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Entries in iPod (7)


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)


iPod Touch Piel Frama & OtterBox Case Reviews

I've been thoroughly enjoying my iPod touch for the last six months, using it as a PDA, music player and web device. One of the most important accessories to choose for my touch was a case, to protect the screen and help reduce torque on the device when I pocket it. More than once, good quality cases have saved my PDAs.

iPod touch / Piel Frama / OtterBoxes

I wanted two different types of cases: a soft leather case for daily use, which would look professional in any situation and a hardened plastic/rubberized case for more extreme outdoor situations, like walking, hiking and so on.

I contacted Piel Frama in Spain, who sent the Piel Frama iPod touch Leather Case and also talked with OtterBox, who sent two cases: the OtterBox for iPod touch Defender™ and OtterBox for iPod touch Armor™.

Piel Frama iPod touch Leather Case
Piel FramaI've used Piel Frama cases for years with my Palm devices, because they really know how to shape leather to a high-tech device, like an iPod touch. The leather is always very soft and supple, yet tough and reinforced in all the right places.

After living with the Piel Frama iPod touch case (65 Euros/$95, shipping included), I've noticed the precise fit of the power button, the sync slot and headphone jack openings, how well the case's flip cover protects the screen, yet wraps completely around and out of the way, when I need it to.

I carry the touch in my pocket, so I don't use the belt clip option, however there is a full swiveling belt clip option. Piel Frama also offers a variety of colors to suit your fashion taste: black, red, tan, pink, blue and green.

I love the Piel Frama iPod touch leather case. No only does it provide superb protection, it improves the iPod touch's grip-ability and enhances the fine design of the iPod touch itself. It's my favorite every day case.

OtterBox for iPod touch Defender™
OtterBox iPod touch Defender CaseI've been aware of OtterBox's tough case reputation for a while, and finally got to try their OtterBox for iPod touch Defender™ ($29.95) with my touch. For tougher conditions, when I may be hard on the touch, the Defender works very well.

The OtterBox Defender case has two parts: a hard plastic inner clamshell, with port and button openings and an outer rubber covering that slips over the plastic clamshell and seals up the openings with rubberized flaps. It's a great combo, because the hard shell protects the touch from impact and torque, while the rubber wrapper cushions impact and seals the touch's ports from the elements.

The Defender's inner plastic clamshell also features a clear plastic cover for the screen, for additional protection from impact and the elements, though I found it made some selections near the edges of the screen a little tougher. This may be due to the Brando BW UltraClear Screen Cover on my screen, which I didn't remove.

The inner clamshell is also a bit tough to separate and remove from the touch, but considering the seal it provides, I didn't mind an extra minute or two spent removing the clamshell in exchange for better protection.

While at Winterblast weekend I put my touch in the OtterBox Defender and carried it in my pocket, never worrying about impact, torquing or abuse it might get while walking around the cold north woods at Fort Wilderness. It's one tough case.

OtterBox for iPod touch Armor™

OtterBox iPod touch Armor CaseThe OtterBox for iPod touch Armor™ case ($49.95) was created for some seriously extreme conditions. The iPod touch is sealed inside a hinged, two-piece, tank-like caase that's waterproof to 3 feet, dirtproof, sandproof and drop-proof.

The OtterBox Armor case is quite a bit larger and nowhere near "pocketable" as the Piel Frama or OtterBox Defender, but hey, this thing provides some heavy-duty protection to an iPod touch. This is the case you'd climb Mount Everest with.

The Armor's case closes with a plastic snap clip, and the back of the case features a plastic belt clip. Once the touch is inside, headphone access is provided by a sealed passthrough port, the screen is protected by a clear plastic shield, and there's a rubber button to activate the touch's Home button.

If you camp, hike, trek or participate in extreme sports and want to take your iPod touch along, this is the case you've been looking for. Let me tell you — there ain't nothin' getting inside this thing. :-)

I hope these reviews are helpful for those seeking a case to protect an iPod touch. This is only a small selection of protective case choices out there, so have a look around and do your research to find just the one for your needs.

Many thanks to Piel Frama and OtterBox for sending over their cases for these reviews. Both companies have been extremely helpful with questions and communications, and they both have great products.

Related Links
Flickr: iPod touch set
iPod touch: My New PDA
iPod touch Two Week Report
Apple: iPod touch
Piel Frama
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)


Square Sketchtoon Coffee Wallpapers for Palm & iPod

Latte (320x320 Wallpaper)

It seems the vertical 320 x 480px coffee sketchtoon wallpapers for the iPhone, iPod touch and Palm OS devices with vertical screens are quite popular!

Since square-formatted screens on Palms and iPods can also make use of wallpapers, I've created a new set of twelve 320 x 320px wallpapers.

Each coffee wallpaper is a 320 x 320px color JPG file, available as a free download from Flickr, for personal use.

