Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Apple is trying to coast on the success of the iPhone by creating a new type of iPod that uses many of the same features as the iPhone in its design. This new model is called the iPod touch and ité─˘s based around the same touch screen technology that gives the iPhone its clean, user friendly, and functionally dynamic appearance. In fact, the iPod touch looks a lot like the iPhone.
The similarities between the iPhone and the iPod touch are no accident. After all, the iPhone has been such an enormous success, that it only makes sense for Apple to replicate its style in another device. The dominant feature on both of these devices is the touch screen that covers the entire face of both gadgets. The touch screen interface largely replaces the mechanicals buttons of previous models and the distinctive wheel button that has defined so many models of the iPod for so long. The touch screen on the iPod touch automatically reconfigures itself for a variety of different purposes. It can be used to flip through the cover art of various songs that are loaded onto the gadgeté─˘s hard drive. It can also be reconfigured into a QWERTY style keyboard or thumb typing.
Of course the option of a QWERTY style keyboard doesné─˘t really match up with what we expect on an iPod, but the iPod touch has the extra capability of accessing WiFi networks and using them to surf the Internet with the Safari web browser. Of course, being able to surf the Internet also means being able to compose and send email. The iPod touch is certainly not the first portable media devices to have WiFi capabilities (some high end Archos portable media devices can do the same), but it may take a big name manufacturer like Apple and a big name gadget like an iPod to make this feature mainstream.
Another feature that the iPod touch shares with the iPhone is a built in accelerometer. The accelerometer can sense when the iPod touché─˘s orientation is changed and then shift the picture on the screen to compensate. For example, when viewing a photo or a video the aspect ratio in which it is displayed can be changed just by turning the entire gadget. When the gadget is held horizontally, the screen appears to have a 16:9 aspect ratio for viewing video which is increasingly shot in that wider viewing area these days.
The iPod touch is more focused on video than its predecessor, the video iPod. While the video iPod relied on iTunes for its main source of video, the iPod touch is specifically designed to be able to display YouTube video that it can access through a WiFi hot spot. Presumably, the iPod touch can also be used to watch streaming video over the Internet from other sources as well. This could make it extremely valuable for watching TV programming from major networks.
Of course the iPod touch can also handle all of the downloaded music that its users care to load onto it, as well as photos. The iPod touch is definitely a gadget thaté─˘s worthy of a fair amount of attention.