iPod touch – first impressions

No, I have not bought it yet, to big disappointment of Gabo and Shane – sorry guys. I wanted to buy it but all FutureShop stores in Ottawa are hopelessly sold out and on-line delivery is 7-10 business days – which I hope I will beat if these guys get new shipment (maybe tomorrow ?).

I played with two demo pieces though for about 30 minutes, and here are the first impressions:

The screen is VERY nice. It reads well, and the touch interface is plain fantastic. No issues there. I tried the YouTube videos via wireless – worked OK, I also tried the web interface and was surprised that on such small screen the combination of touch interface and the way Safari renders pages gives you actually very usable browsing experience. Typing on the keyboard works better than I expected – almost no typos.

I tried to open up a PDF file from Web and read it. It was best PDF reading experience so far (on the really small screen – I was comparing to PocketPCs). What works much better is that resizing of the PDF actually works – using the two fingers you can stretch the page and get the character size to what your eyes can handle. I guess it is even possible to read really small fonts this way – you can always increase them so that the page is bigger that the screen and move it around with your thumb while holding it in single hand (although you may get quite muscular thumb after a while :-))

The biggest issue right now is how to read offline. There is no built-in way how to save something from the Web on the device – neither HTML nor PDF – and iTunes will synchronize only music and videos (plus address, pictures and web bookmarks). So you cannot simple load few books and go ahead. This makes it unusable outside of home or other WiFi accessible content. There may be some solution soon as first hacks are appearing – and even officially sanctioned applications for iPhone and iTouch are multiplying nicely and some of them point to right direction. So either Apple will provide these options – or the hacks will bring them, it is only matter of time. The temptation is too large … Another possibility is the direction of Google Gears which could pretty soon bring an offline mode for Web application. This most likely will need some cooperation between Google and Apple -but judging by the keynotes, Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt are good buddies 😉 – let’s keep our finger’s crossed.

I did not test the actual music playing – I had no headphones and the demo pieces had no music (this says something about the professional skills of the sales force in FS).

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