At a Glance
- Standard iPod touch features such as iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store and Safari web browsing just as welcome as ever, now includes five internet applications, good battery performance
- Video isn’t as bright as iPhone
- no external volume controls or support for remote control
If you’ve held off on purchasing an iPod touch because it hasn’t offered enough of the iPhone’s functionality, it may be time to reconsider unbuckling your credit card. Granted, the display could be a bit brighter and its colour a little more balanced, and it could still do with external volume controls. And it’s been a long time since you’ve been asked to pay £329 for a 30GB iPod. But the inclusion of Mail, Stocks, Maps, Weather, and Notes has transformed the iPod touch. Now, not only is it a solid and attractive portable media player, but, finally, a very fine internet communications device as well.
Apple unveiled the iPod touch to a lukewarm reception. Its video wasn’t as bright and defined as that of the iPhone. It offered an unnecessarily hobbled set of features – the Calendar application, for example, didn’t allow you to add or edit events and it lacked applications such as Stocks, Weather, and Notes. Slick though the touch screen interface was, many were disappointed that the touch didn’t live up to the dream of the ‘phone-less iPhone’. However, the new 32GB iPod touch has answered most of those criticisms.
Apple addressed the most glaring video performance issues – where dark video and photos were really dark and lacked contrast – in the iPod touch 1.1.1 update last September. Yet even with the update our original 16GB iPod touches didn’t produce video as bright and defined as did an iPhone.
The quality of the 32GB iPod touch’s screen still doesn’t match that of the iPhone. Its display has a yellower cast and is darker than the iPhone displays. Fortunately you’re unlikely to be bothered by these issues unless you have the touch next to an iPhone and carry out a direct comparison.
Apple eventually allowed adding and editing events within the touch’s Calendar application through a free software update. The iPhone’s ‘non-phone’ applications remained missing in action, however, until Steve Jobs announced a £12.99 add-on package of iPod touch applications. Mail, Stocks, Maps, Weather, and Notes are now included with all iPod touches.
They work just as they do on the iPhone. Just like the iPhone running version 1.1.3 of the iPhone software, the iPod touch, with the 1.1.3 software includes the Maps application enhancements as well as the ability to place web clippings on the Home screen, rearrange icons on the Home screen, and add additional Home screen pages to accommodate those web clippings and the third-party applications that Apple will make available later this year.
Apple has found a way to squeeze more life out of a battery charge. With the 1.1.1 iPod touch software our iPod touch played music continuously for just under 17 hours – five hours short of Apple’s claim of 22 hours of continuous audio play. Our new 32GB iPod touch, running software version 1.1.3, played for 26 hours and 36 minutes – four and a half hours longer than Apple’s estimate. At this point we don’t know what to attribute the increased playtime to – whether there’s something special about the 32GB iPod touch or whether the latest software manages power better.