iPod touch and the missing apps

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[Editors Note: In the first revision of this blog entry I state that Apple will include January’s iPod touch upgrade features—including the Stocks, Mail, Maps, Weather, and Notes applications—in the iPod touch 2.0 software update, slated to appear in the near future. This is, in fact, speculation on my part. I have edited the entry to make its speculative quality clear. My apologies for any confusion.]

There are times when the world outside and the one inside the confines of my office come together. This week, for example, issues surrounding the iPod touch and the applications shipped with the January software upgrade collided.

A couple of readers who own iPod touches got in touch to ask how they might obtain the $20 upgrade that adds the Stocks, Mail, Maps, Weather, and Notes applications. The answer is, you can’t. Apple has pulled this upgrade, possibly in anticipation of the iPod touch 2.0 software upgrade—said to be released July 11th. My best guess is that this upgrade will include these applications along with the new 2.0 features. Regardless, it will cost half the price—just $10 for the upgrade.

So yes, this is inconvenient for the next 10 days or so, but imagine the vitriol were Apple to continue selling the original upgrade on up through the release of the 2.0 upgrade, offer those same applications in that upgrade, and then demand another $10. (Of course, should this happen, there’s sure to be some vitriol anyway.)

Meanwhile, in my world, my MacBook Pro was due for a stern summer cleaning thanks to too many betas, thingummies, and doodads installed on it during the past year. I backed it up, wiped the drive, and installed fresh copies of everything.

Regrettably, somewhere along the line, I also restored my iPod touch and when I synced it in anticipation of reinstalling the applications that came with the January upgrade, my touch stubbornly displayed nothing more than the original applications—Stocks, Mail, Maps, Weather, and Notes were nowhere to be found.

Apple has released a helpful technical document called Installing, Verifying, or Reinstalling the iPod touch January Software Update that turned out to be of no help to me. The problem, of course, was that the file necessary to switch on those applications was no longer on my Mac. I scoured one of my other Macs, found a restore file for the iPod touch 1.1.3 update (the upgrade was released at the same time as this version of the iPod touch software), applied it, but no soap.

I finally had the good sense to delve into my backup—specifically myuserfolder/Library/iTunes—and found the Mobile Applications folder. Inside this folder is the iPod touch App Pack 4A93.ipa file, the file that tells the iPod touch to allow the five applications to work (they’re embedded in the regular software updates, this file simply switches them on).

Once I placed that folder in the same location on my MacBook Pro, all I had to do was sync my iPod touch and the applications appeared as they were meant to.

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