Thoughts on iPod Touch

hand scannerI’ve had an iPod Touch for almost a week now, and aside from driving people on Twitter nuts by exclaiming how unbelievably awesome it is, I have some thoughts on how it could be better. Nothing groundbreaking, I’m sure, as anyone who spends time with it will likely come up with a similar list. The short version is that I LOVE it. In an unhealthy way. I haven’t been this impressed by a piece of technology since my first Newton MessagePad 120. And before that, my Amiga 1000. It’s that much of a game changer. [ed: both of those technologies are now defunct?] My iPod Touch has quickly become a very powerful mobile email/Google Reader/Twitter/Flickr/Blog platform. I’m not sure I could give it up now.

Software Improvements

  1. Notes sync – if I enter a page of notes into the iPod Touch Notes application, they stay there. Unless I email a copy out. And the only way for text to get INTO Notes is by typing it on the Touch. No way to add, say, a schedule, or travel itinerary, etc… without typing it all manually. wtf? It would be ideal if Notes either synced with a folder in ~/Documents/Notes or were managed by iTunes directly – for this to be a truly useful feature, I need to be able to DO stuff with the notes, not just write stuff down. Getting Notes both onto and off of the Touch are pretty important.
  2. Wifi toggle. I try to save the battery as much as possible, which means spinning down wifi when I won’t be using it (while on the bus, while it’s idle, etc…) but currently each toggle requires about 5 taps. Home > Settings > Wifi > On/Off > Home. It would be handy if there was an icon on the Home screen to just toggle wifi.
  3. Temp on Weather icon. The Calendar icon shows the correct date. Why doesn’t the Weather icon show the current temperature when it’s available?
  4. Copy/paste. Of URLs, text in emails, text in Safari. Not essential, but would make things easier when sharing stuff.
  5. GReader offline app – Gears? SDK? I’d love to be able to load up my RSS feeds in the morning, read them on the bus, and sync stuff when I get to the office. Like Gears does, but without the laptop.
  6. Photos sort by date not filename. Seriously. Why would I sort by filename? Want to show a series of photos? Hope you didn’t rename any of them in Aperture, because the order will be all messed up. Bizarre.
  7. Sketch app? Perfect cocktail napkin!
  8. Flash. Not 100% essential, but it would be great to be able to interact with Flash apps and view Flash Video.
  9. Display name + contact info on unlock screen. If I lose it, and it’s locked with a PIN, how will the honest person who finds it know who to give it to? I’m not going to put a sticker on it. (and if a dishonest person finds it, it’s gone either way)
  10. Ability to have files (pdf, etc…) copied onto the iPod for access without a network connection
  11. Ability to cache multiple locations and sets of directions in Map for use without a network connection. Having Maps is really cool, but a bit useless if I need an active wifi connection to get any details out of it. It caches some stuff, but not enough to make it really useful when offline.
  12. Safari should remember usernames and passwords – doesn’t have to be full Keychain integration (or at all) but this would be handy for browser-based authentication that doesn’t use cookies (wifi hotspots…)

Hardware Improvements

  1. Volume control without touch screen. The double-home-button-tap trick is really nice and elegant, but still requires that I dig the Touch of of my pocket and look at the screen. Every iPod I’ve had before would be just as easily controlled by blindly tapping a button and/or spinning a wheel.
  2. Camera.
  3. Microphone – ability to record audio.
  4. STUCK PIXEL!!! AAAAAAHHHH!!! 5 days after getting my iPod Touch, it developed a dead pixel. A really obvious one, too. The flashing-colours website fix works for about half an hour or so, then it creeps back. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a stuck pixel on any of my displays. (jinx 1234!)

Nothing too earth shattering, and certainly nothing to cry about (well, except maybe that stuck pixel. sniff.). You’ll have to pry my iPod Touch from my cold, dead hands. And even then I’d probably give up a pretty good fight.


23 thoughts on “Thoughts on iPod Touch”

  1. Thanks for the list. I am just dying to get one for myself. I am glad to find that others are enjoying it as much as I think I will.

  2. On the iPhone, there’s volume controls along the left edge of the device. Does the iPod touch lack them?

  3. @King: No, the iPod touch does not have the volume controls.

    Very good list D’Arcy. I’m personally salivating for the SDK to come out so we can find out what we can do with the iPod touch / iPhone.

    My iPod developed (or maybe I only noticed) a “hot” pixel a couple days. It appears green instead of black, but on any colour but black is indistinguishable.

    All in all, I’m more than a lot happy with my iPod touch. I’m just hoping for a couple more of those extra features (copy, paste), built in ability to open links in a new page (instead of using Tabulate).

    If anything moving from the iPod touch to an iPhone will be a nice transition.

  4. So, did you spend $20 to get those apps or did you do the jailbreak?

    I keep meaning to try out the jailbreak, but I do so much computer stuff at work when I get home I try to live in analog.

  5. @king: no volume controls on the side. The only buttons are Home and sleep.

    @michael: I’m a little scared of how much more addictive this thing could get once apps start showing up via the SDK… And my stuck pixel appears to be intermittent for now – most noticeable when viewing photos (which was a major reason for buying the Touch in the first place)

    @gillian: I paid the 20 clams but it was refunded because I only bought it on the 24th – well after the release of the update.

    @David: absolutely! The hunt by first initial of last name technique has limits.

  6. Does the Safari on the Touch support the new Web Clips feature? If so, it’d be easy enough to roll your own weather widget, no? A little PHP + GD server-side and voila!

    I’ve been holding off on the Touch and/or the iPhone until I get a look at the SDK. Won’t be long now. 🙂

  7. Not long since i bought my first ipod touch either, and thought it took a while to get used to it i now love the features. Especially the wifi!

  8. Doesn’t it have to support some flash? I thought you could watch YouTube on it? Did they seriously only put that on the phone and not on the touch?

    From the sound of things I’ll stick with my video iPod for awhile.

  9. @Tony: the web clips icons are cached, not live, so a server-based icon generator won’t work (well, it will work for a few minutes, then the cached icon will be out of date 😉 ) I’m pretty stoked about the SDK – it will be available for this Touch, so no reason to wait for it…

    @Daniel: yeah. the wifi is addictive. I could see this as a gateway drug pushing people into the iPhone, though. Thankfully/unfortunately the data plans in Canada prevent me from going down that particular rabbit hole…

    @Heather: the YouTube app uses a higher quality codec than Flash Video (with YouTube re-encoding the files), which is displayed natively by QuickTime on the Touch. The iPhone doesn’t have Flash either. Unless you use the Notes feature of the video iPod, or use it in Disk Mode, this is a HUGE upgrade in every (other) way.

  10. @dnorman Come on, it’s only $18/month for the first 4 months of unlimited data. Just try it. Everyone else is doing it. 😉

    (King cringes at the thought of March when his 4 months runs out)

  11. I would love to get one too, but have decided to wait until the capacity is increased and maybe some of the requests you have D’Arcy are implemented.

    @King – with any luck Rogers will actually be supporting the iPhone in Canada with a reasonable package price before your 4 months run out.

  12. @king: I’m sure it won’t be _that_ bad – you could always just get a US plan with North American roaming 🙂

    @gerry: I thought capacity would be a problem, since it’s the smallest iPod I’ve had wrt storage (first was 20Gig, then 30Gig, now only 16) but it’s really not a big deal. Still lots of room left over.

    @brian: what? I’m _almost_ up to 1 post per week… A bit down from my peak of 6 posts per day, but not THAT infrequent 😉

  13. I just email myself the pdf, excel etc. files for offline viewing. You can even e-mail as an attachment a page (has to have javascript in the page) that has function like html style calculators etc. On the dead pixel, Knox has made something that takes care of that (

  14. I too can’t believe that we are still waiting for a solution for syncing Notes between our iPod Touch/iPhone and computer. All the “notes” type apps now available from the App Store seem to want to store the notes on a server instead of permanently on the iPod Touch(including EverNote I believe). One should not require an Internet connection just to check a note. Surely we’ll see an App soon. (fingers crossed)

  15. For the Notes problem, check EssentialPIM, which can copy notes you author on your PC to your iPod. I’ve used it with my previous generation iPod nano and it works great. Also works for calendar entries and contacts if you don’t have Outlook.

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