Forget the touch-sensitive wheel that set Apple’s iPod family apart from the rest of the music and video players in the market. The iPod Touch is here and will definitely change the way we look at portable media players. But can we afford the change?
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One may mistake the iPod Touch to be the iPhone as it sports an exterior that looks quite similar to it. The iPod Touch uses a scratch-resistant glass for its face, but its glossy chrome back is still scratch and smudge-prone, forcing users to bring the included cleaning cloth along or purchase a protector for this eye-candy as soon as it is available.
The Touch has a dimension of 4.3 x 2.4 x .31 inches and weighs 120 grams, making it one of those portable media players (PMPs) that can be brought along without any problems. It also has a 3.5-inch widescreen display, a built-in accelerometer, and a Wi-Fi 801.11b/g for connecting to a wireless network.
A Main Menu button and a Sleep/Wake On/Off button are the only two buttons found on the iPod Touch. Moreover, the 3.5mm headphone jack and the dock connector for charging and synchronisation via the USB port can be found at the bottom of the unit. Most of the controls will be done via the touch-screen navigation menu and the Touch definitely gives anyone the feel of what Apple’s iPhone is.
Despite removing the phone functions and several features that the iPhone has, the Touch still has enough features to make it one of the best products around. The Touch has a Safari Web browser, a dedicated YouTube player, Calendar, Contacts, Calculator, as well as an improved Music, Video, and Photo function. In addition to this, users also have access to the iTunes store and purchase songs as long as one is connected to a wireless network.
The iPod Touch still supports AAC, MP3, Audible, Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV audio formats, and still supports the MP4 video format that is used for the current iPods in the market. As soon as the Music function is accessed, users may be able to sort though playlists, artists, songs, albums, audiobooks, compilations, composers, genres and podcasts. Navigating through the Touch’s interface was easy and intuitive, with every icon clearly labeled and easy to use.
The Artist, Song Name, Cover/Artwork, and Play/Pause, Previous/Next Track, and volume icons will be displayed as soon as a music file is played. Tapping the Album cover will display the shuffle, repeat and scrubber controls, while tapping the list button displays all the other songs on the album.
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Users can also browse through the stored music in the Touch by rotating the unit sideways. By doing this, users can access the Cover Flow mode and be able flick through various albums and view its track list just by tapping on it. It has that ‘jukebox’ feel and adds a nice look to it when a track is being played. However, if you are not the type to meticulously place photos for each album, the cover flow will look like a mess, with some albums having a cover while others having a picture of a note.
The iPod Touch’s video output was good, with videos being crisp and vibrant most of the time. Tapping the movie will bring up the onscreen controls, whereas double-tapping the screen switches the video to either widescreen or full screen. The only problem we encountered while playing videos is the fact that the screen is quite susceptible to glare, making it hard for us to view videos in several occasions.
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As soon as a user loads up their favourite photos to the Touch via iTunes, one may be able to move between the photos, enlarge or reduce photos by ‘pinching’, and a memorable photo may even be set as the Touch’s wallpaper.
We were easily able to connect to our office wireless connection and surf the internet using the Safari Web browser. We have loaded several websites and have found its implementation to be brilliant. As soon as a website is loaded, one can double tap any text or picture to zoom in and even rotate the iPod touch to see the web in widescreen. The only problem we discovered while visiting various websites was the fact that Flash objects are disabled, making our Internet browsing experience incomplete. And of course, since Australia has limited Wi-Fi hotspots, unlike other countries, it means you will probably more often be using the Touch around a network – and if you’re around a network, you’re likely to be at a computer, so why would you connect online via a small screen, when you could view a web page on a full sized monitor? This is a feature that will come into its own, once we have access to more Wi-Fi hotspots around the city.
We also launched the dedicated YouTube player and had several videos streamed over to our Touch. One can watch featured videos, most viewed videos of the day or week, search videos from the YouTube database, and even bookmark those videos that one likes to watch. Watching YouTube videos is similar to watching stored videos: tapping the screen displays the video duration, volume control, play/pause, and move to previous or next chapter, while double tapping the screen switches the video to either widescreen or full-screen.
By accessing iTunes via the Wi-Fi connection, users may be able to browse, preview, purchase, and even download music with a single touch of a button. Users can even search for any artist, album, or songs found in the iTunes catalogue should one pleases. Users can immediately listen to the purchased song and will automatically be transferred to the iTunes library as soon as the unit is hooked up to the computer.
Finally, the iPod Touch lasted for about 22 hours of music playback and around five hours of video playback, with the unit having an even shorter battery life should users enable and use the Wi-Fi connection. We therefore recommend users to purchase the power adapter for the Touch in case a user gets a flat battery while surfing the Internet.
See the next page for our conclusion.
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|iPod Touch Streaming YouTube videos|
The iPod Touch is definitely a product that can do it all. This portable media player can play music and videos, display photos, and can even connect to the Internet with its built-in Wi-Fi. However, we feel that users will not like the idea of spending $549 for an iPod that only has a maximum storage capacity of 16GB, in comparison to $479 for a 160GB iPod Classic. If you prefer to store thousands of music files and hundreds of videos at one time, then perhaps the iPod Classic is for you. However, if you are the type who wants an innovative media player that will grab anyone’s attention and does not mind paying a lot of money for it, then the iPod Touch is definitely for you.
Size and Weight
- Height: 110 mm (4.3 inches)
- Width: 61.8 mm (2.4 inches)
- Depth: 8 mm (0.31 inch)
- Weight: 120 grams (4.2 ounces)
In The Box
- iPod touch
- USB 2.0 cable
- Dock adapter
- Polishing cloth
- Quick Start guide
8GB or 16GB flash drive
- 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen multi-touch display
- 480-by-320-pixel resolution at 163 pixels per inch
- Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
- Audio formats supported: AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
- H.264 video, up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Low-Complexity version of the H.264 Baseline Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; H.264 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Baseline Profile up to Level 3.0 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
- Wi-Fi (802.11b/g)
Power and battery
- Built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery
- Playback time
o Music playback time: Up to 22 hours when fully charged
o Video playback time: Up to 5 hours when fully charged
- Charging via USB to computer system or power adapter (sold separately)
- Fast-charge time: about 1.5 hours (charges up to 80% of battery capacity)
- Full-charge time: about 3 hours
Apple iPod Touch | $549 (16Gb Model) | | www.apple.com/au
For: Intuitive interface; Slim profile; Large screen; Wi-Fi that allows Internet, YouTube, and iTunes access
Against: Small capacity for a PMP; Smudges upfront, scratch-prone at the back; Price point
Verdict: A unit that definitely paves the way for the next generation of portable media players. It could have been better though if Apple placed a larger capacity to it.