Damaged Gears

Evolve your Gears

Splash Damage: iPod Touch (3 Months In)

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And it’s grown on me. Quite nicely in fact, that I find myself wanting either the 32GB version, or the iPhone.

That’s mostly, however, due to ZiPhone’s Jailbreaking. Out of the box experience is much more lacking. Despite 1.1.3’s and 1.1.4’s ability to save webapps, nothing can replace the goodness of actual applications living and breathing on the device. Even more for games and apps that does not require the constant internet connection they require for even functioning out of the box.

Wherever there is WiFi connection (and there are plenty of unlocked boxes), the experience is great. It isn’t enough to replace your full blown box. Not quite yet. It is, however, getting close. A well equipped iTouch with actual productivity apps (say, a mobile OpenOffice), a stable browser (OperaMini for iTouch, perhaps?), and functional online/offline sync ability, and you have a potential giant killer in the making.

I can almost see a keyboard connectivity using the dock connector (or via Bluetooth for iPhone). With said keyboard, you can use the iTouch as a impromptu word processor, spreadsheet, or presenter as necessary. Think of it, a mobile office in your breast pocket. Thanks to the OS X underpinnings, it is very possible to have these apps in the near future. And this would open up a whole new accessory market, making the iPhone and iTouch truly revolutionary. An UMPC to speak, that is really Ultra-Mobile.

The CLIE UX40 (a Palm device) almost got it right. If the said device was armed with the DocumentToGo program suite, it really became a mobile platform. However, they couldn’t quite get everything right. Syncing documents via Palm was a mess, and frankly, I never bothered. The battery drain was unforgiving with WiFi. And thumboard is still a thumboard. In the end, though, it was a preview of things to come. Almost, but not quite, as they say.

Currently, the iTouch and iPhone is almost there in terms of what it can really do. The Jailbreak community has just started to tap into the true potential of the iPhone/iTouch. I’m betting that the devs with the SDK is coming up with some pretty damn decent, if not mindblowing. No way I’m saying that the full OpenOffice ends up on the iPhone/iTouch. However, even if a mobile version of OO.org or Microsoft Office comes along…

I did diverge here for awhile. However, what do I think of the iTouch overall? The experience has been the following:

1st few days in: Apathy and General lack of interest.

Next few days (after the installation of the 5 apps): Tons of potential. Just tip of the iceberg however.

Jailbroken: Very interesting. The shape of things to come, perhaps?

Mediawise, it’s the best iPod I’ve used, and the iPod interface uses the multitouch in the right spots. However, while the Coverflow is a very nifty way of listening to the albums, there is room from improvement there as well… For instance, when you select an Artist (U2), when you flip to Coverflow, it should only show U2 albums. Or a different way of browsing through album covers in portrait mode. Use your finger to drag along the album covers (while the album cover beneath your finger could be enlarged), and double tap to play or select album. I’m hoping that the SDK allows for new ways of selecting and playing songs.

Furthermore, the iTouch could use some physical controls. At this point, I’m considering purchasing the FM Radio remote. Not for FM radio, but for blind controls during nights when I listen to the music. With no physical tactile controls on the iTouch, changing music becomes anywhere from annoying to dangerous given the situation.

Sonically, it is upto par with other players. Not quite the Sony S615F however easily matching Sony’s previous efforts, probably outdoing Zune (it’s dead even for me). With the EX series of buds, it’s fairly balanced. Little more treblely and jazzy with the pack in buds (a little more on this on a later post, but someone is paying more than $1.00 for these things, finally). It still lacks customizable EQ (please, for goodness sakes, please!!) and low bitrate file enhancement (which is available on iTunes). However, generally speaking, the audio presented by the iTouch is more or less agreeable.

As for Video, I can’t say much. However, much like audio, there is nothing disagreeable (other than your methods of encoding/transcoding) here either. Youtube Video, however, eats battery like Wimpy does Burgers.

Overall, a fine PMP, and an iPod that Damage can be prowd of owning. Funny, the last iPod I had the hots for ended up shaking up the MP3 player market (the 1G Nano with its color screen, flash storage, and back then, pretty decent pricing). The iTouch is revolutionary, but not right out of the box. It is very handy, but takes a bit of prodding. Overall, heaps of potential that can be unlocked by the user, but extra curricular activity is necessary. For now.

Good: Best sounding iPod, though not up to par with the best. Multitouch is quite fascinating, plenty of potential waiting to be unlocked.
Bad: No physical control makes me pine for the old days. Video codec is picky, and Youtube is like Wimpy when it comes to batteries.
Ugly: The way it makes me waste money on iPod accessories. Damn you StevieJ!!

Final Grade: B+


Written by Damage

04/9/08 at 11:40 pm

Posted in DAP

Tagged with , , , , , ,

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