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About that iPod Touch…

October 26, 2008, 8:39 pm

…I got one.

The story left off with me giving up trying to justify spending $399 for the 32 GB model, even though I’d saved up for it. Cheapness is in my DNA, and I’ve never been able to spend money on anything without feeling like I should have stuck it in a savings account instead. But, one day, my wife comes home and informs me that the daughter of one of her co-workers works at the Apple Store in Indy and gets a 15% “friends and family” discount. After trading a few emails, the deal was set up, and a few days later I had my grubby hands all over it (you see just how grubby your hands really are with this thing) with $60 knocked off the price. So, you see? It pays to wait.

I’ve been using it basically nonstop for a week now, and here are my overall impressions:

  • It’s incredibly thin and light, yet it also feels very sturdy, and despite having an all-shiny-aluminum back I haven’t seen any big scratches on it yet.
  • The screen is just unreal. Such crispness and clarity.
  • Wifi speed is quite decent, and the Safari browsing experience is just fine even on sites that show up in very tiny font.
  • The built-in apps are hit and miss. Besides Safari, I’ve really liked using the Mail app (although our stupid MS Exchange server at school can’t be accessed off-campus except through a web page…), and the Maps app is absolutely killer. The Calendar app will be really useful once I figure out how to get my iCal calendars to sync with it. The YouTube app just seems really slow. Weather is OK. Calculator is cute. Stocks, Notes, Contacts, and Clock are unnecessary.
  • As a straight-up music player, the whole informatics/human-computer interface aspect of the Touch is amazing. What I mean is that it’s not so much the high fidelity of the sound reproduction that blows me away but the ability to quickly browse and access songs and videos. Not a square millimeter of screen space is wasted; everything is logically laid out and easy to use. This was the same kind of feeling I had when I first used a second-generation iPod with a click wheel.
  • Videos are a real treat to watch on this, and it’s been lots of fun exploring what video podcast content is available out there.
  • I’ve downloaded some free apps: IM+ for instant messaging, a WordPress app for blogging (haven’t tried using it yet), Pandora (where has that been all my life?), Facebook, WeatherBug. I’ve downloaded a few more that I immediately deleted because it was crap. There seems to be a lot of good free stuff out there and a whole lot of good paid stuff and about an equal amount of crap (free and paid). I’m hopeful that the app selection will keep growing and growing so that although the crap-to-noncrap ratio might stay constant, the amount of non-crap will increase.
  • I also paid $20 for the iPhone/iPod Touch version of OmniFocus, the “desktop” version of which I use religiously for GTD on the Macbook Pro. I’m still getting used to it; the main advantage is that I can synchronize tasks to and from the Macbook using MobileMe (we still have 4 months left on the subscription we got for Christmas last year). But it’s nice — rather than carting around a stack of 3×5 cards or a Moleskine for on-the-go task collection, I can just use the iPod.
  • I’ve gotten surprisingly good at using the little pop-up thumb keyboard that you get whenever you have to enter text.
  • The battery charges a lot faster than my old iPod (about 60-75 minutes from 0% to 100%). And if you leave the wifi off, it seems to get a lot better battery life too. But if you use the wifi, the battery life drains out fast. Not surprising.

I could go on, and I probably will, but here’s something that sums up how much of an impact this little device is having on me. I had to go to an ATM to get some cash, and when it prompted me to enter “OK”, I started tapping the screen. It took me 10 seconds or so to remember that I had to push a button instead. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d tried to pinch and zoom on the ATM screen. So I’m very glad to have waited until I was capable of getting exactly what I wanted, and comfortable in getting it.

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