. Too much time was spent hoping that I could get one of those for Verizon, that I completely missed the boat on this one. In fact, when I read Fred’s dismal review of his experience, I was pretty sure that I didn’t want one.

It’s funny how the loss of a loved one can force us to make decisions that we may not otherwise have made. Sure, one could argue that my iPod Touch purchase is a rebound purchase, but sometimes the rebound is exactly what you need. In this case, I have to say is that I don’t know how I will not have this thing with me all the time. My wife is already annoyed at how often I have it in front of me. The screen is plenty big to enjoy TV shows on. The ability to synch with my iCal, my photos, and do email and web on the one device is fantastic. Would I like it to have wimax or in effect be an iPhone? Sure…for the data only. Now that I have this thing in my pocket, I long for a much smaller phone than my complete-pain-in-the-ass Motorola Q. The hate that I have for this phone is second only to it’s predecessor in my pocket, the dreaded Samsumg i730. The Moto Q is kind of like the hot cheerleader in high school: you really want to date her, and you finally get the chance, only to find out that she is bulimic, completely self-involved (meaning you don’t get what you want), and a borderline short bus passenger.

Anyway, back to the Touch. It hasn’t left my side in the week that I have had it, which is to say that I love it. Though, I have some complaints about the controls. It’s almost impossible to advance a song, movie, show, whatever, with any fine level of granularity. On the Classic, you had the scroll wheel, so advancing was easy. With the Touch, they had to make some compromises on how the controls work. The slider is too small, meaning you move forward in :45 second chunks, and the fast forward is not up to the task, as you have to hold it for something like 10 years in order to move forward one minute. It would be nice if the slider timeline were zoomed in around the location, so you could move forward with slow movements in small chunks, but faster movements would move you along further. Perhaps this is how it is implemented, but it doesn’t work as such.

The battery life also impresses, though I find myself watching so much video on this thing now, that I am a little miffed that I have to dongle the Touch to my computer to charge it. There are times when I want to use my computer and just leave the Touch to charge. They make wall chargers in the aftermarket, but I shouldn’t have to pay for it. I guess the box wouldn’t have been so slim if Apple had included a wall charger.

The flash memory is also a welcome change. No longer do I feel or hear the hum of the hard drive as I listen or watch. The big drag, of course, is the pricing with the flash memory. I ponied up for the 32GB version for no other reason than it came in a scant $1 below the threshold for a spousal deliberation. I have seriously trimmed down my music library on my main computer, but that’s because my nearly two year old Macbook has the svelte 80GB drive in it, on which I am always in danger of running out of space. I know at some point I am going to upgrade my main computer, and it will thankfully have more space for music, videos, etc, so for the extra $100, I doubled the memory to 32GB.Every day I marvel at the technology I can now fit in my pocket with this iPod Touch. It’s amazing, and I hate sounding like a fan boy. I am sure that as I travel with it more, I will come to want the constant network access, which means I will end up buying the iPhone, but I hope not. I actually miss having a small phone in my pocket/bag.


Some Recommended Podcasts

  • Keith and the Girl – Crass? Yes. Good fun? You bet.
  • Dave Ramsey Show – I find it very interesting to hear how people are dealing with financial issues. This is something that people (friends, family) don’t talk about enough, and yet money woes are the cause of so many problems. Financial education really needs to be higher priority.
  • The McLaughlin Group – Yes, they are self-billed as having the “hardest talk,” which I find a strange way to market yourself, but I do find that I learn something with every listen.
  • This Week in Tech – The obligatory nerd talk show.
  • The Tri Talk Triathlon Podcast – Nerdy content of a different type. A great host, with great content, though it always reinforces in my mind how much time type-A tri guys (and gals) spend on trying to find that little extra “go fast” tech, when dropping a pound or two would probably do you just as well. For the middle and back of packers anyway.