After months of what seemed like torture following the release of the iPhone — and listening to consumers, technology experts, news anchors and my peers bragging about it — I must admit that I was tempted buy one. But I had to weigh a huge termination fee on my existing wireless plan in addition to the iPhone’s cost.

Then I heard Apple would release an iPhone without the phone. The 16gb iPod Touch is now in my hands.

The Touch’s design is astonishing, with its gorgeous three 3.5" widescreen display, multi touch user interface and its supermodel thinness at only .31 inches. It’s for any commuter looking to carry around their music, video collections, photos and the internet.

The unit comes in two versions, 8gb and 16gb, respectively priced at $300-$400.

iPod TouchI would strongly advise getting the larger capacity model because it’s still not a ton of space — considering older iPod’s gave you 20gb for just music — if you own a lot of music, videos or pictures, the device will fill up quickly. The operating system alone takes up over a gigabyte.

After using the iPod touch for a few months, my thoughts haven’t changed. The product packs a lot of functionality, which I adapted to very quickly.

One of the key features is the Safari browser. I find it extremely useful to be able to log in to social networking sites and surf the web. I can also read current events, stream media, and do regular tasks I would perform if I were on my computer.

It’s very rare that you find an ultra portable device like the iPod Touch that can stream both audio and video podcasts directly to the unit. It’s $400 spent wisely just in that feature alone.

The revolutionary touch screen interface built on Mac OS X is a head turner. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been complimented on the easy to use interface, which offers the user an optimal experience in every task.

It’s so nice flipping music with a swipe of a finger being able to quickly select a song. If you rotate the iPod Touch into landscape position, the built in accelerometer detects the position and displays you music in Cover Flow mode, similar to an iPhone feature.

Cover Flow is a technology which lets you see all the album art in you music collection. Gently tap on the cover art, and it spins around and lets you select a song within the album.

Sound quality is also impressive, with no skips because of reliable internal flash memory. The touch also offers the built-in iTunes WiFI Music store. I’ve bought a few tracks off WiFi store and was surprised on how seamlessly the store integrates with my music library.

You can browse the top one hundred songs of each genre or the top 100 songs on the iTunes store or search by name, artist, etc. for the song you want. The song will immediately download and appear in the users’ music library.

You can’t download movies, podcasts, games or music videos, but it’s a great start.

The rest of the features like video playback, the photo viewer, clock, calendar, calculator and YouTube application all work the same way as they do on the iPhone.

One suggestion that I have is if you plan to download podcasts, download the file with the Large QuickTime encoding. If you download the small QuickTime version, the video will be fuzzier and pixelated.

When watching videos, I was amazed at the quality of the picture. I sometimes forgot I was watching on a three and one half inch screen because the picture quality is so detailed.

The iPod Touch has minor drawbacks like its battery life, which in normal life only gets three hours when connected to WiFi and less than 20 hours of straight music playback if you enjoy flipping through cover flow and using some of its power hungry features.

Some other drawbacks are that Apple has blocked third party developers from creating native applications. You also can’t add calendar events on the go or download audio files other than the iTunes WiFi store.

There’s also no mail support and no flash support for viewing flash enabled sites, although hackers recently found ways to break through Apple’s encryption to add thirty party applications and features.

Overall, Apple really did a great job creating a device that provides so many useful features. I’m glad to see that Apple has taken the features from its popular iPhone and has added them into a device without the ongoing financial commitments.

iPod Touch

About The Author

Mike Preble is a Blast Magazine staff writer.

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