Coffee Calendar
If you like the wallpapers, please consider picking up a Sketchtoon Coffee Calendar for yourself or a coffee-loving friend as a unique gift as a way to say thanks.

Not a calendar person? consider a PayPal donation, and I will be happy to send you a complete set of 12 JPGs as a ZIP file:

Thanks, and have a great weekend! :-)


Sketchtoon Coffee iPhone/iPod touch Wallpapers

Espresso (iPhone/iPod touch Wallpaper)Now that the Sketchtoon Coffee Calendar is complete and available for sale, I've been considering ways to make other interesting items with these illustrations.

Today I was inspired by Les & Ian's comments on my last post to create a custom 12-pack of sketchtoon coffee wallpapers, designed especially for iPhone and iPod touch screens.

Each sketchtoon coffee wallpaper is a 320x480px color JPG file, available at Flickr as a free download for personal use on your iPhone or iPod touch.

If you like the wallpaper art, consider picking up a Sketchtoon Coffee Calendar for yourself or a coffee-loving friend as a unique gift.

If you'd like to send a donation for these wallpapers via PayPal, I'll be happy to send the complete set of 12 JPGs as a ZIP file:

Thanks! :-)

Update 2007-11-28: I've uploaded Flickr, having adjusted the images to fit properly within the clear window on the iPhone/iPod touch login screen. If you have an older version, check out the updated images and get a new version.

Palm and Windows Mobile Users: Please drop me a line and let me know if you're interested in wallpapers for your devices. I'm currently gauging whether I want to produce these in a few more sizes, like 320x320 and 240x320. Let me know what sizes you might prefer.


iPod Touch: My New PDA

03_large20070905.jpgI've been Palm PDA-less for about a year and a half now, successfully switching to a hacked Moleskine Planner system for my personal calendar, tasks and notes.

In fact, the Moleskine has worked well in combination with my iPod nano, which provided access to my contacts in nearly unreadable 4pt text.

When the iPhone launched, I was quite interested, even though an iPhone doesn't suit my needs or budget. I was more interested in the iPhone as a mobile data device, with Safari, Mail and other features it offers.

Enter iPod touch
When Steve Jobs announced the iPod touch, my ears perked up. Now here was a device I could make use of, without a 2 year contract. It had the features I'd actually use: music and podcasts, contact info in a font I could actually read, WiFi and a mobile version of Safari, video play, and access to iCal calendars on the go.

So, this week, for my birthday I got an iPod touch, and so far I'm very impressed.

First Observations
Here are my first observations after having the touch a bit over 24 hours:

  • The size and thinness are amazing, compared to the Palm devices I used to carry round. it's a little disconcerting carrying a $400 iPod with a full glass screen in my pocket, so I'm working on a case and clear screen/body protectors.
  • Mobile Safari and WiFi are quite nice. I'm investigating mobile-specific sites for the iPhone and iPod touch, like PocketTweets and Mobile NY Times, picked up from Janet Tokerud's update on her iPhone. If you have sites to share, please share the links.
  • I've already been able to play audio at IT Conversations, and video from Google Video, so the browser is pretty handy and flexible for my needs.
  • I love the Contacts app, with super-readable text. I like that it syncs from my Address Book on the Mac. I like that I can add new contacts on the go. This was one of the most-missed feature of my Palm PDA.
  • It's handy to have my work and family calendars synced from the Mac as well. We've just setup a common family calendar with iCal on our Macs, Google Calendar on the web and SpanningSync to connect everything together. Having a mobile view of our shared calendars adds a nice access point. I wish I could add events, and hope this feature is added in a future software update.
  • Widescreen video is wonderful. I've moved a few videos over with iSquint and have been pleased with the results. Since my nano had no video capabilities, this is an interesting new option to explore. Now I can watch The IT Crowd wherever I want! :-)
  • Audio is great, though I'm having to re-orient myself a little to to the touch way of navigating through my music and podcasts. I think it's more a matter of me adapting to the new features the touch offers.
  • One thing I miss from the nano is the scroll wheel. I listen to podcasts and music when I drive, so having a physical wheel there for jumping tracks or adjusting or pausing the sound has been useful. Now I need to eyeball the iPod touch to make these changes. I've heard from friends there may be headphones or docks with this feature, so I need to do some research. If you have tips on this, let me know.
  • I'm trying to secure some things to review for the iPod touch in coming months. As I get hold of those and try them, look for reviews, to help out other touch owners.
  • Battery life seems OK, not extensive as my nano though. But hey, this device has a huge screen and WiFi, so I have to be realistic about my expectations coming from an iPod nano.
  • It's nowhere near as featured as a Palm PDA, and doesn't have near the tools that are available on the Palm OS, However, it has the items I need it to have. Over the years I've found that the right features in a tool or device are better for me than every possible feature, especially if I never use 80% of the features offered.

After 24 hours I'm impressed. We'll see what quirks arise after a few weeks. I'l be sure to post again after a month or so and let you all know how things are going in iPod touch land. :-)


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)