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iPod Touch: My New PDA: 1 Year Later

iPodTouch.jpgI've had my iPod Touch (16GB 1st generation) for a little over a year now and love it! Because I have WiFI at the house, at work and at most places I use my touch, the device works well for me.

Besides carrying my music, I really appreciate having access to the web via Safari, my email, Twitter, and RSS feeds, and many other native iPhone/iPod Touch apps available at the App Store.

Will an iPod Touch Fit Your Life?

It's important to know a few things about the iPod Touch, to see if it will work into your work/lifestyle:

WiFi Access Required — The iPod Touch depends on WiFi for network access, so you need to think about where you'll use the device. Do you have a WiFi network at home, work and most of the places you plan on using the Touch? If so, the Touch could work well for you (it does for me).

Web Surfing — One of the killer features of the iPod touch is mobile Safari, providing access to nearly any website on the net. I've even been able to do online banking securely in a pinch, using Safari. You should note that Flash is not supported in mobile Safari, though most sites I access, flash isn't even a critical consideration.

Outlook/Exchange Support — The latest 2.x version of OS on the Touch includes Microsoft Exchange support for calendars and email. If you're an Outlook user, the iPod Touch can be a nice tool for keeping track of your inbox and calendar.

RSS Reading — I'm a NetNewsWire user and love the native application for the iPod touch. It grabs my RSS feed when I launch it with WiFi access, allowing me to read my feeds wherever I am, whether I have WiFi access or not.

Twitter — If you use Twitter, the Touch is a great device for following and posting to your Twitter stream. You can do this with mobile Safari, or native applications like Twitterriffic, TwitterFon, Twinkle, Tweetsville and more in the Apple App Store.

Video On The Go — The iPod touch has a very nice wide screen for carrying videos along wherever you are. I have a young son, and it's invaluable to have a few cartoons and films on hand for him to watch on long car rides.

Google Maps — The Google Maps application for the Touch is another useful tool. Because I often don't have WiFi access on the road, I'll normally load up my map information ahead of time, so I can use the cached version of the map as I travel.

Music Streaming — I enjoy the various native apps for streaming music to the Touch, including Pandora, and AOL Radio. With a WiFi connection, I have access to a wide variety of music. Be aware that this does drain the Touch's battery more quickly.

Those are just a few of the uses I've discovered for my iPod Touch. I'm sure for each person, there are uses and applications that suit them best.

Limitations & Downsides

I need to share the few limitations and downsides that an iPod Touch has, to offer a fair and balanced view of the device for good decision-making.

No Speaker (1st Generation) — This is only an issue on the 1st generation Touch devices. While I thought it would be a bigger deal, it hasn't been for me. In the car I have a tape player adapter to get sound, at work I have an iPod music system, I've picked up a mini speaker system or carry a pair of headphones. From time to time though, I have wished for a speaker to watch a video or play a tune.

No Hard Controls (1st Generation) — This is mostly a 1st generation issue as well, as the 2nd generation Touch devices have volume control buttons. Mainly this has been an issue for me in the car, where I wish for hard controls to jump between songs. What I've found is, I've adapted to this lack of hard controls by setting up my audio ahead of my drives/walks so changing isn't so necessary.

Dependent on WiFi — Having WiFI access to the net is wonderful, but when you don't have it, you notice. Generally I'm in WiFi range, but there have been a few occasions where I wished for 3G network access. Having constant network access might be one reason to go to an iPhone if that's critical for your use pattern.

Custom Moleskine Planner & iPod touch


You can check out articles I've written on why I chose the iPod touch as my new PDA, a Two-Week Update on the iPod touch, and reviews of several iPod Touch cases from Piel Frama and OtterBox for more information.

If you're in the market for a thin, useful web/mail/music/video tool, check out the 1st generation 16GB iPod Touch.


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 (9)

As the iPhone is not available in the Yukon (we only have one mobile service provider, Bell Canada) I've been using a Blackberry Pearl as my phone and PDA. There's lots of things that are great about Blackberry, but the default web browser is not one of them. I replaced this software with Opera Mini, but compared to a more powerful browser like Safari, Opera falls short. Way short. If a website you visit isn't optimized for mobile devices, Opera will simply hack its layout to pieces.

After reading what you've written here and in that older article, it seems an iPod Touch would fill this gap very nicely. Heck, I could even dump the expensive Blackberry monthly plan and start using my old RAZR again, which would be a lot cheaper. Thanks for the insight.
November 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGeof Harries
I love my iPod touch too! Have you bought many apps from the App Store, Mike?
November 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Topley
@Geof � great to hear that my comments might be helpful in you solving your device situation. I would say mobile Safari is a great tool for surfing the web. It's somewhat limited, but I'm more often surprised at how well it handles sites.

@John � I have purchased more native app for the iPod touch than I thought I might, though quite a few of those are freebies too. Favorites include Things, SplashData, NetNewsWire, TwitterFon and Movies though if I looked at my device I'm sure I could prepare a list of apps.

November 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Being an iPhone user for already two weeks, I am the happiest person on Earth with all the functionalities offered by this phone, especially to someone who is as frequently on the road as me. And thanks to the small built-in camera, I could share with you photos of the Celtics-NY Knicks game. What else can I ask to a phone?
November 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJavier
Mike, I hadn't noticed that you posted this, but it times nicely with my post on having the Eee PC for one year:

November 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPete Prodoehl
Hi, been scanning your sketch notes and drawings... love them, you've got me making sketch notes at work... as a book designer nobody bats an eye they just think its part of being creative, now you've go me wanting an ipod touch!
November 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstef
Hi, been scanning your sketch notes and drawings... love them, you've got me making sketch notes at work... as a book designer nobody bats an eye they just think its part of being creative, now you've go me wanting an ipod touch!

November 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstef
@Javier, great to hear you're loving your iPhone! It is pretty amazing what one device can do for you, and I've heard many stories about the iPhone similar to yours.

@Pete, I saw your Eee PC review as well and almost linked it up here � thanks for posting the link! I think that device is also one that overlaps the iPod Touch but has its own benefits too. I love how small and portable yours is.

@stef, thanks for the kind words! I love your work on Flickr as well, well done! And if my review helps you find an iPod Touch as a good fit to your system, that's great! Please let me know here if you do decide to go for one. :-)
December 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
I am so tempted by an ipod T. but practicality is drawing me close to fixing the leaking roof and putting a sink in the utility room...
December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstef

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