iPod Touch after more than a month
I’ve had the iPod Touch for more than a month. An iPad after more than a month review is upcoming.
I bought the iPod Touch for professional development. What does that mean? I am the product manager for a mobile website, and the only mobile device I had was a corporate Blackberry. I felt the need to experience the mobile web the way actual customers would be experiencing it, so I bought an iPod Touch which is, for the most part, an iPhone without the phone.
What I learned from the iPod Touch is that the web is unusable on such a small device unless the web pages are optimized for smaller screens, or alternatively if you are nearsighted. Non-optimized web pages are not usable for middle-aged people whose close-up vision is probably failing them.
However, the iPod Touch has turned out to be extremely useful for reading the news on short subway rides or while waiting in lines. I try to remember to take the iPod Touch with me all the time; it easily slips into a pocket. The iPad is just way too big, heavy and unwieldy do use in those situations. In fact, I hardly ever take the iPad outside my apartment.
To read the news when offilne, you need to use the newspaper apps, like the New York Times or Wall Street Journal apps. The New York Times is kind enough to let you read the top stories for free. For some reason, I have an electronic subscription to the Wall Street Journal. Both the iPhone and iPad apps have a huge advantage over web-browser reading because they download the entire paper at once (or at least a good chunk of it), so that it’s nearly instantaneous flipping between stories and pages, unlike the annoyingly long load times you have to deal with when using a web browser.
The above tends to apply to various other apps that display downloaded content. They mostly work a lot faster and better than using a web browser.
You can also read books on the iPod Touch. You won’t be able to see a whole lot of text at a time so it’s not the most pleasant reading experience, but it certainly beats not having anything to read.
As a music player, the iPod Touch is surprisingly poor because there’s no physical pause button. Nor are there physical buttons to skip songs. The only way to do these things is to use the touchscreen. You can also pause it by removing the headphone plug (a non-obvious feature), but that’s kludgy compared to an actual pause button. I also wish that the music player would just play all of the albums from the same musician (which is what Windows Media Player does) instead of stopping at the end of an album. Does anyone know of a music player that does such a simple and obvious function?
If you just want a music player, I recommend that you skip Apple products and buy a Sony or a Sansa (both of which sell tiny music players with large memories for under $100 that have physical control buttons). I am still using my old Sony music players to listen to music.
Most anything you can do on an iPad you can do on an iPod Touch, but only if you can see the tiny screen and have nimble fingers. Watching videos (Netflix, stuff you stole from Pirate’s Bay, whatever), games, productivity apps, are all things you can do.
The newest iPod Touch has a 5MP camera with an f/2.8 prime lens. The lens is surprisingly sharp, but people looking for photographic perfection will find that the images have poor dynamic range and blown-out highlights, and even at the lowest ISO they suffer from heavy-handed noise filtering which smears fine detail. Nevertheless, the photos are pretty good considering the camera is an auxiliary feature and not the main function. The iPod Touch or iPhone might be good for “street photography” because strangers will think you are just fiddling with your phone and not surreptitiously taking their picture.
I will do a future post specifically about Instagram.
I suppose if I didn’t have a free Blackberry, it might be worth it to pay for my own iPhone plan, because it would be convenient having the power of a phone and an always-connected iPod Touch in a single device. I think it’s actually a little bit easier to “type” on the iPhone/iPod Touch touchscreen than on the Blackberry physical keypad, but I hate typing on either device.
Children probably like the iPod touch because they have better near vision than adults and because they have small nimble fingers.