In an interview with Brian Williams on NBC, Steve Jobs, the brainchild behind the highly successful iPod series of digital audio players actually stated that "You have to buy a new iPod at least once a year".
His reasoning behind this was that, considering the high asking price of an ipod, and the fact the company "continues innovations to the product", it would seem to the average iPod buyer that their iPod is old or obsolete as soon as they take it out of the box. Well thank goodness for that explanation. I assumed he was talking about the shocking failure rates of the hard disk drives and the incidences of battery explosions. The Third Generation iPod Touch
is offered in 32GB or 64GB. It continues the same physical dimensions as the 2nd Generation model (MB533LL/A) ,
but adds a slightly faster processor due to the new strategy at apple to sell the iPods as portable gaming devices rather than just music players. AS A MUSIC PLAYER
the iPod Touch is a benchmark for other music players. You can download songs via WiFi directly to the iPod, or you can download to your computer and then sync them over to the iPod. The best thing about purchasing music is that #1 you are safe from fines from the RIAA, and #2 the songs contain album art which can be seen by rotating the iPod on its side so you can shuffle through albums or artists to play what you like when you like it.
Unfortunately, Sound quality is weak. The iPod line has always featured crisp sound with the AAC codec, but, the speaker drivers and the internal amps are pitiful for bass amplification and for 3D surround sound. The Microsoft ZUNE actually wins in the audio department, but I don’t recommend the ZUNE because the rest of its offerings pale in comparison to the pod’. AS A VIDEO PLAYER
, the iPod Touch is best used with its YOUTUBE application. You can watch Youtube videos with just a few clicks when connected to WiFi. But, when downloading video, you are locked into Apple’s h.264 codec, just as you are locked into AAC without the ability to play MP3. You cannot use popular piracy formats such as Xvid or DivX. That’s not to say other formats are illegitimate, you can legally download the DivX converter and make your own DivX videos that use less storage space than h.264. It would be nicer to be able to use those here. ITUNES
is the syncing software for the iPodT. It is provided free of charge for download if you ever need to add it to multiple computers. ITUNES has its benefits but it also has drawbacks. A Benefit is that iTunes can backup and store images of your purchased/downloaded software and your music so that in the event you ever buy a new iPod T or upgrade to iPhone, you can resync every single detail just as it was to the new device. Sync’s are 100% perfect. Unfortunately my girlfriend didn’t know how to use iTunes and it does have a learning curve. I had to teach her. In order to move music over to the pod from the computer, you’ve gotta put together playlists after uploading your music library from the computer itself. Unlike many other players, you can’t simply drag and drop files to the device via explorer windows. In its defense, I trust iTunes because Apple always updates it to give it new functionality while many other media organizers for illegitimate music players or music players from lesser companies like Toshiba and RCA do not get the constant attention and support. AS A PHONE
, the iPod Touch benefits from having WiFi connectivity and this model features an in-line microphone with speakers. You can download the SKYPE app for absolutely FREE, but, there are numerous other Voice over Internet apps to download. Although you can’t make phone calls in the absence of a WiFi Lan this extra function is welcomed. My girlfriend can use iPod at work to receive private calls from me at virtually NO COST. The app also provides notifications for missed calls and offers an instant messenger for texting which is 100% FREE. I also like the fact the VoIP apps resemble the iPhone’s phone functionality. It also cross references the iPodT’s stored contact list so you can use SKYPE on WiFi just as you might use an iPhone over the cellular network. Voice Control
is now a feature on iPod. I never really liked using voice commands, even in my car, but it is a great option that i think some people might find useful.
Voice control is activated by pressing and holding the home button or the center button on your headphones. After a short tone you can dial by voice in the VoIP applications ("7-1-8 - 5 - 5- 5- 1 - 2- 1 - 2") or you can tell the pod to call someone and then say their name ("call Michael") - a feature many phones have. When using the iPod itself, you can automatically control it by pressing and holding the button and then saying things such as "play songs by Michael Jackson", "Play playlist Rap". Its just like the voice technology I experienced in Microsoft's SYNC in the Lincoln MKS, with the addition that you can ask "What song is this" and the computer can tell you the name of the track and the author. 'Genius' Music categorizer from iTunes is also supported if you simply tell the iPod to "play songs like this".
Its a fun gimmick to play with which can increase accessibility to the handicapped, but do you really want to be speaking commands in a public place? I'd perfer a good set of A2DP Headphones.
Also worth noting is that the 3.0 version adds 'shake to shuffle' functionality to the iPhone/iPod touch. But, would you really want to wave around an expensive player?
