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Wednesday
Oct242007

iPod Touch Two Week Report

Custom Moleskine Planner & iPod touch

It's been two weeks since I've switched to an iPod touch. I love this device. Since I'm regularly asked about it, I've decided to write a report in on my thoughts so far:


  • The touch's size is perfect. Thin and small. Slides into my pocket nicely, though I'm still not completely over the idea of carrying such a valuable device in my pocket just yet.
  • I love the density and weight of the touch. It feels substantial and sturdy, though I am very careful not to torque the thing. I still need to find a sturdy case that doesn't add too much heft.
  • The screen is incredibly bright. I've turned it down to 1/3 brightness to save battery life and it's still very readable. Did the same thing on my Zire 72.
  • Mobile Safari is very useful. I can surf the sites I regularly use, with tap and pinch to zoom as needed. Mobile specific sites, like NewsGator Mobile and Facebook, do a nice job providing essential information on the smaller screen. For a complete listing of mobile sites, visit Apple's Web Apps Directory.
  • I'm noticing that Safari seems to quit when it gets overloaded with a particularly detailed page, or if too many pages are open at the same time. I'm not sure what wipes Safari out, but it seems to wipe out more than it ought to.
  • Safari can be an e-book reader of sorts! It can read Word documents quite nicely. I just performed a tests on several MS Word documents, and it worked perfectly (go figure). The text loads in Safari, flows to the window and retains formatting, including em dashes and curly quotes properly. I am already planning on loading several Safari windows of e-books in .doc format on my touch, then going offline to read 'em whenever I like. Note that you will need server space where you can host these Word docs.
  • Safari also supports PDF files quite well, though if formatted for a Letter or A4 page, requires scrolling around and zooming to see fine details. I imagine one could create a PDF document optimized for Safari on the iPhone, though doing that as plain HTML seems easier to me.
  • Plain text .txt files are semi-supported in Safari. It complains about not being able to read the file, but seems to open them anyway. However, the text doesn't flow with the screen properly and is set in a fixed Courier font that makes reading tedious. RTF files seem to not be supported by Safari.
  • I'm enjoying the easier to read contact list, and editing/adding capabilities. One thing I missed from my Palm was a full and editable contact list. The nano offered the list in tiny, nearly unreadable type with no editing capabilities.
  • I'm pleased that Apple is releasing a Software Development Kit (SDK) to developers in February 2008, and figured they had this in their plans all along. Looking forward to cool apps like Natara Bonsai — right Bryan? :-)
  • I like the Video capabilities and the wide screen, though I've not taken full advantage of this yet. I've put Firefly from our DVD set, but not much more. The YouTube app is handy, though I avoid the black hole time suck that is YouTube, unless I'm looking for something specific.
  • Brando Workshop sent a BW UltraClear Screen Cover to test, which works well. Brando's screen covers are tough and easy to install. Thanks Brando! :-)
  • Having a synced copy of iCal on hand is useful, though I wish for calendar editing. I know there's a hack (thanks KeVroN), but I'm avoiding hacks, since Apple just announced the SDK for '08.
  • Using the iPod touch in the car is a problem. I feel uncomfortable having to visually interact with the touch, so I make changes at stoplights, or queue playlists or podcasts to run uninterrupted. One solution I'm considering is an Apple Universal Dock with remote, for manual control on the road.
  • Battery life is a little less than I would like, though I think reasonable considering WiFi feature and screen size of the touch. I'd be very open to an iPod touch with the same dimensions as the iPhone if it had a bigger battery. I'm exploring shutting off WiFi when not in use, to see if it extends battery life.
  • I love that the touch pauses tracks when you remove the headphone jack.
  • I'm getting used to the keyboard, which works decently for most needs, though I wouldn't want to write any kind of long post using it, just yet. I'm hoping ThinkOutside will develop a version of their foldable keyboard for the iPod touch and iPhone. I'd buy one.
  • The iTunes Mobile Store is well done, though I won't use it terribly much. Still, I have to admit it's very cool to have access to any track I might want directly from the touch. Might come in handy some day.
  • I'm getting used to the multi-touch interface after years using the nano's scroll-wheel. I like the iPod touch interface, though there's a pretty big trade off versus a scroll-wheel interface for pure music management. The touch's software-based interface and lack of control buttons, require visual and tactile interaction to manage what I listen to. If you need a pure music player, then a scroll-wheel iPod would be a better fit.

