The portable media
devices made a heck of a splash on the consumer market when they
first came into being. Newer and more solid players over the years
of course kept coming and getting better and better and more diverse
in what they had to offer. One of the units that seems to be at the
lead of the pack in all around functionality is the iPod Touch. The
latest 2nd generation iPod Touch from Apple has taken the crown when
it comes to an all in one multimedia portable entertainment device.
Yup that's a mouth full but pretty accurate when it comes to this
powerhouse of a portable hand held, you may as well dub this a mini
entertainment computer for all it does. If you want to simplify it,
just call it a portable media player/digital assistant. Let's dig
deep here and you too will see what the iPod Touch is all about, and
why I think it's well worth getting your hands on one.
Image Courtesy of Apple
The first generation
iPod Touch was introduced by Apple Inc, back in 2007. Yup not so
long ago at all. This new ultra cool portable player was the gee wiz
of the time and still is. It uses the multi-touch graphical user
interface with three types of models sporting different flash memory
capacity. There is the 8, 16 and then the 32 gig models.
All around the support for audio and video formats is pretty
diverse. Supported audio formats include AAC, Protected AAC, MP3,
MP3 VBR, Audible, Apple Lossless, AIFF and WAV. The Video formats
the iPod Touch supports are H.264, MPEG-4, The Image files it
supports are JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, PSD(MAC only) and PNG.
When it comes to other types of viewable files the iPod touch also
supports the viewing of some attachments such as PDF, JPEG and
Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Further you can also
receive and view attachments from Apple's iWork suite. Including
Numbers, Pages and Keynote.
After also grabbing one of the PDF readers from the apps store, we
tried out several PDF with different results. One PDF viewer would
not work at all. (Bare in mind it's the APP and not an iPod Issue.
Though attachments would open right up from emails just fine. In the
future we will be doing different APP reviews and PDF viewers will
be one of the things we will be rounding up. But for right now the
iPod Touch opens the PDF's in attachment emails just fine.
Just a couple years later the new 2nd generation iPod Touch is here
sporting a few extra bells and whistles. They may not be enough and
far removed to merit getting rid of your 1st gen iPod touch, but if
you do not have one at all, you you need to join the fun.
The iPod Touch has a sleek sexy futuristic looking footprint, it's
slim shape and rounded edges feel good in your hand, with just
enough weight to it so that it does not seem like a hunk of plastic.
There is a glass touchscreen display, and near the bottom of the
unit along it's face is a physical home button so that you can
always go back when screen as needed. On the side there is also a
volume control, then also there is a sleep/wake-up switch at the
very top of the unit. At the top is where you will also find the
Wi-Fi antenna, hiding behind a little rubber section.
Image Courtesy of Apple
All of these buttons
though are so non intrusive, they seem to melt into the iPod touch
as if they are not there at all. Very pleasing in design. Along the
bottom of the unit, you will also find the dock connector. This is
where you can plug the iPod touch into your computer in order to
download your content into the unit. Along the bottom is also the
As I said, the iPod Touch is the ultimate portable entertainment
device, everything looks absolutely gorgeous on it's 3.5 inch glass
display. While sorting through your menus to get to what ever music,
movies, video, or Internet browsing or gaming you have in mind, the
touch screens menu makes it all rather simple and literally at your
The iPod touch has a built in intelligent keyboard that stays hidden
unless you need it. Summon up the keyboard with a mere...koff ...
touch. This is a wonderful aspect of the system because you can hide
the keyboard again in order to view pages on the internet. Having a
hard time seeing the print? No problem. With a pinching open or
closed motion on the iPod Touch's screen the page zooms in or out
for easier viewing. Then with a sliding motion of the fingers, you
can move that same page around the screen to look at is as you like.
This Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g wireless networking works very well indeed.
Using the Safari browser you can be surfing the Internet in no time
and even checking your email. Plus of course connecting to iTunes to
expand your iPod Touch world. (See our other article on the iTunes
It is using the iTunes store that really expands the iPod touch even
more. Granted when you first get the iPod Touch it's already loaded
to the virtual teeth with several cool applications. The Safari web
browser, which is very powerful. The whole experience of testing
this feature was more like being on a very small computer. As noted
else where in the article zooming in and expanding with taps and
swiping motions is pretty simple. You can view the web pages in
either landscape or portrait by simply turning the iPod Touch one
way or the other. The iPod Touch actually can sync up with your
computer (Mac or PC) and brings over your bookmarks and favorite
pages. Web searches are accomplished with the built in Yahoo! And
Google search engines.
Further there are icon links already for Calender, Email, a Contacts
list, for those YouTube fans, there is YouTube, Stocks, Maps,
Weather, a Clock, a Handy Calculator, a notes section, a fast link
to the app store, and also the settings link, Using the setting link
on the iPod Touch you can adjust it more to your likings in respect
to screen brightness among other things. Along the bottom of the
screen are fast links to your Music, Videos, Photos and a link to
the iTunes Store.
Speaking of Email, the iPod touch keeps YOU in touch and in the loop
with access to your email. The iPod Touch supports several of the
popular and well known email servers. Such as Google Gmail, Yahoo!
Mail, Apple's MobileMe service and almost any of the industry
standard IMAP or POP3 mail systems. We tried a lot of testing with
AOL (America Online) and where rather pleased with ease of syncing
up with our email clients, reading email and general house cleaning
of your email such as deleting and saving email for later. Further
the Ipod Touch can also receive push email from Microsoft Exchange.
We tested out looking at emails using the iPod touch and found it
very easy to use, reading and even placing the emails in saved
status or even deleting them where all pretty simple.
Image Courtesy of Apple
Videos, Movies, and
TV shows look very crisp on the iPod Touch, it is ideal for watching
your favorite movies or video podcasts. Tapping the video button on
the screen brings up all of the video content have loaded on the
iPod Touch. While watching a video just a touch on screen will bring
up a set of video controls, like advance to a different section of
the film, or control the volume. A simple tap of the screen hides
the controls away again, much like the keyboard interface. Also
videos from YouTube seem so much more crisper and sharp as well.
Surprisingly so. Of course the video play back has half to do with
the source file and half to do with the unit (iPod Touch) itself.
Either way movies and videos played on the iPod Touch have
consistent deep black levels and bright colors that pop off the
As the iPod Touch expands it's functionality with various program
Applications (Apps) it continues to expand and evolve in it's uses.
The surprise is that it does so much so well. There are at least a
couple of Apps that enable you to read electronic books on the iPod
touch. The lettering is very readable and the simple touch and swipe
motion to turn a page is just such an ease. Better yet, depending on
what reader App your using, if you turn off the iPod in the middle
of your book, it starts on the page you left off on, the next time
you bring up the App. There is even an App for Amazon's Kindle
store, which enables you to purchase Kindle iPod editions of
Gaming on the system is a blast, and more and more cool games are
being offered, some of them resemble the old Sega coin op days,
while others have graphics that may put a certain Sony Product on
notice that there is another gaming platform on the block that also
fits in the palm of your hand, but has soooo many more uses. Games
we of course will be doing full reviews on in the future, some of
those such as the old Classic Arcade game SPACE ACE, The Secret Of
Monkey Island, there is even a version of Lego Batman, and Resident
Evil, Need For Speed Undercover, and a game App for the popular TV
show 24! With the iPod Touch built in Accelerometer some games even
respond to your movements. So in a racing game just tilting the iPod
Touch one way or the other controls all the action like a steering
wheel. Tap, tilt and just sliding a finger across the screen is
enough to control all the action in a game for the iPod Touch.
Graphics and Sound come across very well on the iPod Touch. With the
sounds especially sounding remarkably well done, especially when
using the head phones.
Music, of course the iPod Touch does music as well. Adding music is
just like adding any of your other files or purchases from the
iTunes program. It's simple and fast, which we like. Better yet the
iPod Touch can also connect to various other devices and you can
then enjoy your music through your car stereo or home stereo system.
YES, we will be making note and doing reviews of other hardware and
or accessories that work with or enhance the iPod Touch.
As if this was not enough, if your one of those folks that also
enjoy a good work out, Nike and Apple have teamed up to bring us
built in Nike support. There is a Nike + iPod Sensor that you can
get separately that you can put into your Nike + shoe and just go
for a run. The sensor communicates wireless with the iPod Touch. It
keeps track of the distance, your time and even the calories burned,
and gives voice feedback on your progress. How cool is that?
If there is anything that comes close to perfection in a portable
entertainment device, it's the iPod Touch.
Check out Apple iTunes and of course the iPod Touch at
Have fun, play