The iPod now supports A2DP
which is the Bluetooth streaming audio profile for wireless Bluetooth headphones. I was expecting Apple to release a brand new style of headphones with built in mic and chargeable battery, but, they haven’t done so yet. If and when they do, I’m already committed to buy so long as the price is under $100. I absolutely hate having wires in between my expensive phone and my head because that also implies that you must have your phone in your hand exposed to the elements and the possibility of dropping it (which I have accidentally done before). Take a look at the Motorola S9. They cost less than $30 on Ebay. AS A GAMING DEVICE
, the iPod Touch does not cease to astound me due to its processing power, flexibility and the overall cost per game. The iPod touch has its share of highly addictive “Drug Wars”-like MMORPG’s such as “IMOB”, “JET FIGHTERS” and “NINJAS LIVE” that are all about online economics and light on 3D graphics, but, the Touch also supports graphic intensive games such as “GALAXY of FIRE”, “STAR PAGGA” and “FAST”. All of these games are flight simulators, a genre which the iPodT has no problem with at all due to its accelerometer controls which allow you to tilt or turn to fly around. iPodT has slightly harder times with racing simulators such as “FASTLANE” due to the accelerometer control not being as tight for steering wheel emulation.
I think what really brings the iPodT into the spotlight is its ability to offer online 3D Gaming. “STAR PAGGA” and “FAST” for example allow you to fight other iPod/iPhone owners through the internet or over Bluetooth as they sit just a few feet away. That’s pretty phenomenal for a device who’s sole role is being a music player, although we’ve seen this ability on the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP. Matches are as good as your connection and the connection drops infrequently so long as you have a good network. Bluetooth connections are solid.
The iPodT also offers a cost per game ratio that is unbeatable. Most of the games cost less than $6 while many good games cost less than $3. I bought the full version of “DUKE NUKEM 3D” for just $1. There is no gaming system that can compete with those prices.
Unfortunately the iPodT does have its own problems. Firstly, playing games on this device cuts your battery power significantly due to the screen constantly being on. Graphic intensive apps kill the battery even faster. The control mechanism is limited to touchscreen controls which, although tend to be updated by the developers frequently and are usually customizeable, do not offer the control confidence of a traditional physical button. “Duke Nukem 3D” is a perfect example of this. The game is great but the controls are so unconfident that they make it difficult to play.
There are devices in the works by third party developers such as “icontrolpad”, but unless Apple makes it, it won’t go mainstream. Apple is intent on keeping the iPod/iPhone a simple, clean design with no extra buttons and they aren’t forthcoming with peripherals. AS A WEB BROWSER
, iPod is unbeatable in this category because it runs the dominating mobile browser “SAFARI”. Safari is fully integrated into the iPod’s functionality so the device automatically jumps between hardware commands and web commands if necessary. (If you go to a company website and see their contact phone number, you can touch it and the iPod will go to VoIP mode to make its call).
No other digital music player can compete with the tight quality of the iPod/iPhone’s web browser which offers multitouch input to zoom in/out or to save, copy or paste pictures or text.
The only downside to the web application is that it currently does not offer Flash or Java support. You can’t use chatrooms, you can’t watch embedded video and you can’t play flash games. ADOBE is working on a Flash client for iPhone/iPod but I’m not sure when it will arrive. If you touch video clips edited for mobile Safari, the iPod will jump to the Youtube application to play it, or, use the native Quicktime application to play it. The Youtube app is better because it offers comments, bookmarking and rating. BATTERY LIFE
is fair for what the iPod Touch can do. It offers over 8 hours of music with the screen turned off, but only 4 and a half hours of video or gaming before it needs to be recharged. Battery life is hurt by the screen’s power usage and hopefully apple will move to a less power thirsty OLED screen in the future. As I said, 3D games hurt the battery life even more. If I play Duke Nukem 3D for 1 hour, the battery indicator drops to 20% from a full charge. The iPodT also loses power if WiFi isn’t turned off – which coincidentally means that if you are browsing the web, you are burning power quick.
For real music enthusiasts, it would make more sense to buy an iPod classic since battery life is considerably longer at upwards of 25 hours. And what’s not so good
– is the fact that in order to keep the iPhone competitive, Apple has chosen not to give this iPod a camera while it installed a camera on the iPod Nano that even shoots video. Its disappointing, but, its done so you can’t avoid buying an iPhone 3GS. Besides the camera, the only thing separating the iPod from the iPhone 3GS is the Phone application, a GPS device and the new compass (which is unnecessary). If the iPodT has a camera, it would be super spectacular. You’d be able to take pictures or video and email them at leisure. Most likely iPod Touch will get the camera next year. OVERALL
no other media player on the entire market offers the features the iPod does; the 3rd party support the iPod does; the support the iPod does or the quality the iPod does. Regardless its few shortcomings, it easily earns a 5 star rating. There really is no other option worth spending the money on.Microsoft ZUNE: http://www.epinions.com/review/Microsoft_Zune_HD_Black_16_GB_MP3_Player/content_485329571460