You may recall my iPod Touch debacle several months ago. After a little wrangling, it turns out the iPod was, after all, in need of a part Apple no longer has. So I was fortunate enough to get a nice check to put toward a brand-new iPod (or anything else I wanted).
I decided to wait for the newest iteration of the iPod touch — you know, the one with the camera, the Retina display and iOS 4. I picked one up Saturday and I’ve spent the weekend with it. My initial reactions follow…
Obviously, this is the first and biggest thing Apple’s pushed for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Supposedly the best and most beautiful display ever on such a small device. My take? It’s okay. Yes, it’s pretty. Images are bright and sharp. But as I suspected, the Retina display is nearly unnecessary on such a small device. It doesn’t really add enough to the iPod experience to warrant the hype. Pretty, yes. Essential, no.
The dual cameras are the second biggest additions. I’ll admit it’s cool to have a camera and video camera in my pocket at all times. Problem with it is I already have both on my BlackBerry, so it becomes a bit redundant. I haven’t spent any time with the video editing capabilities, but I do a lot of video editing on the PC already. And I’m likely to continue doing so.
First of all, I think Facetime is a great idea. If you really want to see the person you’re talking to, Facetime will let you do that. But, as we’ve grown to expect from Apple, it doesn’t integrate with other video chat applications, such as Skype. That’s a shame. I’d much rather Apple can Facetime and run a really great Skype app. I can’t use Facetime because I have no friends on iPod Touch or iPhone…that sorta renders it useless to have.
Yes, the new iPod Touch is faster and runs smoother than the old version. As always, it’s a pleasure to use on its own. There’s really not all that much to say here…we expect Apple products to work. It does. My old iPod Touch was my go-to gadget for that very reason. This one is every bit as good. But that’s really not good enough.
I like the iPod Touch. I really do. Over the summer, however, I learned to live without it. And I replaced the iPod Touch — at least most of it — with the BlackBerry Torch, which gives me web browsing that’s just as good, an e-mail experience that’s better, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard that makes input way easier, and comparable YouTube surfing, media playback and more. Plus it makes phone calls.
The other thing I didn’t miss about the iPod? iTunes. Immediately upon plugging in the new iPod, I remembered just how much I detest the iTunes experience. Get this: On the BlackBerry, I can drag and drop files onto my media card, using the device as a drive. And they just show up where I want them. Though I can use media management software, it is not necessary. I couldn’t do a single thing on the new iPod without iTunes. And synching the apps I’d previously purchased was a nightmare — some 40 apps needed updating, and Apple wouldn’t let me download the updates without signing in with my Apple ID. Several of the apps had been removed from the app store, so I continue to be notified that they need updating, only to get another notifier that they can’t be found. And, as always, iTunes is so bloated and bulky that I’m running it on an old Windows XP machine with almost nothing else on it — it’s my iTunes machine — and iTunes brings the poor beast to its knees every time it launches.
Time will eventually tell if the iPod Touch finds its way into the same place in my daily routine that it used to have. For now, I feel the improvements are too slight to make it work the upgrade. And with the exploding smartphone market, Apple needs to step up its game if it intends to use iPod Touch as the cornerstone of its media player market.