My wife managed to win an iPod Touch a the office Christmas party. I got more excited than her; she actually suggested we put it on eBay unopened, of course I simply had to open it and play a little. After a weekend I came to the conclusion that, to me, it was a piece of useless crap that we should try to sell ASAP. Luckily we managed to sell it on to someone who’s recently had a large sip of the Apple Kool-Aid. Here’s what I found out anyway, let’s start with the least bad.
It’s cute, very cute. Clicking icons, typing in the “keyboard” all very enjoyable. I tried out the zooming in Safari, beautiful. Then the cracks started showing, I can’t zoom everywhere, suggesting that it’s implemented on an application level. Why not provide that on a system level instead, so that all applications have it automatically? I also found it really irritating that there’s no copy-paste (apparently a common gripe). After I broke the jail of the 1.1 firmware and installed a audio cast client I had to use a pen and paper to copy URLs from Safari in order to subscribe. Poor!
Browsing the web
Getting network connectivity was a breeze. The UI of Safari is cute and the zoom is really handy. The first thing that irritated me was that there’s no way of saving things. Yes, there’s WiFi available in many large cities nowadays, but there’s still a lack of wireless connectivity outside of cities. So, my hope of being able to look for things while online and read while offline was a no-starter. I also would have liked to download videos and watch them later, on the other hand, and this is such a ridiculous mistake by Apple since it basically breaks the web, there’s no support for flash. Yes, the format that basically everybody uses to post videos online is not supported! Oh, but there’s YouTube you say? Well, on to that then…
The YouTube application
The only way of watching videos on YouTube is through this application. Surprisingly it’s not possible to use Safari to browse around using YouTube’s well-known web interface and find interesting things to watch that way. No flash support, remember?
On top of this there is no way of saving a video to watch it later. Again, listen Apple, there are areas that don’t have WiFi connectivity in the world!
Loading things on to the iPod Touch
I found this to be most disappointing. The only way to get stuff, music/video/audio cast, on to it one must use iTunes. There are rumours of support in bleeding edge libgpod, but by this time I didn’t bother with trying that out. What I did try was breaking the jail, installing OpenSSH, mounting it using SSHFS just to find out I only had read access in the versions of
libgpod that’s in Debian Sid. Then I tried installing iTunes in WINE, but gave up after a few hours of trying to get that working. The next attempt was to use VMWare, using an evaluation license for Workstation I got as far as installing iTunes just to find out that it wouldn’t accept the iPod Touch when I plugged it into the USB port. After all of this, and my other findings, I didn’t think it’d be worth compiling
libgpod from source.
Other bits and pieces
I’ve heard the calendar and contacts can only be synced to a Mac. Of course I couldn’t try it, since I don’t have a Mac.
I’ve never thought quite as much about the words “proprietary” and “technological silo” as I did while playing with the iPod Touch. The experience has put me off all Apple products, sure they are beautiful and cute, but to me they aren’t usable.