Apple

iPod Touch Review

So I've had the iPod Touch for a few days now and I did promise I'd write about my first impressions...

The Good
I've never used an iPhone (we're a little backwards here in the UK) so I can't comment on how the screen compares but from my point of view it's the best screen I've seen on any mobile device, ever. I was slightly worried that once I'd had my fingers all over it for a day nothing would look good but it's so bright that the image cuts through any greasy fingerprints. As a pure user interface the new iPod is just so intuitive that anyone can pick it up and be using it within seconds. Coverflow is a nice way of getting around (strangely I never use it on the laptop) with the draggable images you can get around your music collection faster than on any other device. It does rather rely on you having album art for all your music, but I went through that pain a while ago so not a problem here.

Safari is just lovely, surprisingly fast, and works with all of the websites that I go to regularly. The process of connecting to wireless networks is pretty painless (indeed seamless if the network is open) and then with the pinch / double tap approach to zooming in and out you can very easily get to all of your important sites. What I'm picturing here is that I won't need to lug my laptop bag around with me all day at Lotusphere (or similar situations) and just use the Touch to check email, blogs etc. All I need now are good web-based IM clients for MSN / Google Talk and Skype. Any ideas?

The wireless iTunes Music Store is superb, in fact I think I may even prefer it to the real thing. I don't know about you but I find navigating around the normal ITMS quite slow and clunky, the wireless version is so cut down that it's a joy to use.

The photo and video functions are incredible, I've never seen anything so well done in such a small device and I can imagine that on a plane or train journey the ability to watch movies on a good sized screen will be a real boon.

The Bad
I'm not yet convinced by the keyboard. Firstly, why can't it display in landscape mode? When I'm browsing I want to be able see as much width as possible, but really I won't be using it much so can live with it. I imagine it would be more annoying on the iPhone where you might be texting or emailing a lot more.

Talking of the iPhone, I fail to understand why the calendar has been crippled so that you can't create new entries on the Touch but you can sync your calendar with your computer. I guess this is a pure marketing move to keep differentiation between the iPhone and the Touch. The lack of the Mail app falls into the same category, not a problem as I use Gmail, but if you wanted a POP3 client then the Touch is not for you.

The Not So Sure
I'm not a big YouTube user, I just watch the things I'm sent. Though I guess if you need to kill a few minutes then it may be worthwhile. Just not my thing.

Now Greyhawk posted about his problems with accessing the music functionality and I have to agree that if you drive with your iPod regularly then this is not the one for you. You really have to be looking at it to be able to control it whereas older models you could do it by touch alone (ironically). But I don't really use mine in the car, just on the bus and at work when it's sat next to me. That being said, if there were some way to re-program the Home button so that a double click paused your music that would be lovely.

Overall this is obviously the way that portable media devices are going in the long run. In a couple of years time as battery life and storage catch up I can imagine the day when my ultimate pocket device is a reality