16 September 2007

iPod touch

Bill Palmer writes, “based on my early testing, I'd have to say that the iPod touch is by far the most amazing product to ever bear the "iPod" brand name.”

It’s perhaps unfair for me to comment without having seen one, but I don’t think that’s possible, based on my experience with iPhone.

I once used a Sansa Rhapsody device, and it was intensely frustrating. Pretty much every time I needed to use its controls, I cursed it. Its controls were nowhere near as easy to use as any iPod I had owned (original, shuffle, white nano). You simply had to pull out the device and look at it in order to pause, skip an annoying song, or change volume. Invariably this meant that I missed whatever announcement the bus driver was making. The iPod’s click wheel can be used simply by reaching into your shirt pocket, and in some cases, through the shirt. This takes very little time.

iPhone doesn’t have a click wheel, and loses that convenience. It does largely make up for it by having an external volume switch, and by having a clicker in the microphone that’s part of the standard earbuds. So the most useful stuff is available without looking at the screen.

But iPod touch doesn’t come with the clicker (and reports are you can’t even use the one from an iPhone). So you would have to pull out the device, and presumably do something to turn on the display. This is clearly not as good as any previous iPod — including iPhone. Touch is really not a very good interface for an iPod’s basic job, playing music through headphones.

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