Summing it Up
I feel there's a huge potential for this device to expand and adapt to my needs, especially in 2008 when applications start appearing. As it is now, the touch is quite useful and fits my lifestyle well — with a few more key native applications I can envision it becoming more and more useful as time goes on.

The iPod touch integrates well with my most useful tools. I can carry a lighter load in my Cafe Bag for logo sketch sessions: my Moleskine planner, Miquelrius sketchbook, Faber Castell pencil and iPod touch. It's great!

  

Related Links


Apple iPod touch 8 GB (1st Generation)

Apple iPod touch 16 GB (1st Generation)

Apple iPod touch 32 GB (1st Generation)

Apple iPod touch 8 GB (2nd Generation)

Apple iPod touch 16 GB (2nd Generation)

Apple iPod touch 32 GB (2nd Generation)

Forget the iPhone — The iPod Touch is Good Enough (LifeHacker)

iPhone/iPod Touch Application List

iPod Touch Tricks

Apple iPod Touch (Official Page)

Reader Comments (7)

Hey Mike,

Great write-up. I have a quick question for you: I was thinking of picking up an iPod Touch, or perhaps asking for one for Christmas, but I was under the assumption that the current Touches won't be compatible with the SDK, so I've held off. Is that assumption incorrect? Will current Touches be able to play nice with the SDK post-February the same way any Touches made after February will?

Talk to you later!KRIS
October 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKris Gosser
Mike, I'm thinking of getting one of these, too. Can you comment on whether it's possible to do e-book reading on the device? That is, even if it doesn't have anything as specific and fancy as, say, Microsoft Reader, does it allow you comfortably read PDFs and plain text files?



October 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterArto Bendiken
Kris � As far as I can see the iPod touch is included in the forthcoming SDK that will be released in February:

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/apple/steve-jobs-iphone-sdk-in-dev-hands-february-08-311881.php

Key phrase in the note is:

"P.S.: The SDK will also allow developers to create applications for iPod touch."

I would link to the original HotNews article but I can't seem to find a direct link to it.

Jon Gruber has a nice article where he processes through what might be happening with the SDK:

http://daringfireball.net/2007/10/tea_leaf_reading

Very interesting article to read through if you are interested in 3rd party apps on an iPhone or iPod touch.

Arto � Just tested a plain text file in Safari and while it complained about opening the file, it did open it up. However, the text filled the screen, was in a typewriter font and was so small as to be a hassle to read. When I sized up the screen, the the text doesn't flow correctly to the window.

So, there would probably be at least some minimal HTML wrapping needed to view a mostly text file in this way. :-)

PDFs are supported by Safari, quite nicely, though you might want to optimize them for the iPhone/touch screen to avoid massive scrolling.

Word document (.doc files) work great! The text flows to the window and seems quite useable.

RTF files are unreadable however.

So with PDF or Word docs I think you could quite easily load up a few e-books in Safari, go offline and use the iPhone/touch as a reader,

I think there will most certainly be e-book readers and text editors coming in spring 2008.
October 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Just updated the bulleted points with results of my document reading tests with Safari. Thanks for the inspiration Arto! :-)
October 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
hi, thanks for the review, its greatjust wanting to ask, how do u open word or PDF fies?
November 11, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterlalaisgongon
Use Safari to open Word Doc files and PDFs. You will need access to a web server where you will place them, then load the URL of the file location in Safari. It's clunky, but it works.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Mike,

I have just started contemplating iPod touch, mainly b/c I dont use mobile phones. I was wondering whether you have tested use of google documents - it is virtually, actually better than, MS Office. If I could use those documents, then I could work anywhere and might just run out and get one for myself.

Also, does the touch allow use of an external keyboard, like the Palm devices allow? That would be absolutely fantastic!

Thanks again for the site - totally useful!SP
November 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSteven Platek

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