Apple iPod touch Review

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The hardware is gorgeous and it’s noticeably slimmer than its predecessor. (I tried using my old touch’s case and the new touch slides out as if it were encased in butter.)  The new Retina display has 960 x 640 pixels (a fourfold increase) and results in stunning screen images.

The volume control buttons are now separate and easier to use.  Apple moved the screen sleep/wake button from the top left edge to the right but this is of little consequence.  There’s little change in how the touch plays music and videos and one can sync a music collection with iTunes on a computer and visit the iTunes storefront and make purchases and downloads directly from the device.  Virtually any file, including MP3, AAC, Apple Lossless, or WAV, can be transferred without a problem.  This goes for video files as well including MOV, MP4, and M4V.  One can also stream content using an app or the Safari browser.

There are many reasons to upgrade from an older iPod touch or other iPod model, but the two that stand out for me are the video camera and the fantastic display.  As long as I have the new touch with me, I can leave my pocket video camera behind on trips.

As to the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch comparison, the gap is now smaller than ever.  The touch uses the same A4 processor as the iPhone, the same three-axis gyro sensor, and the same display. There’s no GPS, the camera’s image quality isn’t as good as the iPhone’s (the iPhone has a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash), and, unlike the iPad, there’s no 3G data service available (although Web pages load very quickly on 802.11 b/g/n WiFi networks where available).  A comparison with the Flip UltraHD is also inevitable, given the inclusion of video, but, despite slightly better video quality on the Flip, one can’t surf the Web, download apps, or read e-mail on it so the edge still goes to the touch.

The first iPod touch was revolutionary in its day but that was back in 2007 and 2010 is the year of the app and the iPad, a world where everyone has a smartphone.  Come to think of it, Apple might want to consider changing the iPod touch’s name to iPad pocket.

–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.

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