I may have found a way to wear my computer on my sleeve – almost.
I picked up the new iPod Touch on Sunday and am exploring it’s potential as personal assistant, education tool, and portable entertainment. That’s quite a lot to ask from a device that is smaller than a deck of cards, but I think Apple’s latest product in the incredible shrinking computer contest is up to the challenge.
For my initial results, read on ….


First, the known tradeoffs
I did not get an iPhone because I decided to split the functionality of a telephone from the rest of the tricks this little baby can perform. I intend to run and play with this device – and I don’t want to take phone calls while doing so. 1) That means that I do carry two devices when I am reachable by cell phone and 2) I have to be in Wi-Fi range to connect to the computing cloud and get updates. Those are two things I can live with, but be aware that you may want to think about the new iPhone if the trade offs don’t work for you.
Second, the good points
And most of my initial response to this device is good.
1) Good screen resolution – even with aging eyes, I can read web pages (in landscape mode). The video quality when watching movies is excellent, and most of the apps I have downloaded so far are very readable in a variety of locations – even outdoors.
2) Easy to use – if you are familiar with a Mac and iTunes, getting this set up and running is a breeze. Even installing new applications is easy. Got to love Apple’s iTunes store.
3) Wide range of applications – between iTunes and apple.com, I see too, too many temptations, including educational ones, that will keep me blogging for months on this topic alone. So far, I’ve succumbed to yet another way to organize my time (OmniFocus trial), Nike + running application, and a meditation timer.
4) Content – between iTunes, YouTube, and the web itself, I have more information at my fingertips (provided I’m on a network, of course) than I could possibly search in a lifetime. Check out iTunes U – which is downloadable and portable for hours spent studying on a plane or a bus. This means I can spare my aching back (and the weight limits of airlines), ditch the textbooks (in some cases), and learn nearly anywhere in multiple modalities. I hope distance educators are paying attention – the content pipeline is widening rapidly!
5) Beautiful – sleek and small. It fits nicely in the hand with rounded, solid comfort. Who says technology can’t be pleasing?
Third, the not so good points
Or rather — point — singular.
I am having a bit of trouble figuring out how to sync the PowerBook, Mobile Me, and the iTouch. Any time you have three pieces that need to communicate with one another, you have the potential for challenges. This one should work out – after all, they are designed to work together. It just is not intuitive (there is that magic word!) to me. So be forewarned if you decide to go this route as well.

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