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25 Days of Gadgets - Day 23

December 23, 2008 - Dave Hecei
Day 25

It’s hard to find someone listening to music that doesn’t have those ubiquitous white earbuds signaling an iPod. The iPod, Apple’s portable music player, has only been around for about seven years. In that time it has become the number one selling music player. The current lineup of iPods includes the Shuffle (a super tiny clip on), the Nano (small and thin with 2-inch display), the Classic (the only model that still uses a hard drive), and the Touch (an iPhone without the phone). The iPod Touch is probably the most unique of all the iPods, and one of the best media players ever made.

All iPods can play music. These can be songs you own, from your Cds, or by purchasing them online. These can be MP3, AAC, or even the Audible book format – an AA file if purchased from Audible or an m4b from the iTunes Music Store. Newer iPods with displays can playback video - TV shows, movies, or music videos.

Since the Touch has the biggest screen of all iPods, it’s 3.5-inches, it makes for a great video player. The screen is very bright and the images are sharp and colorful. When watching videos, the Touch needs to sit horizontally. This allows the video to fill the screen. It’s great for normal and wide-screen content.

The original iPod had a scroll wheel surrounded by four control buttons. This wheel and the unique Apple user interface is what made the iPod so popular. The Touch takes the interface from the Apple iPhone. Instead dials or wheels, the Touch actually uses the OS X operating system and touch control for its operations. This ‘touch’ interface is just as unique as the original iPod and allows almost anyone to pick it up and use it.

Just recently, Apple opened the long awaited iPhone App Store. This is a part of the iTunes Music Store and is the place where you can download programs that will run on the Touch. This makes the Touch more than a music or media player, it makes it a hand held computer. Several applications originally shipped with the Touch, similar in function to the iPhone, which the Touch is closely related to.

The Touch has WiFi wireless networking built-in so you can surf the web, get your email, check out Google Maps, check stocks and weather, and even watch You Tube. With the App store now up and running there are over 10,000 applications to choose from. Most of these will run on the Touch with prices from FREE, many are in the 0.99 to $20 range. Some more unique or specialty Apps are pricier.

Of course, some of the most popular Apps are games. It’s amazing how many great games are out there. Some are free, most are in the 1.99 to $9.99 range. The Touch’s screen, plus the fact that it runs an actual operating system, OS X, is making it a very popular portable gaming system. The Touch has the same accelerometer built-in as the iPhone. Game programmers are using this for the input in the game. A cool 3-D motorcycle game lets you tilt the Touch left and right to steer the on-screen bike. Very cool stuff. There is even a great flight simulator that all Touch owner should check out called X-Plane.

Apple may not be very grammatically correct (I shouldn’t complain) when they call the iPod Touch ‘The funnest iPod ever”. I think they are right.


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