Apple iPod Touch (2nd Generation)

With the success of the iPhone, Apple have taken all of what works in their mobile handset and moved it over to the new touch screen media player.

With the way things are going, you’d think that touch screens are going to replace everything. They’re in mp3 players, fridges, TV’s, computers, and they’re even in phones that you wouldn’t expect them to have it in them (we’ll have one for you shortly to see).

Apple weren’t the first at bringing touch screens to the world but in the past year or so, they’ve been found to be among the best. The original iPod Touch – now labeled as the first generation – impressed people due to its style and interface. It unfortunately lacked fine tuning of volume and many of the simple things that would have made the applications it shipped with useful in any way.

But with the success of the iPhone, Apple have had time to take all of that work & technology and make the transition to the iPod Touch in its second generation. They are, after all, almost the same device.

This year, the new iPod Touch is thinner, sleeker, and while it’s more likely to look all smudged when you put your fingers all over it, it also performs a hell of a lot better than it did in its first round.

The new iPod Touch looks even glossier this time with a smaller black part on the back telling you where the WiFi is. More like a chrome piece of art, the iPod Touch is the evolution of the iPod Classic as if to say “this is what the iPod would look like if it melted and lost some weight”.

It is remarkably thin and it feels great in the hand. Actually, it’s ever so slightly thicker than the original with the new model hitting a depth of 0.33 inches and the old one at 0.31. What makes the difference here is how the thickness and weight are handled in this new beveled design that sort of slopes in the hand from being thin at the top to that arch and protrusion in its back.

Certainly this time Apple have made something more artistic & stylish than last time. It even gives the iPhone a good run for its money.

And in specs, too. We’re not talking about a lot of difference between devices here folks as the iPod Touch is more or less the iPhone without the GPS or the phone. It even has something the iPhone wishes it had.

With a 3.5 inch screen running at 320×480 resolution, the screen hasn’t changed much. In truth, it felt as vibrant as we’ve come to expect and didn’t notice a colour cast which is something some people have said about the new Touch. You know can get it in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB which will hold iTunes’ AAC format, MP3’s, WAV, as well as videos encoded in an Apple approved MP4 version.

The battery is even better this time around with up to 36 hours of audio playback and up to 6 hours of video being better than its predecessor. We tested it for a few hours and it sounded just as good as it did before and lasted well.

New to the device are some changes which really show how much like the iPhone it is.

A speaker is now built into the iPod Touch as is a tactile volume button on the side, something which was needed on the original as the touchscreen volume slider just wasn’t good enough.

The App Store is also now accessible from your iPod Touch (users with the first generation can upgrade to the new firmware at a cost) making software on your iPod Touch more useful, a complaint we had last time around. This means that your music player literally can become your Mobile Internet Device (provided you have access to a WiFi Hotspot) or a portable gaming device (especially with some of the great games found on the App Store).

But one of the things that sets the second generation iPod Touch apart from any of the iPhones is the inclusion of Nike+ hardware and software, something that is still missing in the iPhones despite a logic that would make sense to have it compatible with them all.

Included in the new iPod Touch is a Bluetooth receiver much like the one you used to plug into a Nano so you could use the Nike+ software on it. If you hadn’t heard yet, Nike+ uses an accelerometer that sits in a shoe communicating information about your running with your iPod. Later on, you can go online and look at how you’re doing in running, how far you’re traveling, and compare it to other users on the web.

As such, Nike+ has proved incredibly popular and now the technology and application are built right into the iPod Touch.

With all of these features out of the box, the iPod Touch’s second outing is a successful one. It’s already converted one of the guys in our office from a PDA to an iPhone. It’s converting lots of people every day and, if you look at the price, it’s now less expensive than an iPod Classic. Interestingly, about the only reason you’d pick an older styled iPod over the newer Touch models is if you really needed the extra space.

Click to enlarge

Product: Apple iPod Touch (2nd Generation)

Vendor: Apple

RRP: From $329

Website: Apple iPod Touch

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